What a great golf course! The Old course at Royal Ashdown is simply irresistible. One has a sense of being at one with nature, whilst being treated to some of the most exciting and dramatic golf holes around (most of them designed 140 years ago). It’s quite breath-taking that this course has been in existence since the 1800’s. I’m sure there has been some lengthening of holes and moving of land to get the course to what they have now, but, in saying that, the way the course meanders its way through the forest suggests there cannot have been major adjustments since the original layout. The land is similar to Surrey heathland. Humid heathland which promotes purple moor-grass and long rooted grasses. You’ll get good drainage in the winter and tight lies in the summer. Given there are no bunkers the green complexes are far from dull. Run offs and swales are here in abundance, meaning there is a premium on hitting greens. None more so than the par 3, 5th. There are many occasions when you wish you were a club member living in one of the many beautiful cottages that surround the course, with a couple of balls and pencil bag, having a chance to chip and putt around the greens in some of the most idyllic settings England has to offer. What I loved was the use of the land to encourage visualisation of the shots required. Whether it’s the 7th hole, 450 yard uphill dog leg right par 4 , to the 245 yard downhill par 3 on the 11th, this course is designed to favour the brave, whilst respecting the conservative golfers, with different options off the tee and for the approach. The par 5’s are all awesome… totally different and all inviting an attempt to reach in 2. The 17th is my favourite, a blind downhill drive leaving a mid-iron approach to a well-protected green. The best is saved till last, as the course presents an amazing crescendo from the par 3, 14th in. This is really a jewel in the English golfing crown and if you ever want to see inland golf at its purist I think a trip to Royal Ashdown is as close as many will get.
Date: July 04, 2020