Flempton Golf Club was founded in 1895. A decade later J.H. Taylor redesigned the club’s 9-hole course, which plays like an inland links and is unusually configured in three returning 3-hole loops.
This old classic sandy jewel is considered by some aficionados to be the finest 9-holer in East Anglia.
When you tell someone you are playing a ‘9 hole’ you tend to get raised eyebrows. In this day and age of variety and choice at our fingertips, people like to have large expansive 18/27/36 hole layouts and sprawling clubhouses to suit every need.
But, there are still ‘Hidden Gems’ located in these fair Isles of ours, and one that falls right on my doorstep is that of Flempton GC. I’ve been fortunate enough to play this beautiful course with a good friend who is a member on lots of occasions and I have never been let down.
I am always very impressed with the level of maintenance at the course, a heathland course that sits on fast draining light soil which offers a good test. The clubhouse is steeped in history and has a feel as though you are stepping back in time. The only draw backs would be the practice facilities, but I know that plans are in place to re-develop the practice area to offer more and in turn will help develop and modernise the club.
Onto the course, and a very gentle opening hole (approx.350 yards off the members tee) and a great way to open your round with a nice open green. The signature holes on this course are certainly the Par 3, 5th hole and short Par 4, 7th.
The 5th hole being a beautiful little hole, from a slightly elevated tee you are hitting down over a stream to a very tricky undulating green. The green is framed to the rear by a row of conifers which give it a much tighter feel. You can be lured into thinking that once safely aboard the green here you can walk off with a birdie or Par, but a 3 putt is very realistic due to the undulations.
The 7th Hole is a real Jewel, and a hole that wouldn’t be out of place at some of the best heathland courses in the British Isles. As you stand on the tee you are faced with a tricky decision as to how to approach the hole. At only around 299 Yards and listed as SI.17/18 the temptation is to ‘take it on’ and pull out the driver. Once you have played the hole once you will understand why this is a very high risk strategy. A sunken green awaits, and is very well protected by longer grass and deep bunkers. My advice on this hole is that it is a second shot hole, get into a good position down the right hand side of the fairway and attack with a wedge.
Lots of people are put off by playing 18 holes on a 9 hole course due to repetition, but Flempton is not one of those. You play all on the first loop and wish you had the chance to play them again and the joy is that you get that chance!
Having played a good percentage of golf courses that appear in the Top 100 list, I would state that Flempton could and should be higher on the Suffolk Rankings and vying for a place in the overall 100 list (Much like its neighbour of 9 miles away Royal Worlington & Newmarket Golf Club), Flempton is a lovely course and well worth the visit.
Managed to squeeze in 18 holes on a glorious summers evening in 2018. A rather questionable welcome from the bar manager aside (running out on the first tee to inform me and my Dad that we must leave before any members do for 'lock-up purposes...) this is a real gem.
Golf has clearly been played here for many years, much before modern technology was introduced with bunkers sometimes placed a mere 40 yards off tees, which adds to the character of the place.
The driveable par 4 7th with the 'dropped' green is the main highlight of the course. Bunkers guard the green on all sides in addition to a creek and out of bounds left off the tee. A real risk reward hole.
My only primary criticism of this club is that it feels stuck in time both in time and attitude. Worth playing though if you are in the area.