After our morning round at Littlestone Golf Club, it was time to head to Canterbury Golf Club for our second round of the day. The Harry Colt designed course, measuring 6287 yards with par of 71 is situated just east of the city centre features a well-equipped clubhouse able to host societies and functions as well as a driving range open to the public and academy.
We had booked a tee time for after 3pm in order to take them up on their very good value Twilight rates. So having plenty of time before we needed to tee off, we took the opportunity to order lunch and a cold drink and sit outside in the sun overlooking the 18th green watching the members finish their morning rounds, giving us a glimpse of what was to come. I would also recommend the smoked salmon salad sandwiches.
Having booked in at the spacious well stocked pro-shop it was time to head out to the first tee. A par 5 to start and a blind uphill drive with a marker post to guide the way. The treck uphill to the fairway warms you up for the hilly and undulating course ahead. But at 467 off the white tees, this short par 5 offers up a good opening birdie opportunity if you get a good drive away. The second is a fabulous par 3 played over a valley to a well guarded green before another blind tee shot on the third.
The par 4 fourth doglegs to the right and position off the tee is critical here. You wont necessarily need driver and a well positioned tree short right of the green leaves a tough approach shot into the green. A par here would be a good score. The follows a second superb par 3, 180 yards in length and surrounded by trees. Although there is a large green, bunkers await any miss hit tee shot. A walk through the woods brings you out to the 6th tee and the first of a few raised tee boxes overlooking fairway below.
The longest hole on the course, the 540 yard seventh, is relatively straight forward, but you still need to be straight off the tee and takes you down to the far corner and the third of the five par 3’s, the 140 yard 8th. Although this is the shortest of the par 3’s, don’t get complacent as you could end up with a tough bunker shot. A dogleg par 5 finishes of the front nine and will be the last par 5 until you reach the final hole of the course. But you’d need a long drive here to give you a good birdie opportunity.
A long par 4 starts the back nine at 453yards a bit of local knowledge is probably needed to understand how best to play this as I found out to my detriment. A ditch runs across the fairway about 275 yards from the tee so obviously you want to lay up short of this. However, the fairway runs downhill towards it. So when the fairways are firm and dry as they were when we played, laying up near enough to give you a not too lengthy approach to the green, ultimately meant the ball rolling down the fairway and into said ditch. So if any members read this, please let me know the best play here, as I’m pretty sure, long Iron, wood or driver would all leave you with having to take a drop.
Another great par 3, which I guess you would say is a feature of this course, follows. Uphill which requires good club selection. Anything short will roll back down the approach. Then its onto the hardest hole on the course. The 12th features another great raised tee overlooking the fairway below which slopes to the left towards a ditch running up the side of the hole. A walk back up hill takes you to another great elevated tee on the 13th with a drive to the left half of the fairway leaving you the best approach in.
Although 14 seems simple enough on the scorecard, only 321 yards in length and no bunkers, its not as straightforward as it seems. Uphill, means it plays longer than the yardage suggests and the right hand side of the fairway is ready to kick your ball towards the rough. Also the green is hidden behind mounds and swales so you need to be accurate with the distance of your approach as it can be very deceptive.
The following hole is also tricky. A slight dogleg to the right, with trees close to the right hand side and two well placed bunkers on the left give you quite a narrow target area. A 3 wood off the tee may be the safer option and the green is well guarded by deep bunkers. 16 features two groups of trees encroaching towards the fairway both right and left around the landing zone so accuracy is paramount here or you may have to chip back out into play. The final par 3 is the 17th and the longest of them all, although being a bit short of the green isn’t as disastrous as being right.
Onto the 18th and its time to head back to the clubhouse for a well earned drink after taking on this last par 5. You need to be left here, although not too far left in the awaiting bunkers. The two-tiered green is guarded well by bunkers front left and right, so avoid these and possible embarrassment from any onlooking golfers in the clubhouse.
By the time we had finished, early evening had arrived, the temperature had become more bearable and it was time to sit outside with that drink and delicious fish and chips served up by the clubhouse as we reflect on a great day’s golf. The greens at Canterbury had been superb, running fast and rolling true and the rest of this truly fantastic course was in great condition. With summer green fees as low as £18 on a Monday after 4pm it really was great value for such a good course and enjoyable round. So, I would recommend a visit if you haven’t already been.
Princes Golf Club is next up to finish off our golfing weekend and I will bring that part of my blog to you soon.