Founded in 1893 and the oldest of the Surrey heathland courses, Woking Golf Club is a traditional club with immense character and ranked 17th in Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses in England.
In the 2020 Distance Insights Report, the USGA and R&A concluded, ‘most golfers don’t hit the ball very far and yet most still play from pretty ambitious tee boxes’.
Woking Golf Club was aware that for some of its existing golfers and beginners, a 120-yard carry over heather could be daunting. The club wanted its senior members to continue to enjoy their game for as long as possible and, at the same time, sought ways to cultivate new interest in golf from younger audiences and attract a wider, more inclusive membership. Appealing to a broader, more diverse customer base would offer the club potential for increasing future revenue opportunities and ultimately result in a more sustainable business.
Listening to members, hearing their experiences and finding out what they wanted helped the club to shape its plans for a two-phase, 18-tee programme.
The first phase would improve playability, creating a course and slope rating that excited, but would be much more suited to different golfers’ abilities and also address what can be seen as a stigma associated with blue forward tees.
Secondly, the project would address the ecological diversity of the historically significant heathland habitat, which requires active management if it’s not to degenerate into woodland or simply be mown. Founded in 1893 Woking is one of the world’s oldest heathland courses, so the challenge would be to respect and restore the health, maintaining a desirable balance between golf and ecology.