On a beautiful late summers evening in the July heat wave I managed to finally get to Littlestone. It’s one of those places that you seem to have to go a long way to get to and even then it’s a little bit further on before your actually there. It is a wonderful clubhouse. One from the old school, wooden floors, leather arm chairs, a faint musty smell and a resolute 19th century feel. It’s very much like the old bar at Deal but even more relaxed and it looks time will never change it. For example you have to sort your green fee out at the bar and the money is deposited in a battered little red tin.
The course is a good one. It has none of the rolling dune dramas of the first two thirds of Royal St George's or indeed Deal, just soft undulating dunes running along the coast line. The pinnacle of the dunes starts and finishes on the 2nd, although there is some use of them on the 3rd and 17th, which is a really classic links par three. What it does have though is great greens which seem to improve in terms of difficulty and undulations as the course progresses. In fact the state of the whole course is extremely high, everything, the paths, the tees, the rough, the semi rough looks exactly as it should do and you can see why their greenkeeper has won awards. It’s not a difficult course but it is an interesting course despite it’s relative flatness. I winds it’s way mostly around the low undulating dunes with subtle par fours and a whole host of very challenging par 3’s with the addition of the occasional meandering burn. In terms of difficulty this mainly lies in the bunkering, however instead of the deep faced riveted bunkers, there are the kinder harry colt type bunkers which leave you some chance of getting back in play. The course has a strong finish with both 16 and 17 being stand out holes, especially with the weird tower like house just to the back of them.
I would strongly recommend visiting the course if you are a links fan (I am if you hadn’t guessed), it is a step back in time and is a pleasure to play. The only complaint I would have is the main road at the far end of the course which spoils the whole tranquil feeling of the place, but apart form that you’ll enjoy an old fashioned links course in marvellous condition.
Date: July 23, 2006