Walton Heath 2021
This is a special place!
The true magnitude of the heathland astonished many players when they walked over the road and through the hedge, to witness for the first time the uninterrupted vista that is the extent of 35 holes of golf.
With very few trees, this remains one of the last, true heathland golf courses, unadulterated by self-sets or the fashion for tree planting in the mid part of the twentieth century. Although unusual today, this is how heathland courses used to be. The absence of trees, 575 feet above see level on the North Downs means that when the wind blows, it is said to be the nearest one gets to playing links golf inland.
The absence of trees, coupled with the fact that the courses are not especially long would have you believe that scoring would be reasonably easy. Heather lined fairways coupled with rapid, subtle, undulating greens proved otherwise.
The wind was not blowing during our two day visit. Uninterrupted sunshine, temperatures in the high twenties and a light zephyr, that occasionally reached one-club strength, provided even less excuse to those who were missing the fairways and taking their medicine in the heather. The key to playing these courses is straight hitting and good putting.
It was a delight to take Teetours to Walton for the first time, as I spent two days looking at smiling faces.
The courses are only part of the equation that made it a delight, the food was super and the staff in both the office, bar and dining room were excellent. Providing a most pleasant “nothing too much trouble” service.
Among the great names associated with Walton Heath, the one that astounds, is the first club professional, James Braid. He won The Open five times. He beat his age in both his sixties and his seventies; and only missed by one shot repeating the feat in his eighties. But, for those who played last week, the most outstanding achievement is the fact that he had a two on every, yes, every one of the 36 holes of golf. In our two days of golf, with sixty four players, only five two’s were recorded!
The twist of having all four scores to count on the last three holes made an interesting change and one that I think we will take to Burnham next month.
I negotiated the rate for this first visit with the original intention that we would be there in March. Lockdown meant a postponement. Fortune then fell our way on two counts, courtesy of the golf club: We were offered an alternative date for the beginning of June and, very benevolently, at the same rate that would have been for March - Happy days indeed!!
I am proud of all those who attended; they conducted themselves in a manner that has lead the club to offer us a return next year. The dates of which have yet to be finalised.