Essex/Suffolk golf trip advice sought

Klimski

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Hi all, so, after a really wonderful tour of Cornwall, our mini society is planning it's next tour, for 2024. We hope to ferry from NL to Harwich and are eyeing up three 18 holers to play in Essex/Suffolk. Requirements: course must be 90 years or older (don't ask me why), green fee under 70 pounds. Not too punishing (18-28 hcp range). Fun, interesting, scenic, rustic, quirky. We do have a 'thing' for coastal courses...
I have done some research and it looks like we will either be heading north from Harwich or more south west. The candidate courses are:

Suffolk:
- Rushmere
- Felixstowe Ferry
- Bungay and Waveney


Essex:
- Frinton (Havers)
- Clacton on Sea
- Colchester

Alternatives, opinions, views are welcome

Finally, I have read good things about Saffron Walden Golf Club - any thoughts. One itinerary might be: Felixstow Ferry, Saffron Walden and Rushmere (Links, Heathland, Parkland)?

Many thanks!!
 

IanM

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My cousin lives in Frinton, so we played there in the heat wave last summer.

Really enjoyed the course. Super par 3s and good mix of holes. Pretty sure they took our County Card too.

Decent grub in the clubhouse too.

Played B&W some years back. Remember that also being quirky in the way you mentioned it too. Well worth playing!
 
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RichA

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We took a group to Thorpeness (Suffolk) last year. It meets your criteria and does B&B.
I didn't love the course but the others did.
It's worth asking for bespoke quotes rather than just going off the website packages. Local pubs usually do better evening meals than you'll get at a golf club.
 

Crow

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I played in a hickory scramble at Thorpeness yesterday, course was in good shape and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some lovely holes and more of a heathland feel than a links.
 

sjw

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I'm from Felixstowe originally and while I've never played the course, I never think it looks worth the money, to be honest, but I might be wildly off and it's brilliant.
 

Wabinez

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Felixstow Ferry, Saffron Walden and Rushmere

Fair bit of driving with those 3...

Could potentially do Bungay, Felixstowe and Woodbridge to keep a close relative area. Woodbridge a little more expensive...but definitely worth it. Can go out on twilight for £70. They also have a 9 hole course on site, so could do 27 holes in the day if you fancied it...
 

nickjdavis

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If you are considering travelling up as far as Bungay, I would suggest Diss as an alternative....a lovely layout, or perhaps Thetford which is superb.

Felixstowe Ferry isnt as "linksy" as you might imagine it to be...there are several "inland" holes that are more parkland like....but its an interesting enough course to play.

Rushmere (more heathland than parkland) is laid out on "common land" and can be plagued by many dogwalkers and the general public (family picnics in the middle of the fairway are not unheard of)....Diss is also on common land but the dog walkers integrate better with the golfers (and there are fewer of them). I'd possibly suggest Stowmarket as an alternative parkland layout (not sure if it meets your age specification though). As others have suggested...Thorpeness is a nice place to play as well (though its not one of my personal favourites)

Frinton and Clacton are both good traditional courses that you should enjoy whichever you choose. But again...like Felixstowe....neither of them perhaps offer what you might consider to be a true linksy experience....its not all sand dunes and wispy grass...in Clactons case only 2 or three holes are next to the sea and several of the inland holes are tree lined...I'd probably choose Frinton over Clacton myself. Its a long long time since I played Colchester (Braiswick) so I wouldnt care to comment other than to say I think I enjoyed the round.

If you are willing to considering journeying to somewhere as far west in Essex like Saffron Walden, then you really ought to consider heading down into south Essex and paying a visit to Orsett....maybe slightly over budget (but a deal for a group could be possible) but Orsett is a cracking course and has been used for Open Qualifying in the past.
 

Klimski

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Thanks for that, Diss wasn't on my radar at all! I have read more on the forum about Rushmere's public land issues. It is something that I find intriguing though... will have to put some more thought into that. Thanks for the Frinton recommendation. Again, lots to consider.
 

Canary_Yellow

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I know this isn't in line with what you've asked for.... but have you considered going up to North Norfolk?

Still an easy journey from Harwich (although a couple of hours drive) and some lovely courses: Sheringham, Cromer, Hunstanton, Brancaster, Great Yarmouth and Caister, all with plenty of history.

Although, having had this thought and then done a bit of my own research, it seems the cost of Sheringham and Cromer has really gone up a lot in the last couple of years! So might not be suitable, which is a real shame for everyone.
 

Bratty

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It fails on coastal or 90+ years, but I always loved Brett Vale. 30 minutes from Harwich and has lodges on site (never stayed, so can't comment). Some quirky holes and an even challenge for the handicaps mentioned.
Haven't played it for a few years, so it may have gone downhill, but hopefully not.
 

ColchesterFC

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If you're planning on coming up as far as Bungay then well worth carrying a little bit further on to Caister, which is just over the border into Norfolk, and is the oldest golf club in Norfolk founded in 1882. Can be brutal if the wind blows, for example, I played it two weeks running a few years ago and week one I hit a 9 iron through the back of one of the par 3's. The following week I came up short with a 3 wood.

Aldeburgh golf club, founded in 1884, also worth some consideration. And I'd second all those saying Thorpeness.


 

nickjdavis

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It fails on coastal or 90+ years, but I always loved Brett Vale. 30 minutes from Harwich and has lodges on site (never stayed, so can't comment). Some quirky holes and an even challenge for the handicaps mentioned.
Haven't played it for a few years, so it may have gone downhill, but hopefully not.

I'm a member at BV (20+yrs).

The course is as pretty and picturesque as ever but with the financial impact of Covid and the economic downturn the course has suffered a bit in recent years and is showing some ragged edges....some of the bunkers especially are poor (lots of stones, ragged edges) and the tee boxes are a bit "stressed". However, it is as friendly and welcoming as it ever was and I would have suggested it to the OP as a "very nearby cost-effective option" except for the fact that it is neither coastal or 90 years old (but then Rushmere, Bungay and Colchester in the OP's list are not coastal either!!)

The lodges are privately owned, they are not for rent.
 

Klimski

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Thanks for all the tips and advice so far. Going further north does look interesting. I think it merits a number of tours in fact. We only have three full days, and never do more than 18 holes in a day. So, spoilt for choices. Thorpeness is a front runner, and if we're driving up there anyway, we might as well hit Caister which looks really really good. And quite affordable. That leaves us with the third course.. could be Frinton...Rushmere...Diss, Bungay...oh, decisions decisions...
 

Wabinez

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Thanks for all the tips and advice so far. Going further north does look interesting. I think it merits a number of tours in fact. We only have three full days, and never do more than 18 holes in a day. So, spoilt for choices. Thorpeness is a front runner, and if we're driving up there anyway, we might as well hit Caister which looks really really good. And quite affordable. That leaves us with the third course.. could be Frinton...Rushmere...Diss, Bungay...oh, decisions decisions...

You really like your driving on a 3 day trip...!
 

BiMGuy

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Just a warning.

You are looking at relatively large area there. And on a map the distances don’t look too bad. But getting anywhere in east anglia takes forever as the roads are not built for getting anywhere fast.
Then throw in tractors, caravans and slow moving Honda Jazz’s and you need to add at least 50% to your journey times.
 
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