Kent Golfing Weekend – Canterbury Golf Club

The elevated 6th tee at Canterbury Golf Club

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.

The par 3 second at Canterbury.

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.

Putting on the large 3rd green.

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.

The approach in the 4th hole.

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.

The 11th hole at Canterbury.

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.

The tough 12th Hole.

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.

Driving off the 6th

Princes Golf Club is next up to finish off our golfing weekend and I will bring that part of my blog to you soon.

Kent Golfing Weekend – Littlestone Warren

The 6th Green – Littlestone Warren

I should have been at the Open last weekend, watching the worlds best golfers tee it up at Royal St Georges with my brother in law. Obviously, and rightly so, that was cancelled. However, I kept the booking I had made at the campsite. We had decided, that if the situation had improved and lockdown would be eased, which it had, then we would still head down to Kent, and rather than watch the tour pro’s grace the fairways, we would take our clubs and grace some fairways instead and visit some local courses for weekend of golf.

So, when it was announced that campsites would open, we set about researching courses in Kent and seeing where we could play. Looking up which courses were accepting visitors and sending out numerous emails, some of which I was surprised to get no response to, we had narrowed down our list of possible places to play. We had hoped to get three rounds in. Two on Saturday and one on Sunday. Getting a Saturday morning round in for two visitors was going to prove quite tough as the vast majority of members clubs don’t except visitors until after midday. But it wasn’t impossible to find somewhere and we ended up with a couple of options.

The 12th Hole – Littlestone Warren

So the rounds were booked and we had three very different courses to play over the weekend. The Warren at Littlestone Golf Club on Saturday Morning, Canterbury Golf Club on Saturday afternoon, and finishing the weekend at Princes Golf Club on the Shore and Dunes Course at Midday on Sunday. It would be quite a long blog post to write about them all in one so I have decided to break it down into three parts. Which also gives me a bit more time to write it all. So this first part will be about our trip to the Warren Course at Littlestone.

Dry firm fairways, meant lots of roll and longer drives.

Littlestone Golf Club, situated on the edge of the Romney Marshes has two 18 hole courses, Their Championship Course and The Warren Course. The Warren Course was our test for Saturday morning. A par 67 measuring 5241 yards, this is obviously shorter than the Championship course, but don’t be deceived into thinking its easy. Laid out on the natural dunes with hard fast fairways, undulating approaches, quick greens and links bunkers, coupled with unforgiving thick rough, it requires accuracy rather than distance off the tee.

After checking in at the well stocked pro shop and a much needed coffee and bacon roll at The Warren Course’s own club house, it was time to tee off. With no par fives, the Warren opens up with the longest hole of the course, a 444 yard par four which seems straight forward, but long rough ready to catch a wayward tee shot and an undulating green surround ready to punish an inaccurate approach shot with a tough chip, means its not quite a simple as it seems.

The rest of the front nine is a mixture of great par threes ranging from 147 to 206 yards in length and some tough par fours, that although aren’t overly long, doesn’t mean it’s a simple driver off the tee and short iron approach. Good placement off the tee will reward you more than being long. The 5th and 6th holes are testament to this.  If you are lucky, as we were, you may even see the Steam Trains pass by on the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway whilst you are on the 5th green or 6th tee.

The 5th Green – Littlestone Warren.

The front nine closes out with the penultimate par three on the course before a drivable par four to start the back nine. The 12th starts with a blind tee shot but a marker post gives you the line, before an approach into a well guarded green. 13 seems easy when looking at the scorecard, but if you ware going to cut the corner going for the green, make sure you are straight as long rough awaits and it’s not easy to recover from. An iron off the tee would probably be the sensible option. 14 is the longest hole on the back nine and the raised green on 15 means you don’t want to leave you approach short or it will roll back down to the fairway.

I’m a big fan of short par three’s and the 16th at Littlestone didn’t disappoint. Don’t go long as anything over the back will likely be gobbled up by the thick rough and a bunker front left means club selection is vital. A short par four follows, before the finishing hole which has long rough dissecting the fairway at about 220 yards from the tee meaning a driver is not an option for most.

The approach into 18 – Littlestone Warren.

Thankfully, we had great weather. The sun was out and a nice cool and gentle breeze from the coast gave perfect conditions for our enjoyable round to start off our weekend. I imagine a strong sea breeze would have left me searching the long rough even more than I did. The greens were in very good condition too, firm and quick and leaving any bad putt, solely the fault of the golfer. At £25 a round for visitors on a Saturday morning, I consider it to be very good value. The course is suited to all abilities. Not too long for beginners and challenging enough to more seasoned golfers.

From here, it was back into the car and off to Canterbury for our second round which I will write about in part two of my Kent Golfing Weekend Blog.

Long rough ready to swallow up any errant shots.