Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Course celebrates its 125-year anniversary this year, so what better time for us to go and check it for ourselves...
The course boasts two 18-hole courses Pam Barton and JH Taylor formerly known as the Inner and the Outer respectively.
Situated just 20 minutes outside of Central London in Richmond, it is set in the beautiful Old Deer Park backing onto the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and was bestowed its Royal status in 1926, although the association has links with royalty stretching back to Plantagenet times.
John Henry Taylor is the course architect of both courses at Royal Mid-Surrey and was the first club professional before Sir Henry Cotton. He was born in Devon in 1871 and has won The Open Championship a total of five times and is a founder of the PGA.
The club is bestowed with history and character that is evident from the clubhouse to the course.
The old clubhouse was destroyed by a fire back in 2001, which was rebuilt incorporating the traditional feel into the modern building. HRH the Duke of York reopened the new clubhouse in 2003, costing a total of £5.5 million.
Over one of the flight paths from London Heathrow you will see and hear planes overhead the whole way round, but it doesn’t detract from the golf.
The main course at the club is the JH Taylor and the one GolfMagic had the pleasure of playing. Built on flat land, Taylor made sure to leave his signature mark with many grassy humps and hollows that surround the fairways and greens giving everyone who ends up there a rather tricky shot out with an unnatural stance.
Measuring a total of 6,402 yards, it's not a long course by any means, but it does require both length and accuracy from the tee.
Two par 5’s and seven of the par 4’s measure over 400 yards, making it a test for just about any golfer. Bernard Gallacher holds the record here with a 64 (5-under), which says a lot when you consider a number of Tour professionals have graced the surface.
There are two distinct nines on the course and the first nine being much tighter along the boundaries of Kew - and there are some absolute belters to start things off.
A tough opening tee shot greets you at the first with a testing 225-yard par 3 to a small green flanked with bunkers, while the second presents a tight par 5 with mature oak tress lining the fairway. The sensible move here is to not get too greedy with your drive and get onto the green in three shots.
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The third and the fourth holes are tricky doglegs with strategically placed bunkers and hollows just off the fairway, and it doesn't get much easier at the fifth with a testing par 3 featuring a raised green and two large bunkers covering the front - trust me, you do not want to finish up short of the green here!
Things get a little bit easier around the turn and into the back nine, which is laid out in front of you and much more open than the front which gives you more room for error with wayward drives. However, should you miss the fairway you will still be punished by deep rough and the mounds that have become synonymous with the JH Taylor designed course.
One of our favourite holes on the course is definitely at 18 - a fantastic finishing hole with your target being the Pagoda at Kew behind the green.
A straight tee shot is required to find the middle of the fairway as bunkers and grass hollows line the fairway. The green is one of the largest on the course and if you find the putting surface you should get down in two. Should you catch the bunker short of the green, you will find yourself with a devilishly tricky bunker shot.
All in all, Royal Mid-Surrey is a little gem. It's a very well maintained golf course designed in a beautiful setting close to the heart of London. Do not let the length misguide you into thinking it will be an easy test. The putting surfaces are particularly smooth and true, but that's hardly surprising given they're USGA specification greens and have taken on considerable investment.
Price: £100 (Day Rate) Mon-Fri
For more information please go to the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club website