Course Review- Hassocks Golf Club (http://hassocksgolfclub.co.uk/)
Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.
Green Fee: £15.00
Range: Practice Ground
I am being treated by the lovely English weather at the minute! Another sunny weekend and I’m heading out for my 3rd round in as many weeks!
Another new course for me this week, when I headed to Hassocks Golf Club. I had managed to find what I thought was a reasonable twilight deal at £15 for 18 holes, which I was happy with.
Upon arrival, I headed to the pro shop where I was greeted by the pro. As usual, I kindly explained that it was my first time at the course, and he was able to point me in the direction of the first tee. Unfortunately, the practice facilities are more of a practice ground (as far as I could tell) rather than a driving range, so I thought I’d do some work on the putting green before going out. I hadn’t been overly pleased with my putting over the past couple of weeks, and I was questioning whether or not to revert back to my old putter (I treated myself to a new one in May- I’ll go into more detail when I get to my WITB review!).
When I got to the first tee, there was another lone golfer looking to head out to get some more practice in. He was a member at the club, so I thought it would be interesting to join up with him to find out a bit more about the place, mainly just in case a bit of local knowledge would help me score, but secondly because it is always nice to have a bit of company when playing! He asked if I minded playing from the Whites as he was looking to get some competition practice in. I’m usually hesitant and play off the yellows, but one look at the card and the 5976 yards and par 70 from the Whites and I agreed to join him.
The 1st starts with a dogleg right par 4, with a couple of water hazards to avoid both off the tee and by the green. If you’ve read any of my other reviews you’ll know that these aren’t my preferred holes- let alone to start a round after no real warm up! The usual first tee nerves are back, combined with playing with a member at the club means I’m pretty shaky up on the box, however I manage to get a decent 4 wood away down the left hand side of the fairway, just creeping into the semi rough. First one out the way, water avoided, nerves settled- all good. My approach to the green is struck well, but finds the right fringe, back right of the green. An average approach putt and I’ve got a bit of work to do for my par, but I slot in the next putt and walk away with my 4.
The 2nd is a par 5 slight dogleg right again, but the main issue off the tee is the ditch that runs across the fairway at around the 250 yard mark. I look to play safe, trying to lay up short with my 4 wood, but end up nailing it straight into the ditch on the right side of the fairway, aided by the firm ground. I take a drop from the hazard, before trying to get a little greedy with my 3rd, which I end up popping up high and right and ending up in behind a tree. A punch out to the left sees me with still some way into the green. My approach finds the greenside bunker, where my short game starts to unravel again. Two from the sand, the second going over the green. All of this means I’m chipping on for my 8th, and a solid 2 putt sees me walking away with a 10. One to forget!
The 3rd is the Stroke Index 1 on the course- another tight slight dogleg right, with plenty of trees and a cross ditch all adding to the difficulty. This time I snap hook my usually fairly trusty 4 wood, and lucky for me I end up so far left I’m on the 4th fairway. A solidly struck 5 iron and I come up just short of the green. A pitch and putt and I have scrambled one of the pars of the day.
The 4th is the first hole that sets up well for me, but after the last tee shot, I nervously decide to play for safety with a 5 iron, considering the hole is down wind and the fairways are dry, I still feel that I have a chance of reaching this long par 4 (450 yards) in 2. Those hopes are soon dashed by what can only be described as a useless attempt at playing safe, ending up in the trees down the left side. I manage to get a little lucky in the sense that I have a swing and I can try and punch a hybrid low with draw up in the general vicinity of the green. The shot comes off okay, and I’m left in the rough about 60 yards short of the green. From the rough, a bladed wedge over the back of the green finding another ditch, means I’m finding the green with my 5th. 2 putts later and I’m in for a triple bogey 7.
The 5th has us back on the dogleg right par 4’s, and me back with the hooks from the tee box. I manage to get a better contact than on the 3rd, but I’m still way down the left hand side. Back into the slight wind with my second, I try to drive a Hybrid below the wind, but only end up finding the greenside bunker. My 3rd finds the putting surface and a 2 putt sees me make bogey.
The 6th was playing longer than the yardage on the card, playing into the breeze. A pulled 5 iron off the tee sees me missing the green to the left, before pitching on and 2 putting for my bogey.
The 7th is visually impressive off the raised tee box, but also intimidating with a ditch running across the fairway, which also narrows due to a tree centrally positioned. I opt to lay back of the ditch, hitting a hybrid (perfectly may I add), finishing in prime position 140 yards out with a clear view of the flag. Unfortunately it wasn’t backed up with a decent second shot where I missed the green again. My short game woes continued, failing to get up and down for my par, coming away with bogey.
8 is another fairly straightforward par 4, tipping out at 341 yards. A 4 wood down the left side just off the airway actually leaves me with a decent line into the right flag, but the right to left crosswind knocks my second shot into the greenside bunker on the left. Safely on with my 3rd, I again miss the par save and come away with bogey.
The 9th is possibly my favourite hole on the course, a real thinking hole. The fairway is sandwiched between two areas of water, so picking the right club off the tee is key. I hit another solid hybrid off the tee, and finish in prime position in the middle of the fairway. Again, I fail to capitalise on it, flying my wedge over the green and getting an unlucky bounce off the downslope behind the green, sending it into the bushes. I manage to find my ball, but it is unplayable, so I am dropping for my 3rd, but in some thick rough. My 4th fails to find the green, with the club getting caught in the Velcro like rough. Not for the first time, my chip shot doesn’t finish close enough, and I’m 2 putting for a 7, to round out the front nine in a disappointing 51.
The back nine starts with a mid range par 3 back into the wind. With the pin tucked back right, I hit a solid shot, but miss the green just to the right. Finally, a fairly decent chip shot means that I’m able to rescue my par with a 1 putt.
The 11th is a sweeping dogleg right par 5, which being the first time I played the course wasn’t overly clear where the hole is from the tee box! With the wind off the right, I make the hole longer for myself by finding the left side of the fairway. The second shot you are left with a decision, lay up short of the water, or try to carry it. I opt for the second option, and end up bailing out right where the carry is shorter, but find the thick rough down the right. Again, the ball ends up being unplayable so I’m dropping for my 3rd. I find the green with my 4th, leaving myself a good look at par, but unfortunately my putt slides by and I’m making a bogey 6.
The 12th is a short dogleg left, so I opt for a hybrid off the tee to try and reach the apex of the dogleg. Unfortunately I draw the ball a little too much and end up with tree trouble down the left. Again, another unplayable and i’m dropping for my 2nd. My 3rd I fly the green to a back pin location, short siding myself. Another pitch onto the green before 2 putting, sees me coming away with another double.
13 is a long par 3, which was again playing back into the breeze. I misjudge the breeze, but also not helped by striping my 4 wood off the tee, and I again fly the green into the bushes, before taking a 3rd unplayable in as many holes. I find the green with my 3rd, but again not close enough to 1 putt, and I come away with double again.
The 14th is a very short par 4 , just over 300 yards. With the firmness of the fairways, and a helping wind from right to left, I figured I could get close with a 4 wood if struck well, but I turn it over too much and it sails over the trees down the left. With my 3rd from the tee, I opt for a more conservative approach, hitting a 5 iron instead. As anticipated with the first, the helping wind and firm fairways somehow sees me hitting my 5 iron 239 yards, leaving only a short pitch to the green. I hit a good pitch, leaving myself 10 foot for bogey, which I manage to drop.
15 is a slightly sweeping left par 4 around 320 yards. After the previous troubles with my 4 wood, I decide to get the driver out for the first time today, launching my tee shot right down the middle with a slight draw. From the middle of the fairway, I hit a nice pitch to about 10ft with a lob wedge. The left to right breaking birdie putt slides by, and I tap in for my par 4.
The 16th is again another visually impressive hole from the tee box, with trees down the left, a lake to the right, and a ditch running across the fairway short of the green, so there isn’t a great deal of room for error! I aim down the right, looking to draw the ball away from the lake, but unfortunately put it straight in the lake. My approach with my 3rd finds the back fringe with an awkward lie, before again I fail to get my chip shot close enough to one putt, and come away with a double bogey.
17 is another attractive hole, this time a par 3 with water around the green on the front and right sides. A poor swing off the tee sees me chunking my 6 iron all of 75 yards (we’ve all done it), but at least it stays dry. A pitch onto the green before a 2 putt and I’ll settle for my bogey after that tee shot!
The finishing hole is a driveable par 4 (for the longer hitters). I pull driver again given the fact I’m not protecting a score, and stripe it right at the green, finding the greenside bunker. A lovely pitch from the sand sees me having a 6ft putt for my first birdie of the day, which I manage to drop straight in the centre. A very nice way to finish for a 42 on the back nine, and 93 (+23) total.
In summary, Hassocks Golf Club is a friendly facility, with some interesting holes, but in my opinion just a couple too many holes that feel a bit samey. My favourite holes were the par 4 1st, the par 4 7th with its intimidating tee shot, the par 4 9th which requires a tactical approach, and the visually impressive par 4 16th.. The course was in good condition, but a little bit on the dry and firm side, which made control over your tee shots paramount. Given its length, it is somewhere that if playing well I feel that I could post a decent score- I just need to cut out the mistakes, but don’t we all! A fairly decent value option within the Sussex area.
–The Sussex Golfer