The West course is considered to be the more intimate, and the prettier of the two courses at the East Sussex National Golf Resort. Once the reserve of the members, the West course can now be played as part of a visitor’s package.
Bob Cupp designed both courses and they opened for play in 1990. Cupp used bent grass from tee to green, and the result is an American-styled course, with plenty of definition between the various cuts of grass. The West is the longer of the two courses, measuring a massive 7,154 yards from the back tees. Host to the Challenge Tour Championships between 1995-1998, the West course represents a serious test of golf. It was also used for the European Tour Qualifying School between 1994-1997. But don’t be put off, there are four separate teeing areas and the course measures only 6,069 yards from the regular men’s tees (5,199 yards from the ladies’ tees).
Attractive views of the South Downs are part of the package. The ground is undulating and there are plenty of mature trees to negotiate. There are also many memorable holes. The 3rd is a pretty par three – aim for Little Horsted Church. Protecting the green to the right is a pond. The green itself is two-tiered and it’s an especially difficult hole to play when the flag is at the back on the upper tier. But it’s the par fives that are special. From the back tees, they all measure in excess of 500 yards. Little Horsted creek meanders along the entire length of the 12th hole, a demanding and impressive par five. The creek turns into a small pond, lying in wait to the right of the green. A par here will be cherished.
The Strokesaver beautifully sums up the West’s closing holes: “The golfer has been restricted at 14, tempted at 15, devilled at 16 and exhausted at 17. Now he stands on the elevated tee, looking across a deep chasm to a fairway lined right and left by giant oaks, and a green guarded by huge bunkers and the clubhouse beyond.”
East Sussex National is a stylish golf complex. It was voted Golf Club of the Year in the 1994 edition of Following the Fairways. There is no doubt that this is one of the country’s most welcoming and customer-focused golf clubs. A day playing the West and the East will be exhausting, but well worth the effort.
September 11, 2008