Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club

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 the women’s changing room is down a staircase via a secret door at the back of a small dark room. It’s best to ask for directions if you’re a woman and you urgently need the toilet.

Nice round? Wonderful. The sun was shining, the course looked beautiful and we had it all to ourselves, as there was a European Tour event in the morning, which must have put the members off playing.

Special memory? Realising that the cute little par 3 course that I was looking at from the 13th tee wasn’t part of the course, but was in the large back garden of one of the many rich people’s houses that you see while playing.

Must play again? I would love to. It’s a gorgeous, difficult, varied course and I feel like I could have played it a lot better. I’ll just bypass the stuffy clubhouse next time.

East Sussex National Golf Club

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 section’s Spring break, so we had plenty of time to sample the facilities. Again, this is a big corporate venue perfect for large groups, so it lacked any kind of personal touch.

Nice round? Great rounds. Although some of the greens were pretty ropey, both courses are very good and fun and parts of them are gorgeous. 

Special memory? This will forever remain the outing where Angela stripped down to her underwear in freezing weather to dive into the freezing lake on the 16th hole (West) in a bid to retrieve her trolley and bag. Sadly four irons remain in their watery grave.

Must play again? Yes, both courses.

Torrey Pines Golf Course

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 photographed many times.

Après golf? A toasted Ruben sandwich that had a lot of cheese, with fries, in the Lodge. Sitting outside, looking down the first hole towards the ocean with paragliders was a lovely way to end the round.

Nice round? Lovely. I joined a three ball, none of whom knew each other. One local who has been playing the course for over 30 years, a lovely chap called Mark from Michigan on holiday in California and a local Californian who has a low handicap but doesn’t get to play much at the moment. All three were charming and complimentary of good shots. They were also good at finding my ball, as it had a tendency to roll in the rough on almost all drives. I particularly enjoyed our local guide saying that the way the rough was cut (or not) at the moment added 6 shots to his round. It was very difficult to find balls and I’m sure a lot of people were annoyed by it.

Special memory? Lots. The excitement of the starter saying there was an available slot at 6:40am (I got there at 6:20am. Thank you jet lag). The relief of hitting a good tee shot on the 7th, where we started, as there was work going on around the first. The sun rising quickly and warming everything up. Seeing the ocean at the end of an immaculate fairway. My first par, 8 holes in. Finally getting the feel of my hired driver on the 6th (our 18th) and really connecting to finally leave a ball on the fairway. I could go on.

Must play again? If someone else would like to play and somehow get a reservation, then yes please. I’ll get on that 11 hour flight again.

Palheiro Golf

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 fantastic, especially when we worked out that we should be playing off the blue tees, not the red. The red tees made the course shorter, but also narrower, and length has never been a problem for me, while general golfing skills are.

Special memory? Charlotte birdying the 13th par 3 in front of a small audience as two elderly Portuguese players let us go through. Nice touch. Also, my irons behaved themselves for the first time since I started golf. Hurrah! 

Must play again? I could play it every day and never get bored. Views, gorgeous flowers, beautiful trees and every single hole a delight. It’s in my top 3.

Club de golfe de Santo da Serra

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 right at the end, on the edge of the cliff. The views over Porto Santo and Cais do Sardinha are stunning.

Après golf?  A delicious black scabbard sandwich, ordered because I wanted to know what black scabbard was. It’s a fish.

Nice round? Excellent, as I played well and won the first leg of our four leg competition on Madeira. We had the course pretty much to ourselves, the weather was lovely and warm and the course was good fun.

Special memory? Almost birdying the 18th after hitting a lovely 3 wood two feet from the pin with my second shot.

Must play again? There isn’t that much choice on Madeira, but the €110 green fee is a bit hard to swallow, especially as female players seem to be an afterthought on this Championship course. All the signs, bins and ball cleaners are by the men’s tees. Not unusual in the world of golf, but still.

Colchester Golf Club

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 noisy on the front 9 with the Asomething running alongside it.

Special memory? You know when the fourball ahead decides to let you through because they’re looking for a ball and there are only two of you, but then you completely fluff your shot and end up holding them up? Also, they’re four men, you’re two women, and you feel like you’re letting the sisterhood down by messing up in front of them? We didn’t do that. We both put our balls on the green from 170 yards and parred the hole. Very satisfying.

Must play again? No.