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Sean_A

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WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card) New
« on: December 08, 2013, 04:58:15 PM »
It was often said that no one can be as wise as James Braid looked.


Ciao
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:20:54 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Mark Chaplin

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 05:40:46 PM »
Sean it is very difficult to play 2 rounds at Walton Heath and not get a ball stuck in the heathery face of a bunker at least once. From which a large score is most easily attained!  :'(
Cave Nil Vino

John Mayhugh

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 09:46:01 PM »
That's a great lead-in. Can't wait for more.

Hopefully you have a photo of the practice putting green?  

Joshua Pettit

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 10:05:52 PM »
Once again Mr Dickinson said it best.  A remarkable feature of Walton Heath is the way its bunkers, particularly those placed strategically in the fairway rear their ramparts up.  They are curiously, aggressively artificial looking...They are uncompromisingly BUNKERS... These bunkers are positive, direct, and need make no comment upon such as enter them.

Speaking of Walton Heath's bunkers...has anyone ever heard of someone finding buried pots and pans?  That's one way to build a sump!

An account from Golf Greens and Green-keeping by Horace Hutchinson, published 1906:









« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 10:07:23 PM by Joshua Pettit »
"The greatest and fairest of things are done by nature, and the lesser by art."

Bill_McBride

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 10:27:09 PM »
There is a bunker about 30 yards short and right of the third on Walton Heath Old which may be as fierce as any I've seen, including Hell.  Deep, surrounded by broken ground and Heather, I wish I had known it was there before I found it.  

Peter Pallotta

Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 04:04:02 AM »
Terrific opening, Sean - much looking forward to this. You can tell a lot about a fellow by the hat he wears - Braid's working man cap, Fowler's jaunty man of means fedora, wise and no nonsense for the former, stylish and bold for the latter. Ah, perchance did this combination, this confluence help shape and define WH Old? We shall see....

Peter

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 04:19:02 AM »
Ah Pietro that's surely a Homburg (fits your analysis even better)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homburg_(hat)

I've said it before but the golf book I'd most like to read is a biography of Fowler. As the recent articles posted on here showed he was hardly a balanced or wise critic, too ready to promote his own interests.  Yet he produced a fascinating body of work. He blew the family fortune and though unwise with his own money, as the man in charge he ran a good ship at Walton Heath. There's something enigmatic about him.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE New
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 04:33:29 AM »
Thanks all!

WALTON HEATH OLD CONT

I played a rather curious version of the Old. The 12th (Salmon Leap according to P Dickinson) and the 18th were not in play.  Instead, two relief holes in the middle of the course were on duty.  These holes were created about four years ago as part of a longer term plan (planning has been ongoing since at least 1973!) to eventually locate all 36 holes and the house on the main part of the property across the Dorking Road.  It isn't clear to me when or if this change will occur or what the final numbering will be.  As it stands now, the two new holes; #s 12 & 13 on the temporary card replace 12 and 18.  Below is an aerial outlining the changes.  The first new hole (Temporary #12), is an uphill par 5 played from the 12th tees.  The second new hole (Temporary #13), a short par 4, comes back down to the proper 12th green.  The Green colour from bottom to top shows the routing of the normal course; #s 10-13.  The Red colour from bottom to top shows the temporary routing; #s 10-13. As an aside, note the M25 in the lower left hand corner.  Rarely mentioned, but this road may be the single most onerous crime agaisnt golf design in modern times.  The noise generated from the road can be near deafening around holes 8 thru 12. 

Courtesy of Adam Lawrence  :)

It is the likely concensus that the loss of the 12th would indeed be great.  While the temporary 13th is an unusual hole for Walton Heath, the green orientation is more interesting from the proper tees.  Playing around a Brooklands-like curved bank, one must earn the correct line to a long, narrow green. The temporary 13th is more penal in its nature as the approach to a wide, shallow green over a newly built bunker is all carry.  Just to throw a spanner in the works, I reckon a flat belly can drive the proper 12th fairway from the temporary 13th tee, thus gaining a much better angle of approach.

One of many delightful sketches found in Dickinson's classic book, A Round of Golf Courses.
   

Below is a view of the proper 12th (built in 1938) from the high side of the fairway bank.  The temporary play is from left of the photo (out of shot) over the white sand bunker.
 

The Temporary 13th; the second photo is a closeup of the new bunker - it is sure to find many victims.
 

Backtracking one hole, the temporary 12th plays uphill to an attractively heather framed fairway, seemingly toward a green on The New Course (distinguished by red flags). Turning right and blindly over a maintenance road, the rather large green slides front left to rear right.  The entire right side of the green is protected by a cavernous bunker. Not in the least flashy, this par 5 strikes me as of Walton Heath stock. 
 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:22:00 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Adam Lawrence

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 05:16:12 AM »
Ah Pietro that's surely a Homburg (fits your analysis even better)?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homburg_(hat)

I've said it before but the golf book I'd most like to read is a biography of Fowler. As the recent articles posted on here showed he was hardly a balanced or wise critic, too ready to promote his own interests.  Yet he produced a fascinating body of work. He blew the family fortune and though unwise with his own money, as the man in charge he ran a good ship at Walton Heath. There's something enigmatic about him.

There's a biography of Fowler in production, written by a guy called Derek Markham. In the meantime, here's a piece I wrote on Fowler last year http://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/Article/Herbert-Fowler-gilded-gentleman/2611/Default.aspx#.UqWYNJEmQYU
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Thomas Dai

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2013, 05:19:52 AM »
I've said it before but the golf book I'd most like to read is a biography of Fowler. As the recent articles posted on here showed he was hardly a balanced or wise critic, too ready to promote his own interests.  Yet he produced a fascinating body of work. He blew the family fortune and though unwise with his own money, as the man in charge he ran a good ship at Walton Heath. There's something enigmatic about him.

Curious really, as other architects have societies - Braid, MacKenzie etc - but no Fowler Society and no Fowler biography either.

Splendid intro to the thread, looking forward to the rest.

ATB

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE New
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2013, 07:23:29 AM »
While the 12th would be well missed, it is hard to imagine anybody will mourn the passing of the 1st.  The long one-shotter annex hole is an unsuitable start to the unfolding journey that is Walton Heath.  It so happens that the opener used to be a short par 4 played over the entrance road to the club. As part of sweeping changes in the early 90s, this is now a long par 3.  Incidentally, the other alterations to the course were reversed in short order! 

#2
   

#3
 

#4 looking back to the tee, the back of the huge centre-line bunker is in the background.


I think a fairly recent and most welcome change to the cut lines at Walton Heath are the several greens with large aprons cut slightly higher (maybe 6mm?) than the greens and sometimes feeding directly to the next tee.  The transition from the 4th to the 5th is one of several examples.

More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:24:05 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2013, 07:40:46 AM »
Hi Sean,

Some interesting stuff here. I don't recognise the old picture of the 6th hole at all. As to the maintenance hole, I had originally heard that it was intended to start at the second and so the new what would be 11 and 12 to replace the 12th would become the norm. I have since heard that the intention of the holes is to have cover if they want to do something with another hole (like the 18th at the moment). I haven't played the maintenance holes, so I don't know them, but it is interesting that they would replace a 3 and a 4 with a 5 and a 4. If they make no other changes to the course, there would be 5 par fives and only 3 par threes. Strikes me as an unlikely mix.

Living in the US I don't get to play Walton anything like as often as I would like to. Looking forward to some more pictures to whet my appetite. Thank you for sharing

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE New
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2013, 12:41:49 PM »
Michael

To be honest, that old pic looks like the golfers are approaching the 5th to me.  I am not exactly where the 6th is (was!).  I am pretty sure the long hole extending into the distance is the 8th. 

I didn't mean to suggest that the course I played will become permanent - its only a temporary course which may only be open this winter. Though it is possible that one or both of the holes may be incorporated into a new design should the house be moved and #1 eliminated.  So you are right, the card currently reads as five three-shotters in ten holes.  Though to be honest, I can't much see the point in retaining the 8th as a par 5.  Its an awkward walk back to the tee (necessitated by the M25).  I reckon its better to just play from the ladies tee, slap in a few more bunkers and bobs yer uncle.

WALTON HEATH TOUR CONT   

Walton Heath was owned for much of its early existence by the Carr family (publishers of News of the World).  Not long after selling the company (and Walton Heath) to Rupert Murdoch in 1969, there was talk of the course being converted into a resort complex.  A group of members saved the day and the course by purchasing the course from Murdoch.  One can't help but wonder if discussions about selling the course left it open to its denigration by the M25.   

#s 6 & 7 are also 1939 Tippet creations.  Some observers were disappointed at the loss of the old 6th, but the new holes do break-up the unrelenting single file march of the front nine.  As the golfer moves through the 6th hole, the fairways seem to progressively contract, as if trying not to be discovered by the M25.  For that, #6 isn't a bad hole.  The short 7th stops the southerly flow of Walton Heath and heads in a easterly direction as does #1.  I believe the prevaling wind is off the bunkered right side of the green, but today a bitter wind rode in from the north, generally making the opening 8 holes play easier than is customary.  Still, hitting the elevated green is a challenge.

The par 5 eighth is also a Tippet hole which was rebuilt hard on what was to become the M25 and subsequently the green had to be moved. Doglegs are not a prominent feature at Walton Heath so the 9th may come as a surprise.  A completely new hole opened in 1973, the ninth turns left around a small stand of trees at nearly 90 degrees.  If the hole is up front, coming from the safe right side of the fairway is problematic.

More to follow.

Ciao   
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:24:58 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 04:08:44 PM »
Sean - I think you're right about the 5th. It looks like that little hut is still there in your picture but has been moved - possibly for the 15th tee on the New Course. I never played the course before the M25 so I have no idea what the old 9th hole was like, but from what I've heard of the long standing members there, it is a shame that it was lost. The 6th tee is immediately to the left of the 5th green and continues in the same direction, which would mean that long hole extending into the distance is the 6th. If it is, then the bunkering is completely different now than it was then. I know that the bunkers to the left of the 6th hole landing area have been changed quite a bit (god I hate those bunkers) in the not too distant past.

Incidentally I think the 6th hole is the hardest on either course (possible exception of a couple of the par 5s that are converted to 4s for the combined course. Those are pretty evil too. I'm certain it's the hardest drive of the 36 holes there.

I also quite like the 8th. I'm biased since I got my one and only albatross there (played 7, 8, 9 and 10 in level par with three bogeys), but I think it's a good hole. I think the green is a bit too severe to play as a long uphill par 4. I do think that the back back tee that makes the hole 600 yards is a little OTT though.

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE New
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 04:05:26 AM »
Michael

I spose that must be the 6th running down the property line because the area on the right of the fairway is dead ground.  I reckon that area to the right is now the 6th (legging a bit left, but heading mainly away from the property boundary) thus creating space for the 7th to be played toward the new 8th tee (and boundary).  I spose that would mean the 6th is a new hole.  I must confess that while playing the 7th I did wonder how we drifted so far from the boundary in one hole that seemed to be heading more or less in the same direction as 2-5. 

WALTON HEATH CONT

Truth be told, except for a few stand-out holes, the front nine is merely good. Walton Heath picks up the pace considerably on the holes coming home even with two temporary stand ins. 
 
   


Perhaps the best short hole on the course, #11, offers a tantalizing tee shot between or over sand.  A tribute to Hell Bunker?  The club is missing a trick by not extending the green forward (to the right in the photo) between the bunkers.


More to follow.

Ciao
   
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:25:58 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Brent Hutto

Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 01:43:08 PM »
Agreed about the 11th. Best one-shotter on either the Old or New in my opinion. Great hole.

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2013, 11:35:09 PM »
11 is a great hole. It's a shame that we're not going to see 12. 12 is one of my favourite holes on the course and it sports my favourite aspect of golf course architecture. You stand on that tee and there's acres of fairway out to the left. There is a devilish bunker on the inside of the dogleg and even worse if you hit it further right. But, if you play the safe shot off the tee, you're left playing across that bunker to a shallow firm green that it's really hard to hold your ball on. If you play the tough shot off the tee and get it in the fairway near the bunker, then you are rewarded with a much easier approach shot down the length of the green.

I am intrigued to hear and see the two maintenance holes. And we just entered what is one of my favourite stretches of golf anywhere. The back nine on the Old is wonderful. Looking forward to more pictures.

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE New
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2013, 06:26:14 AM »
WALTON HEATH CONT

Having already seen the 12th and 13th, I bring your attention to the 14th.  The golfer can be excused for believing we have already seen the hole for other than the bunkering it is quite similar to the 12th.  A look at the 2nd shot from the corner of the dogleg. The flag can just be made out to the right inside the tree-line.


The sprawling front to back green is similar to most at Walton Heath, not overly troubling but interesting enough. 


Heading to the 3rd par 5 in four holes, the photo below demonstrates the cheek by jowl nature of the Old and New.


#15


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:27:01 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2013, 06:31:17 AM »
Walton Heath is what it's all about... Great golf

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2013, 10:17:44 AM »
Well, I completely missed that you'd already covered the two maintenance holes, for which my apologies. As they are currently playing:

14: that bunker on the corner of the dogleg has cost me many strokes. It's just so tempting to hit close to it and shorten your approach, but the fairway all leans towards the bunker, so you actually have to play safer than you think. On the odd occasion that I do manage to sneak past the bunker it's all worthwhile. Funnily enough I find this green one of the trickiest of them all. There's a little gulley that runs from front to back down the left side that plays havoc with me and my ball.

15: I love this drive. The bunker on the left is fairly easily cleared, even from the purple tee, but it blocks your view of the left side of the fairway and inevitably pushes you to play further to the right, which brings the right hand bunker (which is definitely not clearable) more into play. One thing I do like about this hole is that you can run a ball onto the green quite easily. So although it's pretty long (569 from the purples I think it is) it's still reachable in two. A pitch from 80 yards out to the pin when it's cut on the little back shelf is not helpful to my blood pressure.

Looking forward to the next three holes.

Sean_A

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card) New
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2013, 06:50:33 AM »
Brian

I don't know the story behind the bunkers.  Though I reckon some wooden faced bunkers wouldn't look out of place.

Michael

Yes, that corner bunker on 14 is sneaky!

I was caught out by the bunker on the left of 15.  Having watched two guys flirt with the right bunkers I drifted left thinking there was fairway beyond  :P .

WALTON HEATH CONT

The 17th green and bunker works seen from the 16th fairway.


The short home hole finishes an awkward two long par 4s from the house.  The walk is eased by the normal 18th, but it is still not ideal   


To back track, the 18th is an attractive hole lacking some of the character of the 11th.  There was a large fronting cross bunker until recent changes.  The bunker was cut to create two wing bunkers as was the original design intent when the hole was built in 1936/37 to replace the old 12th.  1*  2013

Previous stops on the 2013/14 Winter Tour

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,57349.0.html  Sandy Lodge

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,26579.0.html Tadmarton Heath NR

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51321.0.html Sutton Coldfield

Nex scheduled stop; Worplesdon

Ciao 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 05:31:24 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card)
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2013, 08:05:20 AM »
Brian,

The 9th green and 10th tee on the New get pretty close to the M25. You can see the 1 mile sign to the Reigate exit if you walk back about 20 yards from the 10th tee.

Sean,

They have also been holding a new event there for the past 5 or 6 years I think called the South of England Open Amateur Championship (SEOAC). It draws a very strong field and although new I think is considered quite highly. Granted not quite so high as the Brabazon or the English Amateur.

I heard that the last time they held the European Open there (I think Mike Harwood won it) the tour paid the club something like 70k to hold it. The following year, they moved it to somewhere in Ireland like Druid's Glen or the K Club or some such and the club paid the tour something like a million pounds to have the "honour" of hosting the tournament. How times changed.

I think one day I might do one of these matches pitting the Old and the New against each other. Will be interesting to see how that pans out.

Bill_McBride

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card)
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2013, 10:14:14 AM »
My fellow club member Jerry Pate played in the 1981 Ryder Cup and spoke very highly of Walton Heath after I played there in 2011.  At the time they played some sort of composite course that skipped the first hole, started at the second tee of the Old, and incorporated a bit of the New.  He said he particularly remembered the heather-topped bunkers. 

Michael Felton

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card)
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2013, 11:12:32 AM »
The composite is fun - I've only played it once. Some of the holes actually play quite a bit easier than normal, but some of them are brutal.

The course goes like this:

2 Old 4
4 Old played as a par 5 from a tee half way down the 3rd on the right
5 Old 4
6 Old 4
7 Old 3
8 Old 5
9 Old 4
10 Old 4
11 Old 3

12 Old 4
13 Old 5
12 New 4
13 New as a par 4
14 Old as a par 4
15 Old 4
16 Old as a par 4
17 Old 3
18 New 4

Only just realised that there are only 3 par 3s and 3 par 5s on the composite course (officially 3 par 5s, but it plays more like 7 or 8 of them). There are 3 that are 5s in regular play, but are played from slightly forward tees as par 4s. If the course was played from back tees (at 500 yards on the par 4s that are normally 5s) then overall it would be around 7800 yards. It's a beast.

Thomas Dai

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Re: WALTON HEATH GC: OLD COURSE (Winter Card)
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2013, 01:50:45 PM »
Thank you for undertaking and sharing with us this splendid photo tour.

I've only walked around parts of Walton Heath, not played either course. Similarly with the two courses at The Berkshire. But I have played another Herbert Fowler special, the splendid Beau Desert, several times and in different conditions.

So my question is - how much better is Walton Heath (either course) than Beau Desert?

A lot better? A bit better? Better, but only by a whisker? Just curious to know what folk who've played them all reckon.

ATB

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