April’s Surrey Chamber of Commerce (SCC) venue was the prestigious Walton Heath Golf Club last Wednesday. An expensive day, but it was the first time it had featured on the venue rota for the SCC. After walking the course for several years watching the US Open qualifiers in May, I couldn’t miss the chance to play the course.
We were very lucky on the day with the weather – it was forecasted to be cloudy in the afternoon after a good start but we had bright sun and a light breeze all day.
We played the Old Course. Greens were top quality as you’d expect, if relatively slow on the day. They are probably only a few weeks away from really gearing them up for the professionals’ visiting in about a month’s time. I really recommend everyone to visit on the US Qualifiers day. Phil also noted that there is the English Amateur champs being played there soon.
The Old and New are true heathland ‘linksy’ courses, if such a category exists. Its an open vista with few trees but lots of heather and fantastically placed bunkers which drew in balls from our lowly fourball as well as the pro’s alike (even though they would play from the back tees). 7400yards off the back tees for the pros (ouch!), we played off the regular ‘green’ tees at around 6200yards I think.
The course was laid out by W. Herbert Fowler, a leading amateur golfer. It was his first golf course venture and he went on to become one of the leading golf course architects of his era, both in the U.K. and America.
It is a tribute to his genius that he created one of the finest examples of heathland golf, which so closely resembles the traditional seaside links courses, out of a jungle of heather, gorse and bracken. Likewise, it is a testament of his creativity that, what became known as, the Old course is still, today, ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world.
Simon, Phil, Sean and myself were off just before 9am, Yeti and Graham A a couple of groups behind. A ropey start from myself hitting the turn with 12pts but I pulled it back to return with 21pts. 33 wasn’t too bad on the day. Simon played very well on the front9 to keep us in check with Phil and Sean in our match and as a pairing we went on a good run of holes to take the win. Phil was steady, knee playing up at the end and Sean didn’t have his best day.
Enjoying drinks in the the sunshine after the game helped to make up for some indifferent scoring from us all. Overall, Brian C came in 3rd with an impressive 35pts to scoop some wine and Pro V1s. Phil grabbed a nearest the pin, and won some fizz for Daisy.
After seeing the wine list, Sean decided to leave the car and get stuck in. As we pulled away, Sean was waiting for Tracey to pick him up and had returned to the putting green… trying to his at least one of the balls he could “see” near his feet. He might still be there…