Taylor’s Hidden Gem – A Small Masterpiece of Design
The Club was founded in 1895 and the original routing of the course to the left handside of the drive as you enter the club, has unfortunately been lost to time. The purchase of 12 additional acres of land in 1906, led the club to invite J H Taylor, five time Open winner to redesign the course over the 45 acre estate.
The resulting layout is still largely played today. A small masterpiece of design, a 9 hole heathland course with a unique clover leaf design, ingeniously bringing the golfer back to the Clubhouse every three holes. The course has a significant natural advantage over neighbouring clubs, in that the club’s 9 holes are laid out over gently undulating sand-based soil that is playable all year round. It is an excellent winter course and when at its best at the height of summer, it has been said to play like an inland links. Beware and enjoy in equal measure – the fast and undulating green complexes can be deceptive.
A gentle opening Par 4 begins the round, but beware the pin position as many a fine golfer has been caught out with his approach above the hole leaving a treacherous down hill putt to the front right corner.
PAR 4 | 355 | 346 | 312 | 258
The second can look innocuous until you reach the the putting surface with a hog’s back splitting the rear section of the green. Take note of the pin placement when clubbing your second shot, as to be long here is a grave error with a steep run-off leading down to a gentle running stream.
PAR 4 | 395 | 359 | 323 | 252
The third is the only Par 5, and gives an opportunity to gain a shot on the card or get a shot or two back from an earlier misjudgement. A reachable Par 5, if the drive stays short of the cross bunkering, the green is an inviting target set in a bowl gathering the approach.
PAR 5 | 489 | 474 | 424 | 374
The fourth is Stroke Index 1, a tough Par 4 into the prevailing wind, with a left to right tee shot preferred following the sweep of the hole. The green complex again features a hogs back to the rear and selecting the right club to assure being pin high with your approach is always a challenge.
PAR 4 | 439 | 432 | 414 | 338
The short 5th is a delight of a hole, from a raised tee across the same running stream that quietly meandered past the back of the 2nd green. Finding the putting surface by no means guarantees a Par 3 as the subtle borrows of this wonderful green complex often thwart the expectant birdie putt and even the following par putt can evade a player quick to temper.
PAR 3 | 166 | 142 | 122 | 89
The 6th gently climbs back up towards the club entrance and is a challenging Par 4 with out of bounds running down the right. The green tilting back to front welcomes an aggressive approach at the pin, but beware missing long as trouble will ensue.
PAR 4 | 418 | 407 | 389 | 339
The 7th is the signature hole, a risk and reward drivable Par 4 measuring just 307 yards. It can be tempting to pull the driver and aim for the heart of the sunken green, but beware out of bounds on the left. The green is protected on three sides by impressive bunkering and it is often said that by laying up from the tee and trusting your wedge play leads to more success, but where is the fun in that when an eagle putt or the rarest of aces could bring a smile from ear to ear!
PAR 4 | 302 | 299 | 292 | 205
The 8th is a challenging dog-leg, left to right with a myriad of bunkers down the right side of the hole. Only the longest of hitters will take on the carry, with most keeping left opening up the angle to an inviting green. A deft touch is required on the approach.
PAR 4 | 360 | 335 | 288 | 218
A tough Par 3 to finish that some say is the hardest hole on the course with a green running steeply left to right. The pin, often tucked behind Mole’s hole, challenges you to ignore the heart of the green risking a tricky up & down. To complete your game with a chance of a 2 the approach must be kept below the hole.
Then of course you play it all again, several times if you are here for the day and somehow, each hole remains interesting, different, a challenge to be enjoyed.
PAR 3 | 202 | 173 | 159 | 105
“Flempton Golf Club – Only 9 holes but all of them fascinating to play”
Martin Ebert, Golf Course Designer (Mackenzie & Ebert)
Building for the future
The membership can take comfort in the knowledge that continual improvement of the course is the club’s No.1 priority.
With this in mind, as the club approached its 125 anniversary leading course architects Mackenzie and Ebert were engaged in 2018 to initially complete a historical assessment of the course and its evolution.
This led the club to understand the need for continuity of decision making and in an effort for this to be achieved Martin Ebert was charged with developing a blueprint that could form the basis of the Clubs future Course Development Plan.
This blueprint or as Martin Ebert prefers to call it “Flempton’s Masterplan” pays homage to Taylor’s original design, and to the heritage of the club by setting out to reinstate the unique bunkering, and Taylor mounding amongst other elements that have been partially lost over time, whilst looking to improve the aesthetics and joy of walking the links, by opening up the site lines across the course.
The Course Development Plan looks to ensure that all golfers no matter age, gender or ability can and will enjoy the game for generations to come. Whilst simultaneously setting out to challenge the most skilled golfers by posing a subtle, strategic examination that despite the courses modest length goes some way to counter the effect of modern technology.