Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course

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The Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course was the first golf course to be sown with seed only.

The Old Course was the first golf course in the UK to sport a man-made water hazard on the 5th!

It was here that Bobby Jones qualified for the Open at Royal Lytham. He purchased a driver from Jack White named Jeannie Deans. Thereafter, the went onto win 10 majors with the club.

Bobby Jones 'perfect round' of 66 consisted of 33 shots and 33 putts with no more than a 4 taken on any hole!

The routing was established by Willie Park Jr and Harry Colt was responsible for the finishing work according to Tom Simpson in the book The Game of Golf.

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Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course Reviews

Golf Club Atlas' review can be found by clicking here

Sean Arble's tour can be found here

Golf Course Review

The Sunningdale Golf Club Old Course only became known as such in 1923 when Harry Colt laid out the New Course. The Old was established in 1901 and is accredited to Willie Park Jr. Tom Simpson wrote that Willie Park Jr was responsible for the routing but Harry Colt did the finishing work.

The land itself was and still is leased from St John's College, Cambridge. When first developed was a pristine tract of land unencumbered by development - residential, commercial or otherwise. The character has remained very much the same, with vast expanses of heather, gorse and pines.

The story begins in 1899 when two brothers, TA and GA Roberts built a house known as Ridgemount. They then approach the college again with the proposal to build a golf course and create leasehold lots for quality houses.

Approval was given for development and Willie Park Jr signed the contract to build the golf course on December 4, 1899, for the grand sum of £3000. Hugh MacLean was appointed as foreman to oversee construction and remained with the club until 1940. At the same time, Park Jr was designing his own golf course at Huntercombe.

When the course opened for play on September 23, 1901, Willie Park Jr was on record as golf course architect, Jack White was employed as Professional and Harry Colt as Secretary! The caddie master was James Sheridan, who ended up spending nearly 60 years in his role.

One of the main issues in 1901 was transport. The unspoilt nature of the area meant getting to and from the course posed a challenge. The London and South Western Railway ran nearby but didn't stop until it reached Ascot. The General Manager of the Railway, Mr Owens, was offered the first honorary membership at the club and soon thereafter golfers were alighting at Sunningdale.

The routing of the Old Course is more expansive and meandering than the New. An out and back loop with just two Par 5's and four Par 3's, the course is hailed as a triumph of inland golf course architecture, the course was considered to be one of the finest ever built - an accolade which stands to this day.


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