Full Course Breakdown
As some of you may know, Walton Heath is little more than an hours drive from my home. I have played here on multiple occasion, both casually and competitively as a professional.
Last year I was extremely fortunate to arrive at Walton Heath to play 36 holes and to my surprise as I walked on to the 1st tee, none other than Justin Rose and his Caddie Fooch were just heading out to scout the course and decide weather or not this would be the venue for this years British Masters.
I have been waiting a whole year to produce thisa write up, poured my heart and sole into giving you as much info as possible and hopefully find us all that edge to results in dollar bills.
Anyway I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions before they get started tomorrow morning please don’t hesitate in getting touch.
Info from the team at Walton Heath.
Over the course of the last few days I have been sourcing as much info as I can and tapping into a few contacts to find as much of an edge for us all, consequently I have conducted some great interviews with those truly behind the scenes and in the know about what has been going on, what is planned and what to expect.
Rather than give you the full interview’s, here’s all the important info:
Course was being complimented heavily by those players taking up some early practice. “Best greens they have putted on all year”
Greens running pure and quick, Although the actual speed leading into the comp shouldn’t be exposed to me I can tell you that they were running at 11’ 3” and pushing 11’ 6” on Tuesdays practice. However due to the potential of stronger winds on Friday the European Tour are considering dropping that speed. I would expect that speed to be below 11’ come Thursday if the winds weren't forecast are true, they would love to keep them quick and maybe speed them up a little, but the main focus is consistency of speed over all 4 day’s.
The fairways are being cut in one direction, all running away from the player, Justin wants the course to play quick and fiery. This request has been aided significantly by natural elements, the fairways are still firm and somewhat scorched in places after the summer we experienced, the lack of significant rain and no fairway watering system on the course. Walton Heaths courses are very much a heathland gem but have many of the qualities and challenges of a links course. The area the venue occupies is fairly exposed and I can most certainly vouch that the course gets considerably tougher and it is more important that every shot is flighted perfectly when that wind starts to sweep across the course’s and the fairways are playing the way they currently are.
Around the greens are very tightly moan and again due to natural growing conditions in places a little scarred from the sun and not offering up much grass beneath the ball. Now I don't really consider that to be a problem. The size of the greens here, the natural way the land sits and how the course can be played it just requires a little more variety in the short game. On Tuesdays practice I tried to observe this as much as I could and found that players were not struggling to hit good shots around the green. their biggest struggle was keeping the ball near the hole. I would say 90% of chip shots run a good to 3ft to 5ft past even when they looked like they had been played perfectly.
The rough around the course has been cut to the same length as the heather. Potential playable lies if they find a patch of grass, but best of luck if that ball ends up in the thick, clubhead grabbing, wrist breaking, sole destroying, incredibly gorgeous purple bush that blankets the heathland floor. I would like to think players are experienced enough to know how evil this stuff is and play sensibly even if massively teased by what looks like a lucky break. But I can guarantee a good few will be made to look very foolish by this stuff.
This course will play a little tougher than what they usually experience here just after the BMW at nearby Wentworth. However due to both the quality of the field and the quality of the greens they are still expecting some for very good scoring. On Justin’s scouting round this time last year, he shot -5 on this layout without really trying. Conditions that day made the course play long but more predictable. At a guess -16 will be the number and that is taking into consideration the storm that is due to cause a little havoc.
The course still plays into the hands of the ball striker. Its a true test of patience. ultimately accuracy and good putting will determine success
Composite Layout: Par 72 (7349 yards) (3 x Par 5’s and 3 x Par 3’s)
Hole 1 (Hole 2 Old Course) Par 4, 435 yards.
I have no doubt the players will be thankful that they will not be starting on the actual 1st of the old course. Nobody likes having to start on a par 3 and especially one that measures close to 240 yards. that being said the 1st of the composite course is no pushover and demands a sensible well thought out start.. Position is key off the tee, the fairway falls away from the players and where the will be landing the ball will be blind.. Bigger hitters may get the driver out and take on the carry over the dogleg and leave nothing more than a flick into the green whereas the majority will most likely hit a 3 wood or driving iron to the bottom of the slope to leave not much more than 8 iron into this large and relatively flat green
Hole 2 (Hole 4 Old Course) Par 5, 519 yards.
This hole traditionally plays as a par 4 and a tough one at that when hitting into the teeth of the wind. However on the day Justin played here to scout the venue he hit a good driver and then 3 wood and only just managed to get it somewhere close to the front edge. Playing directly behind him I ripped a driver and then tried to button a 2 iron under the wind and came up a good 20 short. After completing the hole Justin came up to me and asked if i managed to get there in 2, which i obviously replied nowhere near, not off that tee and into that wind. He then turned to Fooch and said we need to make this start a little less brutal, from there they decided to turn this into a short par 5 to give the field a chance to start well. So theoretically you can thank me for the birdie or better bonus points your players pick up on this hole ;)
Hole 3 (Hole 5 Old Course) Par 4, 437 yards
This was always a strong hole on its own merit, however with the introduction of a new tee this can potential play very long. In fact if memory serves me well Justin was hitting 4 iron into this downhill par 4.. Heather borders the fairway and highlights the importance of hitting a good tee shot. Once in play and from the fairway the green looks relatively small and surrounded with awkward bunkering and little hollows to catch any misdirected approach. The green itself is one of the most complex on the course. Par is always a great score on this hole, even if the wind is helping and the hole playing much shorter than what we experienced this time last year.
Hole 4 (Hole 6 Old Course) Par 4, 427 yards.
A fairly straightforward hole. Off the tee players will be looking to avoid the bunkers down the left to leave not much more than 7 iron into the green. Through personal experience I have always found the task of getting up and down from any miss left, right or long relatively simple and due to the very gentle contouring on the green itself if you do find the dancefloor in regulation it presents a much welcome opportunity to roll that ball in for birdie.
Hole 5 (Hole 7 Old Course) Par 3, 183 yards
Gorgeous little par 3 very synonymous with the styling found across the great heathland courses found throughout Surrey. Players will be hitting something between 8 and 6 iron off the tee. The green guarded by bunkering short right that although not a disastrous really should be avoided as the green slopes from right to left and away from the bunker. Of course this all very much depends on the pin positioning and i would expect players of this calibre to comfortably get up and down 90% of the time with any miss around the green.
Hole 6 (Hole 8 Old Course) Par 5, 558 yards.
A Solid Par 5 awaits the players on the 6th. The yardage would suggest the majority of the field will have no problem reaching in 2. However, playing progressively uphill the entire length of the hole and playing slightly into the prevailing wind it will take two very good blows to get home in 2 and set up an eagle opportunity. Not much trouble off the tee or around the green so walking off this hole with par will, as it should be with a par 5, result in losing ground on the rest of the field.
Hole 7 (Hole 9 Old Course) Par 4, 400 yards
Personally I love this hole, but maybe that’s because its been incredibly good to me over the years playing here. Slight dogleg from right to left and downhill off the tee. If players pull the tee shot they may find themselves tangled up in the heather or even worse stuck behind the grouping of trees that block the direct route to the green. New bunkering at the front left catches the eye when playing into the green but this hole should cough up its fair share of birdies.
Hole 8 (Hole 10 Old Course) Par 4, 442 yards
This can look like quite an intimidating tee shot, heather all down the right side, trees down the left and a bunker on the left guarding against anyone playing to safe from the tee. From the fairway the approach is usually played off a down slope into an elevated and relatively undulating green, key here is not to miss long or left, anything else offers a fairly simple up and down.
Hole 9 (Hole 11 Old Course) Par 3, 189 yards.
With their only being 3 par 3’s on offer you would hope that each are as good as one another and here at Walton Heath they will certainly achieve that. When stood on the tee, the hole looks like it plays much longer than the yardage suggests and often you see players through the back leaving a tough chip back down the slope. Hit the green, 2 putt and be happy with that par, plenty more birdie opportunities await. That being said when were looking for 3 birdies in a row bonus points this hole could be vital as the next 2 holes offer very easy chances.
Hole 10 (Hole 12 Old Course) Par 4, 396 yards.
Here comes big birdie opportunity. Players will have the choice off the tee to hit an iron and leave a perfect wedge distance into the green or be bold and try to hit driver somewhere close to the green. The later of the two options is by far my favourite play but there’s always the risk of getting tangled up in a patch of wiry heather
Hole 11 (Hole 13 Old Course) Par 5, 529 yards.
Cracking par 5 with a very easy birdie opportunity. That’s if the holes played sensibly and players don’t get to drawn in with idea of cutting the corner and blasting the ball over the prominent fairway bunker on the right. hidden behind the bunker is a blanket area of heather, unless very lucky anything that ends up in there takes away the chance of hitting the green in 2. The approach itself needs to be landed short and chased in towards the pin. Expect some great scoring on this hole and Im even thinking we may see an Albatross (Double Eagle) here this week.
Hole 12 (Hole 12 New Course) Par 4, 451 yards
What a hole this 12th of the new course is and that start of a stretch of holes were damage limitation is posiblly more important than picking up strokes. The tee set miles back from the fairway with copious amounts of heather framing the entire hole. The hole plays very much downhill but still requires a very good tee shot to get into the position to hit something shorter into what is probably the smallest a trickiest green on the layout.
Hole 13 (Hole 13 New Course) Par 4, 465 yards
Usually played as a par 5, but in all honesty very much a pushover when the guys have played here in US Open Qualifying. However for this event Justin has decided to push the tee up a little bit, to bring the fairway bunkering into play and turn it into a par 4 and what should be a great test for the entire field.
Hole 14 (Hole 14 Old Course) Par 4, 470 yards
Another hole usually set up as a par 5 but once again slightly reduced in length to create a very good downhill par 4. The fairway is generous but as always anything missing on either side has bunkers to avoid and more crucially the dreaded heather. it will be very interesting to see the boys take on this hole as a par 4, especially as the green was designed to reward wedge shots and only reward the very best of longer iron shots (when played as a par 5)
Hole 15 (Hole 15 Old Course) Par 4, 408 yards
A good drive will only leave the guys a short wedge into a very large green and a hole where we can expect to see a good few birdies. However a miss right off the tee that ends up in the awkward bunkering down the left, could leave players scratching their heads as to how their going to keep bogey off the card without too much stress. the green itself is horrible to read. the natural way the land lies plays tricks on your eyes and it never surprises me to see players considered to be fantastic with the short stick, completely misreading their putt and quite frankly looking a bit foolish.
Hole 16 (Hole 16 Old Course) Par 4, 475 yards
Justin has really tried to spice up this fantastic layout and make it a much tougher test than what the boys who always came here for US Open Qualifying. Yet again he has converted what is usually a par 5 into a par 4. Playiny to its new yardage and new par this hole will really test the oplayers nerve as they come down the final stretch, especially as we draw to wards the end of play on Sunday afternoon.
Hole 17 (Hole 17 Old Course) Par 3, 206 yards
Probably the most testing of the par 3’s and most definitely one of the better holes to spectate on and watch the players flush their mid to longer irons into. Played across a valley into a narrow but deep green. Bunkers protect the front corners and anything short will leave a very testing pitch up the severe slope, but the real test comes on the green itself. Simple in design but very tricky to read.
Hole 18 (Hole 18 Old Course) Par 4, 404 yards
Not the toughest of finishing holes, but one where players can ill afford to become complacent. Most will only be hitting a short iron into the green but judging the distance is absolutely crucial, anything short will spin back down the slope and towards the front of the green leaving a tough 2 putt and anything too long runs the risk of flirting with out of bounds that sits only 2 or 3 paces from the greens edge.
Tuesdays Practice on the Course
Well that was about the least organised practice day I have ever seen and probably the least attended as well. Trust me this isn't a complaint I loved every second of it as I got a chance to basically be inside the ropes with the players when appropriate and a chance to really inspect the course and get a first hand flavour of every shot there going to be faced with.
Obviously I didn't get a chance to see everyone play but when certain players caught my eye for whatever reason I followed and for a few and move on to the next group. Of course there was the occasional plotting up at a good spot on a few occasions as well, after all my feet still haven't recovered from clambering around at Le Golf National a couple of weeks back.
I saw a lot of good golf in fairly calm conditions, I did also see a good chunk of some awful golf and even a club snap after a bad chip from one of the Spanish players.. which resulted in me helping the caddie search for the grip end that got tossed deep into the thick stuff. Needless to say he hasn't made the write up.
Tuesdays Practice on the Range and Putting Green
The range is always where I get the best feel for where the players are with their game. Seeing how there hitting it, what their working on is always a big clue but often just as important is how their behaving. The way their interacting with others, their body language, their expressions etc.
I could honestly spend the whole day just watching ball after ball getting flushed down the range, the contact and sound from some is so impressive and just makes me want to work harder on my game.
This year I was also very fortunate to gain access to the players area around the putting green. Surrounded by the best players on the European Tour, their caddies and coaches I couldn't of been more in my element. The only thing missing was a putter and a couple of balls and I could of shown them all how it’s not done. However not having the tools to get involved did mean I could blend in, remain professional and observe a great deal. No surprises Luke Donald was a joy to watch, but it was Danny Willett that caught the eye the most.. Great control of his stroke and consequently a far better grasp of perfect pace compared to anyone else during that session.
Justin Rose - $11,600 - (08:20 10th and 12:35 1st) (Paired with Fitzpatrick and Dunne)
Only if Fit To Play - If Not Tommy Fleetwood Will be Drafted Instead.
Current Form - 4th, 2nd, 2nd. (2/4 points Ryder Cup) OWGR - 2nd. R2D - 17th
History at Walton Heath - Not had to play US Open Q. (Personally witnessed a 67 (-5) whilst scouting the course this time last year)
This years host of the British Masters, course has been produced to his requests. Statistically sets up perfectly and he is easily the class act among a very strong field.
Francesco Molinari - $11,200 - (12:25 1st and 08:00 10th) (Paired with Fleetwood and Olesen)
Current Form - 21st, 8th, MC. (5/5 points Ryder Cup) OWGR - 6th. R2D - 1st
History at Walton Heath - Not had to play US Open Q. (Member at nearby Wisley and according to sources has made several visits to Walton Heath, Performances at nearby Wentworth always solid with a win there this year. franky loves his golf in this region.
As the task ahead is finding fairways, hitting greens and holing putts, Franky is a very obvious choice. still buzzing after an incredible Ryder Cup his confidence will be super high.
$9,000 - $10,000
Eddie Pepperell - $10,000 - (12:35 1st and 08:10 10th) (Paired with Donald and Horsfield)
Current Form - 44th, 2nd, 6th. OWGR - 50th. R2D - 11th.
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 5th (66 Old Course). Grew up playing these style courses, loves home crowds and home comforts.
Statistically a superb fit, wont have to hit driver to often and with his 3 wood should find an abundance of fairways. greens in reg is what Eddie does best and on thiese greens should convert a bucket load of chances.
Shane Lowry - $9,800 - (12:55 1st and 08:30 10th) (Paired with Lewis and Warring)
Current Form - MC, 6th, MC. OWGR - 86th. R2D - 66th.
History at Walton Heath - Not had to play US Open Q. No relevant info to work off.
looking at the above you may wonder why he has made my selections, however with the winds forecast it may pay well to have someone with a very strong wind game and possibly more important an exceptional short game for bogey avoidance.
Thorbjorn Olesen - $9,400 - (12:25 1st and 08:00 10th) (Paired with Molinari and Fleetwood)
Current Form - 20th, 20th, 4th (1/2 Ryder Cup Points) OWGR - 44th. R2D - 6th
History at Walton Heath - 2018 - 12th (67 Old Course) Followed him for a good number holes last year and looked extremely comfortable.
Thunderbear should have recovered fully now after partying hard after the Ryder Cup. Style of play and course fit are ideal for this week. Big point scorer when he gets it going and from what I saw on the putting green he is managing to keep that all important putter hot.
$8,000 - $9,000
Hao-Tong Li - $9,000 - (13:05 1st and 08:40 10th) (Paired with Fox and Wood)
Current Form -5th, 27th, 24th. OWGR - 54th. R2D - 20th
History at Walton Heath - 2016 - RTD, 2017 - 2nd (64 Old Course)
Looked incredibly happy and comfortable on the range on Tuesday, played some very impressive golf last week in Scotland and seems more than ready to put 4 rounds together on his favorite of the 2 courses here.
Padraig Harrington - $8,900 - (08:30 10th and 12:35 1st) (Paired with Bjorn and Westwood)
Current Form - 7th, MC, 5th. OWGR - 176th. R2D - 95th
History at Walton Heath - 2016 - 16th (71 Old Course). 2017 - 79th (68 Old Course). 2018 - 23rd (70 Old Course)
Paddy has a healthy amount of good experiences on the Old Course. In great form right now and if that wind gets up there is no better player than him to relish the oprtunity of grafting through to produce a result.
Tom Lewis - $8,800 - (12:55 1st and 08:30 10th0 (Paired with Warring and Lowry)
Current Form - 10th, Win, 3rd, Win, OWGR - 103rd. R2D - 54th
History at Walton Heath - 2016 - 48th (70 Old Course) 2018 - 7th (69 Old Course)
So pleased to see Tom turn his fortunes around and start playing the golf we all knew he was very capable. Massively in form right now. Looking great on Tuesdays practice and strongly believe he will post scores that will keep him in contention Sunday afternoon.
Matt Wallace - $8,500 - (08:10 10th and 12:25 1st) (Paired with Sullivan and Fisher)
Current Form - 28th, 44th, 51st, Win. OWGR - 59th. R2D - 19th
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 12th (67 Old Course). 2018 - 7th (70 Old Course)
Matt obviously likes it here having qualified on both attempts to get to the US Open. He is in effect a local lad, will be heavily supported anyway this week and with that super hot putter of his Matt will have only one thing on his mind and that’s grabbing his 4th win of the year.
$7,500 - $8,000
Andrew Johnston - $7,900 - (12:45 1st and 08:20 10th) (Paired with Willett and Fisher)
Current Form - 34, MC, 35. OWGR - 182nd. R2D - 74th.
History at Walton Heath - Nobody has better form than BEEF! 2016 - 4th (68 Old Course) 2017 - 9th (66 Old Course). 2018 - 1st (65 Old Course)
“BEEF!” has incredibly good form at Walton Heath, having qualified for the Us Open on all of the last 3 occasions. Although his current form hasn’t exactly been spectacular, he has been working extremely hard on the course and in the gym. He wants to perform well here and doing all the right things to give him the very best chance.
Matthew Southgate - $7,600 - (09:00 1st and 13:15 10th) (Paired with Rai and Colesaerts)
Current Form - MC, MC, 24th. OWGR - 166th. R2D - 55th.
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 36th (68 Old Course). 2018 - 3rd (67 Old Course)
The challenge ahead will very much suit Matt’s style of play. renowned as a bit of a links course specialist and with what we have forecast I feel very comfortable playing him in all formats.
Soren Kjeldsen - $7,500 - (09:00 10th and 13:15 1st) (Paired with Pigem and Hebert)
Current Form - 48th, 56th, 6th, 12th, 12th. OWGR - 202nd. R2D - 83rd
History at Walton Heath - No real history to work off.
Soren has been getting a lot closer to the standards he expects and we expect, coming into this event he sets up really well for the challenge ahead.. keeping the ball in the short stuff, using his wedges to full effect and remaining patient knowing those opportunities will present themselves.
$7,000 - $7,500
Lucas Herbert - $7,400 - (09:10 10th and 13:25 1st0 (Paired with Oriol and Larrazabal)
Current Form - 7th, 2nd, 28th. OWGR - 104th R2D - 50th
History at Walton Heath - 1st experience competitively here.
What an impressive golfer and backing that up with his results. exceptionally good when the conditions get tough and has fire power in the locker to take advantage of the ground conditions when it plays well.
Brandon Stone - $7,400 - (08:10 10th and 12:15 1st) (Paired with McEvoy and Smith)
Current Form - 10th, 10th, 12th. OWGR - 99th. R2D - 14th.
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 9th (66 Old Course) 2018 - WD
With a new caddie on the bag and massive injection of confidence thanks to a fantastic week in Ireland. We just keep seeing good performance after good performance. Great value at this price and one to play with the forecasted winds.
Bradley Dredge - $7,100 - (12:45 10th and 08:20 1st) (Paired with Neil and Shinkwin)
Current Form - MC, 16th, 6th. OWGR - 431st. R2D - 110th
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 6th (62 Old Course) 2018 - WD
I watched a lot of Bradley here in 2017 whilst he was paired with Beef. The skillset required he matches his qualities perfectly. Great ball striker and an wonderfully gifted putter. as you can see with the 62 he recorded is very capable of taking advantage of any easier conditions and due to his ball striking when it gets tough he shouldnt struggle anywhere near as much as others.
$6,500 - $7,000
Aaron Rai - $7,000 - (09:00 1st and 13:15 10th) (Paired with Southgate and Colesaerts)
Current Form - 61st, MC, MC. OWGR - 201st. R2D - 69th.
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - Win (64 Old Course) 2018 - 14th and Q (73 Old course)
Aarons game couldnt be better suited to the courses here at Walton heath, hoping the fond memories he has here from the last two years will spark a turn in his current form and produce an outstanding result for someone priced as low as he is.
Danny Willett - $6,800 - (12:45 1st and 08:20 10th) (Paired with Johnstone and Fisher)
Current Form - MC, 44th, 59th. OWGR - 333rd. R2D - 62nd
History at Walton Heath - Former winner of the Walton Heath Trophy (Amateur event 2007)
I spent quiet a bit of time watching Danny on the putting green and he by far had the best measure of the greens.. Now working with Sean Foley, his swing is starting to come together but the biggest change is his mental approach and attitude. Full of confidence, in good spirits and back on a course where he has had fantastic results.
Richie Ramsay - $6,800 - (13:35 1st and 09:10 10th) (Paired with Gouveia and Chesters)
Current Form - 61st, MC, 46th. OWGR - 229th. R2D - 125th
History at Walton Heath - 2016 - 34th (72 Old Course) 2017 - 3rd (66 Old Course) 2018 - 3rd (65 Old Course)
His form here at Walton Heath is almost as impressive as Beefs. With the course playing to a style more similar to links and with the winds forecast, once again i expect more great golf from Richie. has the ability to lower that flight considerably and if he does get in a bit of bother has a solid short game to reduce any damage.
Lee Slattery - $6,600 - (08:30 1st and 12:45 10th (Paired with Khongwhatmai and MLV)
Current Form - 20th, 51st, MC, 4th, 10th. OWGR - 192nd. R2D - 49th.
History at Walton Heath - 2016 - 3rd (69 Old Course. 2018 - 14th (71 old Course)
When looking this far down the list, I was very surprised to see him offered at this price. Form has been decent but more importantly well equipped to play this style of golf, as you can see from his past results at this venue. didn’t see too much of him on the course or range but very much like Morrison a few I have spoken to are keen to see how he fairs in a stronger field here.
$6,500 or less
Richard McEvoy - $6,500 - (08:10 10th and 12:15 1st) (Paired with Stone and Smith)
Current Form - MC, MC, 15th, 16th 37th, Win, Win. OWGR - 142nd. R2D - 65th.
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 56th (66 Old Course). 2018 - 30th (69 Old Course)
Since finally breaking through with a win on the Challenge Tour then a win on the European Tour. Richard has relaxed and continued to find decent results. In previous attempts to qualify for the US Open he has been let down by bad rounds on the New Course. However the Old Course which most of the golf will be played on he absolutely loves… Not expecting a win but a top 10 is well within reach.
James Morrison - $6,400 - (12:05 1st and 07:40 10th (Paired with Jamieson and Brooks)
Current Form - 56, MC, MC. OWGR - 473rd. R2D - 103rd
History at Walton Heath - 2017 - 89th (RTD before playing Old Course). 2018 - 1st (67 Old Course)
Last year one of the pro’s at Walton Heath told me to keep an eye on James as he absolutely adores the venue and leading up to it his practice has been going well. Obviously that served me well with him placing 1st with Beef. Once again I have recieved the same advice an sensibly I will be listening and following through yet again.
Sam Horsfield - $6,300 - (12:35 1st and 08:10 10th) (Paired with Donald and Pepperell)
Current Form - 61, MC, 64. OWGR - 214th. R2D - 62nd
History at Walton Heath - 2018 - 23rd (66 Old Course)
I got to see a little of Sam both on the putting green and on the range and was very impressed with all that I saw. If not for a shocker on the new course in last years US Open Q Sam would of comfortably got himself a spot. Hopefully he goes out there thinking the course owes him and he smashes up the old Course like he did last year.