Front 9 – Hole By Hole

Hole 1

A tough start to your round with a par 5 that has a downhill tee shot to the river and then a climb uphill to the green. Out of bounds to the left and a ditch and trees to the right make a good tee shot a necessity. The river is over 300 yards away, but in summer when the ball is running fast and with the addition of a downhill run, a long hitter needs to be wary.

Hole 2

The first par 3 on the course and the hardest as well! uphill through a narrow gap in the trees and over 200 yards from the white tee makes this a real test. The honours board in the clubhouse records just two aces on this hole (I was actually playing in a competition with the player who recorded the first one) which testifies as to the difficulty of the hole.

Hole 3

Another par 5 and another that crosses the river, the brave shot cutting the corner to lay up close to the river will set up a birdie chance but beware the out of bounds along the left side.

Hole 4

A par 3 across the river that requires an accurate shot between the trees and club selection is vital to avoid the bunker in front of the green.

Hole 5

This par 4 proves a hard test for any serious golfer and will have the less serious quaking in their golf shoes! It requires a most accurate tee shot along the corridor between the willow trees (and an oak or two for good measure) with the river all along the left until it crosses your path at over 160 yards from the white tee. Having negotiated that, the next shot is uphill to an elevated green and beware the deep bunker to the front left of the green. However if you try to avoid it by going right or long, beware the two other bunkers waiting to trap you. A par here will be a good result for the best of golfers. Once you’ve finished look round and enjoy the view. Course designer John Day was in a mean mood when he designed this hole!

Hole 6

Another par 4 and for the first time in your round there’s no river to contend with. However there are out of bounds all down the left hand side in the form of the Braintree to Witham railway. There’s an area of trees just short of the green on the left hand side and from the white tee there are two fairway bunkers that will come into play, but from the far more modest yellow and red tees they really shouldn’t bother you at all. The green has two bunkers , one to the left and one in front, an easier prospect than the previous hole so make the most of it.

Hole 7

The last par 3 on the front 9 holes and the easiest of the three on the outward nine. The real danger here is if you end up going left where the course boundary (OOB) consists of a high hedge which becomes woodland as it nears the green, if you end up going left and clear the wood the ground falls away sharply so you might finish up with a long uphill second shot to the green. 3 bunkers surround the green so accuracy is required to avoid reaching for your sand iron.

Hole 8

Back to the river after a couple of dry holes – the elevated tee looks across the valley and the river seems tantalisingly close. A good player should be able to clear it but to set up a good birdie chance you need to be on the left hand side of the fairway to see the green and that requires a longer carry over the river and anything hooked could end up in the water where the only thing worth hooking are the fish! Laying up short of the river will leave a second shot into a wide fairway which should leave an easy 3rd shot and a comfortable par. The green has some small mounds around it but no bunkers – just keep away from the hedge and ditch that runs behind it to the left although there is a reasonable space between green and hedge.

Hole 9

A shortish par 4 to finish the front 9. There’s out of bounds all down the left in the form of a high hedge and trees which mark the limit of the course here, and as the plantation of trees down the right hand side mature they make an accurate tee shot more important to avoid being stymied for the approach to the green. There’s a hollow short of the green and the ground slopes away to the right around the green so the line needs to be correct. There are 2 bunkers , one at the front and another at the back so club selection is very important.

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