We are incredibly pleased to confirm next year’s curtain-raiser to the season sees us return to our first-ever host venue, South Essex Golf Club, host of The Social Golfer 2011 OPEN Championship.
Back then, we had only just launched the website, but we still saw around 30 golfers attend.
A decade later, as we celebrate our 10th Birthday, the site has seen many changes and now boasts 10K+ registered users worldwide.
So, why return to South Essex Golf Club now?
The club as it is today first started life when landowner Russell Barlett decided to create a 27-hole golf facility in 1992. Back then, it was named Stonyhill Golf club and was a welcome addition to the area.
South Essex Golf Club was designed by Reg Plumridge in 1994 and presents three nine-hole loops with superb panoramic views over the Thames Valley and into Kent.
*Yardages shown from Yellow tees.
The Clubhouse is a unique barn-like structure with a terrace view over-looking the 18th Hole.
The course was renamed South Essex in 1998 and was subsequently leased to Crown Golf in 2006.
Since that time, South Essex has mainly been known as a Pay & Play facility, with a 14-bay Floodlit Driving range on-site too.
Footgolf was introduced on The Vixen course in 2015 but this has since been removed.
Fast-forward to 2020 and the course has recently seen ownership pass back to the Barlett family with Ed Barlett (son of Russell) taking over the day to day running of the business.
First Golf Limited took over from Crown Golf in March 2020 and the new management team have ambitious plans to turn the club into one of Essex‘s leading golf facilities.
Ed is actively involved with the program of improvements currently underway.
Already, we have seen the road into the course resurfaced, a new undercover golf cleaning area built.
In addition, a new fleet of buggies with built-in GPS arrived in April, there is a newly refurbished upstairs bar and dining area AND a new outside decking area.
All this in three months!
However, Ed and the company also has plans to add a Gym and Fishing lakes to its portfolio, catering to a wider audience.
Ed is also supported by an experienced team, who all have great ambitions for the club, who all come with a fantastic pedigree!
Mark Davis – Director of Golf, Mark turned professional in 1986 and spent many years on the European Tour player with a distinguished playing record.
Mark finished in the top one hundred Order of Merit eight times, with a best of 31st in 1994.
He also won The Austrian Open in 1991 and 1994, and subsequently played on the Seniors Tour winning the Scottish Open in 2014.
Jason MacNiven – PGA Professional, offers a professional and personal service at South Essex Golf Club through his company Golf Principles.
Jason is renowned in the industry for his knowledge with over 20 years of experience.
His staff at Golf Principles are all specialists in club and shaft technology and tailor their services to suit their customers and welcome all ages and levels of golfers.
Peter Dawson – Course Manager, Peter knows the club as well as anyone having joined the staff as Head Greenkeeper in 1997.
Now having spent more than 23 years at the club, Peter oversees a team of greenkeepers.
This team plan to make all three 9-hole courses some of the best playing surfaces in the area.
Emily Perry – Emily is the Performance coach at South Essex. A former Tour Professional who has a degree in Psychology and is a certified NLP Practitioner.
Paul Holland – PGS Professional, Teaching for 22 years.
Paul’s coaching style is a mixture of Technical and Performance coaching.
Paul coached Richard McEvoy to the 2018 European Open.
Paul specialises in Performance Analysis using state of the art technology such as Trackman and Sam Putt Lab in his sessions.
The Heron – Par 37
Our most challenging 9 holes at 3,176 yards and boasts spectacular views of the Essex countryside and Thames Valley.
The varied layout of The Heron features two par 5’s each over 550 yards.
The trio of holes 6, 7 and 8 are known as Barn Wood Corner and are the most scenic on the course.
It meanders around Barn Wood and brings into play three water features combining fantastic views through the woodland.
Hole number 8 is a favourite with many visitors to the course and potentially our signature hole.
A testing Par 3 at 243 yards from the elevated competition tee makes it one of the longest pars 3’s in the county.
On a clear day, it is possible to see across to the city of London from the tee.
The Heron combined with The Hawk to provide a truly demanding 18-hole championship course measuring 6,755 yards.
The Hawk – Par 36
This a picturesque parkland course at 3,165 yards in length.
The layout gently undulates through attractive parkland and around established woodlands.
Holes 4, 5 and 6 wind around Dog Wood, this collection of holes each offering a completely different challenge.
The home stretch begins at hole 7 which is the most demanding par 4 on the 27-hole complex.
The elevated tee position provides the view to a fairway sloping steeply from left to right rolling down to a small well-protected green.
The closing hole to complete the home stretch is a par 5 measuring 536 yards, with various hazards and features to test accuracy.
The two-tier green is positioned adjacent to the welcoming clubhouse and surrounding water features.
As a result, play The Hawk and Vixen for a truly memorable parkland layout.
The Vixen – Par 35
This 9 is an extremely attractive layout and provides a fair test for golfers of all standards.
The Vixen is immensely popular with our members and features a variety of unique holes 5 and 9 amongst the best.
Although shorter than the Heron and Hawk the prevailing winds come in to play, on the elevated holes of The Vixen to increase the challenge.
And the dramatic 9th hole boasts a change in the level of nearly 100ft from tee to green.
The fifth hole rises from road level up to Barn Wood and is worth the walk to the top for the spectacular views alone.
Furthermore, golfers can enjoy a close-up of the Bluebell carpet in the woods either side of the path from the 5th green to 6th tee, in April and May
So, combine The Vixen and Heron to provide a varied and challenging 18 even for the low handicapper.
PLATINUM – 7 DAY membership
GOLD – 5 DAY membership
Golf Range – Pricing…
Our Golf Range is open to the public and provides an opportunity for both visitors and members to improve their game.
On the 16th September 2020, we welcome Top Tracer to the set-up.
Covered and floodlit with spacious bays, high-quality Srixon practice golf balls make South Essex Golf Range the best in the area. The Golf Range is open from 8am until 9pm daily*.
Golf Range tokens can be purchased in the pro shop or baskets of balls can be purchased at the range by contactless payment. Members can top-up swipe cards with driving range credits.
Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. *last balls are dispensed at 8.30pm
So, there you have it, that’s why we are returning to South Essex Golf Club in 2021 for The Social Golfer Masters.
“We are pleased to be able to continue our partnership and look forward to The Social Golfer returning to the home of its first-ever competition. We look forward to hosting their day and on sharing more great content and promotions with TSGers. The Social Golfer community is a unique platform for ‘nomadic golfers’ and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them again. We look forward to welcoming their members to South Essex in 2021!”
“We are excited to be returning to South Essex, who not only hosted our first ever event but have been a friend of the site since day one. We are confident that Ed and his team will help us put on a fantastic event. The club is going through a major refurbishment, with huge investment plans to turn the venue into one of Essex’s premier golfing venues. And we can already see great signs of a first-class facility being established in the next few years. So, it seems fitting for us to return for our 6th TSG Masters Championship!”
By Ian Mullins