Course Review- Mid Sussex Golf Club (http://www.midsussexgolfclub.co.uk/)
Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.
Green Fee: £20.00
Range: (Closed due to FootGolf)
Another sunny Saturday evening that I’ve managed to sneak a round of golf in! I left it as late as I could to tee off, as we were at the start of a heatwave (for the UK!).
I decided to head out for my first round at Mid Sussex Golf Club, a little bit further afield from the previous two rounds, but chosen due to my hope that they would have a yardage book to keep my girlfriend happy- as I had managed to convince her to join me for a nice evening walk! Luckily Mid Sussex Golf Club were able to provide the entertainment!
Upon arrival, I was greeted by the friendly pro- who explained the lay of the land, where the practice facility and first tee was. Unfortunately, the driving range was shut, as they open it up to play FootGolf on occasionally, which I don’t mind if it is drawing more people to golf courses and generating revenue for the industry. I was still able to hit a few balls into the practice net, and a few putts on the perfectly manicured practice green.
Today is my first round with my new Garmin Approach X40- a fitness and activity tracker with built in GPS of approximately 40,000 golf courses. I’ll cover my experiences of the device in more detail in a following review!
The 1st starts with a gentle short par 4, and a birdie opportunity that could be wasted for those not warmed up! A 5 iron down the middle followed by a lob wedge to 8ft has me lining up my first decent attempt at birdie of the day. Seconds later the ball drops into the cup and I’m walking away with a 3. Nice start!
The 2nd is a dogleg left, which sets up (in theory) nicely for my right to left ball flight. Still, being the first round I am playing on the course, I pick the wrong line off the tee, and end up hitting through the dogleg into the right hand rough. A pulled approach from the rough followed by a poor pitch and then chip from the fringe, leaves me two putting for double.
The 3rd is a dogleg right par 4, with approach shots to a well guarded green. A drive out the heel of the club finds me missing the fairway left, with quite a way into the green. A pulled hybrid has me hacking out of the rough for my 4th, with some more poor examples of the short game, seeing me come away with triple.
The 4th, a short dogleg left par 4 sets up nicely off the tee for me. A slightly drawn 4 wood over the ditch leaves me only a lob wedge into the green. Finding the left fringe, I nestle my putt from off the green close, and tap in for my par.
The 5th is a short par 3, where I only had a Pitching Wedge in hand. Caught a little heavy, I come up short right. A pitch and two putts later (one from the fringe)and I’m making another bogey.
The 6th, nicknamed ‘Eastbourne Express’, runs alongside the train track. Well worth taking an additional moment to ensure you’re settled before teeing off. This dogleg right par 4 has me hitting 4 wood to the corner of the fairway, leaving a 6 iron into the green. A crisply struck shot has me with a 12ft left to right breaker for my 2nd birdie of the day, but my putt slides by and I make the comeback putt for par.
The 7th is a straightaway par 4 with a well bunkered fairway and green, heading directly back towards the South Downs, making the tee shot nice and picturesque. Safety and a relatively short 326 yards has me picking 5 iron, and I leave myself nicely positioned within the middle of the fairway. A disappointing approach has me finding the back edge of the green a long way from the flag. My second three putt of the day means I’ve made bogey from a good position in the middle of the fairway.
The 8th is a pretty par 3, over a small ditch and protected by trees to the right of the green. With my draw, this leaves little room for error, which I duly make, clattering my tee shot into a tree overhanging the green from the right edge. Luckily, I end up dropping just off the back of the green, A nice lag putt from the fringe ensures I’m tapping in for par.
The front 9 is finished with a reachable par 5. At 484 yards, I’m drawn into having a go at the green with my second after a solid drive down the middle. Water awaits all down the left side of the approach, which needless to say is where I end up! From my drop, my next shot finds the green, and I 2 putt to close out the front nine with a bogey 6 for a 42 total.
The back 9 again starts with a fairly straightaway hole, this time with a par 5. With little trouble off the tee, I use driver and get my tee shot away down the right side. The green may be within reach for longer hitters in 2, but two large trees and a ditch running across the fairway about 50 yards short of the green means I’m laying up short of that and leaving myself a short wedge into the green. From the centre of the fairway, I slightly over club and end up on the back fringe with my 3rd, straight over the pin. I don’t manage to get my putt from the fringe close enough to set up and easy par, so have to settle for bogey.
The 11th tee is back over the ditch, but the hole heads in the same direction as 10. An intimidating tee shot with three cross bunkers. Feeling confident, my driver is out the bag again and I arrow my drive between the gap between the left two bunkers, leaving myself in a great position in the fairway around 70 yards out. Having learnt from having a similar shot into 10, I judge the distance well with my approach, and leave myself 8 foot for another birdie. Taking a little longer over the putt than normal, I’m happy with my line, and strike my putt, the ball dropping straight in the centre for my birdie 3.
The 12th is dogleg left par 4, which in theory should set up great for my draw, however I get a little ahead of myself after my last drive, and end up blazing my drive way right into the deep rough under the trees. Taking a unplayable, I’m left with a long way in still, leaving my approach short left with the pin back right. Again I leave my chip short, and 2 putt for double bogey.
13 is a short par three protected by a couple of bunkers at the front of the green. Still reeling from my last tee shot, I compound errors by catching my tee shot heavy, leaving it short of both the green and the bunkers. A pitch onto the green and 2 putts sees me making another bogey.
14 follows a similar shape to hole number 2, however is 30 yards longer from the yellow tees, increasing to a par 5. Another error off the tee leaves me having to play for position with my second, short of the ditch running across the fairway. I find the greenside bunker with my 3rd leaving myself in not too bad position. However, this is where it starts to go wrong! I leave my 4th in the bunker, blade my 5th out of the bunker over the ditch opposite the green. My 6th i fail to find the green again with an attempted flop, my 7th has me finally find the putting surface, before holing my putt for an 8. One to forget!
The 15th is a fairly simple par 3 around 150 yards, guarded only by a single bunker left of the green. I narrowly miss the green, finishing on the fringe on the short side of the hole with an 8 iron from the tee. The birdie putt falls just shy, and I tap in for a welcome par.
On to 16, and another dogleg right sees me playing safe off the tee. I find the left semi rough about 80 yards out with my 4 wood. A lob wedge onto the green has me with a good look at birdie, but a tough left to right putt slides by, leaving me with a tricky come back for my par. Centre cup, the putt drops and I walk away with my 4.
The 17th is the second longest par 4 on the course, but I again fail to get a good drive away, finding the left rough just shy of the lake- which really doesn’t look too in play off the tee due to how wide the fairway is. My 2nd shot comes up 40 yards short of the green from a poor lie, before my approach finds the green, but leaves me quite a lot of work to do for my par. 2 putts later and I’m taking bogey.
18 is another par 4 around 400 yards, where after the last few misses left with driver, I opt for ‘safety’ with my 4 wood. Missing high and right, I have a lot of work to do to find the green in regulation. I attempt with my 4 Hybrid, but manage to turn it over and find the left rough just short of the green, which actually sets me up quite nicely for the back right pin. My approach to the green isn’t too bad, but rolls downhill and through onto the fringe, from which I would attempt to putt for par. My putt falls just short and I’m finishing up with another bogey for an 86 (+15).
In summary, Mid Sussex Golf Club is a very nice facility, that is easily walkable, with a good mix of holes to keep interest. My favourite holes were par 4 7th with lovely views back towards the South Downs, the risk-reward par 5 9th and the par 4 11th (but my birdie might make me biased!) The course was in very good condition, and I would more than happily return. It is a course that I feel that I could score fairly well at given a couple more rounds.
–The Sussex Golfer