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Here is a course designed by nature yet still ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the British Isles. Famous for having no bunkers, its reputation as a true test of golf is undiminished thanks to uncontrived hazards of heather, narrow fairways, hollows and streams.
By comparison with some modern developments the course could be considered short, yet because of the exacting challenge it presents to even the best golfers, the Old Course has been selected by the R&A as an Open Championship Regional Qualifying venue. It also hosted the amateur international match between England and Spain in 2007 and the Ladies' British Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2011.
So, what is it that makes the course so special that even famed architects such as Harry Colt were inspired by it? An example is the difficulty of the island 6th. Then there’s the 11th where you stand on an elevated tee with glorious views of the North Downs and stare down at a 249 yard par 3. Each hole is different, each memorable, each with its own challenge and each surrounded by the quiet magnificence of Ashdown Forest.
Few golf clubs can boast of two adjacent 18 hole courses, both over a hundred years old, that vary so much in their settings and challenge despite their proximity.
Royal Ashdown’s West Course was first constructed as a nine hole course in 1889. It was transformed to 18 holes in 1932 in time to host the English Ladies Championship, the same year that the Ladies Golf Club was given Royal status in its own right.
Since then the course has gone through several major developments and today the West Course is open to golfers and societies of all handicaps. Its attraction is that tee time availability, even at weekends, is rarely a problem and there are a number of attractive promotional green fees on offer. Three and four balls and societies are all welcome even at weekends.
While the Old Course glories in its heathland setting, the West Course is surrounded by lovely woodland albeit with ample heather. A championship course in its own right, today the challenge lies, not in length, but in the demand for accuracy and course management. Golf writer Frank Pennink's belief that the West Course could equal the repute of the Old, in a different way, is now a reality as more discover its charm and true test of golf.
A new two-storey clubhouse opened in 2004 and provides all modern facilities complete with a bar and restaurant that can seat up to 60 people and is open all the year round providing food and refreshment to golfers. An outside terrace overlooks the 1st tee and 18th green and the West Course car park, which gives easy access to the enlarged Professional's Shop
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