Walton Heath Old Course

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  • Architects:
  • Holes of Merit:
    2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
  • NCG Rank:
    18/100 in GB&I
  • Golf.com Rank:
    90/100 in the World

Overview

King George VI, King Edward VIII, A.J. Balfour, Lloyd George, Bonar Law and Winston Churchill have all been members at Walton Heath.

Golfing royalty, James Braid, was Club Pro from 1904 until 1950. It is truly fascinating that James Braid, a course designer with more than 400 courses under his belt, refused to touch Herbert Fowler's masterpiece.

Loch Lomond golf architect, Tom Weiskopf was rumoured to say the closing stretch is as good as any in golf.

Tom Simpson called Walton Heath the first really fine inland golf course to be designed from start to finish by an amateur golfer in the book The Game of Golf.

Tom Doak recommends golf architecture students pay special attention to the bunkering.

Walton Heath Old Course Reviews

Sean Arble's tour can be found here


Golf Course Review

The Walton Heath Old Course was opened for play in 1904. It was five years previous, in 1899, that the idea of a golf course on Walton Heath had been raised. By 1901, the first plans were finalised and the famed amateur golfer, Herbert Fowler, received his first commission to build the inland golf course in 1902. Located on common land, the course now lies just inside the M25 in Tadworth, Surrey.

Early photographs indicate an early Victorian-penal strategy and aesthetic which is a reflection of the era when it was built. In 1903, rumblings from John Low and Stuart Paton had initiated what would become a complete paradigm shift from the penal to the strategic approach of inland golf course architecture. The Old and New Courses at Walton Heath Golf Club are a reflection of being established during this period.

Walton Heath Old Course Changes

Prior to 1913 - Current 10th lengthened.
1935 - Current 14th Hole lengthened.
1936 - Current 17th added.
1937 - Current 5th, 11th, 12th & 13th added.
1937 - Current 10th lengthened.
1938 - New 6th and 7th added.
1973 - Altered 8th and new 9th added. (Pat Badham)

Many of the changes listed were the result of merging two holes into one or otherwise making a new hole from existing components from former holes. Herbert Fowler died in April of 1941, so many of these changes would have been down under his watch and no doubt with his approval.

In 1980 and 1999, Donald Steel was asked to advise. Improvements were suggested but only bunkering on the 15th was approved. John Jessop would later make suggestions on bunkering, some of which was approved and implemented.

Walton Heath Composite Courses

The Old Course was the backbone of the composite course used for the 1981 Ryder Cup. Holes 1 & 18 were dropped and 3 & 4 were combined. Hence, Hole 2 played as the 1st with 3 and 4 playing as the 2nd. The gaps were filled by the 12th, 13th & 18th from the New Course. The routing used for the British Masters is similar but finishes on the 18th of the Old rather than the 18th of the New.


Collections

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Visitor Information

Everything you need to know before you go!