Reigate Heath is part of a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which covers some 120 acres. While the site makes for a stunning golf landscape, it is the post mill which evokes thoughts of times gone by. Built around 1765 where a gibbet once stood, the mill ceased working by wind in the early 1860s. The roundhouse was converted into chapel of ease to St Mary’s in Reigate and it is known as the St Cross Chapel. Services are still held in the chapel during summer months. Interested parties may tour the chapel; contact the golf club for information.
Other than the lack of vegetation and different clothes, the scene depicted below looks very similar today. Although, I suspect the routing has been dramatically altered because the second half of #4 feels odd.
Built in 1895, possibly by Tom Dunn, the course was on land owned by Lady Henry Somerset and a stipulation for her permission was that ladies would be treated as equals, being allowed to vote and take part in competitions. Lady Henry Somerset was a head strong woman and became embroiled in a scandal when she sued her husband for custody of their son on the grounds that Lord Somerset was a homosexual! On her death, the entire heath was bequeathed to the people of Reigate and the club now rents the course on a long term lease from the local council.
Set at the base of the North Downs, the partially chalky soil provides very good year round drainage for golf. Unfortunately, this is all I really know about the course. Although, with several fairways set dangerously close to roads and a steady stream of walkers crowding the course, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn changes were made to the original design. Just looking at the above black & white photo, it looks like the the 1st played as a legger right down the hill.
Reigate has 18 tees playing to 9 greens. Most of the alternate tees don't make much difference, however, probably the most radical difference comes straight-away. The first from 10 and 1 tees. The green is shelved into a sharp rise.
The triangle shape green.
Space is at a premium at Reigate, this is evidenced by the shared (with the 1st) 2nd fairway. Trees down the right are effectively placed to make the drive look tighter than it is...but many approaches are blocked due to careless play. Visually, it seems like the hole should play right of the trees back up the first fairway.
A sumptious view of the house from the fairway.
More to follow.