If there is a more quintessential English golf club than Sunningdale Golf Club, we would very much like to visit it. Situated to the south west of London, close to Ascot, there are two fabulous eighteen holes available to visitors at Sunningdale. The Old Course opened in 1901 and the New Course, in 1923. The former was designed by Willie Park Jnr and the latter by Harry Colt. The club was founded in March 1900 following a meeting of prospective members in central London, and shortly after that 100 of them were found to pay a £100 bond to the club. When Sunningdale was designed, the gutty ball was in its last throes, but that said it was even a long golf course for mere mortals. According to the esteemed golf writer Bernard Darwin, the invention of the “Haskell ball was a blessing to the course” as it made it that little bit more playable.
Sunningdale is a beautiful blend of heathland, heather, woodland, hills, and valleys and would not originally, I’m sure, have been the first place that would jump to mind for a golf course, however, Willie Park Jnr thought otherwise. What he created has pretty much stood the test of time, with only minor amends as a result of the New course coming along in terms of reorganization. The course has as you would expect hosted many an amateur and professional tournament down the years. Perhaps the most famous rounds, albeit not record-breaking were those played by Bobby Jones in qualifying for the Open in 1926. The fact he shot 66, 68 is not as impressive as the fact that contained in those 36 holes were only one five, and one two!
Of the New, much has again remained the same since the course was laid out by Harry Colt in 1922 with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 11th through to the 17th are all original Colt holes. The original 12th hole that Colt created was over 600yards long and would lend a lot of weight to the timely introduction of the new Haskell golf ball.
Both the Old and New courses are widely recognized as some of the most beautiful inland courses in the UK & Ireland.
Out on the golf course, one of our favorite holes on the Old has got to be the 10th. At 475yards the elevated tee box affords one of the best views of the golf course. The drive is played down into the valley with fairway bunkers left and right that need to be avoided. The green is one of the larger on the course, but it is challenging to find the pin from the left side of the fairway. A couple of bunkers protect left and right, but shouldn’t cause too much trouble as they are set back from the green, one of the more undulating on the golf course. The Old also has one of the best finishing holes that you will find in this part of England. This 432yard par four is initially played slightly uphill before dog-legging to the right. A decent drive between the fairway bunkers, but up the left side is necessary to see the green and not be blocked out by the trees on the right. A mid-iron to the green will remain, however, anything slightly under hit will find the desert of cross bunkers 50 yards short. Four sand traps protect the green, two right and two left, all of which were left behind because of German bombing in WWII. There is also an out of bounds line over the back left of the green, making this a great, and severe, finishing hole.