Where to Play Golf in Surrey
One of the strongest counties in the UK for golf, but which courses should you look to play in Surrey?
It’s one of the things the county is most well-known for and as such we make no apology for starting our list with a focus on some of the area’s best heathland designs. Let’s get some of the big boys out of the way early. Sunningdale offers perhaps the best 36 hole experience in the country, with both the Old and New being Top 100 stalwarts. Independently, two of the best courses on the planet, which just happen to be on the same plot of land. Truly a must-visit golfing destination.
Sunningdale is not alone in being home to more than one incredible heathland golf course. St George’s Hill was famously designed by Harry Colt and features 27 spectacular holes, set against the backdrop of one of the most iconic clubhouses in English golf. Recent years have seen the club tighten its membership availability, although there are opportunities to still experience the venues as a visitor or members’ guest.
Just a short drive down the road from St George’s Hill you’ll find the two 18-hole loops at Walton Heath. Recent host of the British Masters, Walton Heath is laid out on a big plot of land, giving a grandiose feeling to the place when compared with some of the tighter, more tree-lined layouts in the county.
(Sunningdale Golf Club)
The Three Ws
A trio of entirely separate Top 100 clubs, all within a walking distance from each other! Woking, Worplesdon and West Hill are phenomenal members golf clubs, each offering a slightly different experience, both on and off the course.
Woking is the oldest of the three, and features some much-copied architectural features, most notably the centreline bunker on the 4th hole, one of the earliest examples of true strategic design. Do you take it to the right, flirting with the out of bounds - but opening up a better angle to the green. Or, play safely to the left, but need to take on the greenside bunker which guards the front left portion of this green for your chance at glory? Woking is a course that asks great questions throughout the round, and certainly doesn’t let up when it comes to the greens - some of the largest and most sloped in the county.
Worplesdon could put forwards an argument for being the prettiest of the Ws. Its purple heather magnificently frames the fairways, and the overall playability of the course, particularly when the fairways begin to run out in the spring time, provides the golfer with a feeling of serene enjoyment throughout. Certainly not the easiest course to build a score around, but one of the most pleasurable places to rack up 29 Stableford points!
The bunkering at West Hill sets it apart slightly from its companions, with the particularly striking hazards that line the 18th fairway helping to create one of the most memorable closing holes in Surrey. The course is a par 69, with only two par 5s - both of which require strategic negotiation of heather - but is certainly still a firm test of golf, evidenced by some of the elite Amateur and Senior PGA events hosted by the club.
The three courses are often only separated by a handful of places in ranking lists, with it truthfully being a case of personal preference as to which many prefer. Great news - as whichever you choose to play, you’re sure to leave without disappointment!
(St George's Hill Golf Club)
It’s difficult to head off the beaten track in Surrey, with this area of the country so well-trodden by golfers. However, we’ve picked out a few which might not always get the plaudits that they deserve, although layouts which would likely be amongst the highest-ranked in many of the UK’s other counties.
The New Zealand Golf Club is the subject of much-myth, with a long and storied history best told first-hand by its small and dedicated membership. The lockers here are potentially the most photographed in all of golf, with the original members’ names being etched into the wooden doors. When a member passes away (very few leave here out of their own volition), their name is almost unceremoniously stricken-through, with the next on the list simply inscribed below. Everything about the place is understated (even the entrance sign is difficult to spot!) but those that find their way here will be thoroughly rewarded with one of the most enjoyable days possible on a golf course.
Having undergone one of the more intensive restorations in the county over recent years, The Addington is now truly a must visit. The team have spent time clearing away hundreds of trees, regenerating heather, and returning greens to their initial size, with the result being a course that looks visually stunning, and is eminently more playable than in the past - albeit without being any easier to score! Works are ongoing at The Addington, which means that visitors should currently expect a certain amount of disruptions, with GUR in place to help the grow-in. However, it’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved by stripping away years of over-indulgence, and returning a course to the design initial envisioned by the architect.
Rightly seen as one of Surrey’s best-kept golfing secrets, Tandridge was initially designed by Harry Colt in the mid-1920s, with recent renovations helping to restore some of the great designer’s touches. Nowadays, Tandridge is primarily a member’s golf club, although it has a reputation for offering a warm-welcome to all who make the trip. Perhaps lacking in the name recognition of other courses in the county, Tandridge often occupies a place just inside the Top 100 rankings within the UK, with many believing this to be a touch harsh on what is a truly first-rate golf course. Maybe the best example of a course that would be thought of in a much stronger light if it weren’t located within this powerhouse of a golfing county!
In all honesty, the majority of clubs listed within this piece are primarily dedicate to looking after their membership. However, we’ve picked out three more which also welcome visitors and are definitely worth considering on your next trip to Surrey.
Camberley Heath is a course that has undergone a fair bit of transformation off the course in recent years, with a change of ownership, remodelled clubhouse and even some luxury flats built in a spot previously occupied by the far end of the car park! However, the fabulous layout here hasn’t changed, and continues to offer one of the strongest routings in the county. There are standout holes including the par-3 2nd, the par-5 3rd, and the iconic par-4 18th, the latter playing over an enormous mound from the tee shot, before climbing to a shallow green which sits right in front of the terrace - a nervy approach when the place is packed on a Saturday afternoon! A recently remodelled halfway hut also provides welcome relief after the difficult 10th hole.
One of the few places left in the area where you could comfortably build another golf course (or two!) the 18 holes at Hankley Common occupy just 164 acres of the 850 total acres owned by the club. The result is a course that just feels big, with space between the holes giving a peaceful feeling to the round. As you’d expect on a property of this size, there are places to let the driver loose, although heather comes into play on almost every hole, placing an emphasis on finding the fairways if you’re hoping to score well! Whilst it’s a course that should be played and enjoyed by all, its southerly location means that golfers on the south coast have no excuse to not pay a visit on their next trip to Surrey!
Hindhead Golf Club occupies one of the most stunning plots of land in the county, overlooking The Devil’s Punchbowl, and providing golfers with spectacular views throughout. The two 9s showcase a contrasting, yet complimenting experience, with the drama of the opening holes paired beautifully with the sheer quality of those which close out the round. The ice valleys which shape the front-9 make Hindhead unlike any other course in the area, with the quick-drying nature of the terrain, as well as the elevation on the back-9 making this a great place to play throughout the year.
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