Referred to by locals as the “Outer” course this JH Taylor layout plays around the shorter Pam Barton (Inner) course, which was also designed by Taylor. Located in Richmond you will skirt Kew Gardens and the River Thames on your journey around this attractive parkland course.
Founded in 1892, Royal Mid Surrey has a distinguished history and can boast former Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, as a member whilst The Prince of Wales was club captain in 1926 and Alexander Grant, inventor of the digestive biscuit, also played here!
Most of the front nine is quite tight with tree-lined fairways requiring accurate driving, most likely with a 3-wood, before the course opens up a little bit more on the back nine and where the excellent bunkering becomes more prominent and in focus.
The bunkering is indeed the highlight of the course. The fairway traps are well located whilst the greenside pits fit in sympathetically to the surrounds and help showcase the new green complexes, many of which are raised and feature gentle swales, hollows and run-offs around them.
The other hazard you will find here are the many grassy humps and hollows which were originally created by Taylor and recently the club invested substantial funds to maintain them. Most of them are not directly in play but all kinds of awkward stances and lies can be had if you do find them. Water also comes into play on a few holes to add to the challenge.
The lack of elevation changes mean there are few really memorable holes but there is a pleasing consistency to the course. I was particularly impressed with the final two holes, both par fours, where the approach and greenside bunkering is excellent. At the 17th the green is pushed-up whilst at the last some angled cross-bunkers hide the putting surface and mess with your distance perception, not for the first time in the round.
The course plays 6,402 yards from the competition tees but par is only 69 so expect some long approaches and you better be on your toes from the start as the opener is a 225-yard par three!
The new £5.5m clubhouse, opened in 2003 by HRH Duke of York after the original building was destroyed in a fire, is an impressive structure that helps cater for the 1,200 members. Practice facilities are very good too.
Following a day of heavy rainfall, but months of dry weather, the course played extremely well; the fairways were firm and the greens ran well on my visit in mid-May.
Following a 4:00am alarm call we’d already driven for more than six hours and covered over 350 road miles before boarding a ferry at Oban sailing to Lochboisdale.
The Halifax Golf Club, often better known as Ogden, is a course that divides opinion.