England's south east is packed with truly magnificent golf clubs, but there are few more revered and celebrated than Walton Heath. Two courses designed by Herbert Fowler are the backbone of the club, whose early years were overseen by the great designer James Braid, who served as professional until 1950.
Walton Heath's Old Course ranks among England's top 10, and is a classic heathland layout. With a distinct links influence, the course has a rugged appearance, but through the heather are cut 18 remarkable holes which combine to formulate one of the country's most challenging championship tests. The award of the 1981 Ryder Cup matches is the most poignant indicator of the quality of the Old Course, when Nicklaus came ashore with a band of all-stars to crush a sorry European team.
European Tour events are among those to also have graced the heather strewn landscape of the Old Course, which is without doubt one of the best inland courses in the UK.
In recent times Walton Heath has hosted Sectional Qualifying for the US Open. This sees a host of top professional players tee it up for their chance to qualify for golf's second major of the year. It was via this route that Michael Campbell managed to secure his place in 2005 which led to his maiden Major win at Pinehurst.
The course is also a regular stop for amateur golf as host venue for the South of England Open Amateur Championship which attracts a stellar field of amateurs and can count the likes of European Tour winners Daniel Willett and Ross McGowan as previous victors. Most recently Walton Heath played host to the 2014 Palmer Cup which was won saw Europe triumph by 18.5 points to 11.5 points.
|Designed by||Herbert Fowler|
|Opened for play||1891|
|Previously hosted||Ryder Cup (1981), European Open (1978, 1980, 1987, 1989 & 1991),
Senior Open Championship (2011)
|Purple||7,331 yards||SSS 76|
|White||6,786 yards||SSS 73|
|Green||6,364 yards||SSS 71|
|Red||5,937 yards||SSS 74|
The Old Course at Walton Heath is ranked as one of the best courses in England
Walton Heath's New Course may not have the international renown of the Old, but it is a remarkable layout in its own right. The Ryder Cup composite course featured 3 holes from the New and offers a fantastic test at more than 7,200 yards from the Championship (Purple) markers.
The New demands absolute accuracy to avoid the encroaching purple waves of heather. The key to scoring well here is keeping it on the fast running fairways and avoiding the punishing fairway bunkers strategically located on drives for the 3rd, 5th and 13th. Stand out holes are found on the par-3's which offer a variety of length to test your game. The 2nd is a short downhill hole measuring just 147 yards which can be reached with a wedge or 9-iron depending on the wind, while the 10th at just over 200 yards will require a crisply hit long iron to find the well protected, undulating green.
Fowler's second layout at Walton Heath is a real gem, and rounds off the day's experience at one of England's most revered golf clubs.
The New Course at Walton Heath is ranked as one of the best courses in London and the South East