Review of the Month September 2019 – Ganton
I hadn't played Ganton for a few years, so on a bright, sunny and still morning, the anticipation as we turned off the A64 into the long narrow driveway down towards the club was tangible.
Since I last visited the club has opened the Vardon house (where Harry Vardon lived when pro in 1896) as a dormy house offering alternative accommodation to the Greyhound pub at the entrance to the property.
Ganton is never busy and so after a leisurely breakfast in the old fashioned clubhouse, surrounded by photos of the greats who have played here before you, we headed out to the tee.
They have removed some of the gorse staring you down on the 1st to make the first tee shot less imposing and a straight drive away will leave nothing more than a short iron into the green, even for the average hitter.
The bunkers however do act like a magnet to the golf ball! It is worth stating now that whilst bunkering on some courses don't often come into play, at Ganton they do and I would be surprised if even the best golfers don't find one of the deep bunkers at some point during the round. The sand is however consistent throughout.
The greens were all devilish, especially around the pins, where putts would veer left, or right at the last few inches if pace wasn't spot on.
As the turf was firm and springy and the greens hard, playing more typical links shots into the greens was the best approach in order to get the ball to stop on the greens.
Each hole is excellent - I got to appreciate the 17th and 18th better this time. Off the yellows the 17th is a tough par 3 232-yard hole. Off the whites, just 11 yards back, it's a par 4. I know which par I would rather be playing it as.
They have opened up the waste area to the left of the tee on the 18th, so wayward shots can be retrieved and the hole not wrecked. It is now a large sand waste area. I still don't like playing across the driveway on these two holes but as long as you are not too greedy on your final tee shot, you are left with a mid to long iron into the green.
It's hard to pick holes above the others given the overall quality and challenge throughout the round, but in particular I love the 4th, a sweeping left to right par four to a raised green, the beautiful short par 3 5th and the long par 5 6th which runs up the edge of the property. You follow that with another great stretch - 14th to 16th.
The 14th is short at 280 yards and most players will play a mid iron to the slightly dog left fairway and then a short iron to the front of the green which slopes away front to back. My playing partner yesterday drove the green, all carry of 250 yards over rough. The 15th is a favourite as you play a long par 4 towards Ganton village and the church spire with beautiful strategic bunkering in play. You follow this with another strong par 4 where trouble is all the way down the right and oob on the driveway.
Then the 17th and 18th and back to the clubhouse for a refreshing drink and sit outside in the sunshine marvelling at the course laid out in front of you, the history and the sheer quality of what you have just played upon.
Yes, the clubhouse is dated, but I think this is left deliberately so you step back in time and feel how it used to be, as much as enjoying the course as it is now.
Review of the Month September 2019 selected by Editor-in-Chief, Keith Baxter, and sponsored by TaylorMade – click to read more about Ganton. Photos courtesy of Andy Cocker.