News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
WALTON HEATH GC: The Nifty NEW COURSE New
« on: December 13, 2014, 08:03:40 PM »




Walton Heath's New Course was born as a 9 holer designed to offer relief for the immensely successful club.  Soon after its 1907 opening it became apparent that a full 18 hole second course was the only solution to the crowded first tee. However, not only was the club bursting at the seams, but so too the club property; no space was to be had for additional holes.  In an effort to obtain a lease on more land the club negotiated with various objectors on and off for three years.  Eventually, all concerns were alleviated and Fowler once again got down to business. What was eventually created in 1913 is essentially the same course we see today.  Perhaps the keen observer may conclude the New is a more cohesive and pointed design than the much altered Old. 

Other than the normal lengthening and removing sand from bunkers that many courses seem to undergo, there are only a small handful of changes to report.  The most interesting change seems to have never been built.  The 7th called for an unusual double dogleg of 500 yards.  “The fairway, after about 200 yards, bends to the right an after another 150 yards bears away to the left.  The green splendidly situated, is long and narrow, with bunkers guarding the right and left fronts and a narrow entrance between them.” It is apparent when playing the 7th today that the backdrop for the green is very different to the remainder of the heath. One can’t help but wonder if Fowler mistakenly believed that land was available to him. 

As on the Old, the first of the New is rather bland.  Its difficult to see how the hole would have been any better before it was shortened due traffic on the Dorking Road.  The short second is more like it.  Not terribly difficult, but it is terribly pretty.  The yellow flag is the 14th Old. 


The straight away par 4 third uses heather and a centreline bunker to throttle back tee shots. 


#4 continues the eastwardly march with the second sub 300 yarder, neither the first nor 4th test the swing, though this hole features some outlandish Fowler Heath earthworks.   


One had better make head way with the card on these opening four holes because the golf from here on isn't quite so forgiving.  The 5th is a superb longish two-shotter legging right, back toward the house.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 09:12:12 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Malcolm Mckinnon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2014-15: WALTON HEATH NEW - holes 1-5
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 08:31:23 PM »
Thanks Sean!

So many Braid courses and I only got to one this summer heading south from Edinburgh to Northumbria , Goswick. I loved it!

David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2014-15: WALTON HEATH NEW - holes 1-5
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 08:39:37 PM »
Malcolm -

There is a James Braid Association comprised of many of the courses he designed. If you are a member at any one of the courses that belong to the Association, you have favorable access (subject to certain terms) to any of the other courses that belong to the Association. Often, you can play at the "guest of member" rate.

http://www.golftoday.co.uk/news/yeartodate/2011/james_braid_courses.html

This Association is separate from the James Braid Society.

DT     

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2014-15: WALTON HEATH NEW - holes 1-5 New
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 09:13:05 PM »
Similar to The Berkshire and Sunningdale, the debate as to which of Walton Heath's courses is better will rage forever more.  What shouldn't be in doubt is which course has the better short holes.  The New's 6th continues a lovely run of holes.  At ~165 and uphill the hole does present an element of difficulty, especially if the winter wind is blowing from the north.  Just in shot to the left, is the remnant of an old bunker.  Simpson sketched this hole (in his style   ;) ) perhaps while in partnership with Fowler. This sketch clearly shows a lower green right of the bunker remnant. A Carter's add also has a photo of women putting on the lower green. It would have made the green huge, not unlike the greens Fowler built at RAC during this same period.


The following hole strides toward the gallops.  Unless there were unbuilt earthworks/bunkers, I can't quite grasp the Fowler quote concerning the idea for the original double dogleg 7th, but today the hole flies straight as an arrow toward the gallops to the rear.  The next two are long half par holes with the fairways broken up by heather and sand.  Ever present are the interesting earth works as seen on the 9th.


The short 10th is another cracking par 3.  With holes of this quality it is a great pity Walton Heath New features a scant three short holes.   


A closer look at the left bunker which obscures a second bunker. 


At 374 yards the 11th isn't onerously long, but it does feature bunkers which are of the intimidating variety.  Many drives on The New aren't visually enticing, the 11th is an exception.


Despite appearances, a most of the green depth cannot properly be perceived from this angle. 




And...the ugly duckling bunker which really dictates the strategy.


Dead straight, the 12th moves in the same direction as 11 and ups the ante in length by 35 yards.  As on 11, there is a bit of space to aim at for those not wanting to face the greenside cross bunker.
 

 

A reachable par 5, thirteen doesn't move my needle much.  The fourteenth, however, is excellent.  While the tee shot landing area is blind, it is quite evident the hole curls left and plays downhill...this is perhaps the greatest elevation change on the course.  The green was canabalized from the Old when its short 12th was abandoned. 
 

Walton Heath excels in offering features such as the patch of heather/rough near the bunker greatly improve the aesthetics by focusing on the heath element of the property.  I do recall seeing old photos of Walton Heath when the bunkers were revetted and I think it has been a recent decision to go more toward a heathland style bunker.  This is perhaps a shame because the revetting does add to the primitive nature of the bunkers which I find immensely attractive. 
 

The 15th commences the run home with all the remaining holes cheek by jowl with the Old.  We head back up the slope and veer right.  There are just enough doglegs to dispel the idea that Walton Heath's dance card is filled with flat, straight holes.
   
 
   
 
More to follow.

Ciao
   
« Last Edit: October 04, 2021, 04:50:38 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Marc Haring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2014-15: WALTON HEATH NEW - holes 1-15
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2014, 06:43:54 PM »
Nice piece on this venerable course Sean.

I once had the misfortune of working under a past secretary of Walton Heath when he was so called head hunted by the japanese owners of Camberley Heath. Frankly the bloke was a prat and did not last long at Camberley but he did inform me that any changes to the courses at Walton Heath would have to go to planning with the local authorities and often they simply would not grant it. Don't know how true this is but it could explain how the courses have remained so unchanged (apart from roads etc. Did'nt the M25 result in some major alterations to the Old)

At that time I also remember competing in the Artisan Championship at Walton Heath. We played Old followed by New on the same day. I was 10 over par for the first nine holes but then somehow managed to play the next 27 in one under to come second. God knows how I did it having never played the courses before. Those were the days.  ::)

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2014-15: WALTON HEATH NEW - holes 1-15 New
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2014, 05:12:58 AM »
Marc

Permission for changes may be right because of pasture rights and an onus on the club to conserve the land as an open space and preserve the natural attraction, but I don't know.  The info you seek may be in the linked booklet which is probably responsible for the entire movement of heathland regeneration. 

http://www.cix.co.uk/~whgc/Walton%20Heath.pdf

Sheehy

The Old is a more difficult test and nothing on the Old can touch the run of 4-6 at the New, but I prefer the Old because its back nine is superb. 

Playability for me is very important because on a good site with interesting holes, it directly translates to fun golf. 

WALTON HEATH NEW CONTINUED

The 16th is the last of the par 5s.  The tee is now left of the 15th green whereas Fowler emphasized the dogleg with the tee right of the 15th green.  While the set of 5s may be the biggest weakness of the New, this is a very pleasant hole. 


The 17th is a most curious hole; very wide and quite a short par 4.  In the 1980s radical changes were proposed; among the proposals was an idea to combine the 16th and 17th.  In the end, the club could not get local support for the changes and Fowler fans breathed a sigh of relief. Darwin thought the hole "most ingenious and teasing".  Below is a look at the green which runs away from play and leans left.


The 18th is visually somewhat similar to the Old's home hole.  The main difference being the cross bunker is tight to the green.  Of course, the green for the Old is now more pushed up to help with drainage.  In any case, the last two holes strike me as an unsatisfactory finish...then there is the long walk to the house. 


While the finale is a certain negative and the ever-present drone of the M25 reminds us we are near London, I still find reasons to admire the New.  As an ardent fan of fine flattish golf and bold features, its difficult for a person of my persuasion not to enjoy the course.  By no means an easy test, but the wide fairways of the New are very welcome.  Thinking on it, I believe the Old is the better of the two and I prefer it to the New, but the playability of the New is a major bonus, which as a championship course, the Old lacks to some degree.  2017

WALTON HEATH OLD COURSE
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61415.0.html

Previous stops on the Tour:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59831.0.html  Cumberwell Park Orange

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html  Kington 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html  Cleeve Cloud

Next schedule stop is Worplesdon.   

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 12:09:54 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 07:25:30 AM »
My only problem with the New course is the balance of holes, last par 3 is the 10th and it's a mighty long way home from there. I quite like the start, get it right and a 3,2 start is a distinct possibility, then the noose tightens.
Cave Nil Vino

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 07:36:12 AM »
A fine tour with an extremely nicely written introduction.

Given the choice, which would folk who've played them pick first - a day with a round on each of the two courses at Walton Heath or a day with a round on each of the two courses at Sunningdale?

atb

Marc Haring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 10:20:25 AM »
Thanks for the linked booklet Sean. Of course they had the late Ian Macmillan as course manager there for a long time and he was one of the pioneers of heathland restoration back at Hankley Common.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 10:22:38 AM »
That Walton heath restoration booklet is great. It was the work of Ian, as Marc says, and long-time greens chair Simon Creagh Chapman. Between them, they really got Walton on the right track (Ian, as Marc said, was a real pioneer of heath restoration when he was at Hankley). Alan Strachan is doing a great job having taken up the reins after Ian's death.
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.

Michael Felton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2014, 11:30:56 AM »
A fine tour with an extremely nicely written introduction.

Given the choice, which would folk who've played them pick first - a day with a round on each of the two courses at Walton Heath or a day with a round on each of the two courses at Sunningdale?

atb

Sunningdale by a good margin.

Much as it pains me to say it, I'd have to agree that Sunningdale wins this. Not sure about the good margin bit...  :P

Sean - thanks for a good review. Glad you enjoyed it. Always happy to see a few pics of the Heath.

Brian - do you really think the New is easier? The Old starts hard, but gets easier. The New starts easy, but gets harder. I think 6 on the Old is the hardest hole on the courses, but 3 New, 5 New, 9 New, 12 New, 14 New are all very challenging. More so as a group than 2 Old, 4 Old, 5 Old, 6 Old, 15 Old. I also think the heather on the New is thicker than on the Old.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15 New
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2014, 12:11:09 PM »
I too would plop for Sunningale, but part of that plopping is directly due to the incursion of the M25 at Walton Heath. I suspect I am much more sensitive to the drone than most people.  If the courses were quiet and the house were in the middle of the action, Walton Heath would give Sunny a run for its money...no question the quality is there.  Of course, this is presupposing that someone else is paying my Sunny green fees cuz there is no chance I am stumping up some £300.

Michael

Thanks.  yes, I think you are right that the Old has more heathery rough and recoveries are easier, but the New has much wider fairways.  For that reason, I think the New is quite a bit easier.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 08:38:27 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Ryan Coles

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2014, 02:19:22 PM »
I too would plop for Sunningale, but part of that plopping is directly due to the incursion of the M25 at Walton Heath.  I suspect I am much more sensitive to the drone than most people.  If the courses were quiet and the house were in the middle of the action, Walton Heath would give Sunny a run for its money...no question the quality is there.  Of course, this is presupposing that someone else is paying my Sunny green fees cuz there is no chance I am stumping up some £300.

Michael

Thanks.  yes, I think you are right that the Old has more heathery rough and recoveries are easier, but the New has much wider fairways.  For that reason, I think the New is quite a bit easier.

Ciao

Sean

Pick a nice day in November and you can play both at Sunningdale for £165.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2014, 03:22:50 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Sounds like birthday pressie to myself......... or maybe two consecutive birthday pressies!
Atb

David Davis

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2014, 04:44:42 PM »
Sean,

Well written intro as always and great review.

Personally I did like the Old Course better but I'd argue it's just a nice 36 hole day.

I will again commend the green keeping staff and super at Walton Heath as outside of perhaps only Queenwood it's the best conditioned course I've seen in the UK. The only Heathland I played on my London blanketing heathland trip this last year that truly played like a sand based heathland (EVEN THOUGH IT"S NOT ONE). That's impressive.

I'd give Sunny the margin there too as the routing is just a tad bit stronger and the property is more dynamic with a larger range of holes. Plus the new course is head and shoulders better than Walton's New Course. IMO. If I ever experience Sunny playing the same way Walton played this summer then I will be a lover for sure. Until then perhaps only a slightly disappointed admirer.



 
Next up: open to ideas!

IG: @top100golftraveler
www.top100golfcourses.com

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2014, 08:04:46 AM »
David

Interesting. With my limited experience I would say Sunny Old is head and shoulders above the other three which I would say are not that far apart in quality and could understand any order offered.  That said, I would say they are (as of today) WHO, Sunny New, WHN.  Despite Sunny New having the awesome 4-6 run, the opening and closing holes don't do much for me...thats at least four holes.  But then, I could say the same about WHN...The only answer is to try and see all the courses again, but if truth be told I would rather play Sunny Old   :D 

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 04:33:23 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark Bourgeois

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2014, 08:24:47 AM »
Love WHN. The early / middle portion of the back gets kind of blah, perhaps due to the displacement due to the motorway? but then the course picks up from the 15th onwards for a great finish. The 18th was used for the Ryder Cup, yes?
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.

Mark Bourgeois

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2014, 11:48:49 AM »
Brian, sorry yes I meant back by the motorway. But that mini-run from those holes plus a few more -- that was a lull for me. I did like the run of 14-17, particularly the green complexes on 15 and 17 (that back left falloff).
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2014, 12:00:39 PM »
Brian, for me the heart of the course is 10-16.  17 I don't get and I await illumination.  18 is too much like the 12th green complex and 12 is better.  The first doesn't do much for me either. 

The 9th may have been made blah by the removal of a centreline bunker some 15 years ago. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 18, 2015, 04:33:52 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark Bourgeois

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2014, 12:15:44 PM »
I'm not going to hold up 17 as one of the best holes on the course; I liked the green complex. Does anyone have a picture of it taken from behind or from 18 tee?
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.

Michael Felton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2014, 01:02:45 PM »
The fun/troublesome part of 17 is when it's hard and bouncy. The fairway is very wide, but if you're in the right half of it you've got a devil's own job stopping it on the green. The green slopes away from you from that side, but is more across if you're playing from the left. Left side leaves you a much more playable approach.

The other thing is if you try to run one in there, you have to judge it very well or it will run away into the left bunker or potentially in the grass/heather filled hollow on the right. Neither is a good spot to be.

That said I can certainly see how it might be a bit blah, especially if it's soft. There is nothing spectacular to it. I'd say it's a filler hole with a pretty good green complex.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2014, 07:46:15 AM »
MF

Thanks.  Do you think the hole was changed at some point?  I didn't think it had been, but when Darwin writes of something with high praise I am interested...especially if I don't get it.

Ciao   
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Michael Felton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2014, 10:36:04 AM »
I don't know. It's certainly a possibility. I think quite a number of the holes have changed at some point or other.

I don't know why Darwin would have said that. I don't see it as being that good. The green complex itself is good, but the rest of the hole is just there. Just don't miss right. The new(ish) purple tee is a little crazy though. Into the wind you have to hit a very good drive just to reach the fairway. I'm assuming that's not where you're playing from though and you play from the wide, shallow tee just to the left of the 16th fairway.


Neil White

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2014, 11:16:49 AM »
Sean,

I liked the 17th, despite not playing it as the hole intends you to.

I think Michael has it right with his thoughts about the hole when it is playing firm.  Off the green tees it would probably be no more than an iron with a touch of draw to try and hold the fairway on the left edge.  Too far left and the heather will come into play making an approach tricky.

Right is tough - especially if you find the semi or worse the heather - as the low heather clad mound cuts into the front of the green.  Plus, if I remember correctly the right side of the green is slightly more sloped away from you.

Add to that the fact that the 18th tee is effectively an extension of the 17th green........  I imagine there are many who play a third from the 18th tee or the broken ground in front of it.

We just didn't get to see it with its teeth exposed.

 
Courses played 2020 - ................!

Michael Felton

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: WALTON HEATH NEW: Winter Tour 2014-15
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2014, 11:32:48 AM »
Hi Neil, the bank on the right is quite severe. It's almost impossible to hold the right hand side of the green from the right rough (even the right half of the fairway) if it's firm. You have to bounce it in and the bounced in shot is made awkward by that little dip in the ground short of the green. I don't believe that to be original. I think the ground there has subsided somewhat more recently.

Further the bank from the back of the green down to the lower part of the tee is steep. I've seen a lot of people chipping over the tee on the way back to that green. It can get quite hairy down there in summer when you're waiting to drive on 18 and there are people behind you.

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back