It Can Get Windy!
I played here the day after Storm Francis and it was still really windy, and we quickly found out that there are few places on this course that give you much shelter outside of the clubhouse. I'm certainly happy I played here though, as this is a really lovely course with some really pretty holes. The downhill 5th and 6th holes are both very pleasant on the eyes, although these certainly aren't the only ones, and there are plenty of gorgeous views of the South Downs and over Eastbourne.
The fairways are generally fairly generous, so it's a course that will suit all handicaps, and the greens were looking really good. This isn't a flat course, but it didn't seem to be overly strenuous either. There is a bit of a climb up to the par 3 12th though.
I'll certainly look to go back again soon. Maybe not when it's quite so windy though
An Enjoyable Challenge however ...........
Eastbourne Downs is a course I was not aware of before getting to play it. It was played instead of Seaford GC. Our original game, organised by the Pine Tree Society and posted on the TSG site by their organiser Roger Ackerman, had to be switched at very short notice because Seaford became carry only after heavy overnight rain. Although Eastbourne Downs had four temporary greens in use the general condition of the course was good and the greens in use were firm but bumpy. There were many temporary tee boxes in use. The mats here were not in good condition [I and one of my playing partners lost our footing a couple of times] and were a little on the small side. Hard to be over critical here as many courses will be using temporary tee boxes in this weather including my own Cherry Lodge, but knowing that they may be required at times they ought to have been in better condition, and should be larger.
The course is a par 72 downland course located high above Eastbourne with spectacular views of the town and English Channel below; though the mind should be focused on the course not the views. There are 3 par 3s, 12 par 4s and 3 par 5s. The SSS is 70.
The challenge of the course is a good one but can obviously be affected by the 'winds of the day' situation. After all of the overnight rains, we had a bright, dry and moderately windy day. Perfectly playable only spoilt by the four temporary greens. Many of the greens, as with many seaside courses, were raised and protected by raised banking surrounds.
Although high above the town the course itself is a relatively easy waking course, no serious uphill climbs and many downhill holes.
The green fee paid was £20 including prize fund monies, (golf only was probably about £15), very good VFM.
The club and pro-shop staff were very hospitable and welcoming, especially given our change of venue situation. However, as with my club Cherry Lodge, the winter kitchen closure time for hot food was at 3pm, so I was unable to sample their hot food, though I understand from Mr Attard, that breakfast was very good. However their cake was excellent!
I enjoyed the day very much and look forward to playing it again with all tee boxes and greens in use.
Eastbourne Downs won our hearts........Day 2 of Sussex Tour.
This was our 2nd golfing day (3.9.2013) & we were on our way to Willingdon, but a glimpse of several little green oasis with yellow & red flags called for a stop and investigation, it was time for breakfast too.
The entrance to the "perched on the hill" Clubhouse is very attractive with lots of scented lavender attracting numerous species of bees & butterflies. The views over Eastbourne, its harbour and the Sussex Downs National Park are magnificient, the golf course looked so inviting too, a vast expanse of rolling hills, some lunar scenery, some huge fields, I felt in my element.
The wellcome was more that friendly. The Clubhouse was filled with bright light as the weather was sunny & bright and that created a happy feel about the place. Whilst eating our full, tasty & perfectly cooked English breakfast, we studied the course planner & unanimously decided to play the Eastbourne Downs course, hence cancelling Willingdon (very beautiful course too) as I had already sampled its challenges.
As we were getting our golf gear ready, a sudden mist appeared over Eastbourne Town & Harbour, so then came the question: are we going to be able to enjoy our golf should the mist move up the hill? We were reassured by the friendly members that it was an absolutely perfect day for golf and that the mist would stay down. It proved correct, we had a superb blue sky and warm day with very little breeze, hence the good scores, but play this course in the blustery wind/ rain would be a different thing unless you are a regular player.
So now to the golf course itself: well over 100 years old, a JH Taylor design with some alterations when the Clubhouse was moved from "down" to the "top" of the hill, a downland course that plays like a links, it is vast, every hole has its cachet, its challenges and I am sure that regular players must acquire all the skills needed to return a good score as they get plenty of practice under the harsh natural elements. The landscape reminds me a little of East Brighton, Lewis & Willingdon put together, well I suppose they are all near or by the sea. One hole (the 10th) reminds of the ice age as there is a "dew pond", I wonder what it was millions of years ago.....
The walk is up and down but not too strenuous, signage is good but one needs to be aware of 1 or 2 holes where one can easily go the wrong way. One can see walkers enjoying the Sussex Downs National Park, some paths crossing the course.
The condition of the course was excellent all the way through, the greens very interesting, fast & true, so a real pleasure to spank the little white ball in the hole.
2 favourite holes:
7th, Par 5 (557 yards/yellow.): a real MONSTER, OOB on the right with a stone wall that protrudes, lots of trees & undergrowth on the left, sloping fairway left to right, a road (with a hollow on its right)to cross before the approach shot to a very attractive raised green chisled into a slope, looks like a square bowl. A real "wow hole" that surely ruins many cards, specially so in adverse weather conditions....
12th, Par 3 (174 yards/yellow), a downhill par 3 where wind direction will dictate the use of either a Driver (yes a Driver, even for long hitter) or a Wedge..... Your choice, golf is such fun. Three huge & deep greenside bunkers keeping guard. The green has a slope at the back.
The finishing hole offers great views over Eastbourne, the South Downs Way runs alongside its fairways, it has some depressions in the middle of the fairway, looks a bit like bomb holes, the last green is a little treacherous with 2 bunkers of either side...
Eastbourne was a great & unexpected discovery, so glad we stopped and enjoyed a glorious sunny golfing day with good scores (always pleasing).
Large car park, sharp turn either up or down the hill, on a busy A road, depending which direction you are driving from.
Friendly Proshop, well stocked, some Ladies items as well.
Pleasant changing rooms.
Good practice facilities with an open sloping driving range see-able from the 9th and 18th holes.
This course is on my list of "must play again", but will we have as perfect conditions as today ?
So why not try the course, am sure you will enjoy the challenge and the walk. The Green Fee was very acceptable. Food & drinks very reasonably priced too.
THE END.......(how sad, I could write some more!!!!!!! I did post some photos on my album earlier on).