Looking for advice on joining a club (Woking, Surrey)

Pathetic Shark

Tour Rookie
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
4,164
Visit site
Pyrford is not a course for someone just starting out. Unless you like hitting a dozen balls each round into a lake. We had no really high handicappers or beginners when I was there.
 

HampshireHog

Assistant Pro
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
1,022
Location
Hampshire
Visit site
If you are happy travelling to Godalming then Hurtmore isn't a bad shout. At your age a yearly membership is around £600 and is playable all year round. Quite a nice course to get into golf.
Good shout, I started there. Not much in the way member benefits but an easy course to get started on.
 

FELL75

Active member
Joined
Sep 20, 2020
Messages
319
Visit site
Hey I used to live there! Kirby Road to be exact. I loved Horsell - fantastic food at the Red Lion and the Beijing, great Indian takeaway and great butchers. I don't really miss Surrey, but I do miss Horsell.
Just round the corner from me. Red lion is good but quite like a quiet pint in the crown ?
 

Mike79

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
Messages
185
Location
Surrey
Visit site
Would recommend Hoebridge. As others say, it can get busy but it has all you need as a new golfer - short course, driving range, a lack of lakes on every hole etc. I was all set to join but went elsewhere as wanted a fuller family membership offering (with gym, swimming etc). Flexi memberships are a good idea - low joining fee, low commitment so if you don't play much you don't end up too out of pocket.

The more local the club is to you the better - I'm 5 mins from my club, so nipping out to hit some balls or spend some time on the putting green in an evening isn't a hassle with traffic etc, so Chobham could be good from that aspect.
 

Blakey

Medal Winner
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
229
Visit site
I've played most of the Courses mentioned apart from Hoebridge, I like Chobam and Sutton Green, Merrist wood can be hit and miss and is a bog in the Winter. Hurtmore is very short, but if looking down the A3 that way I like Milford. Otherwise maybe Guildford? pretty much playable all year round.
Clandon is a nice little pay and play and has pretty cheap green fees, then you've got Clandon Regis next door which is probably in your budget.
 

CalumE5

New member
Joined
Apr 27, 2022
Messages
9
Visit site
Thanks for the advice all - I think I've narrowed it down to Chobham, Windlesham and Hoebridge.

Chobham Pros = Nearest to me (walking distance), club where I get my lessons (cheaper than elsewhere), no joining fee
Chobham Cons = Older average membership, maybe not as beginner friendly, smaller driving range (200yds)

Windlesham Pros = Seems highest end of options, good beginner support network, nicest course(?), free range balls
Windlesham Cons = Joining fee, slightly higher price

Hoebridge Pros = Closest to my age demographic, short courses that suit beginners, big pro shop
Hoebridge Cons = Furthest away, have to pay to use the range, can be super busy, don't take individual bookings

Merrist Wood looks like a good option to get some rounds in too but they said they don't have membership anymore, so purely pay & play!

Think I'll have to consider it over the next few weeks as I keep learning and practicing before I commit to everything, but if anyone has any other experiences to share of these 3 clubs it'd be much appreciated.
 

Foxholer

Blackballed
Joined
Nov 16, 2011
Messages
24,160
Visit site
Thanks for the advice all - I think I've narrowed it down to Chobham, Windlesham and Hoebridge.

Chobham Pros = Nearest to me (walking distance), club where I get my lessons (cheaper than elsewhere), no joining fee
Chobham Cons = Older average membership, maybe not as beginner friendly, smaller driving range (200yds)

Windlesham Pros = Seems highest end of options, good beginner support network, nicest course(?), free range balls
Windlesham Cons = Joining fee, slightly higher price

Hoebridge Pros = Closest to my age demographic, short courses that suit beginners, big pro shop
Hoebridge Cons = Furthest away, have to pay to use the range, can be super busy, don't take individual bookings

Merrist Wood looks like a good option to get some rounds in too but they said they don't have membership anymore, so purely pay & play!

Think I'll have to consider it over the next few weeks as I keep learning and practicing before I commit to everything, but if anyone has any other experiences to share of these 3 clubs it'd be much appreciated.
Would be a pretty simple decision for me. Proximity rules!
Been a long time since I've played Windlesham, so they may have resolved it, but it used to get very soggy in Winter. Seemed a welcoming club otherwise.
 

Ethan

Money List Winner
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
11,793
Location
Bearwood Lakes, Berks
Visit site
Thanks for the advice all - I think I've narrowed it down to Chobham, Windlesham and Hoebridge.

Chobham Pros = Nearest to me (walking distance), club where I get my lessons (cheaper than elsewhere), no joining fee
Chobham Cons = Older average membership, maybe not as beginner friendly, smaller driving range (200yds)

Windlesham Pros = Seems highest end of options, good beginner support network, nicest course(?), free range balls
Windlesham Cons = Joining fee, slightly higher price

Hoebridge Pros = Closest to my age demographic, short courses that suit beginners, big pro shop
Hoebridge Cons = Furthest away, have to pay to use the range, can be super busy, don't take individual bookings

Merrist Wood looks like a good option to get some rounds in too but they said they don't have membership anymore, so purely pay & play!

Think I'll have to consider it over the next few weeks as I keep learning and practicing before I commit to everything, but if anyone has any other experiences to share of these 3 clubs it'd be much appreciated.

I have a friend who used to be a member of Windlesham, and his verdict was good club, not so good course.

Camberley Heath too far?
 

CalumE5

New member
Joined
Apr 27, 2022
Messages
9
Visit site
I have a friend who used to be a member of Windlesham, and his verdict was good club, not so good course.

Camberley Heath too far?

Fair, I don't think I'm good enough to be able to judge course quality yet haha.

Camberley Heath isn't much further but they have a £3k joining fee for all types of membership which is a lot more than I'm willing to commit to!
 

CalumE5

New member
Joined
Apr 27, 2022
Messages
9
Visit site
Would be a pretty simple decision for me. Proximity rules!
Been a long time since I've played Windlesham, so they may have resolved it, but it used to get very soggy in Winter. Seemed a welcoming club otherwise.

Yeah the proximity is a big factor of course - the idea that I could have a drink after a round and pick up my car the next day is appealing! Part of the issue is think they're upping their membership costs this week, so I already feel like I've lost out by not signing up last week, but didn't want to rush into anything. Plus it's still probably cheaper than Windlesham! Think I'll try and find out more about their current members, how many are in similar positions to me etc.

Went to Windlesham this morning for the tour and the guy said they'd only been closed 2 days this past winter which sounds pretty promising, but I don't know about how playable the course was when open! Sounded like they look after it well though.
 

SurreyGolfer

Active member
Joined
Jul 21, 2021
Messages
192
Visit site
Pyrford is not a course for someone just starting out. Unless you like hitting a dozen balls each round into a lake. We had no really high handicappers or beginners when I was there.

I agree and disagree as a beginner member at Pyrford. The flexi membership is brilliant for people starting out, the course is in great condition, regular member comps to get involved, reasonably prices tuition and an interesting course......I do agree its a tough one to start out on though if you can't hit it straight as the rough is pretty penal and as you say, quite a bit of water.
 

road2ruin

Q-School Graduate
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
2,291
Location
Surrey
Visit site
Pyrford is not a course for someone just starting out. Unless you like hitting a dozen balls each round into a lake. We had no really high handicappers or beginners when I was there.

I would agree with this, it’s a tough place as a beginner and I think I would start off somewhere that isn’t quite so penal on missing fairways. You can also hit nice straight shots and still find you run into one of the many areas of water. Personally not a fan of the course having played it many a time, that’s just me though.

I would recommend Hoebridge as someone just starting out, I was a member there for a season and their flexible membership made it quite good value. What I would say though (as Foxholer suggested) distance is a major factor. I enjoyed Hoebridge but it was further away and I wasn’t able to just nip down to the club for a quick 9 holes etc which I did at my old course. If Hoebridge is the furthest away then I would definitely bear that in mind.

I don’t think Chobham is a bad option, we have our industry golf day there every year and it’s always seemed a very friendly club and, for a beginner, a good place to start. Not overly long but interesting enough to play regularly.
 

orangepip

New member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
21
Visit site
Another Hoebridge member here. I think you’ve nailed the pros and cons quite nicely.
I’m fortunate that I can get out during the week to play at quieter times but it does drive me crazy at the slow pace of play and societies allowed on during weekend mornings.
still though it’s a great facility, no temp greens last winter and a challenging main course. Would recommend as a first club.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

Major Champion
Joined
Jul 24, 2012
Messages
32,456
Visit site
Passed Hersham GC yesterday on way into Waterloo and from the train what (little) I could see it looked OK...no idea what it's actually like - though the website suggests more of an event venue and I'm not sure how much focus and attention is paid to the golf course; golf club, and the golf club membership.
 

Yorkhacker

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
432
Visit site
Passed Hersham GC yesterday on way into Waterloo and from the train what (little) I could see it looked OK...no idea what it's actually like - though the website suggests more of an event venue and I'm not sure how much focus and attention is paid to the golf course; golf club, and the golf club membership.

On paper it should be perfect. It was built on a tree plantation (GLC trees for London) so had inbuilt maturity. However it's very close to the river Mole and consequently I've believe its very boggy in winter. Seems like a missed opportunity to create a good golf course
 

road2ruin

Q-School Graduate
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
2,291
Location
Surrey
Visit site
On paper it should be perfect. It was built on a tree plantation (GLC trees for London) so had inbuilt maturity. However it's very close to the river Mole and consequently I've believe its very boggy in winter. Seems like a missed opportunity to create a good golf course

I was a member at Hersham for about 5 years as it was 5 minutes down the road!

It used to be a 9 hole golf course and was actually a really good one, pretty much full length however the owners managed to buy a bit of land (basically a field) adjacent to the course and changed it to the full 18. This means that holes in the original 9 were shortened to try and squeeze in another 9 and the land that was bought for the new holes is pretty uninspiring with 12 - 16 being straight up and down. The holes on the original land are nice enough and whilst it isn't long anything offline can run into the trees and effectively been a penalty shot with a chip out. We always used to hope for away ties in the Surrey 5's however would have been far more successful if they were all at home as numerous players from longer courses thought they'd overpower it and found it hard work as it does reward accuracy, our win rate at home was very impressive.....away, not so much!!

During winter I'd say it doesn't struggle any worse than neighbouring clubs, there are a couple of spots that do get wet and doesn't take much to do so but generally the course remains playable.

The biggest issue at present is that the owners are desperate to develop the land. Their original plan was to build an (underground!?!) hotel and to make it a resort course given it's distance to the station and being only 25 minutes into Waterloo however a lot of the locals objected and it's been refused numerous times. They've now changed tact and want to redevelop the area for housing however there just isn't really any access to the course that would support their plan so, again, it's been turned down. They'll continue in their efforts which, in the meantime, means that the course is run at a bear minimum. The groundstaff do a good job given the resources they have however you really notice it when we have really good weather for example as there is no irrigation so the course goes brown very quickly.

I've always liked it and it's suited me as it's short and you could do 18 holes in 3hrs 20mins so didn't take all day. The alternative was courses like Silvermere which can be a 5 hour round if busy. With the owners though I am not sure there is much longevity in the course which would be a shame.
 

SyR

Challenge Tour Pro
Joined
May 6, 2009
Messages
852
Location
Woking
Visit site
Another Hoebridge member here. I think you’ve nailed the pros and cons quite nicely.
I’m fortunate that I can get out during the week to play at quieter times but it does drive me crazy at the slow pace of play and societies allowed on during weekend mornings.
still though it’s a great facility, no temp greens last winter and a challenging main course. Would recommend as a first club.
I use the range at Hoebridge but haven't yet tried to play the course. I was at the range yesterday morning at 7am and groups were queuing up on the short course.
I love the set up of the range though, it's such a great facility to use. I can certainly see why it's popular.
 

richart

Major Champion
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Messages
19,012
Location
Surrey
Visit site
Give my club Royal Ascot a shout. We have a good academy designed to ease people into playing a full course and also offering age related membership discounts. Loads of friendly roll up groups who will take you under their wing
How are you recommending your club for membership, when last week you posted you want to leave because of the direction the club is going in, on and off the course.:confused: Said you were looking at The Caversham. A lot must have changed in two weeks.:eek:
 

Yorkhacker

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
432
Visit site
I was a member at Hersham for about 5 years as it was 5 minutes down the road!

It used to be a 9 hole golf course and was actually a really good one, pretty much full length however the owners managed to buy a bit of land (basically a field) adjacent to the course and changed it to the full 18. This means that holes in the original 9 were shortened to try and squeeze in another 9 and the land that was bought for the new holes is pretty uninspiring with 12 - 16 being straight up and down. The holes on the original land are nice enough and whilst it isn't long anything offline can run into the trees and effectively been a penalty shot with a chip out. We always used to hope for away ties in the Surrey 5's however would have been far more successful if they were all at home as numerous players from longer courses thought they'd overpower it and found it hard work as it does reward accuracy, our win rate at home was very impressive.....away, not so much!!

During winter I'd say it doesn't struggle any worse than neighbouring clubs, there are a couple of spots that do get wet and doesn't take much to do so but generally the course remains playable.

The biggest issue at present is that the owners are desperate to develop the land. Their original plan was to build an (underground!?!) hotel and to make it a resort course given it's distance to the station and being only 25 minutes into Waterloo however a lot of the locals objected and it's been refused numerous times. They've now changed tact and want to redevelop the area for housing however there just isn't really any access to the course that would support their plan so, again, it's been turned down. They'll continue in their efforts which, in the meantime, means that the course is run at a bear minimum. The groundstaff do a good job given the resources they have however you really notice it when we have really good weather for example as there is no irrigation so the course goes brown very quickly.

I've always liked it and it's suited me as it's short and you could do 18 holes in 3hrs 20mins so didn't take all day. The alternative was courses like Silvermere which can be a 5 hour round if busy. With the owners though I am not sure there is much longevity in the course which would be a shame.

Thanks for providing the full info and apologies if it seemed like I was running it down. It was just what I'd heard about it. I lived about 10 minutes walk away for 25 years, but that was before it was a golf course and before I played golf
 

road2ruin

Q-School Graduate
Joined
Jan 3, 2012
Messages
2,291
Location
Surrey
Visit site
Thanks for providing the full info and apologies if it seemed like I was running it down. It was just what I'd heard about it. I lived about 10 minutes walk away for 25 years, but that was before it was a golf course and before I played golf

Don’t worry at all, to be honest it’s very much the poor relation when you look at a lot of the courses around it! That said it does a job and I’m actually playing it on Friday with some friends who still look over there.
 
Top