Littlehampton Golf Club was founded on 16 February 1889 at the local Terminus Hotel, with around twenty-five inaugural members signing up for the new club. The original 9-hole course was only in play for five years when additional land was secured, allowing the club to engage J. H. Taylor and F. G. Hawtree to redesign the layout and set out eighteen holes.
After World War II, it’s reckoned that £10,000 was spent removing 400 concrete blocks and a military road, as well as repairing a variety of tank and lorry trails which had been created by army vehicles during the war years. Unfortunately, the clubhouse was burned down in 1985 but the club quickly got over this loss and came back stronger than ever.
In Frank Pennink’s choice of golf courses, the author has this to say about the course: “at the pleasant, natural, seaside resort of Littlehampton, with its wide open spaces, woods, river and harbour, here is a golf course with an unusual nautical flavour beside its vast expanse of golden sands.
Since the county championships were first played here in 1902, Littlehampton has changed much for the better, particularly after the ravages of war dictated an almost fresh start. The turf has come on wonderfully with the years and the county is fortunate in having this true seaside links.”
I really enjoyed Littlehampton. It’s an unpretentious and welcoming club, which offers something very different for those brought up on the tree-lined courses of most of Surrey and Sussex.
Like all links courses it’s not that hard until the wind gets up, though the front nine does require a good few carries; it’s not a course to play if you are worried about getting the ball over dunes and scrub. And, the day I went the greens, though hard, were quite hairy, so not much in the way of breaks and no scary downhill putts.
The only downside will be an upside in the future. The work to provide a driving range meant that there was a fair amount of earth moving going on to the right of the 2nd hole and I do wonder whether the soils being brought in will be compatible with the sandy dunes which characterise the area. But a club does, in this day and age need practice facilities.
I’d definitely go back.
Played littlehampton this saturday just gone as a visiting 3 ball.
I have ranked as excellent given the overall experience we had. We played Royal Ashdown Forest (both courses) on the Friday, 2 rounds at Littlehampton on the Saturday and one round at Goodwood on sunday. And our group on reflection thought Littlehampton was not far behind the others in quality, and certainly up there given the overall experience.
Clubhouse at littlehampton is fine. Nothing amazing but were looked after fine. Was a shame not to see any members there having saturday lunch.
Pro shop looked after us, and we paid £45 for two rounds with our county cards. This type of value is incredible to play a links course on a saturday as a visitor.
The course is links style, which is typified by the first 12 holes, with last 6 being flatter in nature with more water coming into play.
The greens were in good condition, not great but perfectly playable and true. Fairways were patchy in places and certain areas were quite stoney. Rough was fair and bunkers were ok.
Morning round was quite busy and was nice to see course was full. 3 ball took just under 4 hours which is fine.
We played in the afternoon when course was empty using buggies. Took us less than 3 hours for the round.
Would i rush back again? no. But would i play again next year if visiting in the area? definitely at £45 for two rounds.
With a little bit of money spent on the course, this could really be a hidden gem, given its price to play.
Well done Littlehampton.
Our Society played yesterday on an eventually lovely day and thoroughly enjoyed our game. The course mixes up links holes with more relaxing in land holes but all with good firm turf and true running links greens. The strong opening leads along the beach side dunes until the turn, an excellent par 3, after which a number of holes run along a wide stream that as OOB gives good definition to what on other courses can be more dull homeward holes. Very friendly staff in the comfortable club house. Speaking with the manager after our round, the new green keeper is continuing to make great progress with work on bunkers also planned. A quick, very good value round of golf an ideal Society venue where non Links golfers can get a taste of the real thing, but I would recommend to anyone in the area. as the only links between Rye and Hayling and the course going in the right direction, its star should continue to rise.
Littlehampton has one of the best starts to any links course I have played. The opening two holes really are of the highest order.
The first is a formidable opener with fairway bunkers to initially avoid down the right but it is the green setting that makes this such an engaging starting hole.
It sits beyond a ridge that houses two deep bunkers with a further hazard eating into the putting surface short and right. The hole climbs from tee to green gradually and has a real air of quality about it.
The second doesn’t quite have the grandeur of the first but makes up for that with the options it presents from the tee; a gathering bunker at around 230 yards, in a shallow gully down the left side of the fairway, is the key to this hole. It can be skirted down the right on higher ground but only the purest of shots will achieve this and there is also a bunker to navigate there too. The shelf green sits on the hillside beneath dunes with a steep drop off to the right and a very deep bunker waiting for anything leaked to that side. And with this hole running alongside the shore it is prone to crosswinds too, making the challenge even harder.
There’s no way a course could maintain this high standard for the remainder of the round and Littlehampton inevitably doesn’t but there are enough holes throughout to make this a worthwhile visit, especially for those seeking links golf on the south coast, an area not rich in this style of golf.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.
Littlehampton is a neat little links course in an area not rich with links courses, Hayling at about an hour west and Rye at about an hour east the nearest neighbours. The front nine is the more interesting and varied with the back nine played over fairly flat ground. There is a ridge of dunes that run down the border of the course and it forms a great backdrop for a few holes and comes into play off the tee on a few of the longer holes on the front 9. The placement of the bunkers was excellent thoughout the course, the greens had a bit of give in them so were receptive to the odd good shot in I managed to play in and were quite large and flat with subtle borrows. The fairways were in reasonable condition and the shape of a number of holes were good, often favouring the draw. The rough was usually thin enough to find it but in some places it was fairly heavy. This is #47 in my quest to play all the links courses and I have yet to play a bad one (Southport Muni, barely a links but in the “True Links” book, the lowest ranked so far) and LHampton comes in towards the end as well but still a good course. Warren from Australia.