Hayling was the surprise package of a recent week in the South-West/South of England finally getting to play some courses that had long been on the radar thanks to this site. Driving down to Hayling Island you are conscious of being close to centres of population yet being isolated, and lends the course a self contained atmosphere that is rare in my experience. We played in lovely sunshine and a 2 club Southerly wind, the course being very dry yet not parched. The opening holes are relatively straight forward yet still fun, and the scattered gorse that you are introduced to here but that continues throughout the course collects plenty of stray balls without feeling as oppressive as banked gorse found elsewhere. The peninsular nature of the site means there are rarely 2 similar consecutive holes, the par 3's are interesting including the opening hole that was a 4 iron from the yellow tees with left to right wind when we played - tough start ! A creek runs across the course and claimed my golf balls both times it came into play, there are several blind/semi-bilnd shots and (very loud !) bells, yet the course never felt punitive or less than fun. The stand out hole for me was "Desert" the 12th, a gorgeous left to right slight dog leg with gorse right, estuary left and a lovely green shelved in a dune. The course continued with great interest til holing out at the last and wanting to start again. A sunny Saturday is always going to be a touch slow when taking advantage of the good value visitor rate (again, please use rangers !), but this is a top quality course that should not be missed and is up there with any links courses that I have played. Indeed, I would suggest that if it were not so far removed from other top quality links that it would be much better appreciated and possibly cause currently exalted links to be slightly re-evaluated. Superb.
Date: May 16, 2017