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| Thursday, 21 September 2017
About Hole 1
This is certainly a challenging opening hole made especially demanding against a prevailing south-westerly wind though considerably easier with a following easterly. Whilst the old yellow tee (mainly used in the winter months) provides a straight hit at the hole the main white and yellow tee blocks are set at an angle turning it into a gentle dogleg.
A good drive is essential here to have any chance of reaching the green in two but there is ample space on the right to accommodate a wayward tee shot but anything left can leave the green blocked out by the trees. The cross bunkers remain a feature of the hole but there are three other well sited bunkers to negotiate with the right-hand greenside trap frequently acting as a magnet. The green though is generally flat and putts well and while a par 4 is most satisfying, most are more than content with a 5.
About Hole 2
This is a relatively generous par 5 offering a good chance of an early birdie. The tee shot is crucial and should ideally be placed on the left avoiding the right side fairway bunker and rough which can be heavy and result in a poor lie. This can put pressure on the second shot where reaching the green is possible but care should be taken as there is little room at the rear of the putting surface. Behind the green there are numerous trees and brambles and an overly long shot into these can make dropping legally no nearer the hole difficult if not impossible.
The green can be especially tricky when the hole is cut on one of the many slopes but a par 5 should be achievable by most reasonable golfers.
About Hole 3
The third hole is the first of five par 3s and can look benign from the tee but into a south-westerly wind makes club selection a challenge. Anything from a low iron or equivalent wood could be necessary or a gentle 7 iron with an easterly wind at the back. The surrounding trees subtly shelter the hole from the elements and the choice of club requires careful consideration as beyond the green is a water hazard awaiting the over-zealous strike.
The green is protected by four bunkers, two of which are visible from the tee while two remain hidden alongside the green. A measured straight shot is all that is required but to the right the Cole Stream borders the hole and is out of bounds and the left hand trees hide a ditch running the length of the hole.
About Hole 4
A straight hit from the tee will afford the average player a chance of hitting the green in two, though the three right side fairway bunkers can draw in the drifting ball. The left hand rough will cling to the pulled tee shot and this together with the pampas grass can conspire to add to the difficulty of the approach shot. The pond that crosses the fairway is 280 yards from the back tees and is reachable with a supporting easterly but with the prevailing wind the decision with the shorter tee shot is whether to lay up or look to carry it.
Three bunkers guard a reasonably large green but it is the pin position that will determine how hard the putting process will be.
About Hole 5
Being the shortest par 4 on the course this hole offers probably the easiest of birdie opportunities where a good strike from the tee should afford an uncomplicated approach into the green. The key to the successful drive is to avoid the central fairway bunker though any second shot should take heed of the deceptive crosswind as the tee area is protected by trees.
There are some intricate slopes and breaks on the green to consider but little recovery room behind for the aggressive approach. A good chance of a par at least.
About Hole 6
This is one of the longer par 4s usually played into a prevailing wind and the safe driving spot to aim for is the right side of the fairway. Waiting to collect the errant drive there is a pond to the left bordered by long rough which makes a long second shot from here almost impossible. The ground also falls away to this area which often leaves the ball above the feet making the approach shot all the harder.
With out of bounds markers on the right denoting the Cole Stream course boundary accuracy is key to the second shot placement. There is little room on the right between the green and out of bounds so centre or left of green are the favoured target areas, though a clever ruse is to chase a running ball up and onto the green in firmer weather.
There are hidden undulations on the green so care is needed in selecting the right line to avoid three-putting. A good testing hole though at any level.
About Hole 7
A contrasting hole here, made difficult for the men being 175 yards from the back tees generally into the wind and onto an elevated green. For the ladies however it is just 110 yards and a relatively straightforward tee shot. Bunkers on the front left and right of the green are to be avoided but frequently claim the drifting drive. It is though quite usual to see the ball roll right or left on landing as the surface contains some interesting nuances and putting back down the sloping green can easily convert a birdie opportunity into a frustrating bogey.
About Hole 8
This hole is the longest of the par 5s with the tee shot placement crucial as there is a dyke bordering the left side of the fairway running into a pond at 280 yards. The other danger is a carefully placed bunker on the right which can snare the wayward shot. The prevailing wind can help here and the bigger hitters do try and make the green in two though holding the ball on the green from that distance can be difficult.
Protecting the green some 60 yards short are two ponds which can easily collect the over-hit running ball so the ideal second stroke should leave a gentle pitch onto a good-sized putting surface hopefully avoiding the two greenside bunkers. The green offers some challenging but exciting putts and a par is on the cards for the steadier player.
About Hole 9
This is the Club’s signature hole with two attractive cross bunkers cut into the side of the slope leading up to the half-way point on the course.
A good drive is required over two cross ditches and often into a coastal breeze leaving a medium iron over the cross bunkers onto a raised green which slopes from back to front. Normally one club extra is a helpful tip to ensure holding the putting surface with bunkers left and right. The green is at the high point on the course exposed to the wind and tends to harden which makes putting downhill a test of nerves but par is a welcome outcome.
About Hole 10
Always a difficult hole to play with the wind blowing left to right from the elevated tee and plenty of out of bounds markers on the right to beckon the faded drive. There are two ponds to deflect the eye 170 yards from the green, one left and one right, as well as two keenly sited fairway bunkers but once past these the approach shot demands careful club selection as the raised green is an upturned saucer so holding the green is the real aim here. It is a large green with many slopes and undulations to concentrate the mind but par is achievable.
About Hole 11
This is the course’s stroke index 1 hole with an elevated teeing area requiring a good strike left of centre thereby avoiding the out of bounds Cole Stream on the right. The prevailing wind makes the second shot a good test of medium and long iron play as once more there is little room for manoeuvre between the green and the out of bounds markers to the right and a pond to the left. There are also pampas grasses planted both right and left which can destroy a good score if brought into play. Once more the chasing iron down the middle can well take these hazards out of contention.
The green is one of the longest on the course so a putt from one end to the other can prove difficult but the surface is good and true and putts well.
About Hole 12
This is a delightful par 3 with the competition tee to the right of the hole offering a tough challenge bordering the boundary road to the beach. Many a stray ball has ended up in or over the road from the tee as players grapple with the right to left crosswind but the hole fascinates with water running the length of the hole on the right and out of bounds left.
There are two bunkers on guard front left and one front right to catch the shorter tee shot and the green has a severe slope falling away from the back to the front. Pin placement can make putting difficult if the hole is at the back of the green as a long uphill stroke needs to be well-judged to secure birdie.
About Hole 13
This is the first real relief hole as the prevailing wind is now helping at last but it still demands accurate club selection into the green. From the tee there are two bunkers on the right to navigate, one behind the other at 200 and 220 yards respectively. Whilst the tiger line is right over the bunkers, the ideal shot is left of the first bunker as the hole dog-legs right at this point leaving a reasonably straightforward second into an elevated green. The green has two bunkers guarding the right side and is long and uphill in design, so an extra club may be necessary to reach the flag when sited at the back of the green.
About Hole 14
This is another good hole. A par 3 measuring 193 yards from the back tee which can on occasions only require a 9 iron with a strong tailwind assisting or as much as a driver into an easterly. Choice of club is again crucial as the contours of the green carry the ball right to left once on the hardened playing surface. The hole is downhill from the tee and the ball can run well in summer but the three well-situated bunkers right and left frequently catch the errant shot.
The green itself is long and undulating and runs uphill over a ridge which then falls away right to left so pace is crucial. Depending where the pin is sited can make for an interesting putting contest.
About Hole 15
The raised tee offers a commanding view of the hole which runs parallel to the Hastings to Eastbourne railway line though the conservative player’s eye will be on the large pond carefully situated on the point where the hole dog-legs left. Consideration must be given to whether the hazard can be carried as the risk and rewards need to be assessed. With these hazards behind, the straight drive with a following wind can run on offering an outside chance of reaching the green in two.
There are fairway cross bunkers some 100 yards short of the raised green which can stifle the aggressive lagged shot but the green itself slopes from right to left and also runs downhill from the back so the ideal shot in should preferably leave an uphill putt. There are severe breaks which need to be considered and pace is again essential here.
About Hole 16
Whilst looking down on the green from the elevated tee this par 3 hole appears to offer little difficulty but club selection should be carefully thought out as there is ample greenside bunker protection left and right and the front cross bunker inevitably captures the under-clubbed shot whilst stopping the short chasing iron from running up onto the green.
The green itself has a slight uphill incline on it but putts well and par beckons most reasonable players here.
About Hole 17
From the tee the hole dog-legs to the left but the wide sloping fairway can provide the lusty tee shot with a comfortable second into the green but centre to right side is the ideal drive as the ball tends to run away left on the slope.
The nature of the hole has changed over recent years as in former times any good shot right of the green would automatically run left and offer a good putting opportunity but today the ground movement over the years has flattened this area and a straighter second is now required avoiding the left and right guardian bunkers onto a long and narrow green where once more pace and direction are key.
About Hole 18
This is a delightful finishing hole. A par 5 which downwind offers an excellent chance of birdie. The tee shot is downhill with no immediate hazards coming into play and a well-placed drive can leave a long second shot into the green, but there are five protecting greenside bunkers that can dash birdie hopes into par or bogey.
The green has a leading upward slope so if the pin is further to the back and the slope is overcome, a relatively straight putt is on offer.