Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club – TSG Course Review…

We had the chance to play Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club and it didn’t disappoint!

As a member of the Association of Golf Writers, every now and again, we are lucky enough to be invited to play at some prestigious golf courses.

So, when we had the chance to play in the center of London and on the bank of the River Thames at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club, it was not a difficult invitation to accept…

Royal Mid Surrey Golf Course

Location, Location, Location

The location of Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club is unique in that, as far as I know, there is no other course where the fairways run parallel to the River Thames.

Furthermore, where else can you view the Pagoda in Kew Gardens from the 4th fairway.

Or enjoy a post-round drink on the Clubhouse patio, knowing you are only a cab ride away from London’s busy west end.

Entrance to Royal Mid-Surrey Golf XClub

OK, so you occasionally have to put up with an Emirates Airlines A380 aircraft making its approach to Heathrow above, but as the saying goes “You can’t have your cake and eat it!”

So, coupled with a golfing history that some clubs would kill for, there is much to enjoy at this pretty golf club.

In summary, this is a great club and a well-maintained course that you should add to your ‘bucket list’.

Here’s our summary of the day we played there.

White Hart Statue at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club - Course Review

The History

This Royal Parkland golf course was established in 1892 and has played host to many famous golfers and sportsmen alike. 

It was none other than 5 times open champion, JH Taylor, who originally designed the layout and personally oversaw the sculpting and landscaping of the course.

The club was formed in 1892 and, surprisingly, immediately accepted both male and female members. 

Membership was 31 shillings (£1.56 today), and the joining fee was the same.

The course is built around what was once the King’s Observatory, built in 1768-9 by George III.

However, it was King George V who bestowed its royal status on the club in 1926 when his son, The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, became captain.

Taylor himself remained at the club until 1946 and, along with greenkeeper, Peter Lees, developed many features to relieve the otherwise flat landscape. 

Taylor handed over the role of club professional to Henry Cotton who was succeeded by his assistant, Max Faulkner. Faulkner continued until 1953.

But wandering the Clubhouse corridors, you will find much more than royalty and golfing greats. We even found original images of WC Grace.

We were lucky enough to also find the original putter used by JH Taylor to win the 1913 Open Championship at Royal Hoylake, the venue for this year’s tournament.

JH Taylor & WC Grace

The Clubhouse

Upon entering the long driveway up to the new Clubhouse, you are greeted by a large statue of a white heart – the symbol of ‘royalty’ in the late 18th Century.

You then enter a very modern, but tastefully designed building, with a vast ceiling and glass wall vistas that overlook almost every part of the course and grounds.

The old pavilion-style clubhouse was destroyed by a fire (still an unsolved mystery) that changed the course of history for Royal Mid-Surrey and sadly, saw many of the club’s trophies and memorabilia gone forever.

In 2003, the clubhouse was rebuilt to welcome new members, reflecting a more diverse London.

This is also borne out by the plaque of ‘sister’ clubs the course partners with around the world, including Royal Melbourne, Royal Calcutta Golf Club, and Hong Kong Golf Club to name a few.

Pam Barton Room - Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club

The Course

There are two golf courses at Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club

  • The JH Taylor
  • The Pam Barton

This review focuses on the JH Taylor course.

The first thing to note is how well-maintained the place is. From the Putting Area to the first tee box and the starter’s welcome, you know you are going to enjoy the day.

We were lucky we had the sun on our back all day and no one in front or behind us. This really is a millionaire’s golf.

The course begins with a gentle Par 3, protected by bunkers with fine sand, all beautifully raked. However, the 2nd hole, Par 5, soon establishes in your head that it’s going to be a challenging afternoon.

The course then meanderings up and down before following the banks of the Thames until you reach the 8th

Here stands the King’s Observatory which, today, is a private residence. What a delight to be surrounded by such manicured fairways, all viewed from your living room window, we mused to ourselves.

Of course, the tee boxes are perfect. And the greens are as good as you’d play anywhere in London, but beware of the ‘rough’. 

A couple of yards errant of the fairway and you may not find your ball. Is this the Greenkeepers having fun with us?

The standout holes:

Hole 2 – A 509-yard Par 5, flanked my ‘mogul like bumps’, finishing on a big flat green to give you a chance.

Hole 8 – 185-yard Par 3, across a pretty water feature, with raised and beveled green (see below).

Hole 11 – 141-yard Par 3, slightly uphill, protected by a large front bunker, the green is hidden from the tee and surrounded by mature trees.

Hole 14 – A 490-yard straight Par 5, but leave a shortish approach as this green is small!

Hole 18 – A 391-yard Par 4 and a superb finishing hole. This wide fairway, slowly rising with big open bunkers to avoid, finishes on a huge, flat green, right in front of the Clubhouse.

Food & Green Fees

We dined in the Pam Barton room with its tasteful and modern décor. 

The food was as good as you will find in any renowned London Restaurant. 

This room is ideal for anyone wishing to entertain clients, business associates, or friends.

Although a private members club, society bookings are welcome. 

Call 0208 940 1894

Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club and Course, Richmond, London - May 2023 - The Social Golfer v9

Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club – The Verdict

What a treat! Right in the heart of London, there a superb Clubhouse vistas and a challenging but fair golf course. 

Beautiful parkland views, history, and mystery included.

One small criticism, as with most members’ clubs, there is limited signage between holes – something paramount for the visiting golfer. 

However, this is not something that will cause you too many problems, as most tee boxes can be found close to the previous hole’s green.

Overall, we had a superb day. If you are lucky enough to be invited, accept straight away!

TSG Verdict: 4.5/5.0


By Ian Mullins

For more information, visit our course page – Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club Reviews >>