Perched on the South Coast of England, Sussex is famous for spectacular seaside views and rolling countryside. It’s no wonder then that this area of the UK is blessed with a wealth of outstanding golf courses. Ranging from sweeping rural courses to legendary coastal hideaways, chances are you’ll find at least one course in Sussex to add to your golfing bucket list!
Rye Golf Club
Founded in 1894 by 25 year-old Harry Colt, this links course (one of only two true links courses along the 100+ miles of Sussex coastline) has gained an almost mythical reputation due to its remote coastal location and the ferocity with which its members protect the unrivaled level of privacy on offer.
Previously notoriously difficult to secure a tee time for, the barriers to entry at Rye have loosened somewhat in recent years with the advent of the internet and word it’s now possible to gain access to the famously exclusive club if you manage to catch the course secretary in a particularly charitable mood…
If you are lucky enough to find yourself on the first tee then you’re in for a brutal, punishing and utterly unforgettable round of golf. Stretching over 6,300 yards of wind swept, meticulously maintained grassland Rye frequently features in “top 10” lists of golf courses anywhere in the UK and once played it’s easy to see why. The swirling wind and slanting fairways will test the mettle of even the most experienced golfer, but the exquisitely designed holes and old fashioned, historic charm will nurture a level of appreciative delight in the player that very few golf courses can hope to match.
West Sussex Golf Club
A round at West Sussex Golf Club is a similarly captivating experience to a battle against the devilishly tough 18 holes at Rye.
This however is where the similarities between the two courses end. Where Rye prides itself on traditional, fundamental golf, excluding a vast portion of players with its remote location, exclusivity and difficulty, West Sussex Golf Club concerns itself with being visually stunning and accessible to all.
That is not to say that West Sussex is an easy round, measuring 6,355 yards including 7, 400+ yard par 4’s it will test and challenge the most able golfers. Crucially however it conjures its difficulty in a less soul crushing manner than Rye meaning there’s still plenty of scope for golfers with higher handicaps to thoroughly enjoy a jaunt around the beautiful woodland course.
Sweetwoods Park Golf Club
Cutting a swathe through the Wealden Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Sweetwoods Park is a recently refurbished course that counts stunning panoramic views of the picturesque village of Cowden, the surrounding rural woodlands and even a 13th century-church spire (the rest of the church is equally quaint but – as it can’t be seen from the course – we’re not interested!).
A much more modern course than the previously mentioned couple, Sweetwoods is quickly building a reputation as one of the finest golf courses in Sussex or the surrounding area of Kent. The level of care and attention lavished onto the playing surfaces is second to none, each fairway and green glows an inviting shade of luscious green that speaks to the effort that the ground staff put in to maintain such pristine conditions.
The ultra-modern clubhouse is worth a pre or post round visit also. Word from the locals is that the food is of such quality that it’s almost worth a visit just for a snack!