10 of the Best Courses in Hampshire
Hampshire is the birthplace of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. It is the largest county in southeast England and its tourist attractions include many seaside resorts and two national parks, the New Forest and the South Downs. The county has a long maritime history and two of Europe's largest ports, Portsmouth and Southampton, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, as well as the birthplace of legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is also home to some fine golf courses. Here, we feature 10 of the best.
Liphook Golf Club
Par 70, 6,301 yards, parkland/heathland
Green fee £70, winter £53
This is a fabulous course, with possibly the best greens in Hampshire. It is not especially long, but it demands accuracy. The second hole is a tough par four measuring 431 yards. The fairway slopes from right to left, with plenty of trees on the left, and favours a draw. The large green is hidden from view by the old London to Portsmouth coach road. There are no bunkers, but don't let that fool you. The eighth only measures 385 yards but requires a strategic approach. The drive should favour the left side of the fairway, avoiding the bunkers, for the best angle to the green – but make sure you don't hit too far as there are steep banks on the other side. The green features plenty of contours. The 13th is a tremendous par five. It only measures 502 yards and offers a birdie opportunity. It plays downhill and then up to the green. A waterway marking the West Sussex–Hampshire border crosses the fairway 130 yards short of the undulating green, which is protected by bunkers. The closing hole measures 465 yards and is a par five. The fairway slopes gently to the right and a drive over the hill will gain you extra yards and a chance to hit the two-tier green in two.
Hayling Golf Club
Par 71, 6,531 yards, links
Green fee £70, winter £50
Hayling was opened in 1833 and is located just to the east of Portsmouth. It is one of the few links courses where sea views feature on almost every hole, with glorious views of the Solent, the Isle of Wight, Langstone Harbour and Sinah Lake. If the wind blows, this is as tough a test as you will find anywhere. The first hole is a 179-yard par three and requires anything from a short iron to a driver, depending on the wind. It is best to take too much club because all the trouble is short of the green. The eighth is a par four measuring 358 yards which favours a drive struck to the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunker on the right. The second shot is blind over the dunes. The 14th is a 538-yard par five. Long hitters can go over the middle or left side of the hump and then go for the green in two. Most players will drive down the right and then play as close to the bunkers as possible for a good view of the green for your third. The 18th measures 385 yards and features a 45-yard-long green. You must hit the fairway as there is trouble on both sides. Make sure you take enough club for your approach to avoid a massive putt.
Blackmoor Golf Club
Par 69, 6,164 yards, heathland
Green fee £70, winter £30
Blackmoor is a heathland course with heather-lined fairways interspersed with pine, birch and oak trees featuring many dog-legs. It was designed by the legendary Harry Colt. It opens with a 332-yard par four. The choice is to lay up short of the ditch which crosses the fairway at 230 yards or go for the carry, leaving an uphill second shot to an undulating green. The fifth is a 404-yard par four in the form of a sharp dogleg right across a ditch. A tee shot down the right side of the fairway leaves the easier second shot, but steer clear of the out of bounds and a well-placed tree. Another sloping green is protected by rough and heather. The 12th is a delightful par three measuring just 129 yards. The tee shot is played over heather to an elevated green, protected by bunkers left and right. The course finishes with a terrific 400-yard par four. An accurate drive leaves a tricky uphill approach, with out of bounds on the left and a pit to the right that must be avoided.
North Hants Golf Club
Par 70, 6,475 yards, parkland
Green fee £65, winter £35
North Hants was originally designed by James Braid in 1904, redesigned in 1913 by Harry Colt and further improved in 1930 by Tom Simpson. Three new holes were designed by Donald Steel in 2001. The course opens with a tough par three measuring over 200 yards. It features a long green and calls for at least one more club than you think. The sixth, a par four measuring 377 yards, features a blind drive. The ideal line is directly over the marker pole or just to the left, leaving a short iron to a green located well below you.Take enough club because the putting surface is long. The 12th is a 450-yard par four. You need to hit your drive as close as possible to the right hand bunker. Then you are left with a long shot to a two-tiered green. The closing hole is another challenging par four, measuring 424 yards. A good drive up the right side of the fairway will leave the best angle to a well guarded green.
Shanklin and Sandown Golf Club
Par 70, 6,044 yards, links
Green fee £36
Shanklin and Sandown is located on the Isle of Wight, and that means that wind is a regular feature. This links course opens with a par four that runs to 428 yards. It is normally played into the wind. Find the fairway and you face a second shot with a medium iron to a flat green guarded on the right-hand side by a deep bunker. The eighth hole is a par five that can be reached in two. It measures 522 yards. The fairway slopes from left to right and is downhill, so get a good tee-shot away and you are looking at a birdie or eagle opportunity. The 12th is an uphill par four measuring 367 yards but it plays much longer than that. The green is protected by a bunker on the left. The 17th is a testing par three, the hardest on the course. It measures 219 yards and incorporates a lateral water hazard and out of bounds. The green slopes from front to back. Par is always a good score on this hole.
Royal Winchester Golf Club
Par 71, 6,387 yards, heathland
Green fee £50
Royal Winchester was established in 1888. The second hole is a 374-yard par four. It features an intimidating blind drive, with out of bounds left and right. The ideal line is just left of the marker pole, leaving a second shot to a sunken green which calls for at least one more club than you think. The sixth is a 517-yard par five that could just as easily yield a birdie or a bogey (or worse). There is trouble all the way down the left side, and the drive should be struck further right than you might think. Two fairway bunkers lie in wait for the second shot, with two further greenside bunkers beyond. The 14th is a great risk-and-reward par four. It measures just 261 yards and can be reached with a good tee shot, but out of bounds lurks on the right side and trees await anything hit left. The green is protected by two bunkers. The 18th measures 355 yards and looks pretty nondescript, but be careful. Out of bounds on the left and a deep pit bunker await any wayward shot and if you find the fairway you then have to find the right level on a three-tie green.
Rowlands Castle Golf Club
Par 72, 6,642 yards, parkland
Green fee £45
Founded in 1902, Rowlands Castle was designed by Harry Colt. It is located on the edge of the South Downs National Park. The course opens with a 325-yard par four. You should favour the left side with a long iron or fairway wood as out of bounds lurks down the right. Avoid the grass bunker at the back of the green. The seventh is a great par five,measuring 525 yards. A drive down the left is best. A second shot to the left fairway will give you the best angle of approach to a two-tier green. Trees left and right are also to be avoided. The 12th is another par five, measuring 524 yards. It features gorse and bushes and calls for a draw over the brow of the hill. A slice will leave a second shot over a water hazard. The green is surrounded on three sides by grass mounds. The 18th is a 454-yard par four. A tight fairway features a lake short right of the green and a series of bunkers protecting the green.
Basingstoke Golf Club
Par 70, 6,307 yards, parkland
Green fee £40, winter £32
The course was designed and built by James Braid in 1928 and officially opened by Braid and Harry Vardon. The first hole measures 499 yards. Although downhill, it usually plays into the wind. The tee shot needs to avoid two bunkers, ideally to the left of the fairway to avoid being blocked out by a large tree on the dogleg at 150 yards. A cross bunker lies in wait for your second shot. The fourth is a great par four, measuring 456 yards, calling for a drive that needs to be threaded past the fairway bunker and trees. A downhill approach offers the opportunity to run in your shot to the green. Cross bunkers are located 80 yards from the green. The 12th is a tough par three measuring 205 yards played to a well-bunkered green. The closing hole is another par five, measuring 491 yards. Long hitters should drive to the right of the fairway bunkers. The entrance to the green is narrow, so calls for an accurate shot.
Freshwater Bay Golf Club
Par 69, 5,725 yards, links
Green fee £38
This is a delightful course, based on the Isle of Wight and providing some breathtaking sea views. The site is owned by the National Trust, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation, home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. It is not long, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable test. The first hole is a lovely par three that measures 150 yards. There is a bunker at the front right side of the green and the green drops away sharply on the right hand side, as well as at the back. Aim for the left of the green. The eighth is a 495-yard par five featuring a blind drive. The ideal tee shot should be aimed right of the marker to avoid the fairway grass bunker. The marker is the highest point of the golf course and offers some terrific views. The 12th is another par five, this one measuring 511 yards. Bunkers in the middle of the fairway are to be avoided – if you can drive to the right of them you will find the ball taking a good kick on the fairway, which slopes from right to left. Avoids the grass bunkers with your second to set up a good birdie chance. The 18th is the best hole on the course, a 432-yard par four. It plays downhill and there is a deep pit 100 yards from the green that must be avoided. There is out of bounds on the right. The large green is protected by a deep bunker.
Waterlooville Golf Club
Par 72, 6,550 yards, parkland
Green fee £45, winter £25
Originally opened as a nine-hole course in 1907 but was later redesigned by Sir Henry Cotton as an 18-hole course featuring five par threes, five par fives and eight par fours. They spent £250,000 in 2007 on new drainage, making the course playable all year long. It opens with a 545-yard, tree-lined par five. The drive should favour the right side, with the second shot struck in the direction of a giant oak tree on the left. The narrow green is protected by a deep bunker on the left. The sixth is a tough 499-yard par five, featuring a narrow fairway guarded by an avenue of trees that runs all the way down the left. A fairway bunker on the right is to be avoided. The 11th is a great par three, measuring 180 yards. Once again, trees guard the green, so an accurate shot to a well-protected green is a must. The 18th is another par five, measuring 542 yards. The drive and second shot should both favour the left side - a pond on the right is to be avoided at all costs. The green is long and narrow and guarded by two deep bunkers.
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