The State of Play

So… lots has changed sine the last time I ‘spoke’ to you! I’ll begin with some happy news – just over a month ago on the 18th March, we were lucky enough to welcome our son into the world. After much deliberation, and all of the names of the World’s Top 50 ranking golfers were ruled out by my fiancée, we settled on the name William!

5 days later, the unthinkable happened. Life as we know it changed, and we went into survival mode. Countrywide lock down measures were put in place as a result of COVID-19 which would see the closures of Schools, Pubs, Offices and well… Golf Courses among other businesses.

Perhaps most frustratingly for many golfers, the lock down has coincided with the weather turning, with wall to wall sunshine and blue skies for the most part providing a pleasant change to the wet weather of the previous months. Whilst the courses remain closed, greenkeepers up and down the country carrying out essential maintenance to the courses have been teasing us with snippets of how beautiful our courses are looking right now.

Whilst a lot of golfers have questioned whether or not courses should be reopened, ultimately long term health is most prevalent, no matter how frustrating it is. There have been plenty of fantastic ideas as to how golf courses could function and reduce the risk of transmission, and it is great to see people thinking outside the box! This is one of my favourites…

 

But what is going to be the state of play if and when they do reopen? I have to admit, I am worried. The longer that this does roll on for, the more money golf courses are losing. These places that we hold so dearly in our hearts may well be at risk of going under, and closing their doors for one final time. Now is the time that they need our help more than ever.

So, what can we do?

  • Membership – If you are fortunate enough to be a member, keep paying your member’s dues. Some courses will be providing offers or free months at the end to those that have supported them through tough times.
  • Support your pro – If you’re still making purchases to get your golf fix, many pros are still operating online or over the phone, and some have some great deals about! Drop them a line and see how they can help before you head to an online retailer.
  • Look out for other initiatives your club may be running – some are offering a meal delivery service from the kitchens, online lessons, book a function.
  • Explore a couple of new courses – once restrictions are lifted, get out and play a new course with a visitor green fee. Don’t forget to stop in the clubhouse afterwards for a bite to eat and a drink and make a day of it!
  • Support their Social Media pages – like and share their posts, and help them to grow their audiences.
  • Support other independent brands / small businesses – they are most affected in times like these. A little can go a long way!

The last thing that I would want to see is any of our courses having to close due to this. I would like to extend an offer to all clubs across the county for a free promotional post across my social media accounts. Reach out to me on Social Media or email thesussexgolfer@gmail.com and we can sort something out! It is the least I can do in these crazy times to help try and send a few new customers your way.

Stay safe.

The Sussex Golfer

Creating a Community #SussexGolf

One month into 2020 and I’m still yet to head out on the links. Whilst it can largely be blamed on the weather, there has probably been a couple of opportunities missed so far, and I have been limited to 2 hours on a simulator. But you know what… I’m okay with it!

2020 is set to be a defining year in my life – the year I become a father! One of the most exciting moments I could ever wish for. In little over a month from now, our little baby boy will be here and everything will change, and I am already cherishing every kick and wiggle in Mummy’s tummy! Things which seemed important before will pale into insignificance.

So as you can imagine – golf will be taking a backseat this year. Does this mean the end of The Sussex Golfer? Not by any stretch of the imagination!

In fact… it is only the beginning. And this is where you can help!

So how can you get involved? Whilst I won’t be able to be out there on the course every weekend come wind, rain or shine, I’ll be keeping an eye out for your reviews, pictures and videos across Social Media!

Each month – I will be sharing some of my favourite images and posts from your experiences of courses across the county, with the aim of letting golfers across Sussex know which courses are in great shape and playing well. If you have a Charity day you’re looking to increase exposure for, get in touch!

So join the community! Get tagging me (@thesussexgolfer) in your posts, or use the hashtag #SussexGolf.

Golf Clubs – don’t forget that I still have plenty of options to help support you with your Social Media or advertising needs! Just head to my services page to find out more. Want to spread the word about tee time deals, membership options or just what your course has to offer? Let me know!

See you on the course!

@TheSussexGolfer

2019 Year In Numbers

One of my favourite things to do at the end of the season is to take a deep dive into the numbers which have made up my year. I felt that 2019 was one of my more consistent seasons to date, which came from playing fairly regularly, but also from having a clear understanding of my abilities and limitations as a golfer.

Make sure you check out my Instagram for more pictures and comments on the various statistics over the coming weeks.

Overall

As you all know by now, my main aim each year is to try and play as many new courses across Sussex as I can, documenting my journey on @thesussexgolfer along the way.

One photo from each of the 36 different courses played in 2019!

Rounds Played : 43.5

Courses Played : 36

Shots Hit : 3627

Putting

As with last year, I know the below number might seem high, but when expressed as a percentage it doesn’t seem too bad. Out of the 3627 shots hit in 2019, 38.2% were putts. As always, to put this in perspective, a round in regulation would equate to 50% putts!

Putts Hit : 1385

Putts per Round : 31.83

Putts Per Hole : 1.77

The following numbers give more of a representation of how my putting actually was last year, with a putting average of less than 2 (which means I am making more birdies when hitting the green in regulation than bogies), but a 3 putt percentage of greater that 5.5%, meaning on average I am 3 putting more than once per round which needs some improvement!

Putts Per GIR : 1.96

Putters Per Missed GIR : 1.64

3 Putt Percentage : 9.6%

Fairways and Greens

Two areas which continue to need some major work if I am to take my game to the next level: FIR % and GIR %. On the whole, I have felt that I have driven the ball better than previous years, and I feel a lot more confident with my driver as a result, but the stats don’t seem to back that up! In previous years I have turned to long irons or a hybrid to try and get the ball in play, but having a 3 wood and driver as an option has meant that I am typically a lot further up the hole, even if I am just off the fairway a lot of the time! Both statistics being just over the 30% mark leaves a lot to be desired.

Average FIR% : 34.76%

Average GIR% : 34.60%

Scoring Averages

Since 2018, this is one of the areas which I use to best judge how my game is doing. Previously it has highlighted my strengths on par 3’s, and difficulties on par 4’s. This year has been no different- but it has improved from previous years.

Whilst par 4’s remain the weakest part of my game, dropping my Par 4 Scoring average by 0.18 Shots from 2018 to 2019 I believe is saving me approximately 2 shots per round, and it shows in my overall Scoring Average. The key to future improvements is going to be driving that number down closer to 4.5!

Scoring Average Par 3 : 3.55

Scoring Average Par 4 : 4.81

Scoring Average Par 5 : 5.53

Scoring Average : 83.35 (+12.72)

Hole Performance

Overall, I am happy with my performance here. It averages out over 7 pars and 1 birdie a round, which I’m fairly happy with. Unfortunately no Eagles for me in 2019!

Pars : 315 (40.23%)

Birdies : 51 (6.26%)

Eagles : 0

The important ones!

One of the main numbers people want to know when they’re talking about people’s golf games… handicap.

So, I finished 2019 with an (unofficial) handicap of 10.4, exactly what I started the year on! Given the fact that every round counts as a qualifying round for me (not having a home club, and entering all my cards online), I am happy with that, despite not managing to hit my goal of reaching single figures.

As with previous years, I have prioritized playing new courses over practice, which playing 43.5 rounds across 36 different courses shows!

I do feel that my game has become more consistent in 2019. I had a streak of 28 consecutive rounds in the 70s/80s, before 3 rounds in the 90s in the space of a week put pay to that!

Handicap : 10.4

Best Round : 74 (+2) Chartham Park GC (03/02/2019)

Worst Round : 92 (+26) Worthing Golf Club – Upper Course 05/08/2019

2019 Goals Review 31/12/2019

So that’s another year flown by! 2019 will always be a memorable one for me due to a number of things which have happened in my personal life (which we will come on to later!), but I have also managed to experience some fantastic courses along the way! As I write this on the 31st December 2019, it is a great time to look back and reflect on the goals I set at the start of the season.

For those that haven’t seen the original post- you can find that here

So… how did I do?

How many courses this year?

Unfortunately, 2019 was not the year in which I will complete my ultimate goal of playing every course in the county, but I do continue to get closer! (Check out the course map here to see how I am getting on!). Playing 42.5 rounds across 36 different courses, ultimately I smashed both of my goals I set at the start of the year!

  • Rounds played: Target 40+ : Final 42.5
  • Courses played: Target 25+ : Final 36

As the eagle eyed of you will spot- there are still a few courses across the county I am yet to get to. If you are a member / employee at any of the courses I haven’t played- get in touch, and lets sort something out!

Handicap

So I had hoped that I would be able to try and hold my handicap below 10 come the end of the season.

  • Handicap: Target 9.9 : Final 10.4

In the end, I did miss this goal, however I am still happy to have a playing handicap of 10. I managed to get as low as low as 9.4 (Playing 9) back in February, but ultimately finished the year at 10.4.

Fairways and Greens

An area which I have always felt needs work is getting the ball in play off the tee, and giving myself a decent change at hitting the green in regulation. I have tried multiple approaches over the years, from hitting a lot of irons and hybrids, and trying to sacrifice distance for the sake of accuracy, to just hitting driver or 3 wood and trying to get the ball as far up the hole as possible, which I felt more confident in doing for the second half of the season after a driver and 3 wood change in my bag.

I thought the goals I set were a little optimistic, but there are slight improvements shown from 2018… so at least we are moving in the right direction! Numbers were slightly down for the second half of the season.

  • GIR %: Target 40% : Final 34.6%
  • FIR %: Target 40% : Final 34.8%

Scoring Averages

I was aiming for minor improvements across the board here, and despite my handicap going up, I have delivered on the scoring average front, and feel much of this is down to my game being more consistent.

  • Scoring Average Par 3: Target 3.5 : Final 3.55
  • Scoring Average Par 4: Target 4.85 : Final 4.81
  • Scoring Average Par 5: Target 5.7 : Final 5.53
  • Scoring Average: 86.8 ⇒Target 84.7 : Final 83.35

In the end, my Par 3 scoring average is the essentially same as 2018 (down by 0.01), Par 4 scoring average has come down by 0.18 (and beat my target) and Par 5 scoring average down by 0.29 (again, beating my target). Multiply all of these numbers out against the assumption that the course has 4 Par 3s, 10 Par 4s and 4 par 5s, you would expect a 1.98 reduction in my scoring average. My actual reduction of 3.5 would suggest that courses I have been playing have had a par of less than 72.

Short Game

Putting was one area I targeted for improvement in 2019, but if anything, things seem to have moved slightly in the opposite direction! Whilst I know that not all of these are specifically related to the flat stick (i.e lots of it is to do with approach proximity to the hole!), I don’t feel as confident in the 6-10ft range as I used to. Something to work on!

  • Putts per Round: Target <30 : Final 32.2
  • Putts per GIR: Target <1.95 : Final 1.96
  • Putts per Missed GIR: Target 1.6 : Final 1.64
  • 3 Putt %: Target 5.55% : Final 9.6%

Whilst I haven’t managed to hit my goals in any of the 4 categories, I have managed to at least improve on my Putts per Missed GIR, which would suggest slight improvements in my chipping. I definitely feel more confident just around the greens, and hope that for the rest of the season, these numbers will continue to drop and hopefully I will hit a couple of my targets before the year is up!

Miscellaneous

  • Consecutive rounds below handicap
  • Consecutive rounds in the 70s
  • Treat myself to a round somewhere special for my 30th birthday!

Three big ticks here! Two consecutive rounds in August where the handicap came down at two fantastic heathland courses (West Sussex GC and Piltdown GC. Two consecutive rounds in the 70s were achieved back in July with a 78 at Farleigh GC (Surrey) and a 79 at Piltdown GC again. As for the somewhere special for my 30th? West Sussex was always top of the wish list… and boy did it not disappoint!

@TheSussexGolfer ‘Dream 18’ 2019

Following on from the success of last year’s ‘Dream 18’ – a fantasy course which was a selection of my favourite holes played in Sussex to date (at the time), I have decided to repeat the task – but only using holes which I played for the first time in 2019!

The aim is to come up with a course, where holes are placed with their respective hole number from their course, which would all work together to a combined par of around 72!

Have you ever fancied yourself as a course designer? Well here’s your chance! I’m looking to hear some of your favourite 18 holes in Sussex! Let me know across social media or in the comments below what your stand out holes are!

Front 9

#1 – 1st @ Ham Manor Golf Club – Par 4

The opening hole of this year’s ‘Dream 18’ is one which I played all the way back in February – the first at Ham Manor Golf Club. Whilst this short opening hole may look friendly on the card, a number of ditches, water hazards and an angled fairway make clubbing essential on the first shot of the day. Two conservative mid-irons and you should find the centre of the green.

#2 – 2nd @ Worthing Golf Club (Lower) – Par 4

It’s all downhill from here! From the 2nd tee on the Lower Course at Worthing Golf Club, you’re faced with a long and tough par 4, but luckily you are assisted by a downhill tee shot. Keep your drive down the left to shorten the approach into a slightly raised green. A bogey isn’t a bad score here.

#3 – 3rd @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 4

The first of what may well be a few holes from this heathland gem, widely renowned as the best course in the county. Not being the longest of par 4’s, stay out of the heather and the gaping fairway bunkers and you should have a solid chance of hitting the green in regulation.

#4 – 4th @ Golf @ Goodwood – Par 5

The 4th at Goodwood Downs is the first of a number of challenging par 5’s on the course, winding its way along the valley. Keep your drive left to maximise distance and set up the best angle for 2nd (and 3rd!) shots into the small raised green guarded by deep bunkers well below the putting surface. Beware!

#5 – 5th @ Mannings Heath Golf Club (Waterfall) – Par 3

The first of 5 par 3’s on the card this year is the dramatic 5th from Mannings Heath (Waterfall), featuring its ‘Punchbowl’ green. The stairs are a tell-tale sign of just how steep the surrounding bank is! A fun little par 3!

#6 – 6th @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 3

Formerly a Par 4 in a previous life, the 6th at West Sussex is now an imposing test of a par 3, involving a carry over vast swathes of heather (like many holes at West Sussex!) and a marshy area, to a narrow and well protected green. Another stunning hole where bogey isn’t always a bad score!

#7 – 7th @ Littlehampton Golf Club – Par 4

From high up on the sand dunes, you get a great view of this relatively short, but tough par 4. A fine example of links golf!

#8 – 8th @ Worthing Golf Club (Lower) – Par 5

This stunning par 5 is another hole which snakes along a dry valley on one of our county’s downland gems. Likely to be a 3 shotter for most, deep fairway bunkers and a fast two tier green mean that par is not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination here!

#9 – 9th @ Mannings Heath Golf Club (Waterfall) – Par 4

An uphill par 4 almost entirely surrounded by dense trees makes for a tough finish to the front 9 of our ‘Dream 18’. An enforced carry from the tips, and a cavernous bunker front left of the green waiting to catch anything coming up short add to the difficulty.

Back 9

#10 – 10th @ East Sussex National Golf Club (East) – Par 5

This hole really comes into its own as you get closer to the green. If you manage to get a good drive away, you may get an assist off the bank, leaving yourself a long iron in to a green which slopes from back to front. Be aware- the green is guarded by a stream and a large tree waiting to catch or repel any errant approaches. Laying up is the sensible play!

#11 – 11th @ Mannings Heath Golf Club (Waterfall) – Par 4

If you thought that 6th (West Sussex) was an intimidating tee shot, take a look at the 11th at Mannings Heath (Waterfall) from the back tees! Hitting out of a narrow chute to a dogleg fairway which runs away from you towards a water hazard, there is no margin for error here! If you do successfully find the fairway, the job isn’t complete as you still have to find the putting surface, guarded on multiple sides by water. A par 4 as tough as they come.

#12 – 12th @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 3

Possibly one of my favourite holes I have played this year, and the start of a great stretch at West Sussex, this par 3 is long and tough hole over heather. But boy is it beautiful!

#13 – 13th @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 4

Stood over your ball (hopefully) in the 13th fairway, your target appears as an island green amongst bunkers and characteristic seas of heather. It takes two fantastic shots to have a chance at birdie here!

#14 – 14th @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 4

This sweeping dog leg continues a run of fantastic holes at West Sussex. From the tee, the fairway appears but a speck in a sea of heather. Cross bunkers short of the narrow green make a layup for anyone who didn’t find the fairway difficult!

#15 – 15th @ West Sussex Golf Club – Par 4

Who doesn’t love a par 3 over water?! In a dramatic change from the seas of heather, the water hazard short of the green awaits any under hit tee shots. A welcome birdie opportunity on this short par 3! 

#16 – 16th @ East Sussex National Golf Club (East) – Par 3
Another par 3 over water! Picking the correct club is the key to finding this shallow green guarded by water and three pot bunkers. Reminiscent of the 12th at Augusta!

#17 – 17th @ East Sussex National Golf Club (East) – Par 4

At nearly 450 yards from the tips, this stern test isn’t giving away par easily! A long and straight drive is required to set up a long approach over water into a relatively shallow green, surrounded by run offs. Hold your nerve and keep your ball dry!

#18 – 18th @ Mannings Heath Golf Club (Waterfall) – Par 4

Closing out the back nine on the Waterfall course and our ‘Dream 18’ for 2019 is a hole which may divide opinions, but one which I imagine has settled a lot of matches! Get a good drive away, assisted by the slope you will be left with just a wedge into the green to set up a chance at par (or better!). Get your approach wrong however and there could be a big number on the cards!

Scorecard

Sweetwoods Park Giveaway (Spring/Summer 2019)

Giveaway time!

Sweetwoods Park Golf Club (https://www.sweetwoodspark.com) is one of my favourite courses in Sussex. For those that haven’t seen- check out my review here.

They have been kind enough to offer a fantastic prize for you and 3 golf buddies to come and experience the course for yourself, as well as throwing in lunch!

Competition is open across all forms of Social Media, and all you have to do to enter is simply:

Make sure you like/follow my page (@TheSussexGolfer) and Sweetwoods Park GC on the relevant site to be in with a chance of winning.

Tag 3 friends in the comments on Facebook / Instagram, or RT on Twitter.

Entries close on the 7th May 2019, and green fee voucher is valid until the end of 2019. Winners will be selected from all eligible entries. Competition open to UK entries only.

Good luck!

2019 Goals

photo collage_20190107_011533401-01

A new year, a new set of goals to achieve! After the overly optimistic approach last year, I am hoping that this years goals are slightly more achievable! Who’s going to join me on the journey!?

How many courses this year?

So I am working my way through the list of courses slowly but surely… (Check out the course map here to see how I am getting on!). I’m hoping that 2019 can be a big push towards ticking off as many of the courses as I can, and this is where you can help me! If you are a member / employee at any of the courses I haven’t played- get in touch, and lets sort something out! I’m hoping to play a similar amount of golf to last year, and if I can play those rounds over just as many different courses as last year, I hope to make a real dent and turn more of the blue and red dots orange!

  • Rounds played: 39.5 ⇒ 40+
  • Courses played: 29 ⇒ 25+

Handicap

So I’m not aiming for as big a drop last year. I’m at a realisation that playing different courses week in, week out, is never going to be beneficial to working the handicap down. If I can drop from my starting handicap of 10.4 to 9.9 at the end of the year, I’ll be happy.

  • Handicap: 10.4 ⇒ 9.9

Fairways and Greens

Still perhaps remaining optimistic here, after little to no improvement in these areas of my game last year, I have reined in the targets a little. Lets see how close we can get to 40% across the board!

  • GIR %: 33.04% ⇒ 40%
  • FIR %: 34.21 ⇒ 40%

Scoring Averages

Targeting minor improvements across the board here, having seen last year how difficult it is to drop these numbers! Based on the calculation, assuming the course has 4 par 3s, 10 par 4s and 4 par 5s, if I deliver the reduction in scoring averages, this should equal a drop in average score from 86.8 to 84.7.

  • Scoring Average Par 3: 3.56 ⇒ 3.5
  • Scoring Average Par 4: 4.99 ⇒ 4.85
  • Scoring Average Par 5: 5.82 ⇒ 5.7
  • Scoring Average: 86.8 ⇒ 84.7

Short Game

As my 2018 season progressed, and equipment changes were made, I definitely saw improvements in this area, but there is always room for more! Hoping to maintain the number of putts per GIR, (anything <2 means I am holing more birdies than 3 putting from GIR), but I would like to reduce my putts per missed GIR through improved chipping/pitching. Again, aiming to limit myself to one 3 putt per round if possible!

  • Putts per Round: 31.64 ⇒ <30
  • Putts per GIR: 1.96 ⇒ <1.95
  • Putts per Missed GIR: 1.69 ⇒ 1.6
  • 3 Putt %: 8.95% ⇒ 5.55%

Miscellaneous

  • Consecutive rounds below handicap
  • Consecutive rounds in the 70s
  • Treat myself to a round somewhere special for my 30th birthday!

What are your 2019 goals? Get in contact below or across any of my social media platforms!

@TheSussexGolfer Alternative Christmas Message

As we approach the final stages of 2018, and everyone is enjoying the festive cheer, I thought I’d take a moment to look back at the year just gone, and a few thoughts and things to look out for as we head into 2019!

2018 has been a season of mixed fortunes for myself on the course as I have looked to work my way through as many courses in Sussex as possible, but I suppose that is one of the downsides of not really getting the chance to learn how to play a course when you may only play it once!

One of the most influential moments of the year for me was pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and attending the @aks_golf Charity Golf day, and playing with a bunch of people that I hadn’t ever met before. It was a pleasure to be able to be involved in the day, and I met some great like minded people who went on to form the 3PuttLife Society, which has continued to grow and provide further opportunities to interact and play with fellow golfers.

My struggles off the tee continued for the majority of the year, which potentially has held me back. Not having the confidence in my long game has meant that I’ve been hitting a lot of irons off the tee, and a lot of long irons into greens! Whilst it hasn’t had a detrimental effect (I genuinely feel a lot of golfers could just benefit from keeping the ball in play), it has stopped me progressing towards the single figure handicap I’m aiming for! Plenty of room for improvement here in 2019!

The highlight of the year (score wise) was a 73 (+4) at Dale Hill GC (Old Course), one of three times in the 70s this year, the others being a 78 (+7) at Pyecombe GC, and a 77 (+7) in my final round of the year at Royal Eastbourne GC. Good way to finish the season on a high!

On the other end of the spectrum, my worst round of the year was a 102 (+30) in my first round at Rusper GC, one of two rounds in triple figures this year (the other being at The Belfry (Brabazon) for the inaugural 3PL End of Season golf day. Another one of the years highlights was bouncing back from the 102, to follow it with an 82 (+10) the next time I played the course.

Highlights of the year on the blogging side of things have been securing www.thesussexgolfer.com, rolling out my ‘Dream 18’ as an advent calendar style feature, and of course running my first giveaway across social media. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the content so far, and hopefully will continue to do so going forward!

So what does 2019 have in store? Plenty more Sussex Golf as you can expect, but below are some of my aims for the year away from the course…

  • 2018 Year in Numbers
  • 2019 Goals
  • Long awaited update to my Sussex Golf Top 10
  • More course reviews
  • More giveaways (stay tuned!)
  • Further supporting local businesses to grow (please get in contact if you are interested)

I hope that all of you have a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and I look forward to hopefully meeting a few more of you out on the course in 2019!

Sussex Golf ‘Dream 18’

Have you ever fancied yourself as a course designer? Well here’s your chance! I’m looking to hear some of your favourite 18 holes in Sussex! Let me know across social media or in the comments below what your stand out holes are!

The aim of this was to create a Sussex Golf ‘Dream 18’. A fantasy course, combining the best holes in Sussex (within their respective hole number), all working together to a combined par of around 72!

If you’ve played all 18 holes – you can download a scorecard here! I would love to see how you’ve got on!

Dream 18 (Day 18)

#1 – 1st @ Horsham Golf & Fitness (Oaks Course) – Par 5

One of the most intimidating opening tee shots I have faced in the county, and therefore had to be first up in my Dream 18. This par 5 winds its way through the wooded opening stretch at Horsham Golf & Fitness, and requires a long and straight drive to ensure you have a chance of making par.

#2 – 2nd @ Crowborough Beacon GC- Par 4

Another imposing tee shot, especially if you have a right to left ball flight! This downhill dogleg right par 4 sets up for a fade, to set up an easier second shot in to a large green set over a large hollow.

#3 – 3rd @ Pyecombe GC – Par 4

The signature hole at Pyecombe GC is a must for the ‘Dream 18’ in my book. The dramatic elevation changes not only off the tee, but also back up the other side towards the green often leaves golfers more than happy to settle for bogey!

#4 – 4th @ Sweetwoods Park GC – Par 4 / 5

Another signature hole going straight into the ‘Dream 18’ the par 5 4th at Sweetwoods Park may be our first genuine birdie opportunity our course (from the Yellows). A solid drive down the left-hand side of the hole will catch the slope and open up the green to a long approach and a chance to hit the green under regulation. Care has to be taken though, particularly in the summer with a downhill slope short of the green which can kick the ball towards the water hazard which lines the right-hand side of the green.

#5 – 5th @ Willingdon GC – Par 3

Willingdon GC has two fantastic par 3s back to back at the 4th and 5th, and I’ve plumped for the latter, a railway sleeper surrounded gem of a short hole. What might be a touch ‘gimmicky’ for some, I love the added challenge and risk that the sleepers add, ensuring that you must be accurate with the approach to avoid your ball being catapulted in the opposite direction. A hole where nearly any score is possible!

#6 – 6th @ Crowborough Beacon GC – Par 3

Back to back par 3s on the ‘Dream 18’. I couldn’t leave out the 6th at Crowborough Beacon GC, a fantastic short hole which requires a demanding carry over a former quarry. There is room on the right to bail out for those not confident in the carry.

#7 – 7th @ Sweetwoods Park GC – Par 3

So our ‘Dream 18’ is going to have the slightly odd layout of 3 par 3s in a row, but the 7th at Sweetwoods Park is one hole sticks in my mind due to its uniqueness. Whilst only being a mid iron, the hole has the added challenge of carrying the river valley which traverses the course, and avoiding the sleeper lined bunkers guarding the front edge.

#8 – 8th @ Dale Hill GC (Woosnam) – Par 4

The stretch of holes between the 7th and 9th on the Woosnam Course at Dale Hill GC is a thoroughly enjoyable stretch of holes, all of which were considered for the ‘Dream 18’, but the hole which I have selected is the par 4 8th hole. A slight draw is required off the tee to avoid long rough which cuts in on the right-hand side, but over cooking it will leave you blocked out by a tree down the left hand side. Pin position and club selection is vital on the approach to a green which runs diagonal to hole, with the left side being guarded by a deep bunker and significant drop off.

#9 – 9th @ Pyecombe GC – Par 5

The 9th at Pyecombe GC is another genuine birdie opportunity on our ‘Dream 18’. A fairly short (and sometimes reachable) par 5, finding the fairway from the elevated tee box is critical, with the hole lined both left and right with trees and deep rough. From the fairway, a draw around the corner might find the edge of the green to set up a relatively simple up and down for birdie.

#10 – 10th @ Ashdown West GC – Par 4

Potentially overshadowed by the insanely tough par 3 11th at Ashdown West, the approach into the 10th is picturesque with the green surrounded on 3 sides by trees and ferns. Whilst the course may not have any bunkers, significant undulations and hollows short of the green are placed to add visual distraction to the approach.

#11 – 11th @ Hill Barn GC – Par 3

A toss up with the aforementioned par 3 11th at Ashdown West, the par 3 11th at Hill Barn stands out due to the fact that the green is almost entirely surrounded by bunkers (10 of them to be precise!). If you can avoid the swathes of bunkers between the tee and the green with your mid iron approach, you’ll be happy to make it out of there with a safe two putt par.

#12 – 12th @ Willingdon GC – Par 5

Driving over the 11th and the brow of a hill, despite being from an elevated tee, the shot is blind to the landing area. Get a decent drive away down the left hand side and you have an outside chance of getting on in two, but most will settle for 3. Once on the green, the hole doesn’t get any easier, with undulations similar to those found at Augusta National (which course architect Dr Alistair MacKenzie was also responsible for!). A fantastic par 5!

#13 – 13th @ Lewes GC – Par 4

With the same picturesque views found on the 12th tee at Lewes, this tricky par 4 with its narrow landing area off the tee, is not only beautiful, but also deadly (to the scorecard!). Keep your tee shot to the right hand side of the fairway in order to leave a line into a tough green which slopes away from you.

#14 – 14th @ Ruspser GC – Par 4

The 14th at Rusper GC would not look out of place on many courses of far higher ilk. A long and demanding par 4 requiring two carries over water, firstly to the sloping and tree lined fairway, and secondly, the tough to judge downhill approach into the narrow green guarded by a pond short and right.

#15 – 15th @ East Sussex National (West) – Par 4

Possibly the hardest one for me to pick out of the 18, but after much deliberation (other alternatives being Lewes, Slinfold, West Hove and Ashdown West) I plumped for the 15th on the West Course at East Sussex National. After the brute of the 14th hole at ESN, the 15th seems relatively easy in comparison, but leave yourself the wrong angle into the flag and you can leave yourself with a tricky up and down.

#16 – 16th @ Dyke GC – Par 4

Whilst not being the most visually attractive hole on the course (of which there are many), this long par 4 may well be the most challenging. Two decent shots and you have a chance of hitting the green in regulation, but it could well take you more than two to get down from here if you leave yourself on the wrong level of this massive two-tier green.

#17 – 17th @ Cottesmore GC (Griffin) – Par 3

Whilst not quite on a par with some of the other par 3 17th holes over water around the world (TPC Sawgrass!), it felt like the perfect hole to lead us into the final stretch. Whilst it faced stiff competition from the 17th at Sweetwoods Park GC and The Dyke GC, the 17th on the Griffin course at Cottesmore GC just edges it for me, due to the added difficulty of the green running diagonally to the hole.

#18 – 18th @ Seaford Head GC – Par 5

And what better way to finish it all off than the spectacular 18th at Seaford Head GC? With the ~60m elevation change between tee and green, there are few holes in the county that can provide the same thrill as you get when taking your tee shot on 18. This par 5 plays substantially shorter due to the elevation change, and therefore is a great chance to finish with a birdie.

Sweetwoods Park Giveaway!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – STAY TUNED FOR MORE COMING SOON!

Giveaway time!

Sweetwoods Park Golf Club (https://www.sweetwoodspark.com) is one of my favourite new courses which I have tried this year, going straight into my Top 3 favourite courses in Sussex (Stay tuned to the blog for an updated Top 10). For those that haven’t seen- check out my review here.

They have been kind enough to offer a fantastic prize for you and 3 golf buddies to come and experience the course for yourself!

Competition is open across all forms of Social Media, and all you have to do to enter is simply:

Make sure you like/follow my page (@TheSussexGolfer) and Sweetwoods Park GC on the relevant site to be in with a chance of winning.

Tag a friend in the comments on Facebook / Instagram, or RT on Twitter.

Entries close on the 15th November, and green fee voucher is valid for 1 year. Winners will be selected from all eligible entries.

Good luck!