Sunningdale Old Course
The Old Course is today considered one of the greatest courses in the World and is regularly found in the top 30 of the world’s rankings. It’s probably as close as you get to golfing perfection. The staff at this traditional club are genuinely friendly and the caddies knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The course is a beautiful heathland one with slick greens and wonderful vistas; a bonus is the halfway hut’s famous sausages.
Early golf courses were often on links land (between the coast and more fertile land inland), which was unsuitable for farming, as were other heathland areas. Such land abounds in Surrey and Berkshire, so this stretch of the country has provided the UK with some of its best courses.
Golf Days are classed as a group of more than 24 people and any less than this would just be Green Fees. Dates for Golf Days are exlimited however they do have packages available for 2020. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Reservations.
West Sussex, Pulborough
Golf clubs are renowned for the quality of their lunches. At one club, I wished an old boy ‘good luck’ as he was about to tee off. ‘Young man,’ he replied, ‘I am here to enjoy a walk before an excellent lunch. Anything else that may happen I shall view as a bonus.’ Jeremy Slessor, managing director of course architects European Golf Design, put forward West Sussex because ‘the club has the best lunch in the UK. Plus, the course is incredibly beautiful, challenging without being brutally long, traditional, quirky and enormous fun.’
The 1,750 acres hold about 800 houses, as well as three full-length golf courses – and South African legend Ernie Els is one of many top professionals who live on the Wentworth estate. His house overlooks the 16th hole on the West Course. ‘Prime property here is often considered to be that backing on to the West Course,’ says James Wyatt, of local estate agents Barton Wyatt. ‘The “super prime” golf properties hold a premium of at least 20%, and, on the whole, Wentworth commands higher prices than other locations in the area.’
The course has had its share of controversies in recent times: a re-design in 2009 (led by Els) was widely criticised, and there have been a few battles between the club’s recently-installed Chinese owners and its members – and one of the changes is that it is now more private (and therefore harder to get a tee time) than it has been for many years. But it remains a fine course, and is all the more enjoyable to play because of its familiarity from so many years of televised tournament.
St Andrew’s Fife
The home of golf, where the sport has been played for 600 years – yet which is still a great test of the game today. Tiger Woods, who won two of his Opens here, says: ‘It’s my favourite course. The history is amazing. To win at St Andrews is the ultimate.’ Jack Nicklaus concurs: ‘If a golfer is to be remembered, he must win the Open at St Andrews.’ (Nicklaus did this in 1970 and 1978.)
St Andrews is the home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, responsible, to this day, for the rules of the game. The Old Course begat the now worldwide standard layout of 18 holes. Early courses were of any number of holes, and indeed St Andrews used to have 22 – 11 running out along the shoreline and 11 back, with golfers going in either direction putting into the same cups except on the 11th and 22nd. Eventually it was decided that the first four (and thus the last four, too) were too short, these were amalgamated into two holes.
Many of the Old Course’s other features have not been copied, however. The Old Course has only two par-three holes and two par-fives, whereas most standard modern courses have at least four of each. Nor have many courses adopted St Andrews’ famous double greens. When golf became more popular in the mid 19th century, St Andrews’ design, requiring two sets of golfers playing to the same hole, became unworkable. So two holes were cut on each green, with a white flag signalling the outward hole and red flags for the inward ones
Swinley Forest, Ascot, Berkshire
The Queen Mothers used to enjoy lunching here, as the Dukes of Edinburgh and York were members, and its origins lie in a remark by Queen Victoria. When Lord Derby was late for a meeting with the monarch, having been held up by a slow fourball at Sunningdale, the queen chided him: ‘Surely, a man in your position should have his own course.’ So he bought a chunk of Swinley Forest and asked Harry Colt, the pro at Sunningdale, to design him exactly that. The result is a superb, demanding, but not too long, course with gorgeous rhododendrons – though you’ll need to know someone (or know someone who knows someone) if you want to play: it’s a private club that doesn’t even have a website.
It is said the unnatural zigzag in the stream that crosses the 1st and 18th fairway is due to Lord Derby having it diverted because he was unable to clear it with his tee shot. If true, he would have echoed Edward VII’s actions when having a private course laid out. The king played the proposed layout, when the positions of bunkers were indicated by hurdles, with Sir Frederick Ponsonby, who reported that the king ‘invariably drove up against the hurdles’, and demanded they be moved further away. By the third day, Sir Frederick wrote: ‘The hurdles at all the holes had been moved to different spots indicated by the king. Again, he never failed to drive into them and, in a voice of thunder, asked who had been stupid enough to place them there.’