Walton Heath's greatest claim to fame is that in more than 100 years they only had three club pros. James Braid kicked off till the War, Harry Busson, a great club-maker in his day, was next, and Ken Macpherson during the last 30 years or so. Such loyalty would at least in part be due to the endless pleasure of playing Walton's two courses. While the Old holds pre-eminence, it is only just; these are two similar courses stretched out side by side across fairly level heath-land. There's scarcely a house to be seen and a lot of the pleasure of playing here is the undisturbed calm as you deal with one good hole after another. Trees have grown up over the years on what was wide open common land at the start, but the difficulties are usually provided by tight bunkering of both fairways and greens and short wiry heather if you manage to avoid those. These courses are quite high up on the downs and pretty open to the elements, so what with the sandy soil, heather, pine and birch, there is much of the seaside about the courses here. No surprise then that the club has long attracted top class amateur golfers as members.
The Old Course here is the senior but only by a three or four years, yet has always been the one they have chosen on which to hold tournaments and championships. And there have been plenty. For a long spell in the middle of the last century Walton Heath was owned by the Carr family, proprietors of the News of the World, and for many years they sponsored the professional match play championship. That came to an end when the World Match Play Championship started at Wentworth in the mid 1960s. The European Open was started here in 1978 and a few times afterwards and in 1981 America brought probably their strongest team ever for the Ryder Cup and had the last of their resounding, one sided triumphs. All theses events and sundry English and county championships were played on the Old Course. Despite that there is little to chose between the two courses; they are similar length, style and make up. In truth the New has been altered less than the Old, which lost its 8th green and 9th hole entirely when the M25 was built. Certainly give yourself the chance to play both when in this part of the world.