Last Friday I was at Woking Golf Club; founded in 1893 and consistently ranked in the UK top 100 it was the very first of the great Surrey and Berkshire heathland courses. However, 58 straight days without rain this summer has left its fairways in a sorry state and placing was not only operative but difficult to find some grass to put your ball on.
What a joy therefore to come to back to the Midlands and Wonderful Walmley! Not only were the fairways verdant but they were immaculately presented. All the approaches were mown with a crosscut, giving the whole course an appeal that leaves the player with a desire to come back again and again.
And then there are the greens:
I walked very carefully across the 18th, to put out the nearest the pin marker, because I almost felt it was sacrilege to stand on something that looked like £60 per-square-meter, green Axminster. Little wonder then that everyone was complementary, both on the day and in the follow up emails I have received.
In a chat with Steve Carter, Walmley’s super-pro, I was somewhat disappointed for the club when I found out that their enormous efforts to build a new clubhouse and provide much needed sports facilities for the local community, have been thwarted by a new head planner. I really hope they can resolve this problem because the course deserves it.
The quality of work is always directly linked to the amount of pride taken in it. But another huge contributing factor at Walmley must be that 6 of the 7 green keepers are category one golfers; they are clearly producing a course in the way that they expect it to be for themselves. I mentioned this to some of the players on Monday and one (who will remain nameless) said that must explain the situation at his home club, where the head green keeper is a dominoes champion