Faversham Golf Club was formed in 1902, with members playing on a course situated in Nagden Marsh. Poor underfoot playing conditions soon became a concern, forcing the club to relocate to its present site at Belmont Park in 1909, where a 9-hole layout was brought into play. The course was officially opened by Lord Harris in June of 1911.
Plans to extend the course emerged in 1922 and the work was completed in two phases. The first tranche of work consisted of building five new holes to the north on land previously farmed by William Clark, a tenant of Lord Harris. Professional Jock Telfer, recently recruited from Enfield, oversaw the project. The second phase involved constructing another five holes and losing the original 4th hole, with the new 18-hole layout formally unveiled on 18th May 1924.
Two honorary Life Members have brought golfing glory to the club: Mickey Walker won The Women’s Amateur in 1971 and 1972 before turning professional the following year to compete on the LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour. Roger Chapman then claimed the English Amateur Championship in 1981 before joining golfing’s paid ranks later that year.
Today, the course measures exactly 6,000 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 70, with only two par fives – at the 472-yard 1st and 539-yard 7th – on the card. Highlight holes include the heavily-bunkered par four 4th (where out of bounds runs the length of the hole on the left) and the downhill par three 16th, which has a huge bunker protecting the front of the green.
My first time at Faversham and it will not be my last as there is a lot to like about the course and there are some very comprehensive plans to update most holes too in the coming years.
An obvious place to start is the tranquillity of the place; the club and course are not that near any busy roads, so from the off Faversham feels like a great place to play golf. The club is one of tradition but I do think that they get the balance spot-on between old and new and this then appeals to a wider golfing audience. I am not too sure how proud the members are but I think they should be very proud as this is a strong club with a decent course and most importantly good people wanting to move forward.
The course appears to have three distinct feels to it; there are not hugely different but once played, I think you would know what I mean. All around the course mature trees are evident, maybe just the last couple of holes being the exception.
The opening hole is a short par-5 at 472 yards and is a lovely start that could get you scoring well early. The 2nd and 3rd holes also offer chances; under 300 yards and then a mid-range par-3. The course bites back from the 4th – here along the north-boundary is a 420 yard hole with a SI-2, bunkers in great positions at the green too, especially the one front-right. The first third ends with the 6th and could be called a marmite hole – just 356 yards but the blind tee-shot and a potentially a blind shot to a green way lower than the fairway needs playing a few times.
The middle section at Faversham is varied; the par-5 7th and the par-4 8th are decent holes, without being stand-outs but the 9th though is very special; a par-3 at 142 yards to a great two tiered green and bunkers front, left and right. The highest praise from me is that the hole would not look out of place on many higher ranked courses and has a great heathland feel to it too. I like the dog-legging to the right par-4 10th also, I would suggest that a bunker on the left side of the fairway around landing point would be a very positive move.
The hole that needs to the biggest thought right now is the par-3 13th – 179 yards, a little uphill, blind and not a lot at the thin green – the one hole that feels out of place to this point.
The holes in the last section from the 14th to the end are on the clubhouse side of Throwley Road and the standout holes here would be the 15th and 16th. The 15th is a fairly steep uphill hole, turning a touch to the right – the SI-3 tells a story as this hole is only 327 yards long and another strong par-3 is the 16th. This hole is the downhill par-3 that all courses dream of having as it combines being great fun and a decent test to play at 142-yards; 30 yards short is a bunker covering the whole left to right of the hole, so to hit the green, it is all carry but probably a club less than the length says.
The final two holes, both par-4’s are a little up and down and have bit less about them than many others on the course but there is scope to give them a touch more character I think, so I would suggest that the club should have this on the to do list sooner rather than later.
Certainly would recommend Faversham for a visit and the current #30 county ranking is a bit low for me.