Holtye (edenbridge) Sussex Course Review -

Oddsocks

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Well guys I dont normally write course reviews but this is a must for me. For 3 or 4 years the blokes that i play with have always ranted about this course and i've always shrugged it off as its only a 9 holer which you play twice from 2 different tee's. For me playing the same hole twice in a round never really appealed but this week they got their own way and this months traveling trip was to Holtye Golf Club, located just outside East Grinstead on the A264. Now from first impressions i can only describe the club as the land that time forgot. The club was established in 1893 and prides itself on being one of the oldest clubs in the south of england, and being the oldest 9 hole club in the country. Whats interesting is unlike other clubs that have started as a 9 hole course they have not looked to build and additional 9 to make it a full 18 hole course. I think this is great as alot of courses that do this give the feeling of playing two different courses. Often its either a mix of holes where they jumble the order in effort to keep it interesting, or your have a great nine and a poor, bland and charactorless nine.
A small carpark greets your with a putting green at the back , a pro shop that is about as deceptive as can be. What looks small from the outside was packed like aladins cave with some extremly keen pricing and some great bargins. What was very shocking is without even asking the assistant applied discount to any purchases that were made there. Staff were very friendly and down to earth.
So signed in and changed its onto the course. Normally a course is isolated within set grounds and the next time you see a car after the first tee is when you put your clubs away, but not here. Standing on the first tee is like standing on a village cricket pitch with cars going past up your left side (a264), cars coming out from behind the tee, and the club house, pro shop and B&B/Inn on the other side of the road. It was a very strange feeling that gave the course a very unique feel. After taking in the surrounding set up and realising nothing has changed in over 100 years, its onto the tee.

1st (295 yards SI 15) / 10th (279 Yards SI 18)
A fairly simple par 4 with the road down the left side which is OOB protected by some tree's, with loads of room down the right which im guessing is to give people room to aim away from or close to the road. A fairly simple hole with no major dangers, Aim down the right and all thats there to catch you our is 2 trees just off the fairway to the right at about 260 yards, other than that its simple shot into a narrow green with some mounds sort right and up the right side. Although the hole isnt majorly challenging its a nice easy opener to get you underway. First time round i missed the fairway right as from the tee you get a deceptive view of it being being a dogleg so i aimed right without taking much notice of the GPS, a short pitch in from about 30 yards, then it was down to the putting. Now second time round you play from a tee closer to the hole but shorter by 20 yards, a solid drive will put you in contention for an up and down birdie chance.

2nd (159 yards SI 17) / 11th (189 yards SI 12)
Again a fairly simple and deceptively easy par 3 from the tee box when playing it as the second. The green slopes left to right, so your aiming at the left side which is where a nice bunker lays, Aim anything near middle and with roll your off the right side of the green leaving a tricky up and down save. Now playing it the second time round is a new hole all together. The tee is some 30 yards further back taking it from an easy 7i 1st to a full 6i or easy 5i 11th.

3rd (457 Yards SI 1) / 12th (436 Yards SI 2)
Now onto a very under estimated par 4. Looking at the course planner you fail to see whats so hard about this hole, a simple dogleg right par 4 with a nice wide fairway slightly uphill. A good tee shot still left me 190 yards uphil to a pretty narrow green. What is scary about the approach to this green is the A264 country lane is to the left of the green, and there is a small access road for residents up the right of the green giving you a rough target around of 30 yards max from 200 yards. i have to admit although in a perfect position on the left side of the fairway i wasnt prepared to take the risk and go for it. A misshit approach will see your call hit one of the roads and never be seen again. I do wonder how many people reep the reward of going for this green with the risks involved. Walking off with a bogey as the 3rd hole was no shame. Playing as the 12th and a little shorter, a good tee shot will leave you closer to the 150 markers as you seem to get a better bounce and more roll off the front tee's. We all experienced this and everyone in the group was more happy taking the green on from 150 yards instead of the 200 marker.

4th (156 Yards SI 10) / 13th (191 Yards SI 8)

Now im a massive par 3 lover and this is without question my favourite Par 3 hole i have ever played,. My currently favourite was the 13th at The Addington but this knocked it right off the top slot. From the elevated tee your left wondering what to hit, a full green width bunker protects the front of the green, with tiered banks at the rear going up to the next hole tees. Go through to the right and your OOB, short will end up in a cluster of mature tree's leaving no shot in or even better the water hazzard that runs through them, the only safe miss is left. This hole and and hole alone was worth the green fee. I was in a rush to get back round just to replay this hole after a not so successfull first attempt. Walking on to the 13th tee is even more enjoyable. Almost 40 yards further back, and around another 20 feet higher than the 4th tee i spent a good wile wondering what to hit. I dont think the SI's for this hole do it justice.

5th (330 Yards SI 11) / 14th (312 Yards SI 16)
After playing from an elevated tee on the previous par 3 your onto another elevated tee shot. Before you lays a huge fairway but what is challenging is the extreme right to left slope. In tgeh summer playing for the top of the slope will cause issues. Like i found when playing it as a 14th, the ball gains speed when rolling down the hill, and the perfect tee shot can be reawarded with a nice lie in the trees to the left of the fairway. This hole ideally suits someone who will take on a shot down the left with a left to right ball shape to combat the slope. As the 5th your left with a low iron in to a green that rolls away to the left and down into the woods, a safe shot is aim right of the green and hope it holds (which we all found didnt). As the 14th you seem to be able to go for it, and a well hit drive will finish just yards short leaving a chip on for a par.... sounds easy doesnt it. From a 4 ball playing this hole twice, only one marked a par on the card. The common score was a double bogey.

6th (349 Yards SI 5) / 15th (358 Yards SI 4)
After playing downhill on the previous 2 holes its refreshing to hit the 6th/15th with a uphill drive over quite a big gulley slightly doglegging left. Unfortunately due to you playing up hill drives are robbed of distance, and the fairway that rolls right to left doesnt help. A monster drive in the summer on baked fairways will run you into trouble or run you down to trouble on the left, but spring time try and get as far up as possible. Both tee shots urge you to aim up the right, but go to far and your be blocked out by a tree on the right. From a good drive you will be left anywhere between 150-180 yards in to a green that is very deceptive. The green is still uphil and like the hole slopes right to left. Both times using GPS my approach was short, but come to short and your in the rubbish.

7th (384 Yards SI 3) / 16th (324 Yards SI 9)
Another uphill par 4 which is all about position. The left side of the fairway is safe as there is a deep natural drainage ditch running diagonally down the right side of the fairway to catch the big hitters. A blind approach over the hill gives the impression that the green is further away so club selection is key. Once over the brow of the hill the ground then slopes to the green which promotes alot of roll making it easy to go through. when playing the hole from the 16th tee position, the tree on the right of the fairway on the previous hole comes into play blocking alot of the right side of the fairway, this actually helps as it sticks you in a better position for your approach

8th (141 Yards SI 14) / 17th (150 Yards SI 13)
A short uphill par 3 guarded right and left by bunkers. Its hard to guess the pin position the first time round, but make sure you remember it from the 17th as you play from the back of the tee box making club selection very tricky.

9th (381 Yards SI 7) / 18th (378 Yards SI 6)
From 9th tee its looks a simple par 4, but take into account being too long off the tee will find middle fairway trouble at at about 200 yards. Big hitters will need to carry atleast 250 to be safe, if not play short and have a 150-180 yard approach. The green is wide will little or no trouble so being shorter for position wont kill the card. Now from the 18th tee the hole plays its best, a simular length required to a 90* dogleg left, all that doesnt change here is the approach which is a bit of a shame as you have already played this approach shot.

After finishing the round the clubhouse is the next stop which is full of history. The traditional changing room still has a log fire which im guessing is used in winter months. Up stairs the bar/restaurant is all traditional with wood beams which would link with the period it was built. The food and beer is well priced.

so course condition, I actually didnt hit any bunkers although those who had didnt complain of stones or lack of sand. The green were exceptionally fast and true given the recent winter weather, but im guessing the last 3 weeks had really helped the course conditions. The fairways was very well kept for the time of the year, and the tee boxes were nice and level, with some holes having many tee boxes to ensure a different experience each time you play. At £18.00 for a weekend green fee it was fantastic value for money, and with current membership for 7 days being only £395 its very tempting even for someone who lives over 20 miles from there.

Club website - http://www.holtye.com/index.lasso?pg=00a1cd783692ce44
 

Leftie

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Great review OS. :)

I played it a couple of years ago and your description brought it all back to me. I played it when it was fairly dry and boy, was it a test of golf.

There are some other great 9 hole courses around the area. Have you tried Limpsfield Chart or Reigate Heath (115 years old, Par 67, course record 65).
 

Oddsocks

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I haven't played any of the mentioned ones leftie, as you said a true test of golf was had and I hate to say I let the course get into my head. I was 11 over on the front 9, but having learned from my mistakes the back 9 saw 5 pars so a lot better , I need to play here again as I've only missed buffer in one game this year by 1 shot, yet Saturday it killed me and I think I was about 7 over hc. It won't beat me .............



I hope ;)
 

Smiffy

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Holtye is a really good test of golf, played it quite a few times over the years and won a society day there once with a very impressive 40 points... ;) ;) ;)

Your write up is spot on.
The course reminds me very much of Crowborough Beacon in the way it plays. OK it hasn't got the glorious views of the Beacon, but the wicked bounces you can get and the tightness of it in places makes it a real test.
Being a heathland course, it drains really well during the winter months, and the greens are normally spot on.
But as Leftie say, during the Summer months it can get bone hard and you will get some really wicked bounces.
 
D

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Good write-up. Regularly play Reigate Heath - another 9 hole course with 18 tees - and never tire of playing it. The views from the clubhouse are great, particularly on a nice summer evening.
 

Oddsocks

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News just in, turns out they use aa route planner to work out you distance from the course, and im 26.7 miles. - thats 7 day out of county at 225.00

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
 
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