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As well as providing the venue for several renowned championship courses, Kent has a number of new up and coming courses to test golfers of all abilities

While many golf clubs in Kent are steeped in tradition and history there are a plethora of modern courses that have sprung up around the county in the last 15 years.

One of those is the 800-acre community of Kings Hill, West Malling, is fortunate enough to have the county’s finest inland draining course on its doorstep.

Opened in 1996, the 6,622-yard course was formerly the West Malling airfield which spearheaded British air defences in the Second World War. The club’s ability to host golf 365 days a year is due largely to significant draining investments including the use of free-draining sandstone upon its construction and views over Kent’s North Weald make a round at Kings Hill a picturesque experience.

The course is designed so the ninth and 18th greens overlook the clubhouse, but to get there, players must negotiate a multitude of bunkers and contoured, but true, greens. The elevation of the course brings the wind factor into play for members – the majority of who travel from outside the estate, drawn by the quality on offer.

Kings Hill offers USPGA-standard tees and has shied away from using temporary greens. Its two-loop course design is mirrored by Boughton, three miles east of Faversham, where a range of par threes, fours and fives should provide a challenge for every standard of player. Beginners will be encouraged by the generous greens on a course which starts and finishes at the clubhouse, snaking between trees which are irrigated by the club’s two ponds.

The club offers a 15-bay driving range and players can navigate the course not only on orthodox buggies but on segways. Boughton comes under the banner of Pentland Golf, as does Etchinghill – a club housed in the Folkestone area and opened in 1995.

ACCESSIBLE

With 27 holes and a nine-hole par three course, Etchinghill is tucked into the hillside overlooking Elham Valley and the main course sits in a downland setting while the valley course comprises nine holes and 18 tees to offer players rounds of varying lengths.

There are few better places for a golfing novice to start learning their trade than the Manston Golf Centre, which brands itself as ‘Kent’s friendly golf centre’. Run mainly on a ‘pay and play’ basis to encourage players of all standards, the club also offers membership to more regular visitors who want to gain a handicap or enter competitions.

Situated just outside the Thanet village of Manston, the centre’s driving range has 24 floodlit bays and is open to schools, companies and the disabled. The club is less than a mile from Kent International Airport, which connects Thanet with Edinburgh, Jersey, Lisbon, Prague and Austria among others.

Stonelees Golf Centre

Equally accessible to the full range of abilities is Ramsgate’s Stonelees Golf Centre, one of only a handful of centres to boast three separate courses. The trio caters for beginners, those golfers looking to improve and low-handicappers.

Stonelees gives players the chance to learn the game, develop their core skills and graduate to the full-length course, before taking their game on the road.

Moving west, the Weald of Kent club offers something for all abilities with large fairways to please the novice and slick greens, bunkers and water features which can pose a stack of problems for the seasoned golfer. The course prides itself on producing fast, natural greens and is open to members, visitors and residents of the Headcorn Lodge hotel which overlooks the ninth green.

Kent Garden of England

Reproduced with kind permission of KOS Media Ltd and Visit Kent. For further information, go to www.kentnews.co.uk and www.visitkent.co.uk

 








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