Designed by James Braid, 5 times Open winner and member of the "World Golf Hall of Fame", and opened in 1933, this eighteen hole, par 70 course is just over 6,000 yards in length and presents a challenge to golfers of all standards.
The River Cole, three lakes and mature trees feature throughout the course. Particular favorites are the 12th hole where the gentle River Cole presents a constant challenge appearing both to the sides of the fairway as a lateral hazard, whilst the elevated green of the par 3, 16th hole, is reached by playing over a stunning lake.
The subtlety of design and carefully managed maturity of the course offers rewards to the strategic golfer when approaching the greens by the best route, before tackling the subtle borrows of the greens established over years of careful manicuring.
1st hole Captain's Drive - 273yds, par 4. SI 14
Starting from the tee with its gardens to the front and side, the ridge and furrow fairway poses little problem if the tee shot is hit "straight and long". With a chip shot into the slightly sloping green a Par 4 should be achieved. "A friendly start"
2nd hole Water's edge - 324yds, par 4. SI 10
A dog-leg fairway to the right around the lake, "which catches the unwary", reveals the green. Cooper’s ditch winds it’s way across the fairway short of the green, with two bunkers and established trees making the approach shot interesting
3rd hole The Furrows - 397yds, par 4. SI 6
A good tee shot is needed here as the ground rises quite quickly and the ridge and furrow fairway running between ash trees right and left, makes the well guarded green interesting to hit. "Longer than it appears" due to the gentle up slope
4th hole Chestnut Way - 268yds,par 4. SI 16
Chestnut Way: Easy birdie green if the correct tee shot is hit through the narrow fairway gap and a good chip shot is played. Problems if the big shot clears all the trees along the left-hand boundary, because into the gardens and ‘out of bounds’ it goes! The green is also protected by one large horseshoe bunker running along the left hand side and across the front of the green
5th hole The Spinney - 135yds, par 3. SI 18
The shortest hole on the course, but well guarded with bunkers (front, right and left), and a narrow green. A well hit and accurate shot is needed here.
6th hole Gorsey Drive - 454yds, par4. SI 4
Two different sets of tees are here; the left-hand side being the men’s tees, and the right-hand side being the ladies’ tees, so the effect of the slight dog-leg is different. A good drive allows a second shot to run down onto the green set into the slope with a large oak tree at the rear of the green
7th hole The Railway - 401yds, par4. SI 8
The first time the River Cole comes into play, as it runs across the seventh hole. This is a dog-leg (left to right), so a good tee shot is needed to give you a chance to hit the smallest green on the course, which is a plateau green set into the face of a slope. Beware of the two bunkers set right and left, and the railway to the left
8th hole Whitegarth House - 199yds, par 3. SI 12
A difficult par 3 as the tee seems to be slightly below the green, so this makes judging the correct club more of a problem. There is a lot of space to the right, but to the left is a very inviting garden, and with a green which slopes back instead of forwards - you could have problems
9th hole Tanners View - 465yds, par 4. SI 2
To finish the front nine running around the boundary of the course, this is a challenging par 4. A good tee shot is needed to stop short of the River Cole that runs across the fairway. The second shot needs to be well struck to get up onto the green as the fairway is rising gently to the green. Too far left and it’s a copse or rough or too far right and you are into a group of mature poplar trees
10th hole Two Counties - 534yds, par 5. SI 9
The longest hole on the course, also dog-leg (right to left), with the River Cole running across the fairway.
The tee shot stops just short of the river, with a good second shot up the fairway trying to keep to the high ground on the right-hand side, this leaves you with a tricky third shot into a large green protected by two bunkers right and left.
11th hole Redwood Dell - 148yds, par 3. SI 17
The third par 3 hole, where the tees are much higher than the green that appears in the bottom of the valley. With a bunker across the front of the green and the River Cole behind, a very accurate tee shot is needed.
"A delightful vista and a challenge to play"
12th hole Cole Crossings - 361yds, par 4. SI 3
A sharp dog-leg (left to right), reputed to be the best hole on the course, with the River Cole running along the left side of the tee then across in front. It then wends its way along right side of the fairway then back across the fairway to proceed along the left past the green. The tee shot needs to finish past the corner to give you a fair chance to hit the narrow well-guarded green. The green is protected by the river Cole on the left, 2 metres from the edge of the green and a bunker right. "Superb"
13th hole Lakeside - 366yds, par 4. SI 11
This hole should play fairly easy as long as the tee shot stays on the fairway. Go to the right and the lake, which is enhanced by a fountain, waits to swallow up the ball.
The green is set into the bank, but with a good second shot, two putts should see you return par 4.
14th hole Ash and Oak Drive - 452yds, par 4. SI 1
A difficult par 4 as the ground rises very quickly from the men’s tee, flat from the ladies tee, so the tee shot should go between the ash tree to the left and the oak tree to the right. On the flat for the second shot avoiding the bunkers (one to the left short of the green and the other on the right-hand edge of the green) and the copse which is green high right.
15th hole Black Water Pool - 371yds. par 4. SI 15
The tee shot needs to stay to the left-hand side of this gentle dog-leg hole. To the right is a mini lake waiting to catch the unwary golfer though it is a big hit from the tee. The green is wedge shaped with a bunker left and a threatening slope to the right and rear. With the drop at the back of the green it is easy for the second shot to run through.
16th hole The Pond - 167yds, par 3. SI 7
This is a classic par 3 hole over a pool that looks longer than it is and intimidates the golfer from the tee. The green is difficult to read with rolling slopes, and is protected by well placed bunkers. When looking back to the tees the mature trees and island make an attractive feature.
17th hole Green Keepers - 417yds, par 4. SI 5
Avoid the left hand side of this hole and you should have few problems. The tee shot to clear the small valley, with a second shot up hill to run onto the green. The green like so many requires care to read the subtleties of the slopes.
18th hole Braids Last - 531yds, par 5. SI 13
The second longest hole finishes the round with trees running alongside the fairway. The hole being a long sweeping dog-leg (left to right) requires good approach shots to the green which slopes from right to left and is guarded by three bunkers (two on the right-hand side and one of the left-hand side). Putting can be a test of nerve on this sloping green when the patio and clubhouse are full of spectators watching for the "birdie" putt?