Course Review- West Hove Golf Club (http://www.westhovegolfclub.info)
Conditions: Clear, Calm.
Green Fee: £21.00
Range: £4.50 approx 50 balls.
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.
–The Sussex Golfer