Ian Hayton, had developed the exclusive hotel and leisure complex at Pennyhill Park and which he then sold his interest and looked for another project. Foxhills was a perfect venture. Ian was a believer in golf for all and had always hated the fact that children were not welcome at most clubs. One of his first acts was to build a nine-hole par three course to complement the existing facilities. The course has holes ranging from 55 yards to 185 yards, and so is ideal for new players and those who prefer a shorter version of the main game. His office within the Manor at Foxhills overlooked the 9-hole layout, where it gave him great satisfaction to see so many families enjoy the delightful course.
The Manor House was semi-derelict when the Haytons took over, however now the main manor is the hub of the operation, which includes a main reception and several fine dining areas. There is four-star accommodation in four separate blocks, all within easy reach of the Manor and central golf clubhouse. All of the rooms are of a very high specification, and - with a total of 70 suites and rooms - Foxhills can accommodate some really large residential events, as well as providing flexible stylish accommodation for a variety of different customers.
The golf facilities are really first class. The Bernhard Hunt course has been named after the famous Ryder Cup golfer, who was for many years the clubs head professional. The other course, the Longcross, is equal in standing, but cut through a mature pine forest. Both courses have staged major events and are of genuine championship quality, offering a tough and lengthy challenge from the back tees and a delightful test from the members' tees.
Bernard Hunt MBE was the Ryder Cup captain in 1973 and 1975, to add to his eight appearances in the bi-annual challenge. Bernard also won thirty times on the European Tour and was one of the most successful tournament professionals before joining Foxhills. He continued to harness a successful playing career with his duties as Foxhills first professional, and was greatly in demand as a teacher.
Ians son Marc is now the Managing Director of Foxhills and he spoke to GolfResortsDirect,
'I have been around Foxhills all my life, as my parents were running the business in my childhood and so I know the whole site like the back of my hand. We have tried to develop the attractions so that it gives the best possible family experience. We have deliberately kept a couple of bars free from children, but, with a youth club, all the pools and games areas, there is no facility that comes close to offering the level of sporting entertainment anywhere in the south east. My father was so keen to develop junior golf, we are particularly proud of the new range which will open in the Spring - it will allow future generations of golfers to learn the sport, whatever the weather. Obviously the hotel is a very important part of the business, as it allows us to host major functions and attracts all sorts of new customers to Foxhills, but our main focus is as a large scale membership based family leisure facility.'
Membership is the key to understanding the Foxhills experience. There are approximately 150 staff all briefed to look after the members and guests to the best of their ability. The atmosphere is of relaxed elegance, with this shifting slightly from zone to zone, with some areas - such as the youth club area - being all about noise and letting off steam, to Bar Nineteen, which is a child free area and a delightful place to unwind in after a round of golf.
Roger Hyder, is the Golf Operations Manager at Foxhills and is responsible for the delivery of all golf related matters. He spoke with GolfResortsDirect,
'Foxhills is an exciting place to work and there is always plenty to do. The courses have to be kept in tip-top condition throughout the year. This involves some serious agronomy and we have an excellent greenkeeping team who manage the entire estate. Members are the key to our business and we are particularly proud that membership numbers are rising slightly in this difficult economic climate. I am also responsible for the golf retail and the various events. We run the South African Charity Golf Day, which has as many as 400 golfers competing, with 600 attending a massive dinner at which FW de Klerk, the former President of South Africa and joint Nobel Peace Prize winner with Nelson Mandela in 1993, acts as the Patron. Days such as this are less common, but it is vital to the business that everyone enjoys their time at Foxhills, whatever the size of the event or reason for their visit.
The tennis club has over 800 members and the 9 of the 11 courts are floodlit. It has hosted major events and was voted the number one outdoor tennis resort by ACE in 2008. The recently refurbished Health Spa incorporates the Fitness Arena and has all the latest exercise machines, classes and expertise you could possibly want. For those looking for a healthy and relaxing experience, you could not find a better place. The Health Spa was refurbished at a cost of around 5million and really lives up to the Foxhills promise of making you feel better than when you arrived.
The food and beverage operation is focused around three main restaurants, The Manor Restaurant, the Summerhouse Brasserie and Bar Nineteen. All serve delicious food and a selection of menus for all tastes. Demand is such that booking is essential at peak time
Foxhills is a superb resort, well managed, beautifully presented and run with panache and a friendly spirit its no wonder that membership is rising and most categories now have a waiting list.
Not surprisingly, the course that's named after him offers more than a few serious challenges for club golfers. The 10th hole, for instance, is a 445-yard par-4 that plays downhill initially and then sweeps uphill to a green protected by two bunkers in front of the putting surface. You have to keep your tee shot to the left of the fairway to have the best angle into a green which slopes wickedly from back right to front left. It is undoubtedly the most difficult hole on the inward nine and one where a par feels like a birdie. It's a fantastically challenging hole, says Richard Summerscales, Head Professional at Foxhills. It's demanding off the tee and then the green is hard to hit being very narrow.
The 408-yard par-four first hole sets the tone for the round. The drive has to be fired down a funnel between the trees and the second shot must negotiate two bunkers that protect the front of the green. It can cause all sorts of trouble for the wild hitter. The uphill, 430-yard par 4 ninth is arguably the most difficult hole, requiring a tee shot of more than 200 yards to clear a bunker on the left and set up an opportunity to reach the green in two.
The Longcross last hole (see photo above) is also an uphiller, this time of 531 yards, with a large tree on the left narrowing the fairway for the second shot. Again, the approach shot is partially blind to the large, double green which makes for a fantastic climax to the round.
Its 9 superb par-3 holes, designed by Foxhills' professional and European Tour legend Bernard Hunt, are conditioned to the same standards as those enjoyed by Foxhills' two internationally acclaimed championship courses.
This provides golfers with a chance to practice approach shots with virtually every club in the bag and to hone their short game. No wonder it has become a firm favourite with members and Foxhills' resident pros, who love to use the Manor Course to keep their games up to scratch.
desk, armchair, coffee table (with current magazines)
direct dial phone with voicemail
digital TV with freeview and Sky Sports channels, plus a DVD player
mini bars with fresh milk, a cafetiere, ground coffee and cookies
iron, ironing board, trouser press, safe
power shower, towelling robes
bathroom amenties from skin brand partner, Elemis
abundance of towels for bedroom and leisure facilities
Food and Drink
Golf Tuition and Practice Facilities
Enquire & Book Direct
Tel: 01932 704500
All prices quoted are subject to change and availability. Please contact the resort directly to confirm all costs, dates and booking arrangements.
Nearest airport: Heathrow
Travel options: Foxhills is just 20 minutes from Heathrow Airport and five minutes from the M25. From The M25 exit at Junction 11 - Follow signs towards Woking - Turn left at the end of a short dual carriageway into Guildford Road - Take 3rd exit at next roundabout - Immediately turn right into Foxhills Road - At the end of the road turn left - The Entrance to Foxhills is 200yds on the right. By Train - Foxhills is just a 15 minute taxi ride from the Woking mainline station which is just 20 minutes away from London Waterloo.
- Swimming Pool
- Tennis Court
- Covered Bays
- Video training