Walton Heath has a long history of high profile professional and amateur tournaments. The Club established the country’s most significant Match Play tournament, hosted the European Open through the seventies and eighties, and arguably the greatest ever U.S. team in the 1981 Ryder Cup. Reports and highlights from these tournaments can be found here . Nowadays, the Club’s calendar highlights are the U.S. Open Qualifier and the Walton Heath Trophy (formerly the South of England Open Amateur Championship).
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT ATTENDED BEFORE, THE EVENT IS GOLF WATCHING AT ITS BEST.
Play is over 36 holes on the day, a round on each of the two championship courses, Old and New. There’s no money at stake, but there is the considerable prize of ten or more places at the U.S. Open, encouraging attacking golf. The 2017 tournament saw plenty of that, with 10 players at 10 under or better, after heavy rain on the previous day softened defences. Our own local hero, Amateur David Boote, was eliminated in a play-off for the final place, having shot a scintillating 62 in the first round. Boote will be back.
The U.S Open Qualifiers will take place on Monday 4th June 2018.
The Championship is a 72-hole Stroke Play event played over both the Old and the New Course. Walton Heath is its permanent home. The Club has commissioned the superb plate you see below. It incorporates an Eisenhower Trophy Gold Medal won by the late Michael Lunt as a member of the Great Britain and Ireland team in 1964. Michael was Captain of Walton Heath Golf Club in 2005, Captain of the Royal & Ancient in 2006, a former British and English Amateur Champion, and one of the finest amateur golfers of his generation.
EVERY YEAR, THIS EVENT ATTRACTS A TOP-CLASS FIELD OF AMATEUR GOLFERS FROM ACROSS THE WORLD.
THE QUALITY OF GOLF IN THE HIGHEST ECHELONS OF THE AMATEUR GAME SEEMS INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM THAT OF THE PROFESSIONAL RANKS, SO TO FOLLOW THIS TOURNAMENT IS EQUALLY REWARDING.
You might be watching a future Masters Champion (Danny Willett won SEOAC in 2007), or bastions of the amateur game from Spain, Scotland, and Sweden, but above all you will be watching great golf on courses trodden by champions past and future.
2005 Ross McGowan, England
2006 Gary Wolstenholme, England
2007 Danny Willett, England
2008 Luke Goddard, England
2009 Jason Palmer, England
2010 Jack Senior, England
2011 Will Shucksmith, England
2012 Ryan Evans, England
2013 Riccardo Michelini, Italy
2014 Adam Chapman, England
2015 Luca Cianchetti, Italy
2016 Joshua Davies, Wales
2017 Jake Burnage, England
The 2018 event will be held from 24th - 26th July. More information such as conditions of entry, entry forms and practice days, will be published nearer the time.
*LATEST UPDATE* Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Leading amateur event rebranded as ‘Walton Heath Trophy’
Walton Heath Golf Club have rebranded the South of England Open Amateur Championship by unveiling a new, simplified title for their annual tournament aimed at attracting an elite international field.
Commencing in 2018, the event will be known as the Walton Heath Trophy, with the champion receiving the Michael Lunt Salver, which will perpetuate the memory of the tournament founder and inspiration, the late Michael Lunt. Next year’s championship takes place over the Old and New Courses from July 24-26.
The impressive silver salver contains as its centrepiece the gold medal won by Michael Lunt as part of the Great Britain and Ireland team which won the World Amateur Team Championship (Eisenhower Trophy) in 1958 and is regarded as one of amateur golf’s most imposing prizes.
Since 2005, champions have included Danny Willett, who went on to win the Masters at Augusta National in 2016, and Gary Wolstenholme, a three-time champion on the European Senior Tour since turning professional at the age of 50 while past entrants have included European Tour champions such as Chris Wood, Tyrell Hatton and Joost Luiten. England’s Jake Burnage claimed the title in 2017.
Men’s Club Captain, Iain Cruickshank, said: “We consider ourselves to be a progressive and forward-thinking Golf Club, and there was a clear view within the Club that the former title was somewhat out-dated.
“With the blessing of Michael Lunt’s widow, Vicki, the Club is delighted to announce that the South of England Open Amateur Championship will, from 2018, be rebranded as the Walton Heath Trophy, a move which reflects a modern and more streamlined title for the event and places a firm emphasis on one of the amateur game’s most striking trophies.”