Golf is essential to English life. With 2,213 courses, England is one of the countries with the most places to enjoy golf. Of all 47 counties, there is an exceptional one where golf is more than present. And that is Surrey. It has several of the most select clubs and some of the most famous designs on the British Isles. Sunningdale, Wentworth, and Walton Heath are some of the most well-known sites: Hankley Common, Woking, St George’s Hill, Kingswood, Silvermere and Hoebridge. Each has its style, but all have one element in common: their superb golf courses.
The name of Surrey comes from the expression “suther-ge”, which means “southern district”. The origin of this county is said to date from 345, under the name Suthrigerkat.
There are many high-ranking clubs in Surrey. For example, the renowned and exclusive Wentworth Club, located in Virginia Water, hosts one of the most important tournaments on the European Tour every year: the BMW PGA Championship. This competition brought together several of the best golfers in the world year after year. It was won by figures such as the English Nick Faldo, Luke Donald, Paul Casey, Danny Willet, Tyrell Hatton, the Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and the Scots Colin Montgomerie and Andrew Oldcorn. Also among its illustrious champions, the Spaniards Severiano Ballesteros, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Ignacio Garrido.
The vital thing to know is that there are fantastic golf courses around London, many of them open to the general public. In other words, you do not need to be a member to play on these fab courses.
Here we share some of the best designs in Surrey based on our team of experts’ most trusted recommendations.
As the American Arnold Palmer once said: “I have always considered Sunningdale one of the great golf courses in Europe”. Also, the German Bernhard Langer expressed something similar: “It’s one of the all-time great courses. It’s a wonderful course (The Old), and it’s always presented in great form. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Sunningdale”.
A truth universally acknowledged by most golfers–dead or alive–is that the two courses at Sunningdale Golf Club are recognised as some of the best in England.
For many, The Old is the best inland course in the country. The design belongs to Willie Park Jr, who achieved something always sought after by golfers: the desire to play on the same course repeatedly. Harry Colt achieved a similar effect on the new course, but it is worth noticing that it is a different but equally attractive design.
The club was founded in 1900 in Berkshire and has since hosted several of the most prestigious tournaments, including the British Masters, Walker Cup, Women’s British Open, and The Senior Open Championship.
Another gem in Surrey is St George’s Hill Golf Club. This is an eminent club in Weybridge, with an original Harry Colt design consisting of three 9-hole courses.
The panoramic views from the imposing clubhouse are a trademark of this idyllic location. It is considered one of the best Colt designs. Mr Colt also designed and redesigned golf courses in many different parts of the United Kingdom and other countries. It has also hosted relevant tournaments, including the British PGA Matchplay and the Vagliano Trophy.
If there is a world-class play in Surrey, it is the Wentworth Club. One of the most exclusive golf institutions in Europe, it is located in the heart of Virginia Water, the headquarters of the European Tour.
The West Course is the most famous, also designed by Harry Colt. It comprises three golf courses. Every year, the club hosts the BMW PGA Championship, one of the most exciting dates on the European Tour calendar.
Among other important competitions, it was here where the 1953 Ryder Cup and the World Match Play Championship were played between 1964 and 2007. For many of the top golfers in the world, it is one of the best clubs in the world. As Rory McIlroy points out: “It is a place I always like to return to.”
The property is surrounded by the Wentworth Estate, one of the most expensive private estates in the London suburbs. Many famous golfers live there, and different celebrities have homes. Without a doubt, it is one of the most exclusive areas in England.
Another institution that we cannot fail to mention is Woking Golf Club. It was founded in 1893, and its design fell under the talent of Mr Tom Dunn. The club is nestled in a dream location and is open to all who wish to play, except on weekends reserved only for members. In 1926, on the occasion of the Walker Cup, the American Robert “Bobby” Jones played in Woking in a memorable match that was won by the British.
Finally, we cannot dare omit Coombe Hill Golf Club among one of our favourite golf institutions. Its design was by John Abercromby, whose outline is characterised by its undulations and blind shots. Opened in 1911, it is considered one of the most beautiful places near the English capital.
The list of golf clubs around Surrey is extensive:
... and so many more.
Ultimately, it is just about making the decision, visiting the outskirts of London and indulging in some of the best golf courses in the world.