Royal Automobile Club

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  • Holes of Merit:
    5, 10, 13, 15, 17

Overview

Royal Automobile Club has no connection now with the RAC, as is popularly thought. The golf course is for the use of members and guests and is not available to the pay and play public. It is not a private golf club but rather a private club with a golf course!

Royal Automobile Club Reviews

Sean Arble's tour can be found here

Royal Automobile Club Videos

The RAC promo video can be seen here


Golf Course Review

The Old Course at Royal Automobile Club, also known as Woodcote Park, is a Royal Club but not a Royal Golf Club. King Edward VII granted the Royal moniker to the Automobile Club, which just happens to have a golf course. On the high end of the golf course views are given of Epsom Downs.

A, B & C Courses

The golf course was designed by Herbert Fowler opened for play on March 20, 1915. It was reported that 27 holes had been designed and constructed. The three nines were known merely as the A, B and C courses.

The A Course would equate the back nine of The Old Course and The B Course would equate to the front nine of The Old Course. The original routing remains largely intact with the exception of the closing holes. Holes 16 & 17 are not Fowler. 18 is not wholly Fowler, although some elements (green site) still exists (assuming holes 16-18 are his, as shown in the 1931 aerial). The Fowler C Course has been lost altogether. (See Coronation Course below) This is further seen and attested too in the 1945 RAF photograph.

Fowler Bunkering

Some have suggested Tom Simpson was responsible for the bunkering. However, the report from the course opening clearly attributes the original bunkering to Fowler. There were huge bunkers in play, with one greenside bunker measuring 45 yards in length and 12 yards in width. There is mention of steep cliff-faced bunkers but only where justified. For the most part, the bunkers were shallow with 'easy' slopes rather than vertical banks. The entrances to the greens also appear to have been guarded, being described as 'tight' and having 'highly fortified narrows leading to the open greens.'

When comparing the photos of opening day in 1915 to the aerial in 1931 you can immediately spot differences, especially on the modern 18th green. The conclusion? Even between 1915 and 1930 there must have been a reduction in the number of bunkers that Fowler originally planned, designed and constructed.

Post War Coronation Course

The Old Course is now joined by the 18 hole Coronation Course. These 18 holes are routed where Fowler had put just 9. Opened after WW2 in 1953, it sits on the land which had been used for food production in support of the war effort. It is assumed the Herbert Fowler C Course was sacrificed along with portions of the original 16-18 holes in service to King and Country.


Collections

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Visitor Information

Everything you need to know before you go!