Here are our views on two South Coast UK golf courses in East Sussex, close to the historic towns of Battle and Hastings.
Every year the TSG Team heads off on a golf trip for a couple of days to discuss the next year’s TSG golf events, and any improvements we can make to the site.
Often this has been to prestigious golf courses in Europe, but in a pandemic year (2021) we thought we would stay closer to home…
Just back from a fantastic couple of days playing South Coast UK golf courses, where I had the pleasure of playing Cooden Beach Golf Club.
Prior to the trip I had been told that I would enjoy Cooden Beach Golf Club, and I am very pleased to report, this course does not disappoint!
From the moment you arrive, you find a relaxed atmosphere in the Clubhouse and the vistas from the patio seating area give you a superb view of the 18th and first fairways and of what you can expect from the course. Simply stunning.
However, before heading out, I indulged in a superb Fish Finger sandwich which was supposed to be a light snack, but was a complete meal in itself. I was impressed.
Now, if you like links courses then Cooden Beach Golf Club is for you.
Technically, the course is built on marshland but it plays like a links course, and whilst most holes are open, the course does boast some mature trees.
The fairways are spacious, but they are undulating.
The greens are tough, fast in certain directions, and the borrows are a real art to read.
As you get closer to the ‘beach’ from holes eight onwards, although not viewable, you do get the ‘seaside’ feel when you notice the tops of the beach huts and the scenic railway that passes along the coastline, reminding me of my childhood.
Here, again, the views are stunning. There are glimpses of the sea and Beachy Head straddles the skyline but it’s the overall landscape of the course that wins the day.
This is a challenging golf course – 6182 off yellows and 6518 off whites.
The Par 3s are long. Two of them around 180 yards but reachable with the right club.
However, the Par 5s give you a chance, as they are fairly straight.
The long Par 4s are tough – some of them are 430 yards so getting off the tee is crucial with a decent drive.
The stand-out holes for me were the Par 5 9th, and the Par 5 15th.
In short, I fell in love with Cooden Beach Golf Club.
I found the course in beautifully kept condition with a great layout that keeps your attention (whilst also forgiving). Luckily, I found the fairway, more often than not. If you stay straight, you’ll have a great day.
The Clubhouse may be older and of the more traditional style but this is the charm of playing the more established clubs.
The Pro shop was also very friendly and helpful.
If I had any criticism, it would be the cost of a buggy. I thought £30 each was a bit steep but was necessary on a hot day.
Obviously, it helps when you have some of your favourite golfing pals along to encourage you throughout the day.
I always enjoy my rounds with the TSG Team, so I had ideal playing partners to enjoy my South Coast UK golf tour.
Finally, the reception on arrival as a visitor is always telling, and I found everyone had a smile and were all friendly and chatty.
I hope to play Cooden Beach Golf Club again… it’s a Sussex star!
Playing for the first time at Sedlescombe Golf Club, based in the area of Battle and Hastings, there is no need to tell you this is an area of some historic importance not to mention great beauty.
On arrival, you can see this is a busy golf course.
A brand new modern Clubhouse greets you with a large patio area (that wouldn’t be out of place in Spain) with table service, friendly staff and a great mixed menu.
Visiting in the middle of the British summer, you can never really predict either the weather or your game. But having read only good things about this course, I was excited to see what this club (now under new management) was going to be like.
Now I’ll get my excuses out of the way straight away.
Sedlescombe Golf Club played host to the PGA Sussex Championship the week before our visit, so the rough had been grown up and the greens top-dressed, so I wasn’t expecting to play to my handicap and I was right.
This is a course that you need to study, learn and think about. If you like to blast a driver down every fairway, forget it. At Sedlescombe, you require patience and accuracy.
Having played another local seaside course the day before, what a contrast this would prove to be.
This course is a mature, dense, and beautiful parkland course and there is not a sound to be heard except the larks and the cuckoos.
On speaking with members, some of whom referred to the course as ‘Ditch-combe’, I would advise buying a course planner if you’re playing here for the first time.
With tight tree-lined fairways, and in places some very small greens, this is a course I could play again and again and again. It is my kind of course.
Every hole is different. Some elevated tees, some sunken greens, some very reachable Par 4s and some seriously testing Par 5s. Oh, and plenty of water. Yep, this course just about has it all.
The stand-out holes for me were the 337 yard 8th and the 232 yard 10th, but I’ll also mention the dog-leg 15th to a tiny hidden green, surrounded by tall trees. If you make this in two, you are a good golfer.
If I had any issues with the course (and I am nit-picking now), the rough needs another cut now the PGA’s have gone and I would say the greens could be a little better.
However, judging by the number of works going on around the course, this is something they are already working on.
I have no doubt that this will be the leading course in the area within a few years.
Membership is very reasonably priced at only £900 pa. Very affordable when compared with some of the more established clubs in the region.
There is a hotel on site too, so you have the option of completely immersing yourself in golf for a few days without leaving the venue.
Lastly, the club also offers a great driving range on-site for those wanting to practice before their round.
Inside the Clubhouse, the changing rooms are modern and clean with all the amenities you would expect including good disabled facilities.
In summary, I REALLY liked this course.
It’s clear the new owners (who have also had to battle with COVID) have the ambition to make this one of the best South Coast UK golf courses, providing a relaxed ‘inclusive’ atmosphere and I am already looking forward to returning soon!
By Ian Mullins