11.8

On 6 January 2017, I embarked on a quest to get my handicap from 17 to 12 in a year. Today, two years, four months and sixteen days later, I achieved it. What is the secret to my not-so-lightning fast success? Play more golf! What’s next? Play more...

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Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

Type of course? The Old Course is all heather, slopes and forest (unsurprisingly). Pleasant staff? Lovely pro. Best hole? The 249 yard par 3. Elevated tee, big space, heather left and right and the green in the distance. Boom. Après golf? Coffee and flapjack avant golf in one of the two bars of the old-fashioned, not extremely welcoming club house. There are repairs being done to the balcony, so...

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East Sussex National Golf Club

Type of course? Undulating parkland. Pleasant staff? It’s a huge business, with a hotel and two courses, so the service is professional, but quite impersonal.  Best hole? We played both West and East courses and there are lots of great holes, but the 10th on the East course is beautiful, with a babbling brook snaking around the green. Après golf? We stayed there two nights as part of our...

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Torrey Pines Golf Course

My first guest review! Charlotte is on a business trip in California and was lucky enough to play this very famous course that I’d never heard about. Type of course? Iconic and jolly famous. Pleasant staff? Yes, very. Best hole? The third. A beautiful par 3 that you need to be bold with because you know you probably aren’t going to play it ever again. It’s a hole that has been...

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Palheiro Golf

Type of course? Hilly. So so hilly. Pleasant staff? Yes. Best hole? The 18th because if I tonked my drive, I was able to get on the green in two provided I avoided the bunkers on the right. I just needed one more round to make it happen! Après golf? Delicious steak bolo de caco and coffee in the clubhouse with an amazing view over Funchal. Nice round? We had three rounds there and they were all...

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Club de golfe de Santo da Serra

Type of course? As hilly as Madeira. There are three 9 hole courses. Two tough hilly ones and one easier, flat one. We climbed a mountain the day before and were both hobbling on very sore legs, so we picked the two tough, hilly ones. Pleasant staff? Very welcoming and all spoke English. Best hole? The 4th par 3 on the Machico course. The fairway hugs a curved chasm on the left and the green is...

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Colchester Golf Club

Type of course? Parkland Pleasant staff? Yes Best hole? None stood out Après golf? Mediocre nachos for me, mediocre egg and salmon sandwich for Charlotte Nice round? We were both very disappointed by the course. At £47 a round (even though we only played £26 thanks to the James Braid discount), we had high expectations. However, it was just a bit… meh. Completely unremarkable. And very...

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Bicester Golf Club

Type of course? Parkland. Pleasant staff? Wonderful, all of them, especially the bar staff who always gave me two pieces of shortbread with coffee. Best hole? The first two times I played the 17th, I hated it. It made me quite angry, in fact. Imagine a dogleg left that, unless you can drive 250 yards into the wind, gives you no other choice but to hit your second shot over a long row of HUGE,...

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Hollingbury Park Golf Course

Type of course? Downland. Pleasant staff? Yes. Best hole? I liked the 12th because I love risk/reward holes. It’s a short par 4, so the driver isn’t needed, especially as the entrance to the green is very narrow. There are trees on the right if you’re short, rough on the left if you stray a little bit and a bunker to collect your ball on the right if it catches the slope...

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Sweetwoods Park Golf Club

Type of course? Parkland/Downland Pleasant staff? Did their job Best hole? I really liked the 18th. It’s a short par 4 with a tree in the middle of the fairway, which makes for a tricky drive, but the second shot is even trickier. The green is down the slope and is well protected by a couple of bunkers. The best way to come in is to float a ball above the bunkers and land it softly on the...

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