Surrey National Golf Course Review
Golfshake writer Adam Smith got the opportunity to play Surrey National in June 2013.
Since moving to London I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a decent course which is easy to reach by public transport and affordable. For me Surrey National Golf Club is both and earns its status as one of the best courses within the M25.
The course is relatively new in golfing terms, having opened in April 1999, but 14 years down the line the course has changed its name from it's original Happy Valley origins and the venue has gone from strength to strength.
Designed by David Williams the course, which is set within 200 acres, meanders it's way through the rolling countryside giving magical views throughout your round and offers a layout which is both varied and challenging providing a excellent test for all golfers.
Set within 2 valleys the course is largely undulating, giving every shot a different degree of challenge. I often found myself having to think about how to play approach shots with an up hill or downhill lie, the undulations add an emphasis to course management and require you to think your way around the course rather than slogging the driver off each tee.
At just over 6000 yards from the yellow tees the course isn't the longest you may play but the position off the tee is crucial to being able to hit the greens. Taking an iron or fairway wood on many holes leaves you in a great position to attack the pins.
Local knowledge comes into play on a couple of the holes which feature blind tee shots, but I envy any member of this course. To play there every week would be an absolute pleasure because it offers a true test on every shot. Plus the USGA specification greens, a top quality drainage system and computer controlled irrigation meant the course was in great condition.
The course starts with two uphill short par-4’s. The 1st fairway slopes from right to left at good driving distance, so if you get a decent one away, expect to have a challenging lie hitting to a green that is elevated and guarded by bunkers.
The 2nd is protected by no less than seven bunkers from tee to green, something that you can expect on many a hole. Accuracy is a must. There’s no doubt about that. Find one of the many fairway traps will nine times out of ten cost you your par.
The 3rd is the first par-3 and involves one of two huge lakes on the course which spreads out to come into play on the 5th hole as well which is the first par-5 and a great risk and reward hole as if you clear the water with your second shot, a birdie is possible.
The next is a long par-4 but take in the surroundings as it’s the only hole you’ll play without a bunker.
The front-nine ends with a great par-4 which is a step under 400 yards. You will need to be cautious with the tee shot and make sure you lay up short of the sharp slope at driver distance. Making sure you put your ball in a good position from the tee will leave with a chance to hit the green and set up a birdie, but make sure you are accurate with your approach play as missing the green right will cost you big time.
A longish walk takes you to the back-side of the course to begin the inward nine. You’ll be greeted by a relatively easy start with a downhill short par-4 but as soon as that’s over the fun really begins. Two reachable par-5’s with trouble everywhere sandwich a downhill par-3 where you can catch your breath and take in the amazing view.
Standing on the 16th tee will leave you with three tough finishing holes all of which require accuracy from the tee. The 16th is a long, narrow par-4 tree-lined all the way to the green.
The 17th is unique in the fact after 150 yards everything runs downhill to the green but as you can expect it’s not as easy as it sounds. Stray offline and your ball we be carried further from the green and leaving par a difficult number to achieve.
However you play I assure you, your round will be memorable. The finishing hole rounds off with a huge lake in front and to the left of the green and it makes great viewing from the veranda overlooking from the clubhouse. Watch your mates, society or competitors tackle a visually demanding approach onto a tricky undulating green. It’s a finishing hole worthy of its 17 predecessors and it was a round I didn’t want to end.
Go and enjoy the 19th hole and chat away to the friendly staff which adds to the appeal of the club itself. Extensive range facilities are available for you to use before your round including driving range, short game area and practice putting green.
There’s no doubt I’ll be back to play again. I’m sure it’ll be as enjoyable second time round but don’t take my word for it. If you’re in the area, book yourself a tee time and enjoy it as much as I did!
For more information and to play your visit to Surrey National visit: www.surreynational.co.uk
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|Surrey National Golf Club
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