Posted by & filed under Golf Courses.

The Surrey/Berkshire border is a heathland hotbed and home to many of the UK’s best golf courses.

In fact, scroll through most rankings, and you’ll find more ‘top 100’ golf courses in Surrey than any other English county.

Sunningdale tops most lists as, despite having a Berkshire postal address, it’s affiliated to the Surrey Golf Union.

We’re going by postcode here, which gives us extra wiggle room to include one or two other beautiful Surrey tracks – all of which are well worth playing when you’re in the Home Counties area.

1. St George’s Hill (red and blue)

This Harry Colt classic opened for play in 1913, and many consider its mesmerising design to be his greatest work.

Colt fans will appreciate the many trademark bunkers that are often deceiving on the eye, especially when lined by swathes of gorgeous heather. And with the magnificent pines that line the undulating fairways, this is as close to heathland perfection as you can get.

Visitors are advised to leave plenty of time before teeing off to enjoy the view from the clubhouse – it whets the appetite more than most. When you get going, you won’t play a single ‘weak’ hole.

Looking back and you’ll struggle to select a favourite, although the par-3s are truly wonderful.

The short 8th might just edge it, though, challenging golfers to play across a valley, up and over heather and sand.

2. Wentworth (West)

Surrey’s most famous golf course needs no introduction.

There was a time when Wentworth hosted three professional tournaments every year, hence why so many golf fans have such fond memories of this Colt treasure. Many of us grew up watching the likes of Seve, Bernhard Langer, and Nick Faldo compete here in the Suntory World Match Play Championship.

Now, the West Course is home to the PGA Championship, the European Tour’s flagship event – therefore, visitors can expect a stern test.

Over the years, it’s undergone several changes, and these haven’t all been well received. In fact, despite numerous multi-million-pound alterations, the course has rather fallen from favour.

Even so, it’s still a very special place, and when you sweep down the narrow roads into the sumptuous Wentworth estate, you know you’re in for a treat.

3. Walton Heath (Old)

It’s getting on for 120 years since this classic heathland opened for play with a match between the greats Taylor, Vardon, and Braid.

Since 1904, Walton Heath has had many other famous members on its books, including Winston Churchill and legendary cricketer W.G Grace, and several prestigious events have only elevated its status.

As well as the Old Course hosting 23 World Match Play Championships, it’s here where a star-studded US side trounced GB&I 18½ – 9½. It’s 40 years since that Ryder Cup, and today Walton Heath stages US Open qualifying.

This wonderful course demands precise ball striking and a surgeon’s touch around the greens, which Eddie Pepperell displayed en route to winning the British Masters here in 2018.

4. Queenwood

Not many people get to play Queenwood – it’s reserved for a rather small membership.

In fact, if you were lucky enough to play here, you’d likely find yourself rubbing shoulders with celebrities, high rollers, and Tour players – all of whom no doubt make full use of its world-class practice facilities.

This exclusive club opened for play 20 years ago. David McLay-Kidd designed the course, and, by all accounts, it’s rather special.

The landing areas are relatively generous, and the large greens are immaculate – although much can be said of the entire course. Queenwood is the definition of ‘millionaire’s golf’, and if you ever get the chance to play it – maybe Hugh Grant will invite you – then you should jump at the chance.

5. Hankley Common

best golf courses surrey

Situated on a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this gem is a must-visit if you want to say you’ve played Surrey’s best golf courses.

Its life began in 1897 with nine holes before, in 1922, James Braid advised on an additional nine. Then, in the early 1930s, Colt made further alterations. Improvements continue to this day, even though it’s hard to find a fault in this course.

The fairways are lined with heather, birches, oaks, and pines, and the putting surfaces are slick and true. Meanwhile, the free-draining turf gives Hankley a certain links-like feel. If you’re greedy, you could argue that there’s room on this majestic piece of land for another 18, but let’s just be thankful for this tremendous design.

6. Walton Heath (New)

James Braid was the club professional at Walton Heath from 1904 to 1950, and it’s a place that had a special place in the Scot’s heart.

You’ll see why when you tee up here – it’s bursting with character. Both the Old and New courses are intertwined, and they boast many of the same qualities. However, in the eyes of many, the latter course edges it because of the slightly sterner test it provides.

After a gentle start, the New becomes progressively more challenging, and in truth, neither course could be considered straightforward.

The heather is ever-present and features some intimidating par-4s, including the 5th, which can only be described as a bit of a brute.

For the best experience, treat yourself to a 36-hole day and make your own comparisons.

7. Worplesdon

Worplesdon is another classic heathland that may be overshadowed by one or two others on the famous ‘Surrey Sandbelt’. That said, anyone in this part of the world will tell you how good it is – and plenty more golfers who have travelled from further afield.

This course has been made even stronger over the last decade, too. One significant design change has been the complete renovation of its 80 bunkers, which has re-established large heather areas, as well as bunker lines and drainage.

Heather and pine characterise the course, which has a wonderful natural feel. If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, this is the sort of place you’d choose.

As well as oozing a certain charm, the club always offers a warm welcome.

8. West Hill

West Hill GC from 15th July with @NickTGolf and @Hainesy76. The 1st crosses a wide barranca before a gentle rise to the green.— Adrian Logue (@AdrianLogue) July 28, 2017

The youngest of the ‘W trio’ – Woking and Worpleson being the other two nearby – West Hill offers a strong test from start to finish.

An old-fashioned beauty, it looks every bit as glorious from the train (you’ll wish you were out there as you commute in and out of London) as it does when you pull into the small car park, at which point you know you’re somewhere special.

If you’re anticipating a few ups and downs, as the name would suggest, don’t be deterred – it’s a very pleasant walk.

The real test comes in keeping out of the heather and away from Brookwood stream, which lurks on a few holes.

Majestic specimen trees also line most of the holes. Not only do they frame the fairways beautifully, but they also serve as a constant reminder that you must remain accurate.

9. Woking

Nearby Woking, designed by Tom Dunn, is the oldest of the trio of ‘Ws’, dating back to 1893.

More recently, Tim Lobb created a thrilling new 16th hole, which plays across a pond to a treacherous green framed by towering pines.

This is no time to be indecisive with your club selection, but by the time you reach this point of the course, you’ll be only too aware of how important strategy is.

It’s not just the golf course that will live long in the memory – the pavilion clubhouse, painted white and green, has a unique look and charisma. Be sure to sit on the terrace afterwards and discuss what you’d have done differently.

You might wish you’d left the driver in the boot of your car, as the heather is particularly nasty.

10. Hindhead

The late, great Peter Alliss was a huge fan of Hindhead, and many fancy it should occupy a higher position than it does on some of the existing top 100 lists.

Its location is a dream for golfers and golf course architects, with the Devil’s Punchbowl – a large hollow of dry sandy heath – to the west of the course and Surrey’s second-highest hill – Gibbet Hill – looking down on it.

It sounds perfect, and the design takes full advantage of the natural topography, with the front nine sweeping through the valleys and the back nine providing a test of your hillside golf.

Take the tee shot on 17, for example, a right to left sloping fairway, which is one of the toughest to find. Whilst the front nine might be the most dramatic, Hindhead is a joy throughout and one to add to your list of Surrey ‘must plays’.

11. Wentworth (East)

Although the West course may grab the most headlines, the East is immensely enjoyable, too. In fact, many consider the East to be superior in terms of course architecture – and it’s certainly a little friendlier for the average player.

The East was the first course Colt built at Wentworth, and two years after it was born, it hosted the second unofficial match between the American and British professionals. This 1926 contest is widely recognised as a precursor to the Ryder Cup.

To score well here (as is the case with most Colt layouts), you’ll need to be creative and find the right spots on the fairway from which to attack the greens, as the putting surfaces are anything but simple.

However, with a handful of short par-4s, the East always offers hope that you can steal back a shot or two.

12. New Zealand

Famous amateur golfer Samuel Mure Ferguson was responsible for designing this terrific layout in Addlestone.

It might not get the same recognition as some of its high-profile neighbours, but that won’t bother any of its members one bit.

By today’s standards, it’s not a long course – a fraction over 6,000 yards – but ignore the par-68, for six of its holes are more than 400 yards long.

It’s short in comparison to the many championship courses in the area it may be. But it’s accuracy that you require, not brute strength, unless you stray into the heather.

Playing here is a real treat, and the trees that line the fairways give each hole an individual feel. The same can be said of many courses, but it’s particularly evident at New Zealand.

13. Tandridge

Ask someone who’s visited this delightful Colt layout for their thoughts, and it’s quite possible they’ll mention the food – the famous Tandridge roast is something else.

It would be unfair to dwell on the food, as good as it is, for the course is every bit as delicious.

Golf at Tandridge is a game of two halves, with the flatter front nine a strategic test and the latter more dramatic.

A special mention must be given to the par-3 13th, which tops 220 yards and kicks off a rollercoaster final six holes. You’ll come to a spectacular climax on 18, where you tee off from a tee complex in the trees on the top of a hill.

If you really want to enjoy the roast that’s waiting for you, don’t go right.

14. The Addington

When you tee up at The Addington, you’re just ten miles from London.

Although you’ll feel a lot further away from the hustle and bustle of city life as you negotiate the beautiful fairways, you’re never normally too far from another wonderful view of the metropolis.

For many, The Addington, is John Frederick Abercromby’s finest creation, and it remains largely unchanged since it opened for play in 1914.

It’s a delight to play all year round, and because of the sandy base it drains beautifully, making it the perfect place to enjoy a winter round.

Mature pines and birch trees are as much a feature as the sprawling heathland, making for some truly memorable holes.

15. Camberley Heath

Set in 135 acres of spectacular undulating heathland, Camberley Heath may be a wonderful place to enjoy a stroll, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Many a shot will strike fear into the casual golfer, whose eyes are often drawn to the towering pines and thick heather. In short, you need to be fairly precise to score well here, and it demands commitment on every shot.

It’s another Colt masterpiece and another visual delight, with its par-3s one of the many highlights.

At just 162 yards from the tips, the 2nd offers proof that the shorter one-shotters are often the most memorable. The large sloping, tiered green is protected by two deep bunkers, and it’s every bit as daunting as a 220-yarder.