Founded on Merrow Downs in 1886, Guildford Golf Club enjoys a wealth of history and tradition, as well as an excellent golf course, being situated on typical Surrey downland bordered by attractive woodlands. The rolling slopes provide an excellent example of the open commons on which the majority of inland course were laid out when golf first became popular in England. The land was once part of the Onslow Estate, so vividly described by Rudyard Kipling in his "Just So" stories, and until 1870 was the site of the local racecourse.
The Club was founded by Colonel W. Bannatyne, Major W. Pontifex and Mr E.L. Hooper, who were resident in the neighbourhood, and the Lord of the Manor, the 4th Earl of Onslow gave his support to the project. Major Pontifex also provides a unique link with the Pau Golf Club, at the foot of the Pyrenees in France, as he and two other members of Guildford Golf Club, Colonel Hutchinson and Archdeacon Spate were founder members of the Pau Golf Club in 1856.
The original six holes quickly expanded to eighteen and by 1901 a new Clubhouse had been built on the present site. During this period the course was gradually moved eastwards to occupy its present location.
There was also a ladies’ course until about 1900 when the men relented and allowed the Ladies’ Club to share their course. In 1919 a second men's club, Guildford Town Club was formed to meet the golfing aspirations of local residents and tradespeople. Up until both Men's Clubs amalgamated in 1974 there existed two Clubhouses, with the use of the Course and maintenance costs being shared. Guildford Ladies’ Golf Club remained independent until its amalgamation with the Men's Club in January 2005. It retains its identity as Guildford Ladies’ Golf Club.