Golf Societies Surrey – Where to golf…

Golf Societies in Surrey

Golf Societies in Surrey are a great way to enjoy golf and it can often be more sociable than joining a golf club. This approach to playing golf often appeals to those that prefer to play lots of different courses rather than traditional clubs members (often referred to as golfing nomads).

There are a variety of courses in Surrey where you can plan or organise your Golf Society or Charity fund-raising day, as there is a plethora of private members’ golf clubs, proprietary clubs, and ‘Pay and Play’ clubs to choose from.

Surrey is also an excellent county for business and charity golf days as the transport links are very good. The county is easily reachable from London via mainline railway stations such as Cannon St, Charing Cross and Victoria.

It is also easily accessible by car from the whole of the UK, but particularly from the neighbouring counties of Kent and Sussex. Getting into and around the county is simple with key links from the M25, M3, M23, A3 and A24. 

At the last count, there are more than 90 golf clubs in Surrey, and whilst many clubs have been sold or closed in recent years, the allure of great golf clubs and the lush green English countryside is a magnet for many Surrey Golf Societies.

Golf Societies Surrey – some of the better-known clubs for you to consider include:

Hindhead Golf Club

Founded in 1903 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, he of Sherlock Holmes fame) and a small group of golfing enthusiasts, Hindhead Golf Club is set in one of the most glorious natural settings and ranks amongst the best of Britain’s heathland courses.

The 18-hole layout measures 6,390 yards, with a par of 70 and, situated close to the A3 and just an hour’s drive from London, has been heralded by many as the finest in Surrey – well that’s what the late Peter Alliss (BBC Voice of Golf) said:

“One of my favourite courses of all time with greens that are kept in magnificent shape".

The first hole starts close to the Clubhouse and Pro Shop and the 18th green sits just a few feet from the Clubhouse Patio making it a marvellous spectator finish.

Holes 2 to 9 sweep through two Ice-Age glacier formed valleys and work their way down and back up across the upper plateau.

Hindhead GC was made an Open Championship Regional Qualifying venue for 2000-05, if for no other reason than the overall quality of the course and its renowned greens – yep, they are fast!

This is a challenging course, so is therefore only suitable for experienced golfers with an official handicap from their home club or society.

Visiting golfers are very welcome at Hindhead Golf Club throughout the year but numbers are often limited to a small number of visitors, up to a maximum of 8 in a single party.

This really is an opportunity to play one of England’s finest heathland courses, so enjoy it!

West Hill Golf Club

West Hill is truly one of Surrey’s oldest gems. Consistently featured in the top 100 golf course listings, this stunning heathland course, designed in 1907, is lined with towering Scots pines. 

And the brook of Brookwood meanders its way through the course, coming into play on six different holes.

Strategic play is required from every tee, making the course play considerably longer than its 6,380 yards. The greens have some of the most challenging natural undulations you will ever play and contribute to the wonderful test of golf at West Hill.

The course design is attributed to Cuthbert Butchart who became the first professional before the course was built. It has remained largely unaltered in layout but much work has gone into improving the quality of the course in subsequent years.

The underground watering system for the greens and tees was installed in 1981 and this has now been augmented by full, state-of-the-art fairway watering. A bunker refurbishing programme was started in 1999 and all 18 holes have reprofiled bunkers with improved drainage and carefully selected sand.

Tee renovation has provided an outstanding aspect for each hole, even before a shot is played. 

Here you can appreciate the magnificent and mature trees, although they are fortunately far enough from the fairway, with heather intervening to provide a colourful ribbon around the semi rough.

Tee shots, particularly the drives, must be carefully directed to the right place to set up a chance of hitting the correct part of the green if one wishes to avoid all thought of a three putt on subtly undulating surfaces. 

Whilst the white tees will test the skills and patience of the very best golfers, there is much satisfaction to be obtained from playing the friendlier front tees.

For anyone wishing to spend a day playing golf on a mature, well designed and scenic course with the ultimate prize of a good score, West Hill must come into the reckoning. 

The seeming shortage of length is compensated by having five par 3 holes, all challenging for distance and accuracy.

Burhill Golf Club – Old Course

In a leafy parkland setting on the outskirts of Surrey’s Walton on Thames, Burhill Golf Club has spectacular golf courses, offering a challenging and diverse experience for the seasoned golfer. Just driving down the drive you know you are in golfing country for the Gods.

Nestled in beautiful countryside, Burhill GC is best known for having some of the best golf facilities in the area. Home to two very different 18-hole courses, the beautiful Georgian Clubhouse is a gorgeous location.

The Old Course, nearly 6,500 yards in length, was designed by Willie Park Junior and opened in 1907.

This beautiful parkland course has some enjoyable challenges – be warned, the greens are smooth, quick and undulating. The Old Course comprises four Par 3s, twelve Par 4s and two par 5s.

The par 3s include some long, medium, short and very short holes. Four of the Par 4s are more than 420 yards off the yellow tees. 

The two Par 5s are gentle left to right doglegs but each involve approach shots over ditches and uphill shots to well-protected greens.  Bunkers are deep and difficult to get out of, so try to avoid them.

One of the core reasons for choosing Burhill as your Golf Day venue is its reputation for fine food.  

The beautiful surroundings are an elegant and prestigious setting for private dining occasions, from an intimate supper with friends to a lavish five-course event for up to 150 guests.

For a more informal day, choose the light summer BBQ option. Or if you’re in a hurry, you can always stop at the much-talked-about halfway house on the course!

Foxhills Golf Club

Foxhills offers some of the best golf in Surrey. They have a total of three quality golf courses that collectively combine parkland and heathland and provide challenges to golfers of every level.

The Club recently played host to the Senior PGA Professional Championship (2014 – 2020) and PGA Euro-Pro (2018). Since its early days as heath and woodland, owned by Chertsey Abbey in the Middle Ages, the land became part of the Botleys Park estate in the 17th century. 

In the 1780s, politician Charles James Fox took ownership. A brilliant young parliamentarian (MP for Midhurst aged just 19), Fox was a passionate orator with an appetite for gambling and the high life. 

In the 1870s, the estate was passed to General Hutton who took an active role in parish life and invited the families of men who fell under his command to play in the grounds during their holidays.

In the 1920s, the estate was sold to a successful merchant family, the Borthwicks. Alas, over the preceding decades, the estate was left to decline and in 1975, was sold to Airline Aer Lingus who turned the estate into a golf club.  

However, the course you see today is due to the Hayton family who purchased the club in 1983 and now also boasts a hotel with 70 bedrooms, three restaurants, eleven tennis courts, four squash courts, four swimming pools, an award-winning health Spa, as well as conference and meeting facilities. 

The Club’s two 18-hole Championship courses are supported by the 9-hole Manor course, ideal to hone your short game or discover golf for the first time.

The Bernard Hunt Course is named after the Club’s first Professional and former Ryder Cup Captain. This beautiful tree-lined Championship golf course is designed to be more forgiving off the tee. Despite its length, the course still embraces the natural beauty of raised tees and meandering fairways through picturesque parkland. Be sure to look out for fantastic views of the London skyline from the tee.

The Longcross course is widely considered the best tree-lined Surrey course. In addition, it is also ranked one of the top 100 golf courses in England. Surrounded by scots pine, beech and silver birch trees, the track is particularly tricky for wild hitters. The 14th hole was voted by BBC Radio 5 Live as one of the greatest holes ever played.

In short, Foxhills (along with its sister club Farleigh in Kent, home of The Social Golfer Matchplay Final since 2020) is a superb golf venue and perfect for Golf Societies in Surrey and all over the UK to enjoy!

Walton Heath Golf Club

Walton Heath is one of the world’s most highly regarded golf clubs, famous for its rich golfing and political history and the quality of its two exceptionally challenging heathland layouts, described by golfing legend, Mr Jack Nicklaus as “wonderfully pure.” 

Both courses feature in the UK and Ireland’s top 50 rankings.

‘The Old’ has earned its place in the world’s top 100 every year since the inception of the rankings in 1938.

The club was first formed in 1903. Walton’s first captain also happened to be King Edward VIII.

Royalty aside, the first professional was none other than James Braid who won five Opens and stayed for some forty-five years. Winston Churchill also played regularly at Walton heath.

As well as celebrity golfers, the course has played host to prestigious golf events such as the European Open, the Ryder cup in 1981, the British ladies amateur in 2000, the senior open in 2011 and the British masters in 2018.

The Old Course is golf at its finest. This is a par 72 championship course that stretches to 7406 yards, though a more accommodating 6786 yards off the daily tees. Most of the yardage will seem to happen in the first six holes, which is as tough a start as you will find.

The fairways offer the kind of texture that only geography, maturity, and professional care can deliver e.g. deep, firm, springy, and hallowed from the giant footsteps that went before your own.

Walton Heath’s course designer, Herbert Fowler, liked to test the extent of the golfer’s repertoire of shots, and the Old course has many demands, but when you reach the greens, they are large, hard, fast, and true.

Walton Heath’s New course shares the same open heathland setting as The Old Course, and is a fine championship course in its own right.

It opened as an eighteen-hole course in 1913. The new stretches 7,200 yards off the back tees, 6648 yards off the medals, and has been ranked in the UK and Ireland’s top 50 courses for more than ten years.

This is a serious golf course. Here, Fowler did not see the course as more of the same, but as an opportunity to create a different kind of challenge. Where there are some three or four cross-hazards on The Old, there are at least nine that demand your attention on the New course.

The cross-hazard placement is thoughtful, allowing a lay-up when in the fairway, or enough room between hazard and green to be able to stop and hold the pitch shot.

The back nine provides no par 3s for ‘relief’ after the tenth hole, a fine set of Par 4s and par 5s comprising a par of 37. the finish – 16th, 17th, and 18th – is a testing mix of a Par 5 and two Par 4s with very different characteristics but all requiring precision driving.

If you get the chance to play Walton Heath, you will be reliving a little bit of history at every twist and turn the course gives you!

By Paul ‘Smiffy’ Smith

N.B. Other courses of note that Paul felt deserved a mention in Surrey include Woking Golf Club, West Surrey Golf Club, Puttenham Golf Club & North Hants Golf Club