Wisley (Church & Garden) - Surrey - England

The Wisley,
Mill Lane,
Ripley,
Surrey,
GU23 6QU,
England


  • +44 (0) 1483 211022

Concealed behind the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens at Wisley lies one of the most delightful private members' clubs in the British Isles. There is a strong partnership between the RHS and The Wisley Golf Club and it's apparent from the moment you arrive at this prestigious venue. The RHS provides advice and guidance to the Golf Club on shrubs and flowers and, in turn, the Golf Club helps the RHS with turf grass issues. It's a beautiful partnership.

With 27 secluded holes, set out across more than 200 acres, the Wisley is a big golf course. It opened for play in 1991, the first course in the UK to be designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. The Trent Jones design philosophy is to preserve the natural beauty of the site while creating a playable course rich with strategic variety. His objectives have been fully met here at the Wisley, with many holes offering a wide selection of risk and reward choices, thanks to extensive landscaping.

A straw poll across the full complement of 700 members at the Wisley will reveal that the jury is out in terms of which of the three nine-hole loops is best (Church, Mill or Garden). We, too, are unsure which combination makes the best collection of 18 holes, but we can say that each nine is of equal standard, although subtly different in character. A prolific number of water hazards and bunkers are scattered throughout the 27 holes and there's more water in play here than at just about any other course in the British Isles - the River Wey and strategically-placed lakes come into play on no fewer than eight of the Garden's nine holes.

There are so many memorable holes that it is almost impossible to single any out, but the 6th on the Mill is one of our favourites. Here, the River Wey must be crossed twice, once with the tee shot and once approaching the diagonal green. It's a cracking 520-yard par five, which poses similar challenges to the 17th at Carnoustie. The 7th hole on the Mill is also unforgettable – a do or die par three which measures 223 yards from the back tees, where there's an amazing double water hazard to carry before the kidney-shaped green – also well protected by four bunkers – is reached.

Historically, the Garden and Mill loops were considered the premier configuration, but the Church nine's refurbishment changed many opinions. The 2nd on the Church course is a challenging three-shot hole for most golfers, where water meanders along the full length of the right side. The approach shot is testing, even with a wedge in hand. Next up is the most attractive one shotter at The Wisley, which requires a forced carry over water to a tricky sloping green that is protected by two sentry bunkers left and right of the putting surface. The gathering trap to the right is on the safe bailout line which, if found, will leave a tough bunker shot with water threatening behind the slippery green.

The Wisley is certainly top drawer and if you are given the opportunity to play here, take it immediately. It's easy to see why top professionals are Wisley members... 27 engaging holes and probably the best practice facilities in the British Isles.

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Reviews for Wisley (Church & Garden)

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Description: Concealed behind the RHS gardens at Wisley lies one of the most delightful private golf clubs in the British Isles... the Wisley. Rating: 8.3 out of 10 Reviews: 16
TaylorMade
David O
Played Wisley yesterday (31 January) as the guest of a member - the only way you can play as a non-member. The Garden 9 is still closed for extensive repairs; a lot of work is being done to reshape fairways and green complexes. Played Mill and Church - was stunned by the good condition of the course given the poor winter weather we have had. The (heavily sloping) greens are fast and true, even having been hollow-tined recently. I think the condition of the course makes you think the holes are better than they are, certainly the routing is good but not exceptional. Agree with a previous reviewer that the course and the club in general feels quite Americanised - I have played Queenwood and the experience is similar (both have complementary shoe cleaning, bag drop etc - the courtesy practice balls here are new Callaways, rather than new ProVs at Queenwood). Service stays just the right side of obsequious. For me the par 3 holes stand out, especially the 7th on the Church, a cracking downhill par 3 which reminded me of Royal Melbourne with open sandy scrub and heather and a huge front bunker to carry and the 7th on the Mill, which forces a long carry of a large lake to a green set at an angle. Overall a good course, one which i would like to revisit in summer, when the course is said to appear more links-like in character with high wispy rough and would present a severe challenge.
February 01, 2009
6 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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Tarby
Playing from the back tees on a damp drizzly day the course played really long. With the Garden 9 holes under renovation our group played the Mill and Church 9s. Great condition as one would expect from a club boasting a number of European Tour Pros as members and greens upto tour standard. The club oozes class. I was lucky enough to get an invite to play here and would love to play here again. It was a real treat.
November 04, 2008
10 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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Goffy
You can only get to play The Wisley by invite and if you get the opportunity make sure you don’t pass it up. There are 3 loops of nine, we played the Church and the Mill and they are absolutely stunning. The greens were running at 11 on the stimp and were so true, this was in late September. The 18 holes we played were varied and testing but fair, you may not play to you handicap but you don’t leave the course feeling like you’ve just been beaten up. The club boasts 3 of this years Ryder Cup players and several touring pros as members including Monty which says it all really, absolute quality. This is a must play, that’s if you can get an invite!
October 19, 2008
8 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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Andy
There are so many great established courses in this area and it was always going to be a tough job for a new course to join the Surrey Golf elite – but the Wisley has not only joined, it has leapfrogged many of the existing traditional courses. It will probably be a fair job to get a game at The Wisley as you need to play with a member but whatever it takes to get a game here I would say it’s worth doing as this is a glorious golf venue. Ultra modern courses but top quality is the key here. Customer service is so high that you have a feeling of being in another world - certainly one away from the normal hum drum of south east second rate attention given at a lot of golf clubs. The vision to make the Wisley experience a real pleasure certainly works here.As for the golf … there is a lot of water about which comes into play so often and with a higher than normal degree of difficulty, the Wis is a tough track. Favourite holes for me …… 3rd hole on The Garden and the 9th on the Mill.
April 04, 2005
6 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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Hugh
I can't quite remember how I came about getting an invite to play here, it was quite a few years ago and I think I was a second reserve on the client list. Anyway, one thing is for sure, I can remember playing here as though it was yesterday. We played all three loops of nine during the course of the day and I couldn't personally split the three nines except in character...they were all of a similar excellent standard. The conditioning was simply stunning and I have yet to play a course in the UK that matches the Wisley for quality. Most noticeable for me was the absolute definition between the cuts of grass and the rough was penal. The thing that sticks in my mind the most was the attentive but understated service. This is a quality venue and if you get the chance to play it, even as a second reserve, jump at it.
March 21, 2005
8 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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oneildunne
Yes, it's a nice course and it has fantastic practice facilities but it is a bit too Americanised for my liking. Mind you, if that's what floats your boat then fine, but I am more of a heathland person myself. I can't fault the condition of the course but as a non member you kind of feel a bit uncomfortable walking around and that is something I look out for when I play at a new club. It should be a course you come away from saying wow, amazing experience etc but sadly it wasn't quite like that. A good course nontheless.
November 05, 2004
6 / 10
Wisley (Church & Garden)
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