Purdis Heath Ipswich Golf Club

Purdis Heath Ipswich Golf Club

Type of course? Heathland

Pleasant staff? Helpful pro

Best hole? The 4th is a brilliant par 4 with the fairway suddenly ending in a steep grass slope/precipice with the green far below. 

Après golf? We didn’t stay as it was early evening and we both needed our dinner.

Nice round? Nope. Still shanking.

Special memory? Finding two Pro v1s in the heather and topping up my tan nicely.

Must play again? Yes, definitely. Despite all the bad golf, I could see that it’s a great course with some really funky holes. Beautiful elevated tees, excellent par 3s and lots of thinking required to plot your way around the many bunkers.

Hunstanton Golf Club

Hunstanton Golf Club

Type of course? Links

Pleasant staff? Nice and welcoming

Best hole? The 18th because it was the last one

Après golf? Nice pre golf tuna sandwich in the company of the two ducks who come every day for their lunch.

Nice round? Horrendous. One word: shankytown.

Special memory? Chipping onto the 6th elevated upside-down saucer green, only to see my ball dribble over the edge and end up at the bottom of the slope. Four times.

Must play again? It’s really hard to be positive about a course when you have a horrible round. Objectively, it’s a classic, very well-maintained, interesting and difficult links course. I probably would have loved it if it hadn’t been for all the shanks. Still a bit traumatised, actually.

Royal Cromer Golf Club

Royal Cromer Golf Club

Type of course? Heavenly clifftop links

Pleasant staff? Yes

Best hole? The signature hole is the 14th leading to the lighthouse, but the 9th par 3 is particularly daunting and beautiful, with seven pot bunkers protecting the green.

Après golf? A rush back to the house so my panna cotta would have time to set.

Nice round? Fantastic. Every hole is different, the setting is stunning and the course is surprisingly immaculate, considering how little rain the area has had. It soothed the pain of being 3 up with four holes to play and losing the last four holes.

Special memory? Going for a wee after five holes and getting my ankle caught between the very heavy wooden door and the cement step. It hurt A LOT. Charlotte suggested that if my ankle was broken, I should find somewhere to sit while she finished the round on her own. I replied that I would rather gnaw off my foot so I could carry on, dragging my bloody stump along with me. That’s how much we loved the course.

Must play again? I even checked membership prices even though going for a morning round would mean setting off around 4am from home.

Thetford Golf Club

Thetford Golf Club

Type of course? It’s described as heathland, but really, it’s more of an enchanted forest type of course.

Pleasant staff? Very nice.

Best hole? There is no standout hole golfing wise, but the 17th green is surrounded by particularly beautiful trees.

Après golf? I had the cheesiest cheese toastie this side of Switzerland before playing. Superb.

Nice round? Lovely. The course is very pleasant rather than challenging, with no hidden dangers and gentle holes that allow you to recover even if you mess up. It’s a cuddly course.

Special memory? Going through the green with my approach shot on the 18th after observing play while having lunch and agreeing that one mustn’t go through the green.

Must play again? Yes. The setting is really beautiful. Gorgeous trees and lots of wildlife gambollling around, including neon green pheasants.

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.