Weather & Course Condition
On this day there was quite a lot of cloud cover but at least it was dry with a light breeze, the course was not in as good a condition as I know it normally, as having played here a number of times before I know what it should be. The fairways were slightly longer than you would expect and the first cut on quite a few holes was a lot longer than usual. Quite a few of the greens needed attention as the ball tended to bobble and bounce about but a lot of this was probably down to the fact previous players either didn’t repair their pitch marks or don’t know how to do it properly. My visit was on a Saturday and I didn’t see any greenkeepers whilst I was there but I did notice a lot of work had been done around the course so I suspect they have been concentrating on that rather than the holes, but don’t fret I am sure they will be back to there normal high standards.
The course is on a hill overlooking Honiton although you won’t be able to see the town from the course, if it your first time visiting it may be a little difficult to find as the turning off the main road is a little difficult to find but once found it takes you under the railway and at the end you will need to do a left and immediately a right turn that puts you in a lane that winds it way up the hill to the golf club. There is a car park with a overspill at the rear of the clubhouse. Entering the clubhouse the pro’s shop can be found on the right and is well stocked and a good friendly greeting will be waiting for you. To get to the bar carry on past the pro shop, through a door and there are stairs to your left that will take you to the bar area which has a lot of seating with large windows and a balcony overlooking the 18th green. On this occasion my wife had joined me and we enjoyed a nice bacon bap and tea which was reasonably priced and came with a very good service.
All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – 313yds – Par 4
Cross the road outside the clubhouse and a short walk towards Honiton you will come to a opening where their starters hut is and the first tee. A straightforward hole this one to start with, this hole is a slight dog leg left but the green is not visible, there is a marker pole in the fairway that helps you with your line. Ideally aiming between the trees on the left and the marker post is the line to take, even though I had a group of players who were waiting to tee off on the 4th tee which is directly in front of the 1st I managed to hit my drive on that line and fortunately was left with around 100yds pitch to the green which is slightly below where I stood, long drivers may well reach the green, there is plenty of room around the green but don’t go over the green as there is virtually no room behind it.
Hole 2 – 110yds – Par 3
A easy straight par 3 this one, or at least easy for most but as I seem to make a right mess of easy par 3’s I didn’t let myself down on this one, torn between my pitching wedge or a easy 9 iron I selected the later which was a huge mistake as it ended up about 50yds in front of me due to topping it. My second saved me as it nicely landed on the front right hand side of the green and nicely rolled towards the hole, this was one green that was in very good condition and the ball rolled true.
Hole 3 – 282yds – Par 4
A slightly uphill drive to an unseen green is waiting for you on this hole, it is straight so a reasonably straight shot is all that is required here, for me I went slightly left and was left behind a small tree, too close to go over it and with low branches left a difficult shot if trying to get to the green. A shot I have learnt to play in situations like this is a punch shot with my 3 wood, this keeps the ball low but can give me good distance, so with very little backswing and short follow through this is what I did and the ball did exactly what I hoped except for rolling into the bunker on the front left side of the green. Unusually a good escape from the bunker and a one putt gave me par, and yes as can be seen in the photo from the green looking back this is where my bunker escape ended up.
Hole 4 – 209yds – Par 3
A short walk from the green along the path takes you to the 4th tee, be aware of players on the 1st tee as this tee is in front of theirs. A long par 3 with a couple of trees to take into account, but if you feel unsure about taking on the trees there is a gap to the left of them which still gives you a chance of getting on in two, I decided to take on the trees with my 3 wood and to my surprise I managed to clear them but still ended up some 20yds short of the large green. A really challenging hole, one that you will either love or hate.
Hole 5 – 385yds – Par 4
Your drive from this tee needs to be straight, as you can see from the photo there is a small tunnel of trees to go through with trees and bushes all the way down the right hand side. There is a little room to the left but as the hole turns slightly right at the top of the rise a drive that leaves you in the middle or just right of the middle is the shot. Normal players will still be left with a blind shot to the large green that is slightly below you, the longer hitters may well be able to see the green for their second. Overhit this green you will end up either in the tree/bush behind it of on the 2nd green.
Hole 6 – 353yds – Par 4
Playing alongside in the opposite direction of the previous hole, this is another blind drive that is slightly uphill, a good drive should leave you in a good position for your approach to the green but too far left will leave you either no shot to the green or having to reload your tee. Even though there are a few bunkers around the the large green there is not too much to be wary of.
Hole 7 – 213yds – Par 3
Following the path through the trees brings you to the 7th tee, straight shot to the green in the distance with the clubhouse the other side of the road behind it. With two bunkers to the left of the green and one to the right its down to club selection. Deciding on my 3 wood it left me short of the right hand bunker but a simple pitch onto the green which is a little deceiving as to which way the ball will roll.
Hole 8 – 303yds – Par 4
A short walk across the road from the 7th brings you to the 8th. A wide fairway awaits which turns slightly left and then drops down to the green. From the tee your shot is to the marker post but beware of the fairway bunker that may not be visible from the tee on the left hand side, I managed to just clear it but my second which should have been straightforward to the green I managed to pull to the left leaving me a lob over the bunker left of the green. Using my 65 degree wedge without thinning it I safely cleared the bunker and normally the ball will hardly roll out but on this green it rolled past the hole and ended up just off the other side of the green leaving a challenging putt.
Hole 9 – 475yds – Par 5
I found this a very challenging hole, a uphill drive to the dog leg right looks fairly straightforward but can catch you out. If you are a long hitter and can reach the dog leg then you will stand a good chance of reaching the green in two, most will be well short of the dog leg, myself I did hit a good long drive but still short of the dog leg left me with the option of either a short iron down the fairway leaving a shot to the green or taking on the corner and going over the trees, knowing that I have been hitting my rescue wood high and long the latter option is the one I went for. Hindsight being a great way to play golf I now wished I hadn’t as that little switch in my head clicked making me try a little harder to launch the ball but instead I hit a real donkey of a shot which left me well in the rough by the bushes on the right with no shot to the green at all, 3 shots later I was on the green 2 putting and cursing my decision, would I take that shot if I were to play here again? Probably because I am an idiot that doesn’t learn.
Hole 10 – 217yds – Par 3
A long par 3 that is a straight tee shot and as long as you don’t overshoot the green should be simple. Once again club selection critical, normally I would have used my 3 wood but as the wind had picked up a little and was helping me I selected the rescue wood again. Should have stuck with the 3 wood as even though I did hit a good straight shot I was still some 40yds short of the large green.
Hole 11 – 362yds – Par 4
Crossing a small lane brings you to this tee. From the tee you can see the remains of a small wall crossing the hole about 100yds in front of you, there is plenty of room past the wall for your drive. Selecting my 3 wood I duly made a right mess of the drive and ended up watching the ball bounce of the wall and coming back towards me leaving me about 15yds short of the wall, the upside was not only did it give me enough room to clear the wall and get some distance for my second but another group who were laughing at my predicament said 3 of their four ball had done the same. Once over the wall the rest of this hole is relatively simple, a large green with room all around awaits but there are some cleverly placed bunkers waiting for you.
Hole 12 – 173yds – Par 3
A good par 3 awaits with plenty of room for your tee shot, once again the old rescue wood came out of the bag which for this hole gave me the perfect distance as I ended up hole high, unfortunately about 20yds left of it though. Good par 3 enjoyed this one even though I did score a 4.
Hole 13 – 314yds – Par 4
As can be seen in the photo this is a reasonably wide fairway but your second shot needs to go through what feels a narrow opening in the trees to the green, so positioning of your drive is key. Now I’m sure there will be a number of you that will have no problem putting your drive through the gap or just in front of it leaving a simple pitch to the large flat green. The rest of us will plan and aim for the gap and hope, my drive was slightly left of centre of the fairway leaving a slightly awkward shot to the green but I managed to hit a good 3 wood that left me on the front of the green.
Hole 14 – 449yds – Par 5
A uphill drive to the dog leg right but beware of the bunkers waiting there, long drivers will most likely clear them, for me they were at my limit and my ball ended up resting just on the edge of one. From here the distance is a little deceiving to the naked eye, admittedly I duffed my second with my 3 wood but the third with a 8 iron left me safely in the middle of the green. Be ready to shout a warning if your approach shot goes left, as close by to the green is the 15th tee and players may be waiting to tee off and may be unseen due to the trees left of the green.
Hole 15 – 402yds – Par 4
Firstly apologies for having no photo of this hole, had a camera malfunction, well mainly I caught a selector without realising and ending up taking a photo of myself.
No real problems again on this hole as long as you don’t drift too far left or right as small trees and bushes await, hole turns left about 100yds before the green. I decided as I had not hit a great shot going for the green was not going to happen and took the decision to play to the turn, which has a bunker waiting on the left, then a pitch to the green which was a good size but bunkers await on both sides at the front of the green.
Hole 16 – 360yds – Par 4
As you can see from the photo there are trees to the left and right but the fairway does widen the further it goes, what you may not notice is that the fairway does slope from left to right so your drive needs to be sent off to the left as when it lands it will most likely end up on the righthand side of the fairway. If you do manage to hold the fairway your second to the hole should be straightforward as long as you don’t go right as trees and out of bounds will get you.
Hole 17 – 371yds – Par 4
Another easy par 4 as long as you drive reasonably straight and a good second will get you on or near the green, as can be seen trees are waiting to make your game more interesting should you visit them.
Hole 18 – 381yds – Par 4
Finally, we reach the last hole, a straight hole and should hold no problems normally but if like me the body has decided it doesn’t want to turn as it did earlier what should be a straightforward hole turns into a challenge. My drive was ideal and sailed some 200yds straight up the fairway, it was then the body shouted enough and I duly duffed my second leaving me some 120yds from the green instead of on it. The green is very large and as such I did manage to finish with a five.