Lewes Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Lewes Golf Club (http://www.lewesgolfclub.co.uk/)

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 (http://www.cottesmoregolf.co.uk/)

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

Hassocks Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Hassocks Golf Club (http://hassocksgolfclub.co.uk/)

Date: 25/06/2017

Time: 16:00pm

Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.



Green Fee: £15.00

Range: Practice Ground



Par: 70

Tees: White

Yards: 5976

Score: 93



I am being treated by the lovely English weather at the minute! Another sunny weekend and I’m heading out for my 3rd round in as many weeks!

 

Another new course for me this week, when I headed to Hassocks Golf Club.  I had managed to find what I thought was a reasonable twilight deal at £15 for 18 holes, which I was happy with.

 

Upon arrival, I headed to the pro shop where I was greeted by the pro. As usual, I kindly explained that it was my first time at the course, and he was able to point me in the direction of the first tee. Unfortunately, the practice facilities are more of a practice ground (as far as I could tell) rather than a driving range, so I thought I’d do some work on the putting green before going out. I hadn’t been overly pleased with my putting over the past couple of weeks, and I was questioning whether or not to revert back to my old putter (I treated myself to a new one in May- I’ll go into more detail when I get to my WITB review!).

 

When I got to the first tee, there was another lone golfer looking to head out to get some more practice in. He was a member at the club, so I thought it would be interesting to join up with him to find out a bit more about the place, mainly just in case a bit of local knowledge would help me score, but secondly because it is always nice to have a bit of company when playing! He asked if I minded playing from the Whites as he was looking to get some competition practice in. I’m usually hesitant and play off the yellows, but one look at the card and the 5976 yards and par 70 from the Whites and I agreed to join him.

 

The 1st starts with a dogleg right par 4, with a couple of water hazards to avoid both off the tee and by the green. If you’ve read any of my other reviews you’ll know that these aren’t my preferred holes- let alone to start a round after no real warm up! The usual first tee nerves are back, combined with playing with a member at the club means I’m pretty shaky up on the box, however I manage to get a decent 4 wood away down the left hand side of the fairway, just creeping into the semi rough. First one out the way, water avoided, nerves settled- all good. My approach to the green is struck well, but finds the right fringe, back right of the green. An average approach putt and I’ve got a bit of work to do for my par, but I slot in the next putt and walk away with my 4.

 

The 2nd is a par 5 slight dogleg right again, but the main issue off the tee is the ditch that runs across the fairway at around the 250 yard mark. I look to play safe, trying to lay up short with my 4 wood, but end up nailing it straight into the ditch on the right side of the fairway, aided by the firm ground. I take a drop from the hazard, before trying to get a little greedy with my 3rd, which I end up popping up high and right and ending up in behind a tree. A punch out to the left sees me with still some way into the green. My approach finds the greenside bunker, where my short game starts to unravel again. Two from the sand, the second going over the green. All of this means I’m chipping on for my 8th, and a solid 2 putt sees me walking away with a 10. One to forget!

 

The 3rd is the Stroke Index 1 on the course- another tight slight dogleg right, with plenty of trees and a cross ditch all adding to the difficulty. This time I snap hook my usually fairly trusty 4 wood, and lucky for me I end up so far left I’m on the 4th fairway. A solidly struck 5 iron and I come up just short of the green. A pitch and putt and I have scrambled one of the pars of the day.

 

The 4th is the first hole that sets up well for me, but after the last tee shot, I nervously decide to play for safety with a 5 iron, considering the hole is down wind and the fairways are dry, I still feel that I have a chance of reaching this long par 4 (450 yards) in 2. Those hopes are soon dashed by what can only be described as a useless attempt at playing safe, ending up in the trees down the left side. I manage to get a little lucky in the sense that I have a swing and I can try and punch a hybrid low with draw up in the general vicinity of the green. The shot comes off okay, and I’m left in the rough about 60 yards short of the green. From the rough, a bladed wedge over the back of the green finding another ditch, means I’m finding the green with my 5th. 2 putts later and I’m in for a triple bogey 7.

 

The 5th has us back on the dogleg right par 4’s, and me back with the hooks from the tee box. I manage to get a better contact than on the 3rd, but I’m still way down the left hand side. Back into the slight wind with my second, I try to drive a Hybrid below the wind, but only end up finding the greenside bunker. My 3rd finds the putting surface and a 2 putt sees me make bogey.

 

The 6th was playing longer than the yardage on the card, playing into the breeze. A pulled 5 iron off the tee sees me missing the green to the left, before pitching on and 2 putting for my bogey.

 

The 7th is visually impressive off the raised tee box, but also intimidating with a ditch running across the fairway, which also narrows due to a tree centrally positioned. I opt to lay back of the ditch, hitting a hybrid (perfectly may I add), finishing in prime position 140 yards out with a clear view of the flag. Unfortunately it wasn’t backed up with a decent second shot where I missed the green again. My short game woes continued, failing to get up and down for my par, coming away with bogey.

 

8 is another fairly straightforward par 4, tipping out at 341 yards. A 4 wood down the left side just off the airway actually leaves me with a decent line into the right flag, but the right to left crosswind knocks my second shot into the greenside bunker on the left. Safely on with my 3rd, I again miss the par save and come away with bogey.

 

The 9th is possibly my favourite hole on the course, a real thinking hole. The fairway is sandwiched between two areas of water, so picking the right club off the tee is key. I hit another solid hybrid off the tee, and finish in prime position in the middle of the fairway. Again, I fail to capitalise on it, flying my wedge over the green and getting an unlucky bounce off the downslope behind the green, sending it into the bushes. I manage to find my ball, but it is unplayable, so I am dropping for my 3rd, but in some thick rough. My 4th fails to find the green, with the club getting caught in the Velcro like rough. Not for the first time, my chip shot doesn’t finish close enough, and I’m 2 putting for a 7, to round out the front nine in a disappointing 51.

 

The back nine starts with a mid range par 3 back into the wind. With the pin tucked back right, I hit a solid shot, but miss the green just to the right. Finally, a fairly decent chip shot means that I’m able to rescue my par with a 1 putt.

 

The 11th is a sweeping dogleg right par 5, which being the first time I played the course wasn’t overly clear where the hole is from the tee box! With the wind off the right, I make the hole longer for myself by finding the left side of the fairway. The second shot you are left with a decision, lay up short of the water, or try to carry it. I opt for the second option, and end up bailing out right where the carry is shorter, but find the thick rough down the right. Again, the ball ends up being unplayable so I’m dropping for my 3rd. I find the green with my 4th, leaving myself a good look at par, but unfortunately my putt slides by and I’m making a bogey 6.

 

The 12th is a short dogleg left, so I opt for a hybrid off the tee to try and reach the apex of the dogleg. Unfortunately I draw the ball a little too much and end up with tree trouble down the left. Again, another unplayable and i’m dropping for my 2nd. My 3rd I fly the green to a back pin location, short siding myself. Another pitch onto the green before 2 putting, sees me coming away with another double.

 

13 is a long par 3, which was again playing back into the breeze. I misjudge the breeze, but also not helped by striping my 4 wood off the tee, and I again fly the green into the bushes, before taking a 3rd unplayable in as many holes. I find the green with my 3rd, but again not close enough to 1 putt, and I come away with double again.

 

The 14th is a very short par 4 , just over 300 yards. With the firmness of the fairways, and a helping wind from right to left, I figured I could get close with a 4 wood if struck well, but I turn it over too much and it sails over the trees down the left. With my 3rd from the tee, I opt for a more conservative approach, hitting a 5 iron instead. As anticipated with the first, the helping wind and firm fairways somehow sees me hitting my 5 iron 239 yards, leaving only a short pitch to the green. I hit a good pitch, leaving myself 10 foot for bogey, which I manage to drop.

 

15 is a slightly sweeping left par 4 around 320 yards. After the previous troubles with my 4 wood, I decide to get the driver out for the first time today, launching my tee shot right down the middle with a slight draw. From the middle of the fairway, I hit a nice pitch to about 10ft with a lob wedge. The left to right breaking birdie putt slides by, and I tap in for my par 4.

 

The 16th is again another visually impressive hole from the tee box, with trees down the left, a lake to the right, and a ditch running across the fairway short of the green, so there isn’t a great deal of room for error! I aim down the right, looking to draw the ball away from the lake, but unfortunately put it straight in the lake. My approach with my 3rd finds the back fringe with an awkward lie, before again I fail to get my chip shot close enough to one putt, and come away with a double bogey.

 

17 is another attractive hole, this time a par 3 with water around the green on the front and right sides. A poor swing off the tee sees me chunking my 6 iron all of 75 yards (we’ve all done it), but at least it stays dry. A pitch onto the green before a 2 putt and I’ll settle for my bogey after that tee shot!

 

The finishing hole is a driveable par 4 (for the longer hitters). I pull driver again given the fact I’m not protecting a score, and stripe it right at the green, finding the greenside bunker. A lovely pitch from the sand sees me having a 6ft putt for my first birdie of the day, which I manage to drop straight in the centre. A very nice way to finish for a 42 on the back nine, and 93 (+23) total.

 


In summary, Hassocks Golf Club is a friendly facility, with some interesting holes, but in my opinion just a couple too many holes that feel a bit samey.   My favourite holes were the par 4 1st, the par 4 7th with its intimidating tee shot,  the par 4 9th which requires a tactical approach, and the visually impressive par 4 16th.. The course was in good condition, but a little bit on the dry and firm side, which made control over your tee shots paramount. Given its length, it is somewhere that if playing well I feel that I could post a decent score- I just need to cut out the mistakes, but don’t we all! A fairly decent value option within the Sussex area.

⭐⭐⭐

The Sussex Golfer

 

Mid Sussex Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- Mid Sussex Golf Club (http://www.midsussexgolfclub.co.uk/)

Date: 17/06/2017

Time: 17:20pm

Conditions: Clear, Calm, Warm.


Green Fee: £20.00

Range: (Closed due to FootGolf)


Par: 71

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 6045

Score: 86


Another sunny Saturday evening that I’ve managed to sneak a round of golf in! I left it as late as I could to tee off, as we were at the start of a heatwave (for the UK!).


I decided to head out for my first round at Mid Sussex Golf Club, a little bit further afield from the previous two rounds, but chosen due to my hope that they would have a yardage book to keep my girlfriend happy- as I had managed to convince her to join me for a nice evening walk! Luckily Mid Sussex Golf Club were able to provide the entertainment!


Upon arrival, I was greeted by the friendly pro- who explained the lay of the land, where the practice facility and first tee was. Unfortunately, the driving range was shut, as they open it up to play FootGolf on occasionally, which I don’t mind if it is drawing more people to golf courses and generating revenue for the industry. I was still able to hit a few balls into the practice net, and a few putts on the perfectly manicured practice green.

 

Today is my first round with my new Garmin Approach X40- a fitness and activity tracker with built in GPS of approximately 40,000 golf courses. I’ll cover my experiences of the device in more detail in a following review!


The 1st starts with a gentle short par 4, and a birdie opportunity that could be wasted for those not warmed up! A 5 iron down the middle followed by a lob wedge to 8ft has me lining up my first decent attempt at birdie of the day. Seconds later the ball drops into the cup and I’m walking away with a 3. Nice start!


The 2nd is a dogleg left, which sets up (in theory) nicely for my right to left ball flight. Still, being the first round I am playing on the course, I pick the wrong line off the tee, and end up hitting through the dogleg into the right hand rough. A pulled approach from the rough followed by a poor pitch and then chip from the fringe, leaves me two putting for double.


The 3rd is a dogleg right par 4, with approach shots to a well guarded green. A drive out the heel of the club finds me missing the fairway left, with quite a way into the green. A pulled hybrid has me hacking out of the rough for my 4th, with some more poor examples of the short game, seeing me come away with triple.


The 4th, a short dogleg left par 4 sets up nicely off the tee for me. A slightly drawn 4 wood over the ditch leaves me only a lob wedge into the green. Finding the left fringe, I nestle my putt from off the green close, and tap in for my par.

The 5th is a short par 3, where I only had a Pitching Wedge in hand. Caught a little heavy, I come up short right. A pitch and two putts later (one from the fringe)and I’m making another bogey.

 

The 6th, nicknamed ‘Eastbourne Express’, runs alongside the train track. Well worth taking an additional moment to ensure you’re settled before teeing off. This dogleg right par 4 has me hitting 4 wood to the corner of the fairway, leaving a 6 iron into the green. A crisply struck shot has me with a 12ft left to right breaker for my 2nd birdie of the day, but my putt slides by and I make the comeback putt for par.

 

The 7th is a straightaway par 4 with a well bunkered fairway and green, heading directly back towards the South Downs, making the tee shot nice and picturesque. Safety and a relatively short 326 yards has me picking 5 iron, and I leave myself nicely positioned within the middle of the fairway. A disappointing approach has me finding the back edge of the green a long way from the flag. My second three putt of the day means I’ve made bogey from a good position in the middle of the fairway.

 

The 8th is a pretty par 3, over a small ditch and protected by trees to the right of the green. With my draw, this leaves little room for error, which I duly make, clattering my tee shot into a tree overhanging the green from the right edge. Luckily, I end up dropping just off the back of the green, A nice lag putt from the fringe ensures I’m tapping in for par.

 

The front 9 is finished with a reachable par 5. At 484 yards, I’m drawn into having a go at the green with my second after a solid drive down the middle. Water awaits all down the left side of the approach, which needless to say is where I end up! From my drop, my next shot finds the green, and I 2 putt to close out the front nine with a bogey 6 for a 42 total.

 

The back 9 again starts with a fairly straightaway hole, this time with a par 5. With little trouble off the tee, I use driver and get my tee shot away down the right side. The green may be within reach for longer hitters in 2, but two large trees and a ditch running across the fairway about 50 yards short of the green means I’m laying up short of that and leaving myself a short wedge into the green. From the centre of the fairway, I slightly over club and end up on the back fringe with my 3rd, straight over the pin. I don’t manage to get my putt from the fringe close enough to set up and easy par, so have to settle for bogey.

 

The 11th tee is back over the ditch, but the hole heads in the same direction as 10. An intimidating tee shot with three cross bunkers. Feeling confident, my driver is out the bag again and I arrow my drive between the gap between the left two bunkers, leaving myself in a great position in the fairway around 70 yards out. Having learnt from having a similar shot into 10, I judge the distance well with my approach, and leave myself 8 foot for another birdie. Taking a little longer over the putt than normal, I’m happy with my line, and strike my putt, the ball dropping straight in the centre for my birdie 3.

 

The 12th is dogleg left par 4, which in theory should set up great for my draw, however I get a little ahead of myself after my last drive, and end up blazing my drive way right into the deep rough under the trees. Taking a unplayable, I’m left with a long way in still, leaving my approach short left with the pin back right. Again I leave my chip short, and 2 putt for double bogey.

 

13 is a short par three protected by a couple of bunkers at the front of the green. Still reeling from my last tee shot, I compound errors by catching my tee shot heavy, leaving it short of both the green and the bunkers. A pitch onto the green and 2 putts sees me making another bogey.

 

14 follows a similar shape to hole number 2, however is 30 yards longer from the yellow tees, increasing to a par 5. Another error off the tee leaves me having to play for position with my second, short of the ditch running across the  fairway. I find the greenside bunker with my 3rd leaving myself in not too bad position. However, this is where it starts to go wrong! I leave my 4th in the bunker, blade my 5th out of the bunker over the ditch opposite the green. My 6th i fail to find the green again with an attempted flop, my 7th has me finally find the putting surface, before holing my putt for an 8. One to forget!

 

The 15th is a fairly simple par 3 around 150 yards, guarded only by a single bunker left of the green. I narrowly miss the green, finishing on the fringe on the short side of the hole with an 8 iron from the tee. The birdie putt falls just shy, and I tap in for a welcome par.

 

On to 16, and another dogleg right sees me playing safe off the tee. I find the left semi rough about 80 yards out with my 4 wood. A lob wedge onto the green has me with a good look at birdie, but a tough left to right putt slides by, leaving me with a tricky come back for my par. Centre cup, the putt drops and I walk away with my 4.

 

The 17th is the second longest par 4 on the course, but I again fail to get a good drive away, finding the left rough just shy of the lake- which really doesn’t look too in play off the tee due to how wide the fairway is. My 2nd shot comes up 40 yards short of the green from a poor lie, before my approach finds the green, but leaves me quite a lot of work to do for my par. 2 putts later and I’m taking bogey.

 

18 is another par 4 around 400 yards, where after the last few misses left with driver, I opt for ‘safety’ with my 4 wood. Missing high and right, I have a lot of work to do to find the green in regulation. I attempt with my 4 Hybrid, but manage to turn it over and find the left rough just short of the green, which actually sets me up quite nicely for the back right pin. My approach to the green isn’t too bad, but rolls downhill and through onto the fringe, from which I would attempt to putt for par. My putt falls just short and I’m finishing up with another bogey for an 86 (+15).

 


In summary, Mid Sussex Golf Club is a very nice facility, that is easily walkable, with a good mix of holes to keep interest. My favourite holes were par 4 7th with lovely views back towards the South Downs, the risk-reward par 5 9th and the par 4 11th (but my birdie might make me biased!) The course was in very good condition, and I would more than happily return. It is a course that I feel that I could score fairly well at given a couple more rounds.

three and a half stars

The Sussex Golfer

 

Brighton & Hove Golf Club – 10th June 2017 Gallery

West Hove Golf Club – Course Review

Course Review- West Hove Golf Club (http://www.westhovegolfclub.info)

Date: 29/04/2017

Time: 15:40pm

Conditions: Clear, Calm.

 

Green Fee: £21.00

Range: £4.50 approx 50 balls.

 

Par: 70

Tees: Yellow

Yards: 6022

Score: 84

 

A sunny Saturday late afternoon and the prospect of half of Sussex being glued to the final Brighton & Hove Albion home game of the season led to my decision to head out to West Hove Golf Club to make the most of what would hopefully be a nice quiet round considering I hadn’t played much recently.

This was the first time I have played at West Hove Golf Club, despite living less than 2 miles from the course for the best part of three and a half years, and regularly driving passed it. I chose West Hove GC for my round mainly due to the fact that it has a driving range- considering it was the first time I had hit balls for a month.

Upon arrival, I headed straight to the pro shop to grab a range token. The range was surprisingly busy, yet well equipped, with plenty of bays, targets, and tees. Hitting the ball well considering being a bit rusty- a good sign?

After warming up, a short stroll to the first tee had me up next. The 1st starts with a gentle dogleg right up the hill. The fairway is well guarded with bunkers (needless to say I pulled my Hybrid into one off the tee). A few whacks later and I come away with double – not the best start!

The 2nd is a challenging hole for me being a very sharp dogleg to the right, with my typical right to left ball flight. With the absence of any course knowledge, I opt for safety of the tee with a fairway wood, but still manage to hit through the dogleg and end up in the left rough. Straight uphill and more bunker trouble has me taking a triple.

The 3rd is a nice downhill par 3 to a large flat green. Miss the green however, and it slopes off to the rear and right. A 6 iron to the front edge and I 2 putt for my first par of the day.

At the 4th, a short par 4, it is tempting to go for the green​ from the tee for longer hitters, but a shorter club and the middle of the fairway should be the sensible play. My typical left miss has me below the height of the green, but only hitting a wedge in I manage to find the putting surface, 2 putting for par.

The 5th is a winding dogleg left par 5, setting up nicely for a draw. Another miss left and I’m declaring an unplayable. Back on the fairway and bunker trouble later, I’m glad to be only taking 1 putt to come away with a triple.

The 6th is a long downhill par 4, overlooking the fast growing Rampion Wind Farm. A snap hooked tee shot into the steep left to right slope managed to work out okay, but left a long way in to a green​ guarded by a bunker on the right. A solidly struck 4 wood (and probably a nice downhill kick!) led to my ball ending up on the rear fringe. A nicely weighted putt from the fringe and I’m walking away with my only birdie of the day!

The 7th is a short downhill par 3, with further views out to the sea. The green is nicely framed by trees and is guarded by a couple of bunkers. Careful club selection had me finding the centre of the green and 2 putting for my par.

The 8th is a dogleg left par 4. At only 332 yards from the yellows I opted for the safety of a 5 iron off the tee. A poor approach shot left me scrambling, but I missed the par putt, so had to settle for bogey.

The 9th sets up for a gentle fade off the tee, with the fairway sweeping around to the left back towards the clubhouse. Another bogey after some tree trouble had me taking another bogey 5 to finish the front nine on 43.

The back nine starts with the short uphill par 4 10th. A 4-wood to the top of the hill left a short approach to the green, 2 putts later and I’m walking away with par.

The 11th is a hole must make for some fantastic matchplay golf. A short but tight par four offering risk reward off the tee, but a lot of chance for error. Due to not driving the ball well, I opted to try and force a 4-wood down wind, turning it over for some more tree trouble. A stroke of luck left me with a line to the green. Green in regulation made, 2 more putts for another par.

The 12th is a long par 4, which sets up nicely for a draw. I manage to get a nice tee shot away with my 4-wood this time, finding the fairway. I was still left with a hybrid in, but managed to find the dancefloor. My first 3 putt of the day. Bogey.

13 is a downhill par 3 back towards the clubhouse. I managed to sneak a 6 iron on to the front edge, but left the birdie putt short. Par.

The 14th is another hole which sets up nicely for a fade, as the fairway sweeps uphill to the right. More tree trouble down the left means I’m taking a drop. I managed to find the green with my 3rd and two putt for another bogey.

15 is another dogleg right, with very little room for error down the left as the slope drops away close to the left edge of the fairway. Which is where I end up! My approach from down off the left finds the right fringe, and I take 3 to get down for my bogey.

The blind tee shot on the 16th can seem quite intimidating and hard to select a line. I crushed my 4-wood towards the bush in the distance with a slight draw and it turned out perfect. Another nice approach to the green followed by a 3 putt means I’m making bogey.

17 is a long par 3, which was playing directly into the wind to make it harder. There is no room for error on the right, with slopes which will kick your ball down the 18th. I came away with 4.

The 18th is a fantastic finishing hole, all of 600 yards back down the hill towards the clubhouse. Sweeping from right to left setting up lovely for a draw. I bring the driver back out for the first time since 6 and stripe it down the left side. I get over confident on the approach after the drive, and end up blocking it out right. I only manage to find the fringe with my 3rd and then 3 more to get down from there sees me finishing with a 6 for my 84.

 

In summary, West Hove Golf Club is a very solid downland layout with an interesting mix of short and long holes. Holes that stood out for me were the downhill par 4 6th, the picturesque par 3 7th, driveable par 4 11th, the blind 16th and the long par 5 18th. The course was in good overall condition despite work having recently been carried out on the greens.

three and a half stars

Gallery

The Sussex Golfer

 

Welcome to The Sussex Golfer

Welcome to The Sussex Golfer.

With this blog, I aim to provide my thoughts and opinions on golf news, course reviews, equipment and gadget reviews, and finally sharing some of the other highlights of Sussex life. All content is my own unless referenced.

I hope that you’ll enjoy some of the content that I will be sharing, and I look forward to engaging with you over various topics and hearing your opinions!

Lets start with an easy one – what’s your favourite course in Sussex and why?

The Sussex Golfer