The Takeaway: The par 68 layout 50 miles south of London features a nice complement of foliage with heather on the ground and a wide variety of trees reaching the sky. The mild terrain makes for an easy walk and the hole designs leave little to complain about and a few moments of exhilaration. Grade B+
Designer: Guy Campbell & Cecil Hunter 1931
Cost: £85 - £130 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 1798 872563
Course Website: Official Website - Visit West Sussex Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Golf Club Ln, Wiggonholt, Storrington, Pulborough RH20 2EN – UNITED KINGDOM
What to Expect: In the same vein as Rye, West Sussex opens with a par five and avoids three-shotters the rest of the way. With a par of 68, the routing hosts five par 3s and a dozen two-shotters of high quality with three of them playing as par 5s in a Stableford competition. The 6th hole is perhaps West Sussex' most famous as it was formerly a par four but now plays as a par three; one of three par 3s in a four hole stretch. The wide variety of tree species combined with the sharply cut bunker edges is reminiscent of Metropolitan Golf Club and other courses on Melbourne’s Sandbelt. However the presence of heather throughout the course will quickly remind players that they are in England with the purple flower creating an attractive contrast to the green turf and white bunkers. The routing does an admirable job of taking the holes in a variety of directions and shapes so as to contend with any windy conditions that may roll in. As is common with most courses in the UK, players will be required to walk but can rent a trolley to help tote their clubs around. Overall, there are a couple of wow factor moments at West Sussex, but it mostly is just a solid offering with few weaknesses while delivering an easy walk.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 13th Hole – 378 Yard Par 4 – Some of the finest bunkering at West Sussex is found on the 13th which also features the iconic heather framing each side of the fairway. A bunker lurks 230 yards out on the left side but it is the three large bunkers hooking around the putting surface that should put fear into players. The green angles away from players with the deep, high faced bunkers running along the putting surface to create a challenging approach shot to navigate. Ideally a high fade is used to attack the flag, but the closer the flag is to the front the less room there is for error. It is a great hole that plays more strategically than may meet the eye.
Best Par 3: 6th Hole – 222 Yards – The most famous hole at West Sussex is this lengthy par three that formerly was designed as a par four that played from a tee that is now abandoned. The design elements of a short two-shotter are still there with a fairway that doglegs around a marsh area to a green that slopes hard from back to front. Playing the same length as Cypress Point's famed 16th hole but doglegging the opposite direction, players can take a rip at the green or layup in an effort to set up an opportunity to get up and down for par. The 6th sits in the middle of a four hole stretch that features three par threes, so hopefully you've dialed in your iron game early.
Best Par 4: 16th Hole – 364 Yards – This hole reminded me of the 16th at Pasatiempo when I played it. While the green is certainly different, the strategy, length, and shape of the hole share similarities. The tee shot plays to a slightly raised fairway with some of the landing zone hidden from view. The approach shot plays over a heather-covered ravine whereas Pasatiempo features a natural barranca. The green is wider than it is deep, so distance control comes at a premium when attacking the flag given the trouble short and long.
Best Par 5: 1st Hole – 488 Yards – The only par five on the course, the opener at West Sussex is a gentle dogleg left that offers a great chance to score well to start your round. Two fairway bunkers sit on the left side of the driving zone that need to be avoided for a legitimate chance at reaching the green in two. The approach into the green is wide open except for one bunker tucked away from the front left corner, so swing freely and get your round started off right.
Birdie Time: 15th Hole – 145 Yard Par 4 – A cute par three that plays over a pond, the 15th puts a scoring club in your hand which means it is time to go flag hunting. The avocado-shaped green is ripe for the taking as long as players clear the false front slope that wants to send balls into the water. With some strong holes waiting, take advantage of this break before buckling up for the finish.
Bogey Beware: 14th Hole – 456 Yard Par 4 – One of three par fours that play as par fives in Stableford competition, the 14th is one of the finest two-shotters, and most challenging, at West Sussex. The heather framing the fairway gives a limited view of the landing area for the fairway which turns right and out of view. A pair of fairway cross bunkers 80 yards from the green must be cleared enroute to the putting surface that is further protected by a large bunker on the right side. Approach shot will play from a significant distance away which makes greens in regulation rare for most players.