Well, we all like it shaved. Don’t we? The fashion these days is to strip away the superfluous bush and leave just the solid oak and juicy heather.
The last time I played here twenty years ago each hole was framed with gorse and shrub. Now, like so many courses there is a concerted program to clear the vista across the course from one horizon to the other. Breathe course, breathe.
I arrived to this quintessence of an English golfing Elysium on a Monday and took a light lunch in the club before assailing the first tee. All good thus far.
From the arts and crafts clubhouse, the course looks underwhelming for a top 100 in the world layout. A little flat, a little bit obvious. A deception majeur. However gentle the start maybe, it just keeps ratcheting up the challenge. This course keeps its powder dry until the back nine. If you don’t have a score by the 8th, then by the 18th you will be enjoying only the weather.
What is striking here is the contrast to the somewhat ubiquitous Harry Colt Heathland classic. This is a serious golf course. Harry lures you into fancying it, having a go. Here they ask, “think twice sir.” Do you have the necessary? There are plenty of gulps. You can bail, but you pay double with long shots in to well-guarded greens. This course asks you how much can you chew? How good are your approaches? There is interest and strategic decision making to be had on every hole. No two are remotely alike. The language is the same however. I love a course that presents all golfers with a challenge, whether they hit it 200 or 300 from the tee. Tick. So many courses have a pool of interest at a given yardage. Not here. The 17th was my favourite but only just.
Well routed, cherished and timeless. West Sussex will delight you. The largely flat ground is surprisingly, naturally contoured and undulating. The heather is typically unforgiving. each hole has interest from tee to green. You won’t be disappointed.
Date: April 18, 2018