Sevenoaks Town GC: Knole Park Course: Wonderfully challenging
Sevenoaks Town GC is a small 'independent' club; that plays its golf at Knole Park GC, near Sevenoaks, Kent. The club was founded in 1928 and by arrangement uses Knole Park GC but has its own separate clubhouse. They have only 45 members plus 3 honorary members.
I got to play the course by representing Cherry Lodge in a 'friendly' club match against STGC. The fixture with STGC was one previously enjoyed by Broke Hill GC but with their demise and the influx of some of their former members into Cherry Lodge; opportunity was taken for Cherry Lodge to take over this years home and away fixtures. I am pleased to say that our inaugural encounter went extremely well for both clubs.
For a £20 match fee Cherry Lodge members enjoyed a pre-match ham roll/coffee; 18 holes; a four course meal (prawn cocktail starter; baked chicken/vegetables; apple pie and custard; cheese and biscuits; and coffee). Stupendous vfm . Cherry Lodge is going to have to pull out the stops to match STGC's level and quality of hospitality. The golf element is effectively FOC by reciprocal arrangement. However, visitors to Knole Park need to book tee times via the Knole Park GC pro-shop and pay their green fee rates!
The Knole Park GC practice facilities appear to be excellent but I did not use them; firstly out of normal habit but secondly the practice range had a sign that they were for Knole Park members and their guests. I'm not sure what rights the Sevenoaks Town club members/guests had to use them.
I arrived early at Knole Park and was able to have breakfast in their clubhouse; a reasonably priced full english; complete with black pudding and fried bread. Delicious!
The course! The club operate four colours of tees; green (6459 yards), white (6254 yards), yellow (5962 yards); and ladies red of 5620 yards. The green/white tees are par 70 and play to the same indices; the yellow tees are par 69 and play to a different index and the red tees are par 72 playing to a different index.
We played our match off the longer green tees. however, for 10 of the holes the green/white yardages are the same.
The par 70 is structured 6 par 3s; 8 par 4s and 4 par 5s. From the green tees the par 3s are all long with several uphill or with severe trouble awaiting wayward shots.
The course contains some challenging carries off the tee; with slopes that take the balls down towards many deep pot bunkers; many uphill approaches to blind greens; some challenging doglegs and two or three climbs up from greens to high level tee boxes. The rough areas are penal! The greens were large, undulating and reasonably fast/true. I putted very well holing some medium/long putts or lagging up for gimme's.
Deer roam freely on the course but there was limited impact on the playing of our match.
When I put my name down to play against STGC I didn't realise that they didn't have their own course to play on but instead played at the renowned Knole Park. What a bonus to subsequently find a chance to play at such a great course; though at times there was some difficult walking.