Hole by Hole
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
White – 273 yds, par 4. SI 14 : Red – 265 yds, par 4, SI 14
The opening hole at Fulford, with the tee partially surrounded by small gardens, is a welcome ‘friendly start’ to the round. The ridge and furrow fairway poses few problems if the tee shot is hit “straight and long”. But miss the fairway left or right and the golfer takes on a whole new hole with trees either side and out of bounds on the left.
A good drive should set up a comfortable short iron or chip shot into the green. But do not be deceived – it is a slightly sloping green and should be carefully read before attempting to putt for a par 4 to start a good card running.
2nd Hole – Water’s edge
White – 324 yds, par 4. SI 10 : Red – 301 yds, par 4, SI 10
A dog-leg fairway to the right around the lake, “which catches the unwary”, reveals the well protected green. Cooper’s ditch winds its way across the fairway short of the green, with two bunkers and established trees making the approach shot interesting. A straight drive is imperative here with any ball that strays right or left bringing problems into play. There are tall, well developed trees both sides and the lake to the right draws in the slice or pushed shot to give the golfer a choice of taking an extra safety shot or attempting a riskier shot into the green.
A drive to the left will disappear into the trees creating more problems and making Cooper’s ditch plus the large tree to the right of the green more and more of a problem.
3rd hole – The Furrows
White – 397 yds, par 4. SI 6 : Red – 338 yds, par 4, SI 2
An interesting and tight tee shot from alongside the 2nd green, with large trees to the left and right that are best avoided. A good tee shot needs to be positioned well as the ground rises in front of you and the ridge and furrow fairway running between ash trees right and left, makes the well guarded green challenging to hit. The hole is “longer than it appears” due to the gentle up slope.
Any drive that goes left will disappear into the developing trees and any that goes right might not be found again. A fairway bunker sits waiting to catch the unaware and two bunkers to the front of the green add to the protection of a sloping green. Judge your second shot well having looked to see where the greenkeepers have positioned the hole.
4th hole – Chestnut Way
White – 268 yds,par 4. SI 16 : Red – 243 yds, par 4, SI 18
Chestnut Way – a misleading hole for the visiting golfer. It looks an easy birdie option but only if the correct tee shot is hit through the narrowing fairway gap.
If the right club is taken the thinking golfer will be in a great position to play a chip shot into the green to leave themselves an easy par and possible birdie. But there are problems if the wrong club or shot is chosen on the tee and you stray left or right. Left and the unlucky golfer will see their ball disappearing into trees and towards the out of bounds. Going right gives you more trees and bushes which like the ones on the left ensure that you will need to play a safety or recovery shot.
The green is protected by one large horseshoe bunker running along the lefthand side and across the front of the green, which some could see as a safe haven for their drives, but they had better be good from the sand.
5th hole – The Spinney
White – 135 yds, par 3. SI 18 : Red – 116 yds, par 3, SI 16
The shortest hole on the course and the unwary golfer will see an easy par. But the green is well guarded with bunkers (front, right and left), which seem to draw the ball to them.
The copse to the right catches the mishit shot which should be carefully placed onto the narrow sloping green. A well hit and accurate shot is needed here especially in a breeze.
6th hole – Gorsey Drive
White – 454 yds, par 4. SI 4 : Red – 441 yds, par 5, SI 6
Two different sets of tees operate on this hole. The men’s tees are on the left while the ladies’ are on the right, so the effect of the slight dog-leg is different. A good drive is paramount as it then allows a second shot to run down onto the green which is set into the slope. A large oak tree guards the rear of the green. Do not be misled by the distance.
7th hole – The Railway
White – 401 yds, par 4. SI 8 : Red – 294 yds, par 4, SI 4
This is the first time that 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.
However, from the white tee the river comes into play for the average golfer, so choose your shot well. Beware of the trees to the right and left and as the golfer focusses on the green they will see two bunkers set right and left, and the railway to the left which all set themselves up for the wayward ball.
For the unwary the big slope in front of the green makes for an impossible shot with it catching anything dropped short, so it is very easy to drop a shot here.
8th hole – Whitegarth House
White – 199 yds, par 3. SI 12 : Red – 180 yds, 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 beware of the drainage ditch and the occasional trees. However, to the left there are also problems starting with the trees and ending with a very inviting garden. Then the golfer is faced with a green which slopes back instead of forwards and has two bunkers left and right – stray and you could have a lot of problems.
9th hole – Tanners View
White – 465 yds, par 4. SI 2 : Red – 438 yds, par 5, SI 8
To finish the front nine running along the boundary of the course, this is a challenging par 4 (par 5 for the ladies).
Typical of all parkland courses, the fairway is lined with trees that receive any stray ball and make the golfer’s life a shot or two more difficult. So 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 rises gently to the challenging 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. With bunkers there to catch the stray ball and the sloping green to take the ball away to the left, a well placed approach is vital to put your ball in the right place.
10th hole – Two Counties
White – 534 yds, par 5. SI 9 : Red – 482 yds, par 5, SI 1
The longest hole on the course and also a dog-leg (right to left), with the River Cole running across the fairway.
The tee shot should stop 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, all the time avoiding the well positioned trees. The golfer is then presented with a tricky third shot into a large green guarded by two round breaking bunkers to the right and left.
Having avoided the trouble the golfer is then presented with a very tricky, sloping green that requires very careful reading and lucky positioning.
11th hole – Redwood Dell
White – 148 yds, par 3. SI 17 : Red – 116 yds, Par 3, SI 13
The third par 3 hole, where the tees are much higher than the green that appears through the surrounding trees in the bottom of the valley. With a bunker across the front of the green, the River Cole behind and the breeze which is never still, a very accurate and positive tee shot is needed.
Once the trees have been avoided and the ball lands on the green the rest is down to the putter.
“A delightful vista and a challenge to play”
12th hole – Cole Crossings
White – 361 yds, par 4. SI 3 : Red – 308 yds, par 4, SI 7
A sharp dog-leg (left to right), to many this is 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 the right side of the fairway then back across the fairway to proceed along the left past the green.
Add into the problems the ever present and well positioned trees, the white tee position, the sloping green and the hole throws down a challenge to the golfer.
The tee shot needs to finish past the corner to give you a fair chance to hit the narrow well-guarded green. This is protected by the River Cole on the left, 2 metres from the edge of the green and a well positioned bunker right. “Superb”
13th hole – Lakeside
White – 366 yds, par 4. SI 11 : Red – 307 yds, par 4, SI 9
This hole should play fairly easily 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 as the fairway slopes towards it. There is also a small copse of trees waiting to catch the ball that avoids a watery grave. Go left and the established trees will block you out.
The green presents some of the hole’s main problems. It is set into the bank and slopes quickly front to back and right, but with a good second shot, two putts should see you return par 4. However watch out for the difficult bunkers either side of the green.
14th hole – Ash and Oak Drive
White – 452 yds, par 4. SI 1 : Red – 363 yds, par 4, SI 5
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. Any tee shot that strays left or right will present the golfer with problems of the wooden variety.
On the flat for the second shot but make sure you avoid 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.
The green is one of the easier ones on the course but can present the golfer with a long putt if the shot is not controlled.
15th Hole – Black Water Pool
White – 371 yds. par 4. SI 15 : Red – 330 yds, par 4, SI 11
The tee shot needs to stay to the left-hand side of this gentle dog-leg hole as the land slopes down to the right and will take any shot that is not put in the right position.
To the right is the ‘Black Water Pool’, a mini lake waiting to catch the unwary golfer, though it is a big hit from the white tee. If the golfer plays short they will find a line of well developed trees blocking the next shot.
The green is wedge shaped with a difficult 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
White – 167 yds, par 3. SI 7 : Red – 106 yds, par 3, SI 15
Fulford Heath’s signature hole is a classic par 3 hole over a pool that attracts the stray ball. To some it looks longer than it is and intimidates the golfer from the tee. But having reached here with a good card it is easy to ruin the round without thinking about the green being higher than the tee and the sloping green with its protective bunkers.
The green is difficult to read with rolling slopes and any ball ending up higher than the pin is difficult to control coming down the slope.
When looking back to the tees the mature trees and island make an attractive feature.
17th hole – Green Keepers
White – 417 yds, par 4. SI 5 : Red – 398 yds, par 4, SI 3
The 17th takes a golfer away from the Clubhouse again and the tee shot should be planned carefully with the left hand side of the fairway the main place to avoid. Here it is very easy to get blocked out and the potential of reeking havoc with your good card becomes very apparent.
However, do not stray too far right as the 18th fairway allows the stray ball to wander even further to the right. You should have few problems if you take the centre line though, with the small valley allowing the ball to move further down the fairway and open up the protected green.
The green like so many requires care to read the subtleties of the slopes and when hitting the second shot in, the thinking golfer needs to take careful note of where the greenkeepers have positioned the pin.
18th hole – Braids Last
White – 531 yds, par 5. SI 13 : Red – 405 yds, par 5, SI 17
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 on the left-hand side).
When reaching the green in regulation the hole’s real defence come into action. Putting can be a test of nerve on this green with its slopes and deviations, especially when the patio and clubhouse are full of spectators watching for the “birdie” putt!