Golf in Sussex
Golf as we know it today was first introduced to the UK in the fifteenth century, although there had been a version of this exhilarating and stately game that was played way back in 100 BC, if not before. It was a Roman invention called ‘paganica’ and it involved players using a bent stick to hit a ball, which all sounds rather familiar.
The game was so popular in Scotland, that in 1457 an Act of Parliament banned it (along with football) because it was stopping men from practising their archery, which was needed to defend the country. Rather than risk defeat should any enemies come for the Scots, King James II decided that golf was too much of a distraction and halted it completely. A ban that lasted until 1500.
Once the ban was lifted, the game took off in an even bigger fashion than it had before, and even the Archbishop of St Andrews, Archbishop Hamilton, realised how important it had become to the people, and to the economy; he declared that St Andrews itself should be made available for golf.
By the time King James VI ascended to the English throne in 1603, golf was played at court. How the king, his courtiers, and the public at large were playing is still a bit of a mystery, since the official Rules of Golf weren’t created until 1744. They were set out by the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and are still adhered to today.
The only change from the old version of golf to golf as we know it today came in 1764. Due to space restrictions, the course at St Andrews was reduced to 18 holes. It had previously been 22. Since then, the 18-hole format is the one that all courses have been built upon.
Today, golf is played by millions of people across the globe, and the beautiful county of Sussex is no exception; in fact, some of the country’s best-known and best-loved golf courses are right here on our doorstep.
Here are more details about some of our favourite Sussex courses:
Selsey Golf Club // www.selseygolfclub.co.uk // 01243 602165
Selsey Golf Course is a truly beautiful, but testing 9-hole links type course. Situated next to the coast, with stunning views of the Sussex Downs as a backdrop, it has multiple tee positions, a par of 68 over 18 holes, and was once owned by Max Faulkner, who was Open Golf Champion in 1951. One of the key features of the course was a present left by the Luftwaffe during the second world war; a 64-foot crater now known as Davison’s Pool – you can drive over this on the 8th and 17th holes.
Selsey Golf Club boasts many additional facilities in addition to its fantastic course. The Clubhouse, which is in a beautiful setting, has ample car parking and a very welcoming and comfortable lounge area with seating and an open fire to keep you snug in the winter. In the warmer months, you may prefer to sit on the terrace looking over the 18th green. The Clubhouse is also available to hire for a variety of functions including wedding receptions, anniversary parties and birthdays.
The club has a fully-licensed bar and restaurant too, which is open to members and non members throughout the year. The restaurant offers fine, home-cooked food and a varied menu, and can cater for parties from 12 to 70. Both the bar and restaurant are available for functions and, during the summer months, a marquee is also available for larger functions.
The Resident PGA Professional has been with the club for many years. He offers a wide range of stock and equipment and is available seven days a week to take tee bookings and support golfers with lessons and advice. With incredibly competitive green fees and membership fees, you have the opportunity to play as a visitor or become a member at this small, friendly club.
Sweetwoods Park // www.sweetwoodspark.com // 01342 850729
If you are yet to enjoy a round at Sweetwoods Park, what are you waiting for? The stunning par-72 parkland course is set in the Wealden Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and enjoys countless views of lakes, valleys and woodland. It’s a real treat. In fact, as members will testify, the course has quite simply never been in better condition.
2016 sees the launch of Sweetwoods Park brand new trial membership, offering a full seven-day membership, but with the option to bring guests at a reduced rate, all with just a three-month commitment. There’s your summer of golf all wrapped up. Give Sweetwoods a call to find out more: 01342 850 729, Ext 2.
There’s also an open weekend on Friday 6th May and Saturday 7th May 2016. So why not come and see what all the fuss is about? Special priced tee times are available on both days, with complimentary beverages and canapes offered to guests. The team will be on hand to explain their flexible membership options, as well as their usual five and seven-day memberships. Tee times are strictly on a first come, first served basis, so to book your special open weekend tee time and to register for the event, please call the Pro-Shop on 01342 850 729 Ext 1; bookings for the open weekend cannot be taken online.
The View at Seaford Head // www.the-view.co.uk // 01323 890139
The View at Seaford Head is open to the public seven days a week offering a full menu of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and is perfect for a quick coffee or business meeting. With floor-to-ceiling windows and a warm welcome, the restaurant prides itself on offering a full menu all day.
The terrace offers stunning and unrivalled views across Seaford Head and Seaford Bay and is the perfect place to enjoy a drink while sitting in the sun. The full food menu runs throughout the day offering breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and a selection of snacks, alongside a fully-licensed bar and free Wi-Fi available to all visitors.
Function rooms at The View offer flexibility, catering to all your requirements from small parties to larger functions accommodating up to 120 guests. Bespoke wedding packages that are tailored to your needs are available throughout the year, and the venue provides a truly unique setting, turning your dreams of a perfect day into a reality.
With some of the most breathtaking views in Sussex, Seaford Head Golf Course is an undulating downland/links style course on the cliffs of Seaford. The Seven Sisters can be seen from the 13th, 14th and 15th holes, and the famous 18th hole has an extended vista over Seaford bay and beyond to Brighton.
Designed and constructed in 1887, this golfing links is steeped in recent and ancient history – from its Saxon camp to its use during the war, Seaford Head has an energy all of its own. You will never tire of teeing off from the 18th, some 300 feet above sea level, and watching your drive soar down 150 feet to the fairway below.
Fantastic society and visitor packages are available throughout the entire year.
Golf At Goodwood // www.goodwood.com // 01243 755168
Every golfer has a unique swing, just as every golfer has a different lifestyle. By placing the varying lifestyles of a golfer at the epicentre of their membership, Golf At Goodwood have emphasised the need for a golf membership that is not just flexible, but can be completely tailored to the individual golfer.
Stereotypical, stuffy golf clubs are a thing of the past, and in overcoming the traditional barriers that are associated with golf clubs and their membership systems, Goodwood’s membership structure has redefined golfing membership. Although being a far more affordable option, it also appeals to members of all ages, handicaps and most importantly, their frequency of use.
With two unforgettable courses, including the Downs course, ranked in the top 100 golf courses in the UK, the course has earned a reputation for its attention to detail, splendour, and for providing a quintessentially English experience.
For almost a decade, Credit Membership has strived to make golf membership as flexible as possible while at the same time making it affordable for all. With traditional memberships, there can be barriers such as times and days when different schemes allow you to play; at Goodwood this is a thing of the past. Whether you play once a day, or just once every so often, you will enjoy all the benefits you would expect from an exceptional golf environment, but without the annual costs usually associated with a traditional club.
The benefits of this membership extend well beyond stepping out from the luxurious Woody golf buggies. Members receive access to the stunning 18th century Private Members Club, The Kennels, and are able to invite seven guests at a time to enjoy the delicious, locally-sourced food and drink. With the estate intertwined with sporting prowess, golf members will also receive two complimentary tickets to the Festival of Speed, the largest motorsport event in the world, plus many more fantastic benefits across the estate.
Dale Hill // www.golfclub.co.uk // 01580 200112
Cricket led the way with T20. Now Speedgolf is setting the sporting pace in Golf. Welcome to British Speedgolf. It’s faster, more athletic and a lot more fun than the regular game. The rules? You play a round in the lowest sum of shots as usual, but combine it with the time taken to run the course. In an Olympic year that features golf, what better time to combine running and golf.
The British Open Speedgolf Championships will take place on August 14 2016, returning to Dale Hill Golf Club, East Sussex, for a second year. Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club general manager, Carl Rundgren, says: “Speedgolf is an exciting version of the great game and one that gets the heart racing, blood pumping, and takes the sport to new limits and away from its traditional, staid image.”
Speedgolf addresses pace of play head on, with a more athletic golf format; it attracts both golfers and runners, or those who seek a fresh fitness challenge. While it is more physically demanding than the traditional golf game, providing a good workout, it is also a lot of fun.
Pam Painter, co-founder of British Speedgolf, explains: “The challenge in Speedgolf is balancing your running pace with your capacity to swiftly and accurately play your shots to get the lowest combined score. Golf’s return to Rio’s Olympic programme after a 112-year absence makes it the perfect time to combine golf and running, but competitors will need to be quick to challenge the current British Open Speedgolf champion, Rob Hogan, who at the 2015 Championship shot a round of 77 in just 34 minutes and 4 seconds, giving him a Speedgolf score of 111:04.”
Last year saw the introduction of a dedicated women’s category and British Speedgolf are keen to build on the women’s field at the 2016 event to ensure they get the same recognition as the men. 2016 will also offer a team competition for the first time, based on a simple alternate shot format.
Competitor Registration is now open http://britishspeedgolf.co.uk/british-open-speedgolf/ but places will be limited, so those interested are advised to register early to secure their place.
To find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://britishspeedgolf.co.uk/
West Sussex Golf Course // www.westsussexgolf.co.uk // 01798 872563
West Sussex is a private members club in Pulborough, and the course itself is world rated. It opened in 1931, and was designed by two outstanding golf architects, Guy Campbell, who also designed Princes’ and Killarney, and Cecil Hutchison, designer of Gleneagles and Turnberry. Thanks to these architectural artists, West Sussex – commonly known as Pulborough – is renowned as being one of the most natural and yet playable courses in the country.
The pleasure of playing on an outstanding course is matched by the social and friendly atmosphere of the clubhouse, which caters for both members and visitors alike.
Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club // www.royalashdown.co.uk // 01342 822018
Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club has two great courses to enjoy, both of which have been named in the top 100 courses in England. Set in the heart of the Ashdown Forest, the club has been enjoyed for over 125 years, and the natural heather, hollows, and pools that are found around the course are at once both beautiful and challenging.
The two courses are known as The Old Course and The West Course. Both have their own challenges; both are lovely to play on, and it’s difficult to choose between them, although the absence of bunkers on the Old Course might sway your decision.