Mannings Heath Golf Club is set in 500 acres of rolling Sussex downs and the Waterfall is one of England’s best but least well known inland courses. There are 36 holes to enjoy at Mannings Heath, but the Waterfall is the original course and it’s widely considered to be the best (the second course is called the Kingfisher). The Waterfall course dates back to 1905, we don’t know for certain who originally designed it, but we are led to believe that Harry Colt was an influence. We’d love to hear from anyone who knows more.
The 1st tee is set in the shadow of gorgeous 17th century clubhouse and it’s a spectacular and daunting prospect. From the elevated tee, a long and accurate drive over a wooded valley is the order of the day. The 2nd is a very short par four, but this comes too early in the round for most of us to take too much advantage. The 5th is one of the most dramatic one-shot holes in Sussex with an elevated tee shot to a green set in a most unusual punchbowl. It heralds the beginning of a fine run of holes.
Measuring 6,683 yards from the tips, the Waterfall course is not the longest layout in the land but many of the holes are supremely testing and demand accuracy from the tee. There is a lovely feeling of seclusion, created by the mature trees and the dramatic undulating terrain. The up and down nature of the land presents a tough walk in places and many people opt to take a buggy, especially if 36 holes are on the agenda.
It’s hard to categorise the Waterfall course, it’s a bit of a hybrid, a mix of heathland, downland and parkland. But this is an exciting, amusing and entertaining course which holds the interest all the way round. Mannings Heath is well worth a visit.
Having played one hilly course (Manor House Castle Combe) I found myself playing another one at Mannings Heath a few days later, the big difference being at Castle Combe the hills are primarily the walks between the holes whilst at Mannings Heath most of the holes have some sort of hill or slope to negotiate. As a result Mannings Heath had far more flow to the course and I much preferred. Much has changed since my last visit some 30 years ago with new clubhouse (not sure about the pink !) in a different location resulting in a revised course layout. Having read some negative reviews about course condition I can only say that I thought it was pretty good although probably helped by the fact that the Europro tour event was the week before; greens were good and true although I personally did struggle to get to the hole on a number of occasions. Lots of interesting holes with many streams (probably not a good winter course), trees, dog-legs, slopes etc to negotiate. I can only think of a handful of relatively flat holes, 16 and 17 spring to mind (the old 1st and 18th I think); also the 11th 'The Valley' which is a standout par 4, a real card wrecker I would imagine, with banking to the right, a narrow fairway, a stream all the way down the left hand side and around the back of the green and a hump to the right of the green encouraging balls to the water. Many holes seem to have uphill shots to the green (not my favourite) but none of them ridiculously unfair and I guess become easier as you get used to clubbing them. Only three par 3's, the downhill 10th (picturesque), the very narrow 14th (good hole, must be tricky with a wind from the left taking you down a steep bank into the trees, another card wrecker !) , and the 'Punchbowl' 5th which was my favourite hole on the course (haven't played another par 3 like this). Overall a really interesting course in pleasant countryside, thoroughly enjoyable and well worth playing if in the area
Was disappointed by my visit to Mannings. I used to be a member here, and have really fond memories of it. There are some great holes, and the par threes are outstanding. Also holes such as nine and eighteen are wonderful. The condition of the course, however, was poor. The number of divots was amazing and the greens were poor. It could best be described as scruffy. This should be a great course, but at the moment it's disappointing
We really enjoyed a beautiful sunny day here combined with the Kingfisher, lovely countryside with challenging changes in elevation and nice use of natural water features.
The course was in good condition, pace of play not too bad, and would happily return.
There was no respite as the second is a tight left dog leg with lots of trees on the left (with another carry over a stream) which was no easier for my playing partner who's stock shot is a fade. This is a tough course physically and there's a good amount of variety between the holes so you'll be thinking your way around all day long.
Other memorable holes are the 5th "Punch-bowl" a gorgeous par 3, as is the 10th "Waterfall" where you can order your halfway house food/drink from the 10th tee, then play the hole and have your food ready when you've finished putting.
You wouldn't be bored as a member here - I thought the course was challenging from first shot, right up until to the last onto the elevated 18th green - great hole to finish on - then I was off to that terrace to watch someone else tee off over the valley whilst enjoying a much needed & well earned drink or two. But I may take a buggy next time!