Woking - Surrey - England

Woking Golf Club,
Pond Road,
Hook Heath,
Woking,
Surrey,
GU22 0JZ,
England


  • +44 (0) 1483 760053

  • Golf Club Website

  • 3 miles SW of Bagshot

  • Contact 7 days in advance – no weekend visitors

Woking Golf Club has a charming Old England heathland course, laid out by Tom Dunn in 1893. The club was intended to provide relief for a few golf mad barristers who were sick and tired of playing on muddy clay. We must thank Woking wholeheartedly because nobody thought that heather and gorse-strewn land was viable ground for golf and this was the first experimental heathland layout.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were only a few heathland courses around London and Bernard Darwin described them as “the stars of sand and heather”. He had a soft spot for Woking Golf Club because it’s the oldest and one of the best. He went on to say, “although my judgement may not be strictly an impartial one, I think it is still the pleasantest of all upon which to play, and the golf is undeniably interesting.” Darwin was once a mad barrister himself and also a member at Woking for more than sixty years.

Woking Golf Club is listed in the catalogue of Simpson & Company Golf Architects, but we don't know what work Tom Simpson may have carried out.

There is absolutely no doubt that Woking is located in an idyllic spot and the unusual pavilion clubhouse only adds to the charisma. This is not a championship layout by any stretch of the imagination; the course only measures 6,602 yards from the back tees. But Woking is a mature and strategic layout requiring well-positioned tee shots that must, at all costs, remain out of the heather and in play. We recommend that you leave your driver in the boot of the car to avoid any temptation.

Woking is not riddled with bunkers but those that are there are adroitly positioned. In 1900, a controversy raged when Stuart Paton dug two bunkers into the 4th fairway. The members were mortified that they might be penalised after hitting a good straight drive. Looking back at this, Woking was a pioneer in architectural terms, forcing the player to make a strategic decision, lay up short or bravely aim on the right line.

In 1926, a match involving captain Bobby Jones and the rest of the American Walker Cup team took place at Woking. The Americans were beaten 6-3 by the “Moles Golfing Society”. The British Amateur champion was captain of the Moles. Woking was also once home to the Alba Trophy, a celebrated amateur competition. These days, Woking is used to genteel peace and quiet in Surrey’s suburbia. This is definitely a course for the connoisseur. Or as Darwin said in his 1910 book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, "I can only end as I began by asserting that there is no more delightful course whereon to play golf."

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Reviews for Woking

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Description: There is absolutely no doubt that Woking Golf Club is located in an idyllic spot and the unusual pavilion clubhouse only adds to the charisma. Rating: 8.1 out of 10 Reviews: 48
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Craig Robinson

Excellent course and very difficult on a wet English day. Play 36 holes in the day and walked with the bag so was extremely tired. It is a long course with some neat intricate shorter holes to test you also. You dont need to be a big hitter to enjoy the course.

July 02, 2020
8 / 10
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Josh Poysden

One of my favourite inland courses, Woking is a lovely heathland track just southwest of London. The opener is a classic ‘gentle hadnshake’ from the course easing you into your round. The 3rd has an extremely fun but tough approach that I enjoyed.

The 4th is probably the most famous hole here, fully showcasing the strategy that this course requires, with a centreline bunker leaving the player with some decisions to make. I also think the level of challenge here is another defining quality. The 9th for example, is a tough, long par 4, but it’s bunker less, meaning its playable, and a sign of a course that knows when to push or not with its design.

The 14th plays right up to the clubhouse, and similar to the 18th at Blackwell it’s only natural for the player to have nightmares about thinning a wedge through a window! The closing stretch of 16-18 is also strong, and leaves you wanting more. Overall, an enjoyable, interesting place for a walk.

May 14, 2020
7 / 10
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Joe Sheldrake

Woking is a lovely course with some of my favourite all time holes. It is a great old fashioned heathland course with tons and tons of charm.

I was perhaps a little underwhelmed given some of the reviews I had seen before playing but I would still highly recommend this course to any serious golf enthusiast. My slight disappointment may have been partly due to the terrible state of some of the fairways when I played (I played in mid April 2018 after a difficult Winter) so I’m looking forward to getting back when the course is in its usual pristine condition.

The weak holes in my opinion - 9 and 10 which seem out of character with the rest of the course. 1 is often touted as a poor opener but I quite enjoyed the quirkiness of it.

Favourite holes - 5 is great and the start of the real heathland holes in my opinion. 6 is the best hole on the course. Absolutely stunning drive from an elevated tee.

7 is a lovely little par 3 with a great green that seems to move in every direction. 8 is another hole that I absolutely loved. A brilliant uphill par 4 with heather on both sides of the fairway. The huge undulating green is surrounded by bunkers such that a solid long iron/fairway wood is needed to make this green in regulation.

I felt that 11, 12 and 13 were all great holes and 14 is great fun (unless you have a tendency to thin your sand wedge - the clubhouse window could take a pounding!). The final four holes are all good (16 is a lovely par 3 in particular).

Overall, a stunning course and I can’t wait to get back and see it at its best.

May 01, 2020
8 / 10
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Dan

Woking was the last of the ‘3 W’s’, having played Worplesdon and West Hill earlier this year.

The course is in excellent condition, particularly the greens: firm, fast and true. Surprising given the time of year and the amount of wet weather we’ve had throughout December. Pretty impressive.

The course opens with a gentle 280ish yard par 4, but then moves into a great mix of long and short holes, playing through charming heather and pine, with some testing elevation changes.

The bunkering is superb, giving both the classic Surrey heathland aesthetic that many of us love and, more importantly, strategic challenge off the tee.

Personal favourites were the 4th, 6th and 14th holes with the only weak hole (IMO) being the par 3 10th.

Although not my favourite ‘W’, it’s a great course and thoroughly enjoyable day out.

January 03, 2020
8 / 10
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Nick Roberts

Played the course with very high expectations and it delivered on all fronts. We worth a visit with accuracy and length needed off the tee to avoid the dreaded heather! The greens are a real test as well....

October 22, 2019
10 / 10
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Spencer Milton

I played this course yesterday (Monday 7th October) and it is the final of the 3 W's I have played. The club has a wonderful feel to it, with charm and charisma expected of a course of its standing. The tees and greens were in brilliant condition given the rain over the past week, however the same cannot be said for the fairways. They were rather wet! I echo other reviews in saying that whilst this is a very good course, some of the holes are disappointingly simple/lack character (1, 3, 9, 10, 15) but to name a few. The best hole is the par 3 16th. A stunning hole with a fantastic green. I enjoyed my round but would rate this bottom of the 3 W's as follows: Worplesdon, West Hill, Woking

October 08, 2019
7 / 10
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Chris Dwyer
November 15, 2019

Glad to learn that you enjoyed your round of golf but surprised that you found some of the holes to be simple and lacking in character. The 3rd is a tremendous par4 requiring two very well struck shots to a majestic 2 tier green which challenge's the very best. Can be a subjective assessment at times, but Woking is famous for the complexities of its Greens which are considered to be peerless.You must try it again next summer in drier conditions!

Mark White

Woking receives many accolades, particularly from architects as well as some locals to the London area. And there are some architectural features that are very cool such as on the fourth hole.

Yet of all the golf courses I have played, I found Woking to be the one that did not meet the expectations of its reputation. For me it was a relatively straightforward golf course not requiring a lot of thinking on the tee or with one's second shot.

The greens are excellent as is noted in the other reviews and I believe that is the strength of the golf course. Obviously it is too short for the long hitter who is near scratch; they would not improve their game by playing here.

This is a course I have only played once, which is a rarity for me. I do want to play it again to see what I might have missed.

Is it worth playing? Absolutely if you are in the area. But I would certainly agree with others who would put the two at Walton Heath/Sunningdale/The Berkshire/Wentworth (2 of 3), Swinley Forest, Worplesdon, and New Zealand ahead of it.

September 28, 2019
5 / 10
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Jim Searle
November 02, 2019

I totally agree. Where this architectural genius of the place is which so many refer to is lost on me.

Jim Searle

I think that Woking is a very pleasant track with a nice heathland feel to it and a some very nice holes. The 8th is a marvellous hole, and the 6th is good, as is I think also the 13th, and the fourth is a wonderful piece of architecture making something interesting out of something which would otherwise be bland - it is the definition of minimalism and it feels like the bunker is in exactly the right place. This is no fault of the place but I do not agree by how highly it gets rated by some people. For instance the most recent Architects top 100 had it placed I think above the likes of The Berkshire Red, Saunton East, Royal Cinque Ports and Wentworth West, and I am afraid I think this is very wide of the mark. How you can rank this as being superior to The Berkshire Red for instance I find unbelievable. Not only is the latter on infinitely more pretty undulating terrain, but has no weak hole whereas I would argue at Woking that 1, 18, 9 are not great holes and 11, and 12 not the best and some of the green approaches whilst quirky are a little underwhelming such as 14, and 17. Enough of the criticism!... I think the club is extremely welcoming and their regeneration work on the course in recent year speaks of enlightened staff and management (ie Heather and tree removal). The overall feel is a good advertisement for the old English course feel that you get at the best Heathland courses and it is a nice experience and test of golf.

August 14, 2019
7 / 10
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T P Dean
August 14, 2019

Jim, it seems a little odd to me that you bring up a separate Architects' Top 100 list whereas the four courses you mentioned are all better ranked courses than Woking on this website.

I personally feel that Top 100 Golf Courses ranks Woking fairly but your point raises an interesting one about architects' rankings. Whilst golf architects are probably the best informed to rank and rate golf courses, I often think that they're maybe too close to the subject matter, and their opinions of golf courses are skewed by the quality of the course strategy and architecture (which admittedly are hugely important), as opposed to what may appeal to a wider community of golfers such as land, location, conditioning and just how much fun the course is to play. Maybe a discussion for a separate thread rather than on the course review page for Woking, but food for thought all the same.

BB
August 14, 2019

Thomas hits the nail on the club head. Being wide of the mark depends on where the mark is.

Perhaps Woking is like Exile on Main Street - the best Stones album, according to music Critics (& golf course architects). However, music Fans may have other ideas.

I hope I’m the first person to ever make this Woking/Exile comparison

Jim Searle
August 14, 2019

Thank you for your intelligent and witty responses Thomas and BB: A good reflection of what we can be most proud of as a golfing community. I do stand by my general comment that there is a lot of bigging up of what an architectural gem Woking is, and maybe it is just me but I get the sense that there is a degree of jumping on the bandwagon. (Aside from 4 it does not seem to me architecturally exceptional but I am sure I am showing my ignorance and missing subtleties.) As you correctly point out Exile on Mainstreet may be the critics lovechild but to be fair nothing in the World Top 100 on this site reflects such excesses and indeed it seems to have the correct ranking here, and I don't want this discussion to detract from the fact that it is a lovely heathland course, and a lovely club, and I'd say a must play in the London area.

Jim Searle
January 07, 2020

I return to the topic of the 4th hole. I was playing Royal Guernsey recently and I was thinking as I played the medium length 5th hole which has an interesting 1st shot which could end up in the gorse but is reasonably forgiving albeit a worse shot will leave a substantially harder second and realistically the green in 3... and a wonderful gentle dogleg and a raised green wonderfully framed by gorse and bunkers. And I thought this hole is WAY more interesting that Woking 4, and this is not a stand out hole... I pick it by way of example... and yet nobody ever speaks of it... and indeed I would play this course any day of the week over Woking... and it made me think how outrageously subjective/biased some of these ratings become - even when in the hands of the "panel of reviewers" and how courses which one plays a lot one grows to love and how it sort of follows that London based courses (and accessible ones such as Woking) get frankly overblown ratings. Woking 4 is a very average hole albeit with a rich history... and yet you sometimes see it in best hole in the country rankings!!!! This for me is totally absurd.

T P Dean
January 09, 2020

I've already stated that I'm a fan of Woking and I think that its ranking is fair, but I agree that Woking's 4th is an ordinary looking hole. I'd go as far to say that Woking is littered with much more visually appealing holes than the 4th, but Woking's 4th has historical significance, for the construction of that centre-line fairway bunker was the first recorded use of strategic bunkering.

PS If you think that Royal Guernsey is as good as you say it is, then a review wouldn't go amiss so that you bring some positive awareness to a course that's had limited attention on this website rather than it being lost amongst the comments for Woking.

RM61

This was my second round at Woking, the first four years ago in rather inclement weather really did not give me the opportunity to take in the course properly. The club has a very traditional feel to it although very relaxed and friendly. The course which is primarily a two ball course is similar in terrain to its counterpart West Hill with elevation and undulation across the course which are utilised well. Woking has some stellar holes such as 4 a short par 4 with a centre bunker some 80 yards Woking Golf Course - Photo by reviewer short of the green which makes the golfer think about strategy from the tee. The 6th is an excellent par 4. Driving from an elevated tee the golfer gets a good view of this cracking hole but beware as the errant tee shot may end up with your approach entangling with the heathery brook running diagonally across the fairway short of the green. Bunkers either side of this green really frame the hole well. Holes 9 and 10 are quite weak. Hole 9 is a tough hole which requires either a very high draw that lands on a left to right fairway which throws the ball back down the hill or a layup to the dogleg which leaves a very long uphill second shot to a sloping green .The 10th a shortish par three is set along the ridge line seems a little out of character with the rest of the course. Holes 11, 12 and 13 are holes which highlight Woking’s excellent use of its terrain. The 11th requires a left to right tee shot but anything offline will be swallowed by the heather and the green which has many pin positions will test your Woking Golf Course - Photo by reviewer distance control otherwise the player will face a very tricky two putt. Hole 12 again moves gently from left to right but all the fun happens at the green. It appears relatively flat from the fairway but it has plenty of movement from left to right although it sneakily rises up towards the back of the green almost creating a little bowl on the right hand side. The tee shot on 13 requires a little draw before a medium iron to this undulating green which is framed nicely by the pine trees behind it. Holes 14 and 15 both par five holes do not disappoint. The surround of the approach to the 14th green is brilliant with little swales and undulations everywhere….very unusual. Hole 17 is a very nice little par 3 with a false front which has bunkers protecting it left and right. It would have been nice if the pond was more of a feature on this hole but I am sure there is a reason behind this. I actually really like the 18th with its fairway sloping from left to right the player rarely has a flat lie to attack this green which slopes gradually from left to right pushing the ball towards the water which guards the miss hit or pushed approach shot. A day out at Woking is a real treat and I for one cannot wait to return.

July 30, 2019
8 / 10
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Phil Ree

It’s majestic. What a pure, grand, true feeling Woking has. Its greens are the best I’ve played on.

The course offers something for everyone. The fairways are wide so hackers like me can find them. If you want to go low though you have to be on the correct side, otherwise the green will likely repel the ball. The short par 4 4th is the most famous example of this – go left of the centreline bunkers and your approach is unlikely to hold the green. Right gives you the better approach angle but first you must flirt with the out of bounds.

The terrain is undulating, nothing too hilly but enough for great variety and views. The dogleg right 8th is one of the most gorgeous par 4s I’ve seen and the 6th isn’t far behind. The back nine is equally attractive, it’s flatter but has more trees and heather to frame fairways.

Unfortunately I do agree with others’ views that the 9th is a let-down compared to other holes, even big hitters must have trouble making that raised green in two. 1 and 18 could be longer but in their context I don’t think they’re bad holes, the 18th’s wildly undulating green makes it more than hard enough. Lots of rounds must end on three-putts.

I have another gripe I haven’t seen mentioned – there are quite a few public footpaths through the course, not the club’s fault obviously but seeing kids cycling on a green ruins the ambience and feeling of seclusion. A members’ 4-ball also stopped me from playing through for far too long.

In hindsight, those points are worth making but they didn’t detract much from the experience. I had high hopes for Woking, I’d always gazed longingly when passing by on the train and it didn’t disappoint. This is as pure, strategic and as well conditioned a course as you could hope for. Playing once was great but I would love to return and learn more about its hidden tricks and quirks.

July 11, 2019
8 / 10
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