New Zealand Golf Club, Addlestone - Tales from the 19th
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In his latest visit to a Surrey golf club, our expert John Whitbread, of the Surrey Golf Partnership, shines a light on one of the most discreet but highly respected clubs not only here in Surrey but in the country
In the November edition of Surrey Life, I explained why the East at Wentworth is my favourite, despite being the least famous of the three championship courses at the iconic Virginia Water club.
Now I would like to reveal some of the delights of a club that is among the least known but most highly rated in Great Britain, not just the Home Counties.
New Zealand GC, a few miles south of Chertsey, has a fascinating quirkiness to it and a very individual style.
Pass through the discreet gates of the club and you are transported into a golfing oasis of the finest kind where time seems to stand still, shielded from the ever-increasing urgency of 21st century life.
This is old-fashioned golf at its best, with friendly members strolling around accompanied by Labradors, and a unique set of dark wooden changing room lockers where the members’ names are printed in white, with a bold line through those having left, or died. If you get a chance, see if you are enough of a Sherlock to spot the one formerly owned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who lived locally at Undershaw in Hindhead. Innovative design Founded in 1895 and designed by Samuel Ferguson, New Zealand was laid out on the estate of HF Locke King, who also built Brooklands, the world’s first motor racing circuit, on his extensive property.
Like the nearby Woking Golf Club, New Zealand has an innovative design, being one of the earliest courses to be routed through dense Surrey heathland.
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In 1931, after Ferguson’s death, Tom Simpson, aided by Philip Mackenzie Ross, was commissioned to perform a major re-design.
At just over 6,000 yards, it is not long by today’s standards. However, it boasts a testing par of 68, especially with six of the par fours being more than 400 yards. Here, accuracy rather than length is de rigueur as the holes, most of which are isolated, weave through avenues of enough birch, beech, oak and heather to catch anything wayward or intemperate.
The course starts with a straightforward par four, although with enough scope off the tee to send a nervous slice through the secretary’s window, which should help to keep you on your toes.
The brilliant, some might say devilish, positioning of the bunkers is best illustrated at the seventh, guarded on the right by a large trap with a heather mound in the middle and another set 10 yards short of the green.
This is a course that requires a full range of shots from almost every club in your bag. If you play well, you will be rewarded. If you have a bad day, you will need the solace of the legendary New Zealand clubhouse catering.
Some people may disparage New Zealand as a modern anachronism. But if you do ever get the opportunity to play there, I urge you to drop everything else to grab the chance of a truly memorable experience.
New Zealand Golf Club, Woodham Lane, Addlestone KT15 3QD. Tel: 01932 340924
The Surrey Golf Partnership comprises 111 clubs, which are also affiliated to the Surrey Golf Union and the Surrey Ladies Golf Union. See surreygolfpartnership.com