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!


2018 Goals Update 13/05/2018


When reviewing my 2017 year in numbers, I decided that it would also be beneficial to set myself some goals and targets for 2018.

The goals that I set were optimistic (perhaps overly so since I rarely practice and mainly just play..!), but I felt that I had to make them challenging, hoping that it would spur me on to improve.

I’ve reach a point in my season where I won’t be playing for a few weeks, so thought it would be a good chance to sit down and assess where I am in terms of my goals, and maybe start to think about where I need to put a little more work in (and maybe do a bit of targeted practising!)

All of the information below in red is the update as of 13/05/2018.


How many more courses in Sussex can I tick off?

One of the main purposes of this blog is to get out and try and play as many of the courses in Sussex as I can! I felt that playing 30 rounds across 20 courses last year was a good effort, and I’m hoping if I can squeeze another 10 rounds in this year I’ll hopefully play around 25 or so courses.

  • Rounds played: 30  ⇒ 40+
    • 9. I’ve made a good start here this year, where I am already up 7 rounds on last year.
  • Courses played: 20 ⇒ 25
    • 8. (Seaford Head Golf Club, Dyke Golf Club, Pyecombe Golf Club, Rusper Golf Club, West Hove Golf Club, Willingdon Golf Club, Rookwood Golf Club, Lewes Golf Club). 

The big one- Handicap

So I think that this one is going to be a tough ask given my lack of practice time, and playing different courses week in, week out. But hey, gotta aim high!

  • Handicap: 13.2 ⇒ 10
    • 12.7. Handicap has come down, largely due to my most recent round (+10), which knocked me down 0.9 after it had crept up at the start of the year.

Fairways and Greens

I think that these could well go hand in hand for me, and if I can manage to get the ball in play off the tee a little more, hopefully the greens should follow! Again, 45% might be optimistic, but lets work towards it.

  • GIR %: 30.93% ⇒ 45%
    • 32.10% A slight increase so far on last year, but plenty of work left to do in order to reach my goal. As you would expect, the above numbers significantly improve when I find the fairway, with last years number being 42.54% GIR per FIR, and this year 38.24% GIR per FIR… which makes the next stat all the more important…!
  • FIR %: 32.37 ⇒ 45%
    • 27.42% Poor start to the year off the tee. I’ve had rounds where I’ve been striking the ball well, and missing the fairways has sometimes been a little unlucky, but this is definitely one area I need to improve, not only to hit my goal, but also to score better. 

Scoring Averages

Minor improvements across the board needed here, and I am targeting most improvement on the par 5s. Instead of always pulling the big stick, I need to learn to sometimes treat them as clear 3 shot holes, and focus on keeping the ball in play!

  • Scoring Average Par 3: 3.62 ⇒ 3.5
    • 3.61 Consistent with last year. Continues to be one of the stronger points of my game. On Par 3s this year I average over 47% GIR!
  • Scoring Average Par 4: 4.99 ⇒ 4.75
    • 5.16 This is definitely going in the wrong direction, mainly due to my GIR being down below 25% here. Having to scramble on nearly every hole is tough!
  • Scoring Average Par 5: 5.91 ⇒ 5.5
    • 5.97 Comparable (if not slightly worse) than last year. Par 5s for me are about the second shot, which is useful having only found 17% of fairways on par 5s this year. I need to work on getting the first two strokes solid and in play, and then we can start to think about scoring.
  • Scoring Average: 86.9 ⇒ 84
    • 88.9 I guess I expect my scoring to be a little higher in Winter, with less carry, less roll, less smooth greens and having had a few months off, it takes a while to get back into the swing of things. Lets see where we are at after the next 10 rounds!

Short Game

An area that I feel needs work, and is always the first area of my game to go when i don’t play regularly. If I can hit more greens, I think it will be difficult to expect my Putts per Round to come down as in theory, proximity to the hole is likely to be greater, so I think targeting minor improvements, hopefully holing more birdie putts than 3 putts, and keeping the 3 putts to less than 1 per round on average would be a big step!

  • Putts per Round: 32.1 ⇒ 32
    • 33 An area highlighted by my lovely lady / caddie / scorer / photographer as one of my weaknesses whenever I am lucky enough to have her join me out on the course. I’ve taken appropriate steps and purchased a PuttOut training aid, so hopefully this number will start to head downwards!
  • Putts per GIR: 2.01 ⇒ 1.9
    • 2 As long as this number stays below two, I am making more birdies than bogies after hitting the GIR, which is good enough for me!
  • Putts per Missed GIR: 1.68 ⇒ 1.6
    • 1.75 Scrambling could be a little better. My chipping is often one of the weaker parts of my game, not getting the approach close enough. Something to work on!
  • 3 Putt %: 7.59% ⇒ 5.55%
    • 9.88% I need to change my mindset on putting at times, and to know when to try to hole the putt, and know when to lag it up for an easy two putt. Mid handicap golfing is all about damage limitation I find, and three putts should (and need to) be avoidable!


How are you getting on with your 2018 goals?

East Brighton Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- East Brighton Golf Club (

Date: 30/07/2017

Time: 15:07pm

Conditions: Mostly Sunny, Mild,  Windy

Green Fee: £24.00 (Booked through

Range: Short Game Area, Practice nets.

Par: 71

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 6067

Score: 84


After a weekend off from golf in Sussex, I was excited to get back out there and try another new course, which would be East Brighton Golf Club this week. Situated (unsurprisingly) to the East of Brighton rising up into the hills above Brighton Marina. On a rather windy Sunday afternoon at the end of July, I had a warm up at the range at West Hove Golf Club before heading to East Brighton Golf Club for my tee time, which I had pre booked for £24 through being one of the closet courses to me, it isn’t the easiest to access purely due to the traffic in central Brighton, but transport links from the north and east are slightly better.


One of the older courses in the area, first established in 1893, before being redesigned by James Braid (five time Open winner and world renowned course architect) in 1908. I have played other James Braid courses before, predominantly in the South West of Scotland and have always enjoyed them, so I was excited to get out to East Brighton. After checking in to the pro shop and picking up a yardage book, I hit a few putts on the large putting green to gauge the speed, before heading to the first tee.


The first hole is a fairly straightforward hole, a 354 yard par 4 from the yellow tees, rising uphill away from the sea. A blind tee shot meant I opted for a hybrid off the tee, with a solid strike down the middle finding the centre of the fairway. As I started to get further up the hill walking down the fairway, the wind became even more apparent, adding to the difficulty of my second shot. A punched 8 iron uphill into the wind held its line nicely before stopping dead on the green setting up a mid range birdie putt, which despite a nice stroke, slides by on the low side, before tapping in for my regulation par.


The second tee is positioned directly behind the first green, and is the first par 3 of the course, playing across the slope, with the ground all feeding from the left. A long par 3 at 199 yards, I opted for a 5 iron, hoping to get a kick onto the green. To put in perspective just how windy it was, as I was preparing to tee off the flag blew out of the hole! My tee shot was well struck, but held up in the wind and finished just short of the green. After popping the flag back in, I played my pitch on to the green, perhaps not being as aggressive as I needed to be, leaving it 12 foot short of the hole, before missing the putt and tapping in for my bogey 4.


The 3rd hole is very similar to the first, a straight, uphill par 4 of around 350 yards. Again, opting for hybrid off the tee after the success on the first, A solid strike but down the wrong line, just right of the fairway, sees me finding the first cut. My second shot is also pushed, another punched 8 iron back into the wind, which heads towards the 4th tee. A solid pitch onto the green from an awkward lie by the tee box sets up another decent putt at par, but again the putt slides by, this time a little further than previous, but I’m still able to make the putt coming back for a bogey 5.


The 4th hole is a good short par 3 running along the flat at the top of the hill. At only 154 yards, it is just a short iron, but with plenty of bunkers short of the green, and giant hollows between the tee box and the green, there is still plenty of distraction for the eyes which makes the shot difficult. A solidly struck 9 iron off the tee for me, but after being knocked down by the wind, I was lucky to not find one of the greenside bunkers, finishing between the two. A poor duffed chip means that I’ve got quite a bit of work to do, but I follow it with a better one, leaving myself a short putt for my bogey 4, which I convert.


The 5th hole is one of the signature holes at East Brighton Golf Club, a long downhil par 5, that sweeps around to the right following the out of bounds closely. The temptation on a long par 5 is to always pull out the big stick, but the fairway sloping right to left and significantly downhill there isn’t as much room as you might think, unless you take it very close to the OB line down the right. Using a hybrid again, I get another clean strike away, with a slight draw turning it from right to left. With what I can imagine was a significant amount of roll, I eventually find my ball in the left rough, 303 yards from the tee! With the ball still significantly above my feet, I try to just advance a 5 iron down the hole, but end up turning it over and finding the left rough again. With 70 odd yards left to the hole with my 3rd, I catch my lob wedge a little bit low on the face and end up going just over the green, up the bank on the far side. A nice pitch back down onto the green gives me a chance of making my bogey, which I duly oblige, making the 8 foot putt for my 6.


The 6th hole is possibly my favourite hole on the course, a long straight par 4 that runs back along the hollow below the 5th, making for a couple of scenic shots towards the green. I pull my driver out for the first time today, and a great strike down the middle of the fairway sets up a decent approach to the green. In between clubs, I opt for the lower club and try to force it, finishing just short of the green with my 5 iron. My short game woes continue with another duffed chip, leaving myself a long putt for par, nearly the whole length of the green. I misjudge the pace with my first putt, leaving myself 15 foot still for bogey, which I fail to convert which means I’m walking away with a disappointing 6 after a great drive.


The 7th is the 3rd par 3 of the front nine, which requires another mid iron from 155 yards. A slight miss hit to the toe sees me losing a bit of distance with my 8 iron from the tee, which to a back left pin is not ideal, leaving a long putt. I make the same mistake as the previous hole, leaving the first putt too short, missing the second from mid range, before tapping in for a bogey 4, to card back to back three putts.


The 8th, as the name ‘Round the Bend’ suggest, features a sharp dogleg right at around the 250 yard mark off the tee. I opt for a hybrid off the tee, but hit a little bit of a toe hook and find the left rough. Sitting down, I try to just advance my ball as far up the fairway as a I can with a mid iron, and get a decent strike to leave myself 25 yards short of the green. A nice pitch on, rolling up to 6 feet leaves myself a good attempt at par, which I manage to convert to much relief after the last two holes!


The 9th is another fun hole to close out the front nine. Another fairly long par 4 at 418 yards, the fairway sets up nice for a hard draw, back into a left to right slope. Out of bounds down the right and thick rough if you miss left add difficulty, but I manage to get a driver away as hoped, shaping it back from the right side of the fairway to the left centre. The second shot is all uphill to a green which looks fairly small from the fairway, guarded by a deep pot bunker front right, which is not where you want to be- but surprise, surprise is where I end up! A really nice pitch out of the bunker sets up a great chance at a sand save par, but the 10 foot putt just slides by, so I tap in for my bogey 5, to close out the front 9 in a +8 42.


The 9th green is overlooked by the halfway house which provides refreshments than can be pre ordered at the 9th tee, which is a nice feature that can provide welcome energy or distraction from a bad round, but unfortunately it is just closing up as I get there late on a Sunday afternoon.


The 10th tee is up a small hill just left of the 9th, teeing off back over the green which forms part of the valley over which you hit your approach to the green of the par 3. At 184 yards, it requires a firm strike, which I manage to achieve but turn it over a little bit too much and end up missing the green to the left. An exquisite pitch down onto the green rolls up nicely to inside a foot, and I tap in the putt for my par. From the green, you can enjoy views back towards the coast.


The 11th is a short par 5 on the card, at only 440 yards, but it plays all uphill and back into the wind today. With out of bounds all down the right hand side, and again, thick rough to the left, an accurate tee shot is rewarded. I get a solid drive away, narrowly missing the fairway to the right. I advance my second shot most of the way up towards the green using my hybrid, leaving a 20 yard pitch to the green. A disappointing pitch doesn’t end up close enough to the flag on the two tiered green, but a solid 2 putt sees me walking away with par.


The twelfth tee is situated at the furthest point from the clubhouse, tucked alongside the racecourse. The tee provides fantastic panoramic views back out to sea. From the tee, the large bunker in the middle of the fairway isn’t particularly visible, so I was glad to have my course guide with me! A really nicely shaped tee shot with my driver, drawing off the bunker and round the dogleg sets up a fantastic approach down the hill to the sunken green. In order to keep the ball out of the wind, I play an extended bump and run down the hill to the green with a 9 iron from 110 yards, which nestles in nicely to 3 foot, better than could be expected! I manage to convert the birdie putt with a nice stroke, which is a welcome 3 for the card.


The 13th is a little bit of a strange hole for me, a risk reward short par 4, which sets up great for match play at only 261 yards off the yellows. I opt for a hybrid off the tee, aiming to reduce the risk of the danger of the ball rolling down the slope to the left side of the fairway. I pop my tee shot up a little bit, and finish just short of the fairway a little further left than i hoped. Still only with a short wedge into the green up the hill, I hit a fairly good strike but end up just on the fringe, leaving a downhill putt. The putt gets away from me a little, and slides by a little too far, and I fail to make the one coming back, so have to settle for a bogey 5.


The 14th plays along the top of the hill again, and is a 368 yard par 4 from the yellows. The wind has started to pick up even more by this point and has swung around, so I opt for a hybrid to keep the ball below the wind a little, and manage to find the centre of the fairway. With still a long way in to the green, I have hybrid in my hand still, and my 2nd shot balloons up into the air with the wind, coming up 30 yards short of the green. A solid pitch to the centre of the green, followed by a decent 2 putt means it’s another 5 on the card.


The 15th feels like an extended version of the 14th, running in the same direction but is extended an additional 100 yards to make a tough par 5 back into the teeth of the wind. This time, I opt for driver, and get a solid drive away but the combination of a slight draw and the wind takes my ball left towards the cluster of trees just left of the fairway. Fortunately, I have a swing, and the ball is sitting up enough to warrant having a go with my 4 wood. A clean strike advances my ball way up the fairway, leaving a short pitch to the green from around 50 yards. A nice pitch, but nothing special has me with about 15 foot for birdie, which I fail to convert and have to settle for my par 5.


The 16th is a fairly similar hole to the 4th, a mid length par 3 guarded by bunkers short and visual distraction provided by deep hollows. One of the deep hollows contains a very very deep bunker, one that you know you want to avoid when you notice the steps down into it! Luckily it isn’t really in play, 20 yards short of the green. I hit 8 iron off the tee, which is the right club, but I hang it out a little bit too far right hoping for draw back to the green, and end up missing the putting surface. A decent chip and putt sees me able to make a decent 3 though to keep the momentum.


The 17th is an interesting par 4 of 349 yards off the yellow tees, that requires a thoughtful tee shot given the fact the fairway runs out at 236 yards. I opt for hybrid off the tee, but end up snap hooking it so far right that I am unsure if I’ll find it. Time for a provisional, I opt to swing a bit smoother into the wind, but end up topping it, with the ball feeding down the slope in front of the tee towards the fence which is out of bounds on the right hand side. Luckily my provisional ball remains just in play, but I’m having to take a drop to be confident in my swing being so close to the fence. With my 5th, I opt for the sensible option of knocking it back into the fairway to try and cut my losses. At the end of the fairway, there are another couple of deep hollows to avoid, filled with gorse. My 6th shot back into the wind comes up just short of the green. I am a little over aggressive with my pitch onto the green, and roll 10ft past the flag, but I manage to hole the putt coming back for a disappointing 8.


18 is arguably one of the toughest tee shots on the golf course, semi blind, requiring a fade from the left to follow the dogleg, or a bold draw over the out of bounds to the right. I have to opt for the latter seeing as a do not have a reliable fade in my bag, and a nice tee shot with my driver narrowly misses the right hand side of the fairway. Still a long way into the green on this 460 yard par 5, but I decide to have a go with my 4 wood, but end up turning it over and missing the green short and left. A nice lob wedge over the greenside bunker sees me finding the green in regulation, and another steady 2 putts sees me finishing with a par 5 to close out the back 9 in 42 strokes, for a total of 84 (+13). A slightly disappointing finish with the 8 on 17, but overall very happy with my score considering the wind!


In summary, East Brighton Golf Club is a challenging, yet fun course situated just a few minutes out from the centre of Brighton. The course was in good condition, but the course is very exposed to the elements and must play particularly difficult on a wet and windy winter day! The course has fantastic views out to Rottingdean, out to sea, but also over Brighton, and on a clear day you can see a long way. My favourite holes are the Par 4 6th playing along the valley, the Par 4 9th back up the hill toward the halfway house, and the Par 4 12th with its fantastic views from one of the highest points on the course. I have been back to the course once since the first time I played, and again despite not seeming the windiest of days in general, it felt a whole lot more windy on the exposed downland course! I felt that in comparison with some of the other courses in the local area it was slightly on the more expensive side, but deals are there to be had if you look online or off peak, and I enjoyed it thoroughly nonetheless.


The Sussex Golfer


My Favourite Courses in Sussex Gallery (September 2017)

This gallery contains photos from some of my rounds at my favourite courses in Sussex, based on those that I have played up until the start of September. All photos were taken by myself using no more than my mobile phone!

I also have a wish list of other courses I am looking to tick off! If anybody can help with that- please get in touch through one of my Social Media pages!

For those that missed the original post- head here:

My Favourite Courses in Sussex

The Sussex Golfer

Dyke Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Dyke Golf Club (

Date: 16/07/2017

Time: 14:07pm

Conditions: Mostly Sunny, Warm, Light Breeze.

Green Fee: £20.00 (Booked through

Range: Practice Facility, Short Game Area, Practice nets.

Par: 72

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 6351

Score: 91


Doubling up on golf this weekend (and new courses!), following on from the previous day’s round at Pyecombe Golf Club, I headed up to Dyke Golf Club early on a Sunday afternoon to make the most of the calm and warm conditions that we were experiencing at the time. I pre-booked my tee time through for £20 plus their £1 booking fee, although Dyke Golf Club do also have their own online booking system (which I must add works well) which I have since used. As with other courses in the area, I have had glimpses before playing, this time when visiting Devil’s Dyke on several occasions.


Dyke Golf Club is one of four courses located immediately north of Brighton & Hove, nestled away on top of the South Downs. Being outside of the city itself, it is very easy to access from quite a number of places in Sussex via both the A23 and A27. The course, as previously mentioned, is located close to Devil’s Dyke, which I also strongly recommend checking out if it is your first time to the area.


The clubhouse and car park are located at the highest points on the course, which makes a nice change knowing that the first hole isn’t going to be a walk straight up a hill! The clubhouse towers over the course and the practice facilities, and offers great views out over the city itself, but also the sea on a clear day. Upon arrival, I checked in with the Pro, and as per the previous day, was also able to pick up another course guide for my collection, before heading to the practice green to get the pace of the greens before teeing off. I like to have a decent warm up before playing where possible, so on my way up to the course, I had stopped off at the driving range at West Hove Golf Club, although Dyke Golf Club does have a couple of practice nets and a practice ground with multiple teeing areas, as well as a separate short game area, and large practice putting green.


The 1st hole starts fairly friendly, with a short par 5 that was playing downhill and downwind for me on the day,  with the main hazard being the Out of Bounds down the right, where the practice ground is located. I miss the fairway which sweeps from the left, placing my drive down the right hand side, but not getting the required draw back to find the fairway.With a decent lie in the rough, I hit a hybrid just short left of the green, leaving myself a good pitch up the heart of the green, and a chance for birdie. I hit a good pitch, but leave just a little bit too much work to do for the birdie putt, which slides by before I tap in for my par.


The 2nd is another par 5, of similar length to the 1st, but possibly playing slightly more downhill. I get a good drive away, but a little bit too much draw has me finding the first cut on the left side, just off the fairway. After waiting for the green to clear, I attempt to play a 5 iron into the green, but a little pull means I find the bunker front left of the green. A clean shot out the bunker just rolls through the green and onto the fringe, from which I have a birdie attempt. A little bit too much pace on the putt means the ball doesn’t take the break as hoped, and again I’m tapping in for my par 5.


The 3rd is an interesting hole, and for one which  I am glad I had the course guide! A short dogleg right of only 320 yards, where the marker post is situated very close to what looks like the right hand side (immediately behind a large pot bunker some 180 yards off the tee. The course guide suggests that members approach the hole playing to a telegraph pole in the distance in order to avoid the bunker, and this is what I am to do, opting for a 5 iron. Turning it over slightly, I find the left rough, but get lucky with the lie. An 8 iron into the green, drawn off the right hand side, finds me safely on, but with not much chance for a birdie. A solid lag putt sees me in with no troubles for my par.


The 4th unusually is a 3rd par 5; not many courses have 3 in total let alone 3 in the first 4 holes! Another one that is reachable in two should you get a good drive away, this sweeping dogleg right hole demands some precision off the tee, with a couple of large fairway bunkers waiting to catch any errant shots. I safely find the middle of the fairway with a large drive, aided by the firm and fast fairways, leaving me around 220 yards to the flag, located at the back of the green. With a sweetly struck hybrid, I find the front edge of the green under regulation, but with the depth of the green to traverse still. A poor attempt at the eagle putt leaves me 15 foot short and with a lot of work to do for birdie. I fail to convert being in a great position in 2 and leave feeling disappointed after tapping in for my par.


Even par through 4 holes, but feeling as though I could be a couple better off, I approach the 5th, the first par 3 of the course. The hole is aptly named ‘The Valley’, a nod to the hollow in the land that you must carry with your tee shot in order to reach a small and well guarded green, with a large drop off to the right, also guarded by 3 large bunkers, 1 to the left, and two below the level of the surface to the right. With an 8 iron in hand with the tee forward I try to draw one in from the right in order to get the required distance, but just leave it slightly out there, catching a piece of the bank right of the green before bouncing into one of the eagerly waiting bunkers.The ball collects at the back of bunker, not leaving a lot of room to get the club down behind the ball to lift it out on a bed of sand. As expected the ball comes out cleanly, flying over the green into the bushes. A penalty drop 3rd, has me pitching my 4th down onto the green. Or at least that was the intention… Catching it slightly thin, the ball runs through the green and you guessed it, back into the same bunker I was in. With my 5th, I was determined not to repeat the same mistake as last time, so digging deep for the ball, I swung hard, but a combination of too much sand and the steep bank in front of me sees the ball drop back in. Finally out safely with my 6th, but still only finding the rear fringe, I finally find the putting surface with my 7th, a putt from the fringe that races away down the slope some 15 foot past the hole. Coming back up the hill, I do not give it enough pace, and leave it some 3 foot short. To make matters worse, I miss a short one and tap in for a 10, and I’ve gone from E through 4 to +7 through 5 – card ruined!


Luckily there is a short walk between the 5th green and the 6th tee, which allows me to try to regain focus after the previous hole. There is no respite however, with the 6th being the stroke index 1 hole simply called ‘Hill’. Facing you at the tee is a large slope upwards, similar to the 11th at Pyecombe the day before. Again, without the course guide for assistance, I would be none the wiser. I hit a solid enough drive down the left hand side, finding the first cut  some 200 yards out. With the ball above my feet, I compound the previous hole’s errors with a pull hook into some deep rough. Having eventually found my ball, I pitch out of the long rough only to find the bunker, which is located just short of being greenside. Splashing out, I have enough distance to get out, but not to find the putting surface, coming up short. A bump and run onto the green rolls out a little further than expected, and 2 putts later and I’m marking a 7 on the card.


The 7th is named ‘Cross Bunker’ after the 4 bunkers that intersect the fairway between 185 yards and 224 yards off the yellow tee. WIth my draw, I expected to aim at the right bunkers and carry the left, but again I fail to execute the plan and end up hitting it dead straight over the right hand bunkers, finding the first cut right of the fairway. With just a lofted wedge into the pin tucked over the front bunker, I safely find the middle of the green, with a little downhill sliding putt for birdie. Again, I get caught out by the pace of the green, sliding it by on the high side, before tapping in the comeback for par.


8 is the second par 3 on the course, a short and simple hole of less than 140 yards from the yellows, playing even less on the day I played. With the front surrounded by bunkers, you have to be dialed in with your yardage to find the green safely. In-between clubs I opt for the more lofted, trying to force a pitching wedge. In hindsight, a smooth 9 might have worked out better, having caught the wedge very heavy and finishing short of even the bunkers short of the green. A simple pitch into the green just rolls off onto the fringe on the short side of the hole, leaving a reasonably makeable putt for par from the fringe. Another one slides by and another dropped shot for me, finishing off with a bogey 4.


9 is a mid length par 4, heading back towards the clubhouse. The fairway sweeps ever so slightly around to the left from the tee, setting up for a draw off the right hand side, however 4 bunkers await down the left hand side between 179 and 234 yards out from the yellows. I hang my drive out to the right, failing to bring it back towards the fairway, but narrowly avoiding tree trouble after getting caught up in the rough. With my second, the clubhead snags and turns the face over, pulling my approach shot to the left of the long green, which is guarded again by two bunkers to the front. From the left rough, I try to get cute with the pitch over the front left bunker which is guarding the pin, but don’t get enough on it and end up in the sand. A nice out from the bunker unfortunately rolls on a little too far, leaving too much work to do for my bogey, tapping in for my 6 to close out the front 9 in 50 (+13), which was especially disappointing given the first 4 holes.


The 10th starts the back nine with a similar hole to the 1st, which it runs parallel to, but being 100 yards shorter is only a par 4. Again, blocking my driver down the right, I miss the fairway, but manage to get lucky and still have a line into the green, where the pin is located towards the back. I hit my approach straight up the heart of the green with a 6 iron from the rough, but with a lack of enough spin, the ball rolls through and onto the far fringe. Finally, I manage to get one to drop, holeing my putt from the fringe for a birdie 3.


11, like the 2nd, is a downhill par 5 of similar proportions, again with a blind tee shot. The tee box offers views over Brighton & Hove, and on this occasion the line I decided on for my shot was the i360, with a slight draw. I succeed with finding my target line and desired shot, finding the centre of the fairway some 250 yards out. From a downhill lie, I try to force a 5 iron, hoping that the firm fairways and downhill slope would run my ball down just short of the green somewhere, but end up pushing it out right, just passed the bunker 50 yards short of the green. A pitch on to the green and a solid 2 putt sees me make par to continue the solid start to the back 9.


12 is a dogleg left par 4, sweeping back up the hill towards a raised green after the hole turns to the left. I proceed to make the hole play significantly longer than the yardage of 362 yards on the card, by cutting a 4 wood by accident into the right rough. Again luck is on my side as I find my ball in an area of shorter grass that had been used as an access track for maintenance vehicles, therefore had a shot at the green. With a 5 iron uphill, I again left my shot out right, finding the first cut to the right of the green, short sided by the bunker on the right. Again, trying to be too cute (you would have thought I had learnt my lesson on 9!), I put my pitch into the bunker. Safely out and onto the green with my 4th, still with plenty of work to do, I hit a solid lag putt to ensure I don’t score worse than a double bogey 6.


The 13th hole is another par 4 dogleg left, named ‘Plateau’ after the flat area that balls finding the fairway should feed down to. The tee shot is attractive, with the fairway being below the height of the tiered tee boxes, and the fairway sloping away from the doglegs. . I am let through on the tee by a 4 some, so added pressure as always when being let through. I hit a bad one with my driver, over cooking the draw and finding tree trouble down the left. Again, luckily I manage to find it, but not lucky enough to be in a position to be able to play it, finding my ball situated at the bottom of a tree with low branches. Dropping for my second, I manage to get up and over the corner of the trees, but my ball bounded through the green and into the 1st cut behind the green. A duffed chip with my 4th, followed by a decent pitch sees me close in 5, holing a 6 footer for my double bogey 6. Safety first off the tee next time I think is the lesson here!


The 14th is a mid length, uphill par 3 playing 150 yards from the yellow tees. A little over optimistic with my club selection of 9i  sees me coming up about a club short, failing to account for the uphill slope. Desperate to avoid chunking another chip, I do the opposite this time, thinning it through the green and onto the far fringe. With the putter, I don’t manage to get close enough to the hole to make a 4, tapping in for a 3rd consecutive double.


Looking back from the 15th tee towards the 14th green is a nice view of the green complex. I sometimes look at holes from different angles and wonder why the course is laid out the way in it! Distraction over, I need to get my card back in shape after the last three holes, and that starts on 15. An uphill dogleg left, where you can make the hole play considerably shorter by cutting off the corner, a good drive finds the fairway a decent way up the slope. With just a lofted wedge in my hand, I should have done better, but again over clubbing and running through the back and onto the fringe. I give the birdie putt a decent run, but comes up just short meaning an easy conversion for my par to break the trend.


The 16th is a fantastic long par 4, similar in design to the 3rd, but 50 yards shorter hence the reduction in par.The tee shot requires a slight fade to follow the curves of the fairway, or a straight shot catching the slope, however my draw doesn’t help me a great deal here, bouncing hard on the fairway and behind some hedges on the left hand side. Mostly cut off, but with a line to the right hand bunker, I decide that the sand isn’t too bad a place to leave my second shot. Nailing a 5 iron and turning it over sufficiently means I do better than finding the greenside bunker, instead rolling all the way through the long, 2 tiered green. The previously mentioned point adds a significant amount of difficulty to the next shot, with the pin being just below the tier. No room for duffed chips or one coming out a bit hot here. A reasonably played bump and run to the top of the slope has me safely on in 3 with a decent putt at par, but another slides by on the low side, before rounding off for my bogey 5.


17 is possibly my favourite hole on the course, named after the local geographical attraction- the Devil’s Dyke. The longest par 3 on the course at 192 yards from the yellow tees, a substantial amount of which is carry over a gorse filled hollow, to a green which is set from front left to back right, surrounded by mounds and protected by two bunkers to the front. With a 5 iron, I hit a high towering draw, but again with firm greens I do not have the ability to hold the green, rolling through and onto the rear fringe. I couldn’t have hit one much better I felt, so was happy with the end result. With a downhill putt from the fringe, the ball rolled out some 4 foot further passed the pin than I would like, but I make the one coming back up the hill for my par.


The 18th and finishing hole is slightly disappointing (not only because the round is over), but it is also a fairly straightforward short par 4. As I’m not protecting a score I take driver off the tee, but catch it a little high on the face, popping it up around 200 yards down the right hand side of the fairway. Another short wedge into the green sliding off and onto the fringe, I am again lagging my ball close and finishing off for a par 4 to close out my round with a 41 (+6) on the back, for a 91 (+19) overall.


In summary, Dyke Golf Club for me is the pick of the bunch of the courses located immediately north of Brighton & Hove. A course that I feel I have the potential to score well on with its string of reachable par 5’s (most playing downhill and with the prevailing wind), it is also thoroughly enjoyable and maintained well. Backed up by a large clubhouse, decent practice facilities and well stocked Pro Shop, it really is a step above those in the immediate vicinity. As with some of the other courses on the Downs, I’m interesting to see how they play in Winter with the rain and wind howling, but on a warm sunny summer’s day, the course plays firm and fast, and the views are superb. My favourite holes are the Par 5 1st, Par 5 4th, Par 3 5th (despite my 10), Par 4 10th, Par 4 16th and last but not least (probably my favourite!) the Par 3 17th. I have since returned a further two times such for my enjoyment of the course and the service provided by all here.

four and a half stars copy

The Sussex Golfer


My Favourite Courses in Sussex (September 2017)

Now I have started to tick off a larger number of courses in Sussex, I’m going to keep a ‘Top 10’ list of the ones that I have played. This will be regularly updated as and when I play more!

I also have a wish list of courses that I would like to play. If you have any further recommendations, or can help me in ticking off some on the wish list, do get in touch either through the comments section or Social Media!

Date: 03/09/2017

Top 10 Courses I’ve Played in Sussex


  1. Seaford Head Golf Club
  2. Cottesmore Hotel Golf & Country Club
  3. Pyecombe Golf Club
  4. Dyke Golf Club
  5. Seaford Golf Club
  6. Lewes Golf Club
  7. East Brighton Golf Club
  8. Mid Sussex Golf Club
  9. Ifield Golf Club
  10. West Hove Golf Club

Top 10 Wish List Sussex

  1. West Sussex Golf Club
  2. Rye Golf Club
  3. Crowborough Beacon Golf Club
  4. Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club
  5. Piltdown Golf Club
  6. Goodwood Golf Club – Downs Course
  7. Mannings Heath Golf Club – Waterfall Course
  8. East Sussex National Golf Club – West Course
  9. Littlehampton Golf Club
  10. East Sussex National Golf Club – East Course

Let me know what makes your lists?

The Sussex Golfer

Pyecombe Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Pyecombe Golf Club (

Date: 15/07/2017

Time: 15:30pm

Conditions: Cloudy, Warm, Mild Breeze.

Green Fee: £27.00

Range: Practice Facility, Short Game Area.

Par: 71

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 5991

Score: 94


Another weekend and another new course for me, as I take the plunge for a round at Pyecombe Golf Club late on a mostly cloudy Saturday afternoon. The weather is still fairly warm, but a bit of a breeze ensured that I wasn’t going to have it all that easy! I pre-booked my tee time through their website and convenient online booking system during their twilight times, which at the weekend set me back £27, which is a little more than I would normally wish to pay for a round of golf, but after having previously walked through sections of the course when exploring the South Downs, I was excited to play, and happy to pay based on what I had seen from the many public footpaths and bridleways that intersect the course.


Pyecombe Golf Club is very easy to get to from a wide range of places in Sussex, being conveniently situated just off the A23. The course rises up into the South Downs from the road, with the clubhouse amenities and facilities for warming up (practice nets, short game area, putting green) all located close to the carpark. Upon arrival, I checked in with the Pro, and was also able to pick up another course guide for my collection, before heading to the practice green to get the pace of the greens before teeing off. On my way up to the course, I had stopped off at the driving range at West Hove Golf Club, so was suitably warm and ready to go!


As with some of the other courses in the Downs, the course further rises uphill from the clubhouse. The 1st hole is a short par 4 at around 280 yards from the Yellows. With a few trees down the right and the fairway sloping away to the left slightly, I stroke a 5 iron down the middle for safety, leaving only a wedge into the green. From the fairway it can be quite hard to gauge the shape of the green, but with the help of the course guide, I could see that it significantly narrowed at the midpoint, where a second tier also rose. The pin today was on the top tier, and with a solid shot into the green I managed to find the correct level. A good run at birdie slides just by, and I tap in the putt coming back for my par. A nice friendly hole to start the round!


The difficulty steps up with the 381 yard par 4 2nd hole, with its left to right dogleg and fairway that slopes in the same direction towards long rough down the right. A great strike with my 4 wood drawing it back towards the slope helps me find the left side of the fairway 135 yards out from the centre of the green, with a relatively flat lie in comparison to the rest of the hole. The green is set into the slope, which means the ball should feed in from the left, but also means that it should drop off if the miss is to the right. I opt to draw a 9 iron into the green, knowing that the miss left should be safe, but have to say I end up pushing it a little further to the right than I would like, but the ball managed to draw back enough to catch a piece of the green, finishing about 3ft right of the flag, which was situated towards the back of the green about 9ft from the right edge! Approaching the 2nd green, you start to get a glimpse of the elevation change of the 3rd hole, but more on that later! I managed to regain focus, and the birdie putt had just enough pace on it to take out any slight break there might have been, dropping in the centre of the cup for my 3.


Walking through a gap in the hedges at the back of the 2nd green and onto the 3rd tee, the full elevation change is unveiled, and it is spectacular! What previously felt like a slight breeze seemed to pick up, adding to the difficulty, coming swiftly off the right. I was called through by two gents who were searching for balls in the left rough- not a good sign! With my driver, starting it as far right as I possibly could, the ball sailed back on the wind, carrying the pair that had let me through down the left, fortunately not finding the thickest of the rough. Still 180 yards or so out, all uphill and back into the wind, with my line partially obstructed by trees, I pitch out with a wedge back to the middle of the fairway. Still with a short iron into the green, I don’t adjust for the uphill lie when selecting my club and come up just short of the green, which is further raised above the fairway. A pitch onto the green, followed by 2 putts sees me coming away with double, which in reality fees more like a bogey on what is a very tough par 4! Remember to turn around when walking up to the 4th tee, as there are some fantastic views back down the 3rd over the green!


The 4th hole is a little bit of an odd hole for me- it seems a little bit of a nothing hole, but probably the only one on the course. The tee shot is an approach up a hill, not all that narrow, but the course guide shows the fairway running out where a bridleway crosses the hole. Because of this, I opt for safety of a 5 iron off the tee, which unfortunately was caught a little on the heavy side, which finished up just short of the fairway on the upslope. Being a short hole of only 262 yards, I still only had 120 yards or so to the centre of the green. Again, failing to account for the fact my ball was on the upslope, I come up short with my approach, to what is a very, very large green! With the pin towards the back of the green, I still had some work to do in order to try and make my par. A pitch onto the green, but not close enough to the flag sees me 2 putting for bogey.


The 5th hole is the first par 3 on the course, at 147 yards from the yellow tees. A short hole, but one with plenty of difficulty with the green surrounded by bunkers, and the wind howling off the right (on what I believe is the highest point on the front 9). Today, the hole was playing even harder with the pin tucked away on the right hand side, nearly inaccessible even to the better players. With my right to left shot shape I had no hope of getting close, and even finding the green proved too much of the challenge, with my shot drawing away on the wind, finishing pin high left of the green. Luckily, the hole widens level with the green, and my shot finished far enough left to avoid the greenside bunkers. A tricky pitch remained over the bunkers, but with plenty of green to work with I managed to get it within 5 feet, before holing the putt for my par.


There is a short walk back to the 6th tee for the long dogleg left par 4. Turning sharply left at around 210 yards, driver isn’t really an option off the tee for fear of hitting through the dogleg. I hit 4 wood off the tee, using the wind from the right to help shape the ball slightly back with the dogleg, but still right of the marker post in the fairway. The approach into the green was playing downhill, downwind and this certainly had an effect as my second shot from over 200 yards ran through the green, which drops off the back. My ball settled down in the rough, leading to my short game woes creeping back in with a couple of duffed pitches, before a poor chip once I had finally reached the greenside. The short game errors were compounded with a 3 putt, finishing up with a very, very poor 8 having been greenside in 2.


Still reeling from the 6th, 7 does not get off to a good start either. The 359 yard par 4 dogleg right again requires a tee shot too the dogleg, before an approach downhill to the green. Two tee shots off the tee finding the right hand trees and lost, means I’m playing 5 off the tee, and even then it is a little close down the right hand side! Cutoff by the trees, I try to sneak one through rather than punching out, but catch and branch and my ball kicks right. With my 7th, I have a line towards the green, and I utilise the slope down towards the green, pitching it to the left and letting it feed down. Still some way from the hole, a solid 2 putt has me marking a 10 on the card.


A short walk through some trees has you come out onto the 8th tee. The hole, known as ‘High Bank’, is a short par 3 of 140 yards which plays across some of the same dry valley that helps make up the massive elevation changes on the 3rd. The hole plays fairly level over the two sides of the dry valley, but three gaping bunkers short of the green wait for any mishit shots. Wanting to avoid any bunker trouble, I decided to club up and swing easy, hitting 7 iron. The easy swing turned into a crushed 7 iron, easily flying the green and hitting the high bank behind the green that the hole is named after. What can only be defined as a ‘member’s bounce’ sees my ball cannon back off the high bank and back onto the green, some 12 foot away from the flag. I manage to capitalise on this luck, finding the back of the cup with my birdie putt for a 2.


The 9th is the first par 5 on the course, and is reachable in 2 at 489 yards, providing you get a good drive away down the centre of the narrow fairway. I hit a really good tee shot with my driver, drawing the ball from the right hand side back to the centre of the fairway, carrying the slightly sunken plateau to leave myself 180 yards or so to the green. The second shot you have a choice of playing out right of the green, or hitting over the corner of the dogleg to the wide green behind, but with the risk of getting in trouble. I really felt like the ball was sat well and I could visualise the shot that I wanted to hit, a nice high draw over the right hand edge of the trees on the dogleg to the pin that was tucked away far left. I went for it, and pulled it off to perfection. Green under regulation, with a straight enough 20ft putt for eagle. Now to put this in a bit of perspective, I’m not a long hitter- I don’t regularly hit par 5s in two, but two (very) well struck shots with a Driver and 6 iron has me with a good look at what I believe would be my first eagle ever on a par 5. I spend too much time focusing on the line trying to give myself a chance, but forget to notice that it is slightly uphill, and I leave the putt short for a tap in birdie 4. Coincidentally for those wondering- I have eagled both par 4s (couple of hole outs), and also a par 3 hole in one, but (still) haven’t managed to eagle an elusive par 5. This birdie has me closing out the front 9 at 45 (+10).


10 is a short par 4 at around 330 yards from the yellow tees, but with a couple of tricky features to catch out errant shots, there is still room to make a big score if not played correctly. The first hazard that awaits is a large tree in the centre of the fairway, which can catch your eye and make you play away from it. With a 7 wood from the tee for positioning, the often scenario of playing for safety and finding trouble comes into play as I hook my tee shot into the left rough. Having found my ball, and only having 120 or so in, I decide to advance my ball with a pitching wedge effectively taking the second main hazard out of play – the pond, which is located left of the green, and provides the name for the hole. My second shot comes up short right of the green, leaving a pitch up onto the green. The third feature about the hole that is difficult is the green- a false front combined with a two tier green provides the 10th with a lot of protection against its par even as you get close to the putting surface. With my pitch from the upslope, I catch it slightly heavy and end up not making it up the false front, rolling back a yard or so to the bottom of it. With my 4th, I opt for the safer option of keeping the ball on the ground, putting it up the slope with the pin being located on the lower tier, leaving myself 4ft for bogey, which I am able to convert.


11 is another short par 4, just over 300 yards from the yellows, but feels like it plays longer due to the significantly uphill tee shot to the elevated fairway. First time playing the course and not knowing exactly what is up top, despite having the yardage book, I opted for 4 wood, and perhaps thought the line off the tee was a little bit further right than it actually was, saw my ball finding tree trouble down the right. After taking an unplayable and pitching back to the fairway, my 4th shot from only around 110 yards finished short right of the green, which is raised with a drop off to the left, but provides fantastic views across the downs. A pitch onto the green followed by a 2 putt sees me making a double bogey 6.


The 12th is a dogleg left hole which skirts the outside of the course, close to the South Downs Way. With a fairway that slopes right to left towards a cluster of trees, it is important to start your drive down the right hand side in order to bring it back towards the centre. A mistake with a topped hybrid off the tee sees me in trouble with thick rough just in front of the tee. Luckily I manage to find it and manage to hack it out advancing towards the left hand rough level with the trees around 100 yards out. From the left, the approach into the green is a little more tricky, as there is out of bounds right and long of the green.  Hoping to use the slope of the fairway, I club down to try and land the ball short, but the ball catches a flyer, flirting with the out of bounds right of the green. Chipping down on to the green from the raised bank, I let the slope do most of the work, but the ball rolls through and onto the fringe. I manage to save a shot by dropping the putt from the fringe for my bogey 5


13 is a long par three going back the other way, 217 yards from the yellow tees. A really nice hole, with the fairway sloping from left to right, with the contours similar on the green. With a hybrid, I get a solid strike and a nice ball flight along my line of the left edge of the green, the ball bouncing before catching the slope and feeding round towards, and eventually past the hole. The birdie putt misses on the low side, tapping in for my 3.


14, as its name suggests is a Long Hole. This 534 yard par 5 sweeps around to the left, and you need to be careful with your line from the fairway as to ensure you either do not hit through it (and into long rough), or miss to the left if you’re too greedy. My drive is the former, going through the fairway. From the thick rough, with ball above my feet and the fairway sloping right to left, the inevitable happens and my second shot end up down the left. From a poor lie, I am only able to advance my 3rd to where the fairway narrows between a tree and the bunker around 50 yards short of the green, but the slope takes the ball into the long rough. I can only hack out, before hitting a poor pitch and missing the green to the left, below the putting surface. My pitch towards the green rolls through to the fringe, but this time I don’t manage to make the putt, tapping in for a poor 8.


15 is a fairly straightforward hole, a 331 yard par 4, but unfortunately my card doesn’t get any better here. A hooked hybrid off the tee has me finding the left rough and trees, forcing me to take an unplayable. With my 3rd, I again get one that jumps out the rough a little better than expected, and end up going through the shallow green. A fluffed pitch for my 4th, followed by an over aggressive pitch that rolls through onto the far fringe, sees me again lagging the putt and tapping in for a 7.


Crossing over one of the many public footpaths running through the course before reaching the tee, 16 is a dogleg right at around 360 yards. With the dogleg occurring fairly early in the hole, you have the choice of hitting towards the marker post which is 175 yards off the tee, or trying to cut the corner. I opt for the latter, but end up popping a 4 wood up in the air, luckily finishing short of the pond and cluster of trees waiting for any errant shots on the corner of the dogleg. With trees closely in front, all I can do is hit a pitching wedge back to the fairway over the corner. Leaving around the same yardage into the green, I find the centre, but still with some work to do. A good lag putt again, sees me tapping in for my bogey 5.


17 continues the dogleg par 4 theme, but this time to the left, with a bunker and trees awaiting on the corner. I opt for the driver, but end up down the left hand side again shut off by the trees. A pitch out leaves me around 90 odd yards to the green. A nice lofted wedge pin high sees me with a good attempt at the par putt, but that slides by and it’s another bogey 5 on the card.


The 18th is, you guessed it, another dogleg par 4 to the right. The tee shot doesn’t require too much shape at all, just correct club selection to ensure you are not cut off by trees, or go through the fairway. The 5 iron for safety policy is out again, but as occasionally happens, it doesn’t work out, hooking it into the left rough. I still have a shot to the green from the 2nd cut, just longer in than I would like to what is a short hole! I manage to get my approach close to the green, but it is gobbled up by the small pot bunker front left. A nice out again sees me with a chance for the par save, but I am unable to convert and finish with a bogey 5, for a 49 on the back nine and a disappointing 94 (+23) total.


In summary, I really enjoyed Pyecombe Golf Club and the really interesting layout. I have a definite preference towards the front 9, which has some fantastic, challenging holes. The back 9 feels a little bit more of a slog (particularly the walk up the hill on 11!), but it provides some fantastic views over the surrounding countryside of the South Downs. The course was in really good condition (as you would hope at this time of year), and I felt the £27 green fee at the weekend very fair. Again, I think it’ll be another tough course in winter when the wind is blowing, but look forward to the test! My favourite holes were the signature par 4 3rd, the dogleg right par 4 7th (despite my score!), the par 3 8th, and finally topped off with the 9th, which is a fantastic short par 5. Hopefully when I return my game will be in better shape and I’ll be able to do this course justice!

four and a half stars copy
The Sussex Golfer


Lewes Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Lewes Golf Club (

Date: 08/07/2017

Time: 16:50pm

Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.

Green Fee: £15.00

Range: Practice Facility (I think range balls also available- can anyone confirm?)

Par: 71

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 5929

Score: 89

After being treated to another fantastic week of summer weather, I decided to venture out to Lewes Golf Club for a twilight round on Saturday afternoon, for what would be my first time visiting the course. I managed to book my tee time through their handy online booking system, and the round set me back £15, which is good value in my book!


Lewes Golf Club is situated high up on the downs overlooking the town, and can be quite hard to find (in my opinion) if you do not know where it is. Situated up the tiny single track road that is Chapel Hill, the course definitely feels like one that the locals are trying to keep for themselves!


Once arrived, you notice that despite driving up one of the steepest access roads to a golf course that I have seen, the course continues to rise up into the downs. I checked in with the pro before heading out, who said the course was fairly quiet, which I was surprised at given the weather and the very reasonably priced twilight green fee.


I still remain unclear with regards to the full extent of the practice facilities, but there is definitely a net and practice putting green which I used before going out, as well as a small practice ground tucked away down beside the 18th. The practice green was rolling fast and true, and was a good insight as to what to expect during the round.


As mentioned earlier, the first thing you notice once on the first tee is that somehow, the course continues to rise up the Downs. The first hole starts with an uphill dogleg right par 4 of around 330 yards from the yellow tees, with the fairway sloping from right to left- not setting up well for the draw! A reasonably struck hybrid to start the day has me clinging on to the left side of the fairway after roll, with 125 yards to the flag. Straight uphill to a two-tier green (which isn’t all that easy to see from the fairway), I strike a crisp 9 iron up the hill, which manages to work its way to the rear upper tier, 15ft from where the flag is conveniently located. My first good attempt at birdie of the day slides by, and I tap in for my regulation par.


A stroll back down the hill to the 2nd tee means the next tee shot is again straight up the hill on this 370 yard par 4, slightly blind, but assisted by a marker post in the middle of the fairway. A perfectly positioned drive with my 4 wood directly at said marker post, leaving only 123 yards in. This time, opting for pitching wedge, I again safely find the putting surface before 2 putting for par.


The 3rd is a tricky hole for those who haven’t played the course before. From the tee, this 310 yard par 4 looks like it is going to be large dogleg with the slope, but it actually plays fairly straight. Two cross bunkers about 180-190 yards off the tee are most definitely in play, but are not overly visible from the tee. Needless to say, I managed to find one of them with my 6 iron ‘for safety’, before having to splash out due to a high lip and a decent amount of sand. A short wedge approach to the green should have set me up for nothing worse than a bogey, however my 77 yard approach rolled over the back and dropped off slightly down a slope. This added complexity to the next shot, which I was unable to get close enough proximity to the hole, and I ended up 2 putting for double bogey.


The 4th is a short uphill par 3 of only 127 yards from the yellow tees, and is definitely a hole that you can score nearly any number! Just a pitching wedge from the tee for me, which finds the rear fringe, leaving a putt back down the hill. I misread the speed of the putt and run it way past the hole. Coming back up the slope, I leave my putt short, before missing the mid range putt and tapping in for a poor 5.


The 5th is a picturesque par 4 with views over the rolling South Downs away to the right of the fairway. With the fairway sloping severely from left to right towards the valley and the hole only being 335 yards, I try and hit my 7 wood down the left hand side to shape back to the middle, unfortunately I turn it over a little too much and land in the left rough, where unfortunately was where it stuck! The green is cut into the slope, and with a short iron in hand I fancied my chances of finding the green. Unfortunately, my approach landed on the downslope just left of the green, shooting through the back. I used the same slope to my advantage with my next shot, playing my pitch into the bank before it rolled back down onto the green to leave myself 10ft for my par. The putt slid just by and I tapped in for my bogey.


6 is another short uphill par three, of similar yardage to the 4th. Having gone long on the previous par 3, I clubbed down to my gap wedge. Safely finding the green, this time a judged the first putt better, and then tapped in for par.


The 7th follows a similar trend to the 5th hole, with the fairway sloping largely from left to right, but this hole is extended to a par 5 at just over 500 yards. With a 4 wood off the tee for safety, I again find the left rough and stay in it. It isn’t all bad news as the ball sat up lovely, and I found a surprisingly flat lie which always helps the swing! At approximately 260 yards out, I boldly opt for only a 7 wood, hoping to get the ball up in the air and get some assistance from the slight tailwind, before getting some more help from the firm fairways that slope gently down towards the hole. I nearly pull off the plan, turning it over slightly too much and finishing just left of the green, after getting a kick left to avoid the greenside bunker. A nicely played pitch over the bunker leaves me 8ft for my birdie, but another makeable putt missed and I tap in for back to back pars. It is very easy to get distracted from the golf for a few minutes whilst on the 7th green and walking towards the 8th tee with near 360° views across the downs and the Weald.


The 8th is the hardest hole on the course at stroke index one. Playing 368 yards back uphill to one of the highest points on the course, and into the wind, it is important to get a good drive away. A 4 wood off the tee to try and find the fairway without getting distracted from the views is the plan, and is executed, despite catching it slightly low on the face, which probably helped to keep it below the wind a little. With 170 yards or so into the green, I try to force a 5 iron uphill into the wind, as a felt hybrid would be too much club. After the deliberation over what club to hit, I end up catching my 5 iron heavy, leaving myself 50 yards short of the green. A solid pitch up the slope over the greenside bunker unfortunately runs through the green, but a nice lag putt from the fringe sees me tapping in for bogey.


The 9th is another hole where a course map or yardage book would be handy! A 515 yard par 5 from the yellows I found it unclear as to what line to hit from the tee, but after having consulted my laser rangefinder, I decided to hit driver and try and get myself in the best position possible. Considering it was it was its first outing today, it behaved, finding the centre of the fairway just short of the down slope. 240 yards out, downhill, I couldn’t resist having a go at the green, but ended up snap hooking it down the hill to the left, narrowly avoiding the long rough on the far side of the 10th fairway (about 90 yards left of the green!). With an interesting approach back to the green, I hit what I thought was a decent lofted wedge onto the green, but unfortunately it just ran through the far side and onto the fringe, and a chance to save par. Unfortunately that chance doesn’t last long, misreading both the line and the speed with not only my putt from the fringe, but also my first putt once on the green, leaving myself a tricky attempt for bogey. I was unable to convert the bogey attempt and have to settle for double, to close out the front 9 at 44 (+8).


The back 9 starts with a short par 4 back up the hill. I opt for driver off the tee after the last tee shot, but end up catching it low on the face pushing it just right of the fairway, with the upslope taking all of the distance out of it. Still with around 130 yards uphill to the green, I opt for a 9 iron, and my shot bounces about 1 yard left of where I would get a friendly bounce from the bank left of the green, and instead stays perched on top leaving myself short sided. A brave putt from on top of the hill, using the rough on the down slope of the bank to slow the ball down, nestles closely to the hole for a tap in par.


The 11th is an uphill dogleg right par 4, where longer hitters can cut the corner and go towards the sunken green, for me, I opt to attempt to play a safe shot with a 6 iron off the tee to leave myself a wedge or short iron into the green. I push my tee shot a little and end up close to the small trees without a direct line to the flag. From the right of the fairway, the slope feeds from the left and also downhill towards the green, so a low punch out left is the play. I manage to advance my punch shot forward enough and far enough left to catch the slope and feed the ball round and down onto the green, finishing pin high 20 foot left of the flag. The birdie attempt was good, but unfortunately just burnt the edge, leaving a short put back for a well recovered par from the trees.


The 12th tee is quite a walk away, but it well worth it, with fantastic views over the 180 yard par 3 and the countryside beyond. The hole itself is a tricky par 3, the longest on the course, with a steep drop off just left of the green. The ideal shot into the green is a high, soft landing fade, but without that in my locker I’m left trying to find the green with a straight 6 iron. I turn the ball over a touch and end up rolling off the left hand side of the green to the rough about 5ft below the putting surface. A delicate flop up onto the green sets up the par putt, but another slides by and another bogey ends up on the card.


13 is another attractive hole, with possibly my favourite view on the course. However once you start to look at the hole rather than the view, you realise just how tight the landing area is for the tee shot is. At only 348 yards from the yellow tee, the hole isn’t too long, and the line from the tee narrows the further the drive goes.  I took a 4 wood from the tee, reaching the narrowest point, but hitting through the safe landing area into the trees guarding the left side of the fairway. After taking a drop out of the trees, a pitching wedge into the green bounced through the back, before I fail to manage to get my pitch close enough to the hole to save bogey, instead two putting for a 6.


The 14th is another par 4 back up the hill, and time to get the driver back out the bag. A high block to the right back over onto the 13th fairway makes for a challenging approach to the green, but a high, soft landing 9 iron up the hill lands on and holds the putting surface. Unfortunately I don’t back up the approach with the putting, taking 3 to get home for bogey.


I’m sure 15 is a lovely hole when played as intended, however a snap hooked drive not over one fairway, but two, has me playing the hole from an entirely different perspective. A punch out of the hedge before a 5 iron in the general direction of where I think the green is, leaves me with a 20 yard pitch over the greenside bunker to be on in 4. Safely on, 2 putts later I’m taking double without spending much time on the hole itself! There are also lovely views from this green too!


A walk back to the par 5, 16th tee, located right of the 15th fairway has you wondering where this hole goles! With the absence of a course map or yardage booklet, all you can do is aim for the marker post, which involves hitting over the 15th, and hope! A dogleg right of 492 yards, with the approach downhill, this is a reachable in two par 5 for some of the longer hitters. I opt to punch my second shot down the fairway with a hybrid hoping to leave a simple wedge into the green, but again turn it over a little too much and find the left rough. Approaching the green with a lofted wedge, I safely find it, but my 4th 3 putt of the day sees me make bogey.


17 should be a fairly simple par 3 back up the hill, of just shy of 150 yards, however a heavy 8 iron that I was trying to force comes up short, before again I fail to find the green with the simple pitch, before 2 putting for double.

The 18th is another attractive hole from the tee, back towards the clubhouse and the countryside beyond, and only marginally let down due to the fact it runs alongside the driving range (which is all out of bounds). Some of this out of bounds is protected by big gorse bushes which you don’t want to go near, but either way it is likely to cost you a shot, as I found out the hard way by putting my drive into the middle of the of them! A drop from there has me hitting my 3rd as my approach shot into a green overlooked by the clubhouse and its patrons. Added pressure to find the green since I had an audience led to a sensible approach towards the green, finding the left fringe. In an effort to keep the onlooking spectators happy, I had a run at the putt for par from the fringe, but unfortunately saw it break away from the hole towards the tier on the green, where half of the crowd were willing it to go down and half for it to stay up! Luckily it stayed up, and I had 10ft uphill for my bogey. Silence amongst the crowd as I hit a solid putt, finding the centre of the cup which led to cheers from the crowd to finish off the day with a 5, and close out the back 9 with a 45 (+10), for a grand total of 89 (+18).


In summary, Lewes Golf Club is a really interesting course with a great mix of holes, backed up by fantastic views over the surrounding countryside of the South Downs and the Weald. The course was in really good condition, and for a £15 twilight rate at weekends, I really cannot fault it. I imagine the course can play pretty tough in winter as it really is exposed from all directions in some places, but in the summer this is a benefit, providing fantastic views on most holes. I really loved the stretch of holes 7 through 9 overlooking the Weald, as well as the beautiful par 3 12th and the challenging par 4 13th, I look forward to returning to see how a bit of course knowledge pays off around here!



The Sussex Golfer


Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club (

Date: 02/07/2017

Time: 17:00pm

Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.

Green Fee: £24.00

Range: Practice Ground

Par: 72

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 6076

Score: 91

Fourth week running? Why not! This week, again we were treated by some lovely summer weather, and despite a busy weekend, I was able to fit in a late afternoon round at the fantastic Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club, on their 18 hole ‘Griffin’ Course. Playing during their twilight hours, I was able to get on for £24, which I felt was more than reasonable for a Sunday afternoon.

Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club is located a little further away than the courses I have played recently, but being located so close to the A23 at Pease Pottage, it is incredibly easy to get to and very conveniently located to be reached from the surrounding towns, the South Coast, or even further north up into Surrey.

Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club is a family run business, which makes a nice change to the usual Hotel & Golf clubs typically owned by some of the larger chain hotels, and the place definitely had a great, family friendly feel to it on arrival, with parents and their kids practising on the putting green. At Cottesmore, there are two courses, the 18 hole Griffin Course, which I played, and another 9 hole Phoenix Course, which by the looks of it (from the parts you can see from the Griffin Course and also the Course Guide and Website) looks to be a great introductory course to those new to the game, or just for those that only have time for a quick 9 holes.

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, and I picked up the previously mentioned Course Guide for the reasonable sum of £5. He was also able to provide a map of the course layout, which is useful given the fact they have the two courses. Unfortunately, there is no driving range as such, but there is a practice ground, hitting nets and a practice putting green, which is where I headed before going out. Immediately I noticed that the speed and quality of the greens were a step change above some of the other courses I had played in previous weeks as I rolled my first putt 10 foot by! 5 more minutes adjusting to the speed and I was ready to head out.

When I got to the first tee, two members kindly recognised that I was playing on my own (with my girlfriend walking around as my caddy again!), and let me proceed ahead of them.

The 1st starts with a dogleg right par 5, with a slightly blind tee shot. Luckily with the combination of the course guide (which includes very useful ‘Pro’s Tips’) and the marker post in the middle of the fairway, I placed a 4 wood down the right hand side of the fairway, which rolled back towards the centre, and just through the fairway short of the ditch. Luck more than judgement pulling 4 wood rather than Driver here, but now I know for next time! A longish second in set up nicely for a fade, which I’m sure as you know by now- I don’t have in my locker! I aim to utilise the ball being above my feet to draw a hybrid into the elevated green, but end up blocking it a little bit right into the trees right of the green. A fortuitous bounce and I have a clear line through to the green, but a duffed chip sees me fail to find it in regulation. I again hit another less than average chip, before two putting for my bogey.

At only 317 yards from the yellow tees, the 2nd is a short par 4, but this gets extended by a whopping 110 yards to the white tee, including a carry over water. I somehow managed to block my Hybrid from the tee so far right (over the trees right of the fairway) that I actually had a line to the flag. A beautifully struck 9 iron had me finding the green in regulation, with a decent putt at birdie. The birdie putt just slid by and I tapped in for my first par of the round. Good save after the tee shot.

The 3rd is an attractive par 3 of 174 yards, where everything slopes from left to right. With the course being pretty firm (but not unplayable), and the course guide suggesting that short left was the best miss, I clubbed down and hit an 8 iron, hoping to bounce it on. Unfortunately I missed the green to the left and ended up a few feet above the putting surface with a poor lie. I thinned my chip shot slightly and this ran over the green, and down the hill on the right of the green. More short game woes continue with a reasonably struck pitch, but failed to find the putting surface, running through onto the far fringe. 1 putt from the fringe and a tap in sees me coming away with a double bogey 5.

The 4th is another dog leg right, this time a par 4, surrounded by mature trees. As normal, with the shape of the hole not suiting my right to left shot shape, I opted for a shorter club, this time a 4 wood, and attempted to catch the slope to bring my ball around the dogleg. I managed to do a fairly good job of what I hoped to do, but my ball just ran through the fairway to finish in the left semi rough. My approach shot into the slightly two tiered green finds the rear fringe. A poor putt from the fringe has me taking another 2 to get down once on the green, coming away with a bogey 5.

The 5th is one of my favourite holes on the course. Not a long hole, but not an easy hole, the 282 yard par 4 requires just an iron off the tee down the right hand side. I opted for a 7 iron, as it was playing downhill, and I didn’t want to be contending with the water at the bottom of the hill. A firm bounce had me far closer than I wanted to be, going through the end of the fairway but nestling in a gully short of the water, leaving a very picturesque approach into the green. From here, a simple lofted wedge into the green, pin high, set me up with a good birdie opportunity from 15-20 feet, which unfortunately slid by on the low side before tapping in for my par.

The 6th is a straightaway uphill par 4, and a great time to get the driver out! I managed to get a good one away, carrying the two bunkers on the left side of the fairway with a nice draw, leaving myself just a short wedge into the green. Another green comfortably found with the approach (although not as close as I would like from this distance), I manage to 2 putt for my par.

The 7th is a benign looking par 3, at only 151 yards from the yellow tees, with no bunkers or hazards in play. However the green slopes away on all sides, so a shot which isn’t straight is punished. I find the front of the green with a 9 iron from the tee, but leave myself quite a bit of work to do with the pin back of centre. I leave my attempted lag putt short, before missing the par putt and tapping in for my first 3 putt of the day.

The 8th is a beautiful dogleg right par 4 (wouldn’t normally say that but it really is), but possibly one of the hardest tee shots on the course, particularly for me! A fade is required to hold the fairway, but with trees down the right, OB down the left, and long thick rough directly in front of the tee,  there isn’t much room for error. I try to play a fade with my 4 wood and double cross and end up hooking OB left. Playing 3 off the tee, I opted for a different approach and just tried to hit it straight, knowing that I would probably go through the fairway into the left rough, and actually managed to pull this one off. Playing in to an elevated green, I came up short with my approach, before chipping on to the green and 2 putting for a triple bogey 7.

There is a short walk to the 9th, where the path joins halfway down the fairway, before you head back down the hill towards the clubhouse, where the tee is located. The 9th is a short hole, only 277 yards from the yellows, but the teeshot plays straight uphill, to a point where you would look to land your tee shot, before running down towards a slightly sunken green. I played a 5 iron for safety, down the left side of the fairway, before ending up in a divot just past a lone tree. With an awkward lie and distance downhill towards the green, I decided to play an extended bump and run, trying to use the slopes to get the ball onto the green. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the strike I wanted, and left myself with a tricky shot from the bank on the right above the green. I channeled my inner Seve and read the bank perfectly, lagging a putt down the slope to a foot, before tapping in for my par.

The back 9 starts with a long and straight par 4. The fairway seems narrower than it is, due to an old tree shielding the right side, guiding you down the left where there is a fairway bunker waiting for you. Guess where I ended up? Fairway bunker. I’m far enough back to advance the ball over 100 yards up the fairway with a 9 iron, leaving myself just a short pitch into the two tiered green. Two putts later and I’m making another bogey 5.

11 is yet another hole that sets up for a fade off the tee. This time, I attempted with my 7 wood and actually succeeded in hitting a fade for a change, finding the middle of the fairway. 120 yards out, it should have just been a simple pitching wedge to the centre of the slightly raised green, but I caught it a little bit thin and went through the back. A pitch onto the green from within the trees, followed by another 2 putts and it’s another 5 for me.

The 12th is a very testing par 3, at 213 yards from the yellow tees, to possibly one of the largest greens on the course. Hitting through a narrow chute between trees over a hollow, there is landing area short of the green if required, however this slopes from left to right toward a large greenside bunker. Not only is the green large, it also has two tiers, with approximately 4ft height change between the two, and trust me, you will be left with a challenging putt if you end up on the wrong one. With 7 wood in my hand, I hit a really crisp tee shot, towering some might say, and land it on the front edge of the green and hold it. You guessed it, I’m on the top tier and the pin is on the bottom tier. With my longest putt of the day (50ft +) actually only playing about 8ft, and breaking twice that amount, I gave this one a long hard look! I judged the putt very well, narrowly missing on the high side, before tapping in for my par.

13 is an uphill dogleg left par 4, finally a hole that sets up nicely for my draw! Maybe a bit over eager with the tee shot, I end up catching it very, very low on the face, are barely make it up the bank before the fairway. To try and get back into play, I hit a hybrid and try to turn it over around the corner slightly, but end up hitting straight through the fairway into the ferns below the trees. I have to take an unplayable from my lie, so my approach is my 4th shot, and it finds the fringe just left of the green. A putt from the fringe, followed by a tap in sees me making a double bogey 6.

The 14th tee is a short walk away and is the first (and shortest) of 3 par 5’s in the last 5 holes. A wide open fairway means I had driver in my hand, but with OB looming left, I put myself in some trouble down the left, luckily finding my ball just inside the white posts, but unplayable. Following a drop, I was faced with the daunting (but fantastic) approach into the 14th green, with around 165 yards to the hole. With the breeze slightly behind, I hit a solid 7 iron onto the green to be on in regulation despite the unplayable. Unfortunately, my putting let me down, and a 3 putt means I’m coming away with a 6.

15 is another par 5, the longest hole on the course at 540 yards from the yellow tees. As stated in the course guide, the hole is actually very similar to the first in terms of the approach to the green. A drive right of the fairway sees me having a bit of tree trouble, and not much of an idea where to play my 2nd shot! I decided to lay up short of the ditch, which was a good option, leaving myself just a 9 iron uphill into the green. Safely on, I have a good attempt at a birdie putt, but again it slides just by, and I tap in for par.

The 16th is the first of two holes that surround a lake. A short par 4 of only 286 yards, the water isn’t really in play from the tee. I opt for a 5 iron for safety, but leave it out a little right, but not in any danger. With only a short wedge into the green, I really should have done better than going just over the back edge. A chip on followed by 2 putts means I’m dropping a shot.

17 is a fantastic short hole, a 154 yard par 3, mostly over water. When I played, there sun was also starting to set which led to a lovely photo! Unfortunately a tree just short left of the green was diseased and needs to be removed. I also managed to back up the lovely photo with a beautifully struck 7 iron, but unfortunately caught it too well and it bounced through the green. Again, I fail to leave to chip close enough, 2 putting for bogey again.

The round ends with the final par 5 18th hole, playing 463 yards from the yellow tee, but unfortunately ended with the biggest blemish on my card. A duck hook with the driver off the tee sees me with tree trouble down the left. I thought I had a gap and tried to punch through, but the ball came ricocheting back, wasting a shot. I follow this with a safer pitch back through, but still have way over 250 yards to the green. I play a 5 iron down the fairway for my 4th to avoid any more danger where the fairway narrows about 120 yards out, leaving myself only 70 yards to the hole. My approach to the green is a little heavy and I end up in the front bunker. I don’t manage to get my first attempt out of the bunker, but the second is safely on with my 7th shot. A final 2 putt of the day to finish off the round with a disappointing closing 9 for a 91 (+19).

In summary, Cottesmore Hotel & Golf Club is a very friendly, easily accessed, family owned leisure complex. Not only do they have 27 holes of golf (the 18 of which I played were fantastic), but also the addition of the hotel and spa means that there truly is something for everyone here. I can’t pass comment on the hotel or spa, but as a golf course alone, the mature trees lining the fairways, manicured fairways and greens, and some interesting water hazards make the course very enjoyable to play.  I really loved the stretch of holes 3 through 5, the beautiful par 4 8th, the par 3 12th, and my favourite of all, the par 3 17th. The course was in great condition, which is a testament to the green keepers. The greens were rolling fast and true, which did take a little getting used to! I will definitely be returning to this wonderful venue.

four and a half stars copy

The Sussex Golfer

Brighton & Hove Golf Club – 10th June 2017 Gallery