The Dyke - Sussex - England

The Dyke Golf Club,
Devil's Dyke Road,
East Sussex,
BN1 8YJ,

  • + 44 (0) 1273 857296

The following edited extract is from the John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses:

“The Dyke was designed by Taylor, but as Nisbet, 1910, says was ‘rather on the short side.’ Nisbet, 1911, unexpectedly states that the course has only ‘fourteen holes, temporary.’ Nisbet, 1913, clarifies the situation, now saying that the course ‘has been laid out on lines suggested by James Braid,’ and that it is eighteen again.

This must mean some restructuring took place, perhaps a major rethink, definitely lengthening the course. Taylor’s course must have been short indeed, no doubt caused partly by the ubiquitous gorse and the difficulty in removing it.

In 1932, it was ‘completely redesigned’ by J.H. Turner. Whether this was really so, is uncertain. What is certain is that after World War II it became a Brighton Corporation club, and Fred Hawtree Jr. reinstated the course, with some redesign, forsaking the land north of the road. It is now a private club again.”

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Description: The Dyke Golf Club was formed in 1906, but the layout was destroyed by practicing tanks and was rebuilt after the war by Fred G. Hawtree and his son Fred W. Frank Pennink described it as “undoubtedly the best of the courses in the Brighton orbit”. Rating: 4 out of 10 Reviews: 1
Tim Elliott

At 700 feet above sea level, The Dyke is one of the highest golf courses in Southern England. And on a clear blue summer’s day the views out to sea from your seat on the clubhouse balcony must be one of the prettiest anywhere. In the middle distance about 6 miles to the south are the seaside towns of Brighton and Hove and beyond them is the English Channel.

The golf course is either quite serene or fiendishly tough according to the weather. On our first visit the fog came down and although the sun was shining on the coast, the thick local drizzly mist prevented any chance of us venturing onto the course. And similarly if the wind blows and I would imagine it can be very windy on this bleak hilltop, I guess the course could be a fierce test. But on a clear blue still sunny day as we experienced second time, there wasn’t much wrong with the world.

The golf course is naturally downland in nature, up and down the South Downs with it’s chalk subsoil which is ideal for golf. The holes follow the contours of the land and are undulating and mainly quite rustic in nature. After two downhill par fives to start, the fast running fairways meant that we did not find the 6350 yard yellow tees overly demanding, although missing some of the obstacles of thick rough, bushes and small trees was much more so. In my view the two best holes are both longish and slightly similar par 3’s. The 5th at 180 yards across a hollow has a large bank to the left of the green at which to aim to get a ‘member’s bounce. This is a safer option than going straight for the putting surface which falls away sharply to the right if the ball is hit with just a hint of fade. The signature hole is a slightly longer par three, the 17th at 192 yards. This requires a well struck fairway wood or hybrid to reach the green, clear the intervening danger and set up a birdie opportunity.

The other holes are mainly steady downland fare with good greens and not too many blind shots. I like the flow of holes, although all 4 par 5s are in the first 11 holes, but few stick in the memory. We were able to score well as conditions were benign. However just as importantly the high altitude, sea air and sheer vastness of the course and surrounding Downs gave off feel-good vibes, and we all enjoyed the experience of playing golf at The Dyke.

July 31, 2022
4 / 10
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