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: 8.2 out of 10 Reviews: 45
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Hans Berntson
This was the last course we played on a four day trip. The others were Sunningdale (36), Swinley Forest and The Berkshire (36), and Woking certainly fits well into that group. As have been mentioned by others the greens are superb but the rest of the course must be pretty good too as I remember both the routing and all the holes. And those are fond memories. Unlike at Swinley Forest though, I was pleased rather than spellbound.
May 22, 2011
8 / 10
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AJ
I simply cannot believe this course is not ranked higher up the list - being below Worplesdon for a start is a joke (even 'funnier' as the initial review on this website states Worplesdon as the best of the 3 W's, when it is inferior to the other 2). Rightly, the top courses on this list are links - I love links golf more than any other 'type' and this opinion is shared by the majority of serious golfers. But to rank this place so far below Swinley Forest and St George's Hill is way off the mark. Berkshire Red / Blue courses, Bearwood Lakes, Chart Hills all superior? Are these people serious? I don't even know where to start with Woking, the place has such atmosphere and you feel like you are playing somewhere special. It was the original heathland course (the history adds to the aura) and nothing else comes close in terms of quality of layout - with the possible exception of Sunningdale (which has an inflated reputation owing to it's famous name and also the relative superiority of Sunningdale over the rest - bar Woking). I wont bore with details of the course hole-by-hole, but with the possible exception of the first (a 270-yard downhill par 4 reachable with 3-wood) there is not a single average hole on the golf course. It is classic risk / reward stuff all the way round and unlike other courses in the sandbelt (primary example being the Berkshire) it doesn't consist of 18 (or 36) identical holes flanked by trees and heather. There is an excellent mix of terrain with water hazards (natural), tall pines, heather and sand (minimal bunkering but always placed perfectly) providing a contrasting backdrop for every tee shot and approach. Then there are the greens - if there is a finer set of 18 green complexes in the land then I am yet to play them. What a fabulous mix of shapes and sizes, with innumerable humps and hollows providing a real challenge. Those who argue the course is too short (6,500 yds par 70 is pretty stiff given how tight it is) don't realise that this is the point - in order to find the right level/portion of any green with your approach you must be hitting a reasonably short iron. By all means lay up off the tee and leave yourself a long to mid-iron approach, but find the wrong part of the green (or worse, miss it altogether) and you can quickly rack up the bogeys / doubles. You simply must be hitting short irons in here to get close to the pins with regularity, and that reason alone forces the issue off the tee. I can only recommened that anybody yet to play this course does so at the earliest possible opportunity - you will not regret it and I can guarantee you will feel too, like me, that this course is severely under-rated. Maybe that's the way the members like it. I'm off to fill out an application form...
September 29, 2010
10 / 10
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Carl
October 10, 2010
A big fan. Myself though I love visiting them all and I don't think any one is greater than any other. When the changes really set in this will be an even greater course. The one thing for me though I would never start on the first ..... the 15th so I could walk straight off the green to the outside bar for a pint of local beer
Ally McIntosh
October 13, 2010
Carl, if you went with that routing, you'd be left with a very awkward walk from 18 green to 1 tees... A possible option could be 13 green to 16, then 17, 18, 14, 15 to finish... Again a bit awkward though... The current routing is best no doubt...
Nigel Bradley
October 17, 2010
If I only had one UK course I could play for the rest of my life, then this would be it. Need I say more.
am
October 28, 2010
An accurate review of quality course which reflects the general Southern/Berkshire/Surrey leaning of the England listing. Royal Worlington, Bowood, Burhill are top 100 ? "I simply cannot believe this course is not ranked higher up the list." At least two lower ranked comparable courses - Little Aston and Sherwood Forest - should be ahead of Woking in the listing and at least three unranked courses - Blackwell, Northants County and Whittington Heath - are of equal merit. To me the three ball score indicates a good course well worth playing, four, one travelling some distance to play, five, one to plan a golfing holiday around and six, one to travel any distance and pay any fee to play in a golfing lifetime. If Woking is worth the very top score how can you rank the exceptional English inland courses - Woodhall Spa, Ganton, Hollinwell, and, with apologies, Sunningdale Old and Walton Heath Old ? On this basis Woking would score a strong four, possible five.
Tom
April 18, 2011
I played here Autumn/Winter last year (2010). I have to say this is this nicest, most charming golf course I have ever played. There is a special atmosphere which surrounds this course, which is rarely experienced. The fairways were a particulaer stand out for me- they were beautifully shaped and conditioned. The greens were also of an extremely high standard, that guranteed some testing putts. My particular favourites were the 5th (a mesmerising view from an elevated tee-box and the second of the par 5s which was framed by the huge pines that are prominent here at Woking GC. A class act which caters for the more refined of golfers. Superb!
Ian Henley
Woking will always have a special place in heathland golf history, being the original track in the Surrey/Berkshire belt. The course certainly holds its position as still being one of the best tracks and whilst less infamous than some of its neighbours it remains comparable in terms of architecture, conditioning and golfing challenge. The club have also invested heavily in making improvements and most notably the redefining which has been done on the 6th including the new green has subtly enhanced the golf course. When contrasted against the “3 W’s” it holds its own favourably and there are an equal measure of great holes on this course compared to Worplesdon and West Hill. We could not single out a weak hole around here although granted that a few of the par 4’s are shorter they are still nonetheless good golf holes. The 18th being a case in point, a beautiful finishing hole with the lake to the right of the green. The challenge up to and around the turn gives this course its toughness, but for us playing Woking was about its history, the idyllic heathland setting and the wonderfully warm and friendly atmosphere generated by the club and its members. Ian Henley
November 01, 2009
10 / 10
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Chezza
This was my first foray onto the famous sandbelt of Surrey, so it was felt best to start at the original heathland course. Its hard not to echo previous reviews, the welcome from the Pro and Members we meet was warm and helped put you at ease from the off. I'm sure better golfers than me find it short but for myself, off 14, playing from the whites it was plenty long enough with traps and heather in all the right places to gobble up my mishits. My thoughts on the 18 holes were that the front 9 allowed me to use my imagination, while the back 9 seemed to be straighter and ask questions of my ball sticking abilities. The greens will test the best of players, were lighting quick and all 18 could be 3 putted if care was not taken when lining up, i think it would be fair to say they were the best I've played in the U.K this year. As a reviewer so wonderfully said, its a perfect thatched old cottage of an English course. I've always felt that although England has some world class links courses its our great heathland and parkland courses that we do best and along with the classic Scottish and charming Welsh links helps make this tiny island such a magical and diverse place to play golf. The history of Woking makes it a must play course, and one that any golfer really should enjoy.
August 20, 2009
8 / 10
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Mark Jeffery
Played 36 holes at Woking yesterday with a friend and joy-of-joys we took less than 7 hours for both rounds and a quick break for a sandwich!! Anyway, that apart, Woking is a cracking course. Not sure about the comments about it being short, we played from thew white tees and that means it's around 6300yds for a par 70 (only 2 par 5s on the course) and I can only recall 2 maybe 3 short par 4s (the 1st, 4th and probably 18th)! That aside, the course was in great condition even after 2 days of rain and the greens immaculate and very tricky! Happily be a member here until the day I popped my clogs - talking of the members - all those we met were courteous, friendly and a credit to the club. My only comment about the course layout is that the 14th (long par 5 to a green right in front of the clubhouse) should really be the 18th, I reckon a path could be built from the 13th green to the know 16th tee and the course rerouted so that you finish on 2 cracking par 5s!!! Just a thought, but really the course is top notch!
October 03, 2008
8 / 10
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Robin Brown
Wonderful heath and heather gem.Yes, a bit short but devilish designed greens and bunkers. Excellent value for the quality of the course and the friendly atmosphere. reminided us of Blairgowrie in Perthshire. No higher praise possible!
August 11, 2008
10 / 10
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matt
A cracking course. There is a £35 midweek after 3pm rate for non members that offers superb value. Its a little short so play it off the back "tiger" tees. This make most of the holes a good length. They have a two ball rule here so play is swift. It was too swift for me a my playing partner but we let a members two ball through and then settled in behind an older man and his wife which was much more to our pace. The two balls rule means it not a place to go as a group expecting to have spend 5 hours going round larking about. Its not a pompous place either. Although we did have to shell out for tailored shorts as the ones we had one were not smart enough. (i have played all over the place in those shorts and never had a problem). In short a beautifully kept course thats a must if you can get on at £35.
May 22, 2008
8 / 10
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Humphrey Baker
Hard work and an enormous amount of investment in the course in recent years is starting to pay off and should have Woking rocketing back up the top 100. A significant number of the holes have been lengthened to provide a challenge for even the longest hitters, with the black tees now requiring a career long iron to get close. The magic and intimate feel that won such plaudits from Bernard Darwin and Harry Vardon has been retained and in many ways enhanced by a tree clearance programme which is slowly turning the heathland course back to how it appeared originally. The greens frequently attract the highest praise for both their quality and the challenge they provide; they are in imaculate condition and were by far and away the best I played on in 2007. A wonderful course, an absolute must.
February 15, 2008
10 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
What a lovely course. Played here on a warm mid October day. Friendly welcome to the club, very old style clubhouse which adds to its charm. The course itself was in super condition, the greens are the best i've ever played and the hardest to read, unforgettable. For me it has the edge over Worplesdon, just. Many cracking holes with the pick's being the 2nd,6th,9th12th and 16th!! Play here if you have the chance its good value at £50, you won't be disappointed.
November 06, 2007
8 / 10
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Carl Statham
Out of all the great Surrey heathland courses Woking is the one that retains it’s old world charm the most. There is a real feeling of intimacy, timlessness and permancy about the whole club. The pot holed car park, tree lined fairways and wooden pavilion all add to its charm. As the first of the heathland courses it is of course not a modern day test of golf, despite the recent and ongoing work to lengthen some of the holes. But then even when these courses were built they were not meant to be championship tests, they were meant to be membership clubs and they were designed that way. I personally don’t think this is a problem, the heather and the trees will keep most of us mid handicap players fully in check and it’s very nice to play a course where the normal golfer can be flattered by hitting driver - wedge on some par 4’s particularly the 1st………… as long as we hit it straight enough that is! The course itself is in transition, the fairways and greens are immaculate, but there is an ongoing plan to remove trees and encourage the heather. This I think is good, you can definitely see that the trees have encroached far to much onto the course and as a result the heather has suffered badly in some places. There is also a bunker rejuvenation plan in place and I think the one criticism I would have of this course is the bunkering, it needs to be more difficult up near the greens, like New Zealand. My greatest praise though is for the greens, not just their conditioning but their overall design, they are small but multi tiered with some really vicious pin options. This was my first visit to Woking and it is a wonderful place to play golf and if I lived close enough this would be the course I’d want to be a member of, it’s charm and beautiful clubhouse would swing it for me, even though Worplesdon of the three W’s is the better course. I think if you were flying in from the States the best way to describe this place is the perfect thatched old English cottage of a course ……….. visit and enjoy.
June 28, 2007
8 / 10
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