Walton Heath (Old) - Surrey - England

Walton Heath Golf Club,
Deans Lane,
Walton on the Hill,
Surrey,
KT20 7TP,
England


  • +44 (0) 1737 812380

  • Golf Club Website

  • 2 miles N of M25 J8, 15 miles S of London

  • Contact in advance - weekends limited


Both courses at Walton Heath Golf Club (Old & New) were designed by Herbert Fowler who was related by marriage to the founder, Sir Henry Cosmo Bonsor. “It was a stroke of genius on the part of Mr Herbert Fowler to see with his prophetic eye a noble golf course on the expanse of Walton Heath”, wrote Bernard Darwin. “It was in August 1902, that Mr Fowler had begun his survey. In April 1904 James Braid moved to Walton from Romford and in May the course was opened with a due flourish of trumpets,” wrote Darwin in the Biography of James Braid. James Braid remained the Walton Heath club professional until 1950.

Surprisingly, Walton Heath Golf Club was not given the royal charter, despite the fact that the Duke of Windsor was club captain in 1935. During his year as captain, he became King Edward VIII. Walton Heath is the only club in history to have a reigning monarch as its captain. His term as captain probably lasted longer than his reign on the throne. King George VI was also an honorary member and Winston Churchill played his golf here as a member from 1910-1965.

Walton Heath played host to the 1981 Ryder Cup matches between the USA and Europe. Team Captains were Dave Marr (US) and John Jacobs (Europe). The US Team comprised of players who held 36 Major Championship titles between them and they were simply too strong for the Europeans. Larry Nelson and Jack Nicklaus won eight points on their own while Nick Faldo could only claim a single point this time round. European debutants included Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Canizares and Manuel Pinero but Seve Ballesteros (1980 Masters winner) was left out of the team for playing too much golf in America. USA 18 ½ - Europe 9 ½. The Ryder Cup was played at The Greenbrier in 1979 and at the PGA National in 1983.

This is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. A profusion of heather stripes the edge of the fairways. In the summer, when the heather is in flower, it is an absolute delight to look at, but a real challenge to play out of. The greens are true and fast and the undulations make it tough to read the lines and the pace of putts.

This is a course that favours the lower handicap golfer. Some of the carries across the heather are quite lengthy and if you don’t hit the fairways, you can often wave goodbye to your ball. There are some really strong holes on the Old course – one of the best of the outward nine is the 5th, a cracking 391-yard par four that demands a solid drive that must avoid the thick, tangly heather shrouding the fairway. A mid-iron approach shot will find the green, amply guarded by bunkers left and right.

The last three holes are especially challenging, especially the 16th, a 510-yard par five, well described by Bernard Darwin in his book The Golf Courses of the British Isles. In 1910, it was the 17th hole and it was played as a par four. “We must begin by hitting a long, straight drive between bunkers on the right and some particularly rete ntive heather on the left, but that is, comparatively speaking, an easy matter. The second shot is the thing – a full shot right home on to a flat green that crowns the top of a sloping bank. To the right the face of the hill is excavated in a deep and terrible bunker, and a ball ever so slightly sliced will run into that bunker as sure as fate. To the left there is heather extending almost to the edge of the green, and, in avoiding the right-hand bunker, we may very likely die an even more painful death in the heather.”

Walton Heath has hosted many important competitions, not least the 1981 Ryder Cup. Unfortunately, Europe was thrashed 9 ½ - 18 ½ by America, thanks to the likes of Watson and Nicklaus. For serious golfers, this is a fantastic venue for a golf day. Lunch in the clubhouse is simply stunning, well worth donning the jacket and tie, but probably worth passing on the dessert if you want to swing properly in the afternoon!

Bernard Darwin sums up Walton Heath perfectly: “There is no more charming place on a fine sunshiny day, none where the air is fresher and more cheering, none where the sky seems bigger. It is a place where it is good for us, alike for our game and for ourselves, to play golf.”

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Reviews for Walton Heath (Old)

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Description: Walton Heath Golf Club is where links golf meets inland golf. There is no salty whiff of sea air, but the course plays and feels like a seaside links. Rating: 8 out of 10 Reviews: 55
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Simon Rourke
I played at Walton Heath in a society on 13th April 2010, we had 18 holes on the Old Course in the morning and played 14 holes on the New Course in the afternoon. First impressions of the club as a whole are good, they have a lovely clubhouse which houses much memorabilia from the many events staged at the club, including the 1981 Ryder Cup, and this provides some interesting background to the club and its history. The changing room facilities are excellent as is the pro shop and the practice putting green.

The Old Course starts off with a 200+ yard par 3 (unfortunately we played off the club tees and not the whites) which is a challenging start and quite unique, following this hole you cross a fairly busy road to play the rest of the course and it is unusual to have a course which is so detached from its clubhouse but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different! The Old Course fairways were generally in very good condition and nearly every hole had heather lining the rough, it was fairly sporadic in places but is amazing how my ball managed to find it every time I strayed off the fairways! Bunkering is good and there are many pot bunkers to navigate around the course, the quality of sand was also good and certainly gave you confidence in striking through the sand before the ball. One thing I did notice on several occassions was the quality of the rough itself was not great, and there were many little hollows and holes which usually prevented you from making any sort of strike on the ball which can be very frustrating - yes you shouldn't be hitting it in the rough in the first place but everyone does and I just thought it was too penal and difficult at times. Greens were overall ok, they were pretty damp in the morning but soon firmed up and were generally pretty true, the first few holes had fairly flat greens but after that we experienced greens with many undulations and some evil pin positions which provided a good challenge.

Walton Heath in general is very flat and I don’t recall many real slopes or hills, as a consequence the wind can whip up and we played many holes into the wind, I don’t know whether wind is a regular feature at Walton Heath but there aren’t many trees lining the fairways to shield you from it but that does present a good challenge for the skilled golfer.

The New Course is significantly shorter than the Old Course with several par 4’s that can be driven, in some cases with a fairway wood, but it provides a different challenge to the Old Course and can lull you into a false sense of security. The heather on each hole is just as severe and difficult to play from and the greens are no less undulating. A previous reviewer mentioned it had a very inland links feel to it and I completely agree, the wind was fairly strong at times and the hardness of the ground certainly promoted the type of knockdown shots you would use at a classic links course, and chip and runs around the green are a must (although it took me half a round to realise this…)

My own comment on Walton Heath, and this is only my opinion, is there are not many ‘standout’ holes. It is a little repetitive at times and after the days golf I really struggled to remember many of the hole layouts. This is by no means a criticism of the place as I thought it was a lovely club with some very nice holes, but having recently played St. George's Hill and Queenwood I was left a little disappointed overall especially with some of the holes seeming very ordinary indeed (the 1st on New Course is a good example). However, to counter my argument above I would very much like to play Walton Heath again in the height of summer when the course (and greens) are truly at their best so I can experience the courses in all their glory.
April 13, 2010
6 / 10
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Richard Smith
What a magnificent pair of courses on the beautiful Walton Heath. The Old course is a classic. It looks, feels , and plays exactly like a seaside links and compares favorably to the best of the championship links that hosts the open championship. Like Lytham St. Annes the course starts with a par 3 of over 200 yards that is guarded by bunkers on both sides. After you cross the busy motorway you then proceed to the heath and it's stunning combination of gentle rolling land perfectly suited for golf holes ,and the beautiful yet treacherous heather that guards every fairway and green as well as most of the bunkers. There are so many great holes on the Old that's it's hard to pick any out, but the uphill dogleg right second, and the almost mirror dogleg left fifth immediately come to mind. We played into a 15 -20 miles/hour wind going out, so we got a little bit of a break with a general downwind inward nine but the course always requires precise shot placement. The greens have a great deal of character and contour without ever getting too outrageous. If you love links golf and you want to experience the same type of golf in an inland/heathland setting, then I would play both the Old and New courses. I would be shocked if you were disappointed. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
August 03, 2008
10 / 10
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Kevin
I have played the Old Course twice in as many weeks and have to say that this is my favourite inland course in the UK. It was in first-class condition - way better than its neighbours Sunningdale, Wentworth, RSG and the Berkshire. The club is steeped in history and it was privilege to play at a club that has hosted so many prestigious events in its history. Quite how the last reviewer thought the holes were all the same, I will never know - anything but!
July 09, 2008
8 / 10
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harryd
i have played this course twice, and it is in emaculate condition, and the clubhouse is beautiful, but i felt that even though this course has held the ryder cup, and many famous events, it is not an outstanding course.i felt that all the holes are too similar, and the round can become a bit boring after 15 holes which you cannot distinguish from one anotheron the other hand though i thought that it was a very challenging course, and for that i must credit it.
June 29, 2008
6 / 10
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jack
Played both courses last week. Everyone there treated me as member,they were great. The Old Course is absolutely wonderful. It is as good or better than any of the Scottish courses I have played, and I have played them all. The rolling fairways are bordered with evil heather and gorse that are impossible to escape from. Do not get in the traps because you can't get out of them. This is what a golf course is supposed to look like and play like. WOW!Greens and fairways were perfect. The green complexes are superb. This is a treasure. Play it if you can.
June 09, 2008
10 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
Awesome course, with a tough start and finish. The greens were fantastic, lighting fast and true. As for the fairway bunkers avoid at all costs as its a guarnteed dropped shot playing out sideways almost everytime. The fairways seem to run forever and play short of the greens to keep it on the dancefloor, almost links like in many places. Lots of history here and a great clubhouse although a little snobby with some old fashioned dresscode rules, don't let that put you off a great course and a great day when combined with the New course.
May 17, 2008
8 / 10
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Kwei
Just awesome!! Surrey Sandbelt heather lovers unite... This golf course is there to be played, it's all in front of you and it's played off the most amazing turf... As good as Hankley Common, St Georges Hill, Sunningdale and only slightly behind Woodhall. 6 stars for us.
April 25, 2007
10 / 10
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Carl
September 25, 2007
Your quite right, I asked about membership. Politely I was told I had no chance and that the waiting list was very very long.
Adrian Gaspar
Played this great course on a baking hot July day. I felt it had all the attributes that you would expect from great courses – natural layout out, strategic bunkering, penal rough and heather, a varied selection of holes and ofcourse firm and true greens. I think the conditions made it even more links like and with the parched fairways I could make most of the holes in two and I’m not a long hitter and didn’t use the driver. Highlights were both of my playing partners getting eagles at the par 5 16th, one whose second shot basically needed another couple of millimetres for an Albatross, whilst the other guy rolled in a 40 footer (just in case you were wondering I only made par!). Great food and professional staff. Outside of the British Open courses I’m not sure if I have been to a club steeped in as much history – I won’t bore you with details – but if you know who have been members, who the club pros and captains have been then you will know what I mean and this is not forgetting the Ryder Cup. Any golf fan might want to check out the US team that year (1981) – virtually a whose who of American greats. One observation I made was that whilst Walton is a great course it made me realise just how good Woodhall Spa is because that is comfortably a better inland course. Still well worth the green fee though, when you think that another famous Ryder Cup venue (Belfry) is about £50 more and nowhere near as good.
July 23, 2006
8 / 10
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Bowlesie
As my black cab dropped me off at the clubhouse entrance,a steward emerged to wish me "Good Morning" and was i a members guest or here with a corporate event?First impressions count so much these days and as with so much else Walton Heath gets this right.A good breakfast,a helpful pro shop and excellent practice facilities including one of the most charming putting greens you will ever see.Challenging long par 4S,well guarded pars 3s and Par 5s you cannot attack without perfect placement off the tee.I enjoyed the whole experience and it was followed up by a stellar lunch.Play this for all that is good about English Heathland golf DB
May 23, 2006
10 / 10
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JOHN G. HOLBROOK
My favorite inland course. Played the course in May 2004, excellent condition. Holes offered wide variety starts out with a tough par 3. Would like to play again along with the New course which we didn't play.
May 09, 2006
10 / 10
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