The Royal Golf Club at Riffa Views

Here is a before and after shot from the par 4, 6th hole at The Royal Golf Club, Riffa Views. We worked with Colin Montgomerie at Riffa Views and the course opened at the end of 2008. It’s a links style golf experience in the desert, with fast running fairways and open approaches into huge, firm contoured greens.

Above: Here is the 6th hole as it looks today.

Above: Here is the 6th hole during construction in 2007.

‘Ticking-off’ Huntercombe

EGD can thank my mother-in-law for the chance to experience Huntercombe. She doesn’t visit us very often, but on one weekend not so long ago her presence meant that I was able to steal away for that most precious of experiences, a Sunday twilight game. Not being a member of a club round these parts, I was looking at paying a green fee somewhere. The obvious choice was the local pay-and-play track. Perfectly adequate and a decent price, but decidedly unfulfilling. Nagging at my mind was the fact that for nigh on 20 years I’d been meaning to tick Huntercombe off my list of must plays. Ever since driving past it in 1992 with my former colleagues at Hawtree on our way to play Billingbear Park, supplemented by repeated reminders courtesy of the iconic photograph in Fred Hawtree’s golf design bible, this historic Willie Park Junior course had been permanently on my radar, but had never quite appeared within my golfing horizons. Finally, here was an opportunity to address this omission. It was a lovely afternoon and the pro had confirmed the course would take my green fee, so within 50 minutes of heading out of the driveway, I was teeing it up on the quirky par 3 opener. 5 minutes later, after what I’m informed is the customary 3-putt, I was well on my way. It was a good choice. Huntercombe is amazing.

Rarely have I played a course that was so involving for every single shot. There was always a decision to be made; a risk to be assessed; a choice as to how to play the next shot. Topping it off was a set of some of the most interesting putting surfaces ever conceived. This is a design that has remained largely untouched since Willie Park Junior laid the course out in 1900-01 at roughly the same time as he was designing Sunningdale. More than a century later the course is still a captivating experience for the modern golfer. All this on a course laid out over modest terrain on a compact site. There is a lot that the modern golf architect can learn from the study of a course like this, most specifically what is it about the design which has given the course an appeal so enduring that it has remained largely preserved for 110 years?

With this in mind I went back to the EGD design office the following day and suggested that we try to arrange a study trip to Huntercombe. Generally, getting more than two of us in the same place at the same time is a task akin to herding cats, but on this occasion and perhaps encouraged by the prospect of a decent round of golf, five of us were able to commit to making the trip. I made the arrangements through Huntercombe’s genial and very helpful secretary, Nick Jenkins and within a couple of weeks we were out of the door early one afternoon and heading up into the Chilterns. Nick had very kindly arranged for Course Manager Neil McCarthy-Primett to accompany us on a walking tour of the course prior to our game. Neil has been at Huntercombe for years and so was able to fill us in with a wealth of information to supplement our own study of the layout. It was the first time that either Jeremy, Ross, Dave or Alex had ever seen the course and I think I can safely write on their behalf that they were all wholly impressed with what they saw.

For me it is the intricacy of the design that sets it apart. Everywhere you look there are humps, bumps, pits and hollows. Often these hazards have to be hit over at some point on the journey from tee to green. Other times they jealously guard the flanks. Never can they be ignored. Longer hitters will often have to keep the driver in the bag to sacrifice length for precision, which is probably the main reason why it is still a relevant design to this day. The integrity and length of the approach shots has been preserved by the necessity to keep the ball out of the fierce hazards from the tee. It definitely has penal undertones, consistent with the time it was conceived. That is no bad thing. Neil recounted the fact that the club had had to reroute the 6th fairway away from a parallel road and how, in so doing, he had been forced, much to his regret, to fill in one of the chasms. This is a club that knows and honours the value of its course design. Some of the greens are classic museum pieces. The 8th is the obvious showcase example. A giant four foot tier separates the green into two distinct zones, with the narrow upper tier then sloping away to the back of the green. Check your indemnity insurance cover if you ever try to do that these days! Perhaps the only downside to the way the course has evolved is that it is now far too choked with trees and scrubby undergrowth. The specimen trees are beautiful but the thick colonizing clag in between makes it quite a dark, enclosed course in places. Late in the day, the sun burst spectacularly through the heavy, overcast skies, but the sunbeams never had a chance to illuminate the fairways.

We rounded off the day with a brisk pair of 2-balls. Jeremy dusted off Dave (against the odds) and Alex and myself shared a closely contested halved match. Huntercombe was a joy and an essential visit for anyone with an interest in golf course design. Any architect who can replicate the enduring appeal of Huntercombe in their designs is onto a winner. I am sure we have all got some ideas in our lockers as a result of our trip. Hopefully, more EGD study trips will follow. I’d like to take them to Painswick. Now that will be an eye opener!

Above: Course Manager Neil McCarthy-Primett (left) explains the strategy of Hole 18 to Dave and Alex.

Above: Alpinised mounding and bunkers surround the green of the long par 3 7th hole.

Well played DC!

Along with most of the rest of Britain and Ireland, I spent Sunday July 17 2011 glued to the TV with my fingers crossed, hoping that Darren Clarke was going to make it across the line and win his first major championship. As a fellow quadragenarian, it was nice to see that ‘one of us’ still has what it takes to take on and beat the young pups.

Before he moved back to Portrush, Darren was frequently seen on the streets of Sunningdale, usually at the gents outfitters across the road from our office here at EGD. But it was in Bahrain this January that I got a chance to chat to Darren and it was because of the circumstances of this that I was that bit more pleased than I would already have been to see Darren win the claret jug.

The Volvo Golf Champions, on the course we designed with Colin Montgomerie, had concluded an hour or so beforehand; the crowds had largely dispersed and the tour players were back in their hotels or on their way to the airport. Only one pro remained to chat with the fans and that was Darren. He wasn’t in the private clubhouse bar, but was outside at the public bar and for an hour or more was happy to spend time chatting to all and sundry. He and I spent a good ten minutes chatting about the course, the event and golf design in general. It was a good, open discussion and we even disagreed over a couple of points. When he said he didn’t like the hump in the centre of the 15th fairway, because he couldn’t get his drive past it, I told him to “hit it harder next time!” Well, he’s now qualified to play in the next Volvo Golf Champions, so here’s hoping that the event returns to Bahrain to give him the chance to put my tip into practice! I was too polite to mention his double bogey on the last hole of the tournament, which cost him €21,000…but I think he’s probably got over that by now!

It was nice to see one of the leading players on the tour prepared to kick back with the fans in such convivial surroundings and I know that everybody who was there that night, as we celebrated the end of a very successful event, will have been that extra bit pleased to see Darren win the big one. Well played DC!

A Great Team Effort – Madrid 2018

Robin Hiseman, the architect of the new golf course designed for Madrid’s bid to host the 2018 Ryder Cup, gives a personal insight into his work as the winning bid announcement looms.

The wait is nearly over. On May 17 2011, Ryder Cup Europe will announce which country has been awarded the rights to host the Ryder Cup in 2018.

My involvement with the process is as the golf course architect for the Spanish bid, through my position with European Golf Design.

We were engaged by the Spanish Golf Federation to appraise a selection of potential sites around the capital Madrid, once they had determined that the existing stock of courses were not capable of hosting an event of the scale of a modern Ryder Cup.

We quickly settled on a quite magnificent plot of moorland, adjacent to the town of Tres Cantos, some 15 kilometres north of the city. This outstanding property encompassed 230 hectares of lightly vegetated, open grasslands, with spectacular views towards the Sierra Guadarrama mountain range. It reminded me immediately of the beautiful glaciated terrain of Gleneagles, in Scotland, where the 2014 Ryder Cup will be staged. Indeed, it looked almost like there was a golf course there in the past, so perfectly suited was the terrain to the requirements for a world-class golf course.

It’s all very well having a beautiful site, but the Ryder Cup is about far more than that. Future Ryder Cup venues have to be able to combine a thrilling golf course with the capability of hosting 50,000 fans a day, following just four matches, together with immense merchandising, catering, hospitality and media operations within the confines of the course. At the beginning and the end of the day’s play, these 50,000 people need to be moved into and away from the course quickly, efficiently and comfortably.

Our task in Madrid has been to accommodate all these varied and demanding requirements, without compromise.

After much planning and a fantastic effort from a dedicated and very close-knit team, we believe we have presented a bid package that ticks all of the boxes and will, if selected, be the best European Ryder Cup venue in the history of the event.

My focus has been on the design of the golf course, which, if we get the nod, will for a time be the most scrutinised, analysed and dissected golf course on the planet. So no pressure there then!

Helping me out immensely is the sheer quality of the site at my disposal. It is the most attractive inland golf course site I have ever seen. I love it as it is now, in its raw state, full of wild herbs, broom bushes, Spanish oaks and grazing sheep. I want the golf course to be draped gently over the existing terrain, with the minimum of artifice. We are only going to move earth if we have to. For the most part we will follow the natural contours and preserve the indigenous vegetation outside of the playing corridors.

It is not untypical for a new championship golf course, developed on agricultural or ex-industrial land, to require an earth moving volume of several million cubic metres to reshape and sculpt the land for the purposes of providing an attractive ‘golfscape’. At Tres Cantos, we will move just 200,000 cubic metres and that is mostly accounted for by the construction of the lakes in which we have to store our irrigation water. This is a Ryder Cup venue that has the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment at the very core of its ethos.

Our design has already passed a rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment and our innovative water capture and recycling scheme quite literally defies gravity to ensure that we get the most out of every drop of rain that falls on our land.

Madrileños are passionate about their city and passionate about sport. Madrid’s 2018 Ryder Cup bid reflects this passion. It has been put together by a wonderful team of people who really care that the show they hope to be entrusted with staging is better than it has ever been before. Our work is done for now and our bids fate is in the hands of the Ryder Cup committee. All of us involved can look each other straight in the eye and know that everybody has done the best they can. No stone has been left unturned. No avenue unexplored. May 17 is going to be a big day.

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An Unforgettable Week in Bahrain

When one sets out upon a career as a golf course architect there are a number of goals that one seeks to accomplish along the way; a first green to be built, a first entire hole, 9-holes, 18-holes and so on. But to be associated with the design of a course chosen to play host to the World’s finest golfers with a major European Tour event, which was shown on TV screens in more than 140 countries is about as thrilling…and nerve wracking as this career can get.

It has been my privilege to work with Colin Montgomerie on the design of the Montgomerie Course at The Royal Golf Club, Bahrain, which hosted the inaugural and highly successful Volvo Golf Champions this past week. The tournament was won in thrilling fashion by Paul Casey with a score of 268, 20-under par. Paul was the highest ranked player in a very strong field and all of us associated with the tournament were delighted that the course truly did identify the best player.

Now, with a 20-under winning total you might be thinking that the course was something of a pushover, but this was far from the case. Indeed, it would be fair to say that we’ve had to deal with a degree of criticism about the difficulty of the greens. Tour pro’s have earned the right through their skill to voice (or tweet) their opinion on the courses they play and with the Royal Golf Club being a brand new, untested tournament venue, designed by one of their peers, it was inevitable that it was going to prove to be more of a talking point than an oft-frequented tour venue. Comments were anticipated…and welcomed. It would have been far, far worse if the week had passed by with palpable indifference. The Royal Golf Club is a visually striking, intensely strategic and delightfully quirky golf course, that was designed to bring out a spirit of adventure in the golfer. The club members, our clients, love the course with a passion. Even after two years of play they are still finding new ways to navigate the course, such is the rich vein of ‘local knowledge’ secreted away throughout the holes.

This last week we had 93 of the world’s golfing elite as our invited guests. It is fair to say that the playing agenda of a touring professional is highly refined. They are playing for their living, not for leisure like the other 99.9% of us. The examination paper they faced in Bahrain demanded that they test facets of their game not commonly encountered under tournament conditions. Our greens are highly contoured with hole location areas defined by changes in elevation. Some of these hole location areas are not especially large and can only be approached easily through the correct placement of the preceding tee shot. To give themselves good birdie opportunities the pro’s had to be aggressive and shoot at the pins. If they played conservatively they left themselves with some seriously challenging chips and putts. As the great scoring proved, they coped marvelously, either through hitting it close or through a breathtaking display of short game skills, which highlighted the talent gulf between these guys and the rest of us. It was compelling viewing at the course and produced some of the most stimulating TV coverage you could wish for. My appreciation for their talents has certainly gone up several notches, because I know just how tricky the course is. It was a unique challenge for them, to which some struggled to adapt mentally. As golf design is to a large part a psychological game, I would say that we, as designers were one-up on a few notable players before they’d even got to the 1st tee!

Professional golf is first and foremost an entertainment industry and by that measure the quality of the show the course drew out of the players was truly outstanding, both for those lucky enough to attend in person and for the millions who tuned in around the globe. I cannot conclude without mentioning the spectacular condition of the course prepared by my good friend, Mark Hooker and his dedicated team of assistants. I doubt that the European Tour has been to a more immaculate venue.

Golf Course Architecture is meant to be stimulating, exciting, challenging, beautiful and unforgettable. Monty’s course at the Royal Golf Club has proven itself to be all these things under the most intense scrutiny. All of us involved with the creation of the course are intensely proud of our ‘baby’ and we’ll be taking stock in the coming months to see what we can do to make the course even better for our return as the season opening, Volvo Golf Champions in 2012.

Robin Hiseman

  • Surprise Day 2 Leaders:  It was irresistible!
  • The bonny 12th:  Mark Hooker prepared the course beautifully.
  • With the Champ:  Well played Paul!  A worthy and brave winner.

Cart Paths. Necessary? Evil?

Cart golf is rubbish! You can keep your GPS tracking, complimentary tees, iced water and towels. I prefer to walk. That is the pace at which the game is supposed to be played. You have time to appraise your next shot, take in the scenery and chat to your playing partners. Golf in a cart is an impersonal and hurried affair and heaven forbid you have to stick to the paths, requiring you to haul an armful of clubs on the inevitable trudge to the rough at the far side of the fairway, only to find when you get there that you don’t have the right one! Carts? Not if I can help it.

However, I have a guilty secret. I actually enjoy the design challenge of routing and specifying the cart roads. Does that make me a hypocrite? When I was a young kid I used to scribble down made up grand prix tracks on paper and repeatedly do laps with my stubby HB pencil until I had worn a hole in the paper. I guess laying out cart paths is my outlet for these juvenile doodles. Single or double track? Where should we put the kerbs and parking bays? How about a turning circle, or a nicely cambered corner? How are we going to snake down that steep hill? What should we make it with? Asphalt, concrete, block paving? All these decisions and more are part of the design process. Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, carts are here to stay and its our responsibility as architects to make the cart tracks work as best as we can.

The reasons for having a formal path are numerous, but they will include several of the following. If the site topography is quite severe, a cart is going to be a big help in getting you up, down and around the inclines. There are now plenty of sites that have only been developed for golf because golf carts exist. Whether courses should be developed for that reason is a discussion for another time. Climate can play a big factor. Having worked on a course in Bahrain, it is very much the exception to see somebody walking. It is uncomfortably hot for golf and the cart minimises the physical strain. Resort and real estate courses can be quite strung out between holes and a cart undoubtedly speeds up the transit times between holes. Transit times are one of the main reasons why golf takes longer now. If you average only 3 minutes between putting out and teeing off, you add an hour to the round. Often, it is quite a bit longer than that. Finally, and most pertinently, is the commercial aspects of having carts. Operators will charge you for having a cart and it is a lucrative add-on for them. Taking the above factors into consideration, it is also clear that access to a cart extends the time span and the variety of courses that a golfer with restricted physical movement can play. For that, they are a good thing.

On both projects that I have completed for European Golf Design, we have built a partial cart track system. That is where the path alongside the fairways on par 4’s and 5’s is omitted, ostensibly because the carts will run down the fairways all the time, so there was little point in going to the extra expense of building the road. The first one, in the Czech Republic, was on a course with such limited play that turf wear was never going to be a problem, and the second, in Bahrain, was on a course where the carts were fitted with GPS systems, so they too would be on the grass generally.

Cart tracks never add positively to the landscape, so it is a matter of trying to minimise the detrimental aesthetic impact whilst maximising the functional demands. This isn’t so easy to achieve, as generally the path will be running directly in the line of sight from the tee, where it will be closest to the point of play. I try to route the path to the outside of a doglegged hole, even if this means that the path has to cross the line of play, as it is far easier to obscure and less of a factor in play on the far side of play. Clearly, on straight holes other factor come into play, such as the direction of slope and how the path links in from the previous and to the next holes.

The surface and width of the paths is very important. I used to prefer concrete to tarmac, but a well made tarmac path is usually more visually discrete, unless you’re tying the path into the desert. Our path in the Czech Republic was formed of block paving. It looks great, but having seen it recently, is very susceptible to weed infestation between the blocks. The path should be a minimum of 8-feet (2.4m wide). Less than this and cart drivers will tend to nip across the corners and wear the turf away. Passing bays and two-way traffic requires a 12-foot (3.65m wide path). Paths are also really useful for the maintenance crew, so a good, wide track will contain most, if not all of their vehicles. We’ll put kerbs in on the inside of some corners, or where we want to contain the carts on the path, such as besides tees. One has to be careful with kerbing, because they can easily act as dams if surface water is allowed to collect on the path. It doesn’t even have to be raining. Overspray from the irrigation system can quickly turn a path into a muddy mess if the drainage is wrong.

Golf is a walking game and so it must remain. Whilst I strive to accommodate cart traffic as best as possible, my focus will always be on trying to make the course as user-friendly as possible for the golfer prepared to sling a bag over their shoulder and burn some calories whilst they feel the design under their feet. That is how we want you to experience our work.


Brick paver cart path in construction at Casa Serena

Todos Juntos. All Together for Madrid 2018

Recently, it was my great privilege to be in Madrid to participate in the 2-day presentation ceremony for Spain’s 2018 Ryder Cup bid. We are designing the new course proposed for the event on a magnificent site at Tres Cantos, about 25 kilometres north of the city centre. It was exciting to be an active participant in such a high profile event. Think of the bid presentations you have seen for either the Olympics or the World Cup and you’ll have an idea of the extent of the trouble that the proud city of Madrid went to, to make the Ryder Cup committee of Richard Hills, Scott Kelly, David Maclaren, Edward Kitson and Gordon Simpson feel welcome. It was red carpet treatment from arrival to departure.

My event started on Wednesday morning, where I was picked up from Madrid airport by Juan Jose Abaitua, Madrid’s Bid Director. We went straight to the site at Tres Cantos, where we met Julián de Zulueta from the Spanish Golf Federation. Our task was to locate the greens and tees of the proposed course and put in flags and tee markers, in preparation for a site visit by the Ryder Cup committee the following morning. Followed closely by a troop of greenkeepers armed with strimmers, I marked the locations and within a couple of hours we had cut out all of the greens and tees we needed for the site tour. It is amazing how the addition of a solitary flag can suddenly give a site context and scale. No need to point vaguely into the distance. It was crystal clear what the course routing would be.

Then it was into Madrid to meet up with the bid team for a run through of the formal presentation to be made the following morning. After that it was time for a late dinner and a beer in the bar watching Fulham’s unsuccessful Europa league final against Atletico Madrid. As you can imagine, the locals were pleased with the result and the celebratory rasp of car horns split the cool night air from far and wide across the city until long after midnight.

Early next morning it was time to meet the Ryder Cup committee for the first time and to commence the formal bid presentation. Amongst others, I gave a short talk about the design project and introduced the brilliant computer generated fly through that navyblue had created from our design plans. We were off to a good start, but there was no time to dwell, as we were on a tight schedule. Into the official cars and off to Nuevos Ministerios station, where we all got onto the train to Tres Cantos. They had bedecked a carriage in the official livery of the bid, so we had to be on the right train! Just 25 minutes later and we were in Tres Cantos to be met by the town mayor. The site is just 500 metres from the station, so within minutes I was starting my main task of the event, which was to host the site tour. I gathered the group of 18 guests and officials in a semi-circle at the magnificent clubhouse site and talked them through the concept behind the course. We only had 45 minutes for the site tour, so I had pre-selected several key spots where we all got out of the fleet of 4×4’s and I explained further important features of the site. To be honest, we could have done with another half hour, but we all had to be back in Madrid by noon for the press launch.

I had to break off from the main group, to reprise the earlier introductory presentation for the benefit of the media, before rejoining the main congregation for the official presentation of the bid document, which was attended by several bid ambassadors, led by Seve Ballesteros, Miguel-Angel Jiminez, Miguel Martin and Iker Casillas, of Real Madrid. Whilst the Ryder Cup committee went to a formal lunch, myself and Juan Jose accompanied CNN back to Tres Cantos for a filmed interview. Whilst the Ryder Cup committee’s agenda continued into the evening with a tour of the Bernabeu Stadium and attendance of the Madrid Tennis Masters, myself and some of the bid team went out for a well deserved meal.

After breakfast the following morning, I joined the main party for a tour of the Torre Espacio, (the Space Tower), one of the tallest skyscrapers in Spain. The building is owned by OHL, the Spanish civil engineering and construction company, who hosted a presentation on the 52nd floor attended by Madrid’s private enterprise partners in support of the bid. To conclude, we all clambered up to the roof of the building, some 774-feet above the ground, for an incredible panorama of the city. For me, that was it. I went back to the airport, whilst the Ryder Cup committee’s visit continued with a trip to the Royal Palace for an audience with HRH The Prince of Asturius.

Madrid put on a tremendous show for the Ryder Cup committee. The support for the bid from Royalty, the government, private enterprise and the sporting authorities is rock solid and Seve’s leadership of the bid ambassadors is a great boost. It was good to see him looking so well. Add to this a fantastic site for the course, what we think is a great design, textbook event staging facilities and transport links and Madrid has a very compelling case to be awarded the 2018 Ryder Cup. We’ll be working hard to make sure that our part of the bargain is of the very highest quality. Exciting times ahead.

Another Notch on the Rack

In 2001, long before employment with EGD appeared on the horizon, I used to write articles for the national golf magazines.  One of these, for the Scottish golf mag, ‘Bunkered’, dealt with the impact of modern technology on the design of our historic golf courses.  To highlight the point I devised an apocalyptic scenario, whereby the R&A were compelled to abandon The Old Course as an Open venue. I  described the last act of its humiliating demise at the hands of a brash, teenage prodigy, who upon receiving the Claret Jug, promptly declares that he is quitting ‘real’ golf to concentrate on the more profitable ‘Virtual Golf World Series’.  The article is reproduced below, so you can read it for yourselves, but in summary, it forecasted the gradual distortion and stretching of The Old Course to match the relentless march of equipment technology, until it is decreed that professional golf has outgrown the Old Course and must move on.

Bunkered Magazine – June 2001 (Click to view PDF)

And so we come to the issue of the day; the extension of the Road Hole by building a new tee on the driving range.  Taken in isolation, it’s a good idea.  It’ll bring the driving zone back by 35 yards and hence make the challenge of the second shot more like it was in ‘the old days™’.  Great!  Problem solved!  Well…hang on a mo.  Is this measure correcting the problem, or merely accommodating it?  We all know that today’s pro golfers are blazing the ball much further than they used to.  A quick scan of the official European Tour driving stats will tell you that 156 golfers average more than 280 yards with their tee shots and 11 top an average of 300 yards!  That is an immense distance to hit a golf ball.  Yet the governing bodies will present statistics that supposedly prove that the golf ball is going only marginally further than it did 20 years ago.  Well, maybe Iron Byron needs to head down to the gym, because that is where the top pro’s are going.  Their better conditioning and swing techniques, combined with better balls, clubheads and shafts are beginning to make the forecast mockery of the Old Course a distinct reality.  Tacking on the odd tee here and there is not tackling the issue that is insidiously corroding the foundations of golf’s most cherished venue.

Back in 1984, Uwe Hohn trotted up to the plate and hurled a javelin into the air. 104.80 metres away, it came back to Earth.  In that time and distance the history of javelin competition changed forever.  The IAAF officials looked at each other and concluded that if they didn’t do something pretty damn fast, they were going to face the possibility of a steeplechase competitor, or even worse, a member of the crowd being speared.  So they changed the technical specification of the competition javelin and at a stroke knocked 15-20 metres off the throws.  The winner remained the competitor who threw it the furthest.  The value of victory was not diminished by the rule change and the sport continues, 25 years on, to be contained safely within the infield perimeter of a 400-metre track. 

Golf’s governing bodies could learn a lot from this example…

EGD Twilight Golf

The first EGD twilight golf match of the year saw Alex, Dave, Gary and Robin take on the majestic Woking Golf Club, one of the acknowledged classics of golf course architecture. Despite an extremely murky and drizzly evening, it was clear enough to see that anyone with a professional interest in golf course design should be making a beeline to this outstanding heathland course. It is an object lesson in thoughtful, economic, strategic design, topped off by a simply wonderfully conceived set of greens. I have no doubt that we will be making several return trips as the summer progresses.

As for the golf, it was Gary who came away with the honours, with a very impressive 40 stableford points off a scarcely credible 12 handicap. So scarce is his credibility off that handicap that he is forthwith cut to 10 for EGD matches! Dave and Robin scratched around the 30 point mark and as for Alex….well let’s say he enjoyed the scenery.

  • The clubhouse at Woking Golf Club. The club was founded in 1893 and is the oldest of the Surrey heathland courses. Tom Simpson designed the course and it is currently 77th on the list of the top 100 courses in Britain.