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Parkland Golf Courses in Kent

The quality of golf in the county is so rich and diverse with design and architecture that it rivals any other area in the world

Kent, as a county, possesses a wonderfully rich diversity of opportunity where the pastime of knocking a little white ball into a 4.25inch-wide hole is concerned. It’s that diversity that is what perhaps makes Kent one of the very best destinations to visit as it offers such a wide variety of courses to suit every golfer’s needs.

North ForelandThere are classic links, downland courses such as North Foreland (pictured left), good enough to be an Open Championship final qualifier, and Walmer & Kingsdown which on a clear day offers splendid views across the Channel, plus any number of picturesque parkland and woodland courses set in the heart of the Kent countryside.

Take Rochester & Cobham GC for example, which, from its humble origins dating back to a meeting of the local gentry at the Bull Hotel in Rochester in 1891, has successfully defied the demands of improving transport links to remain one of the county’s top parkland courses.

In the late 1960s the course had to be altered due to the widening of the A2, and again in the late 1990s because of the highspeed rail link. Renowned course architect, Donald Steel, was put in charge of the changes made 10 years ago, which included re-laying every green to stringent US Golf Association standards. Even the best players find the undulating greens a challenge and when you add in the long par 3s and par 4s it’s why Rochester & Cobham attracts several of the county’s top amateur players as members including Matt Haines, who represented Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup last year.

Not far away at West Malling is the much newer Kings Hill club, which first opened for play in 1996. Built on the disused wartime airfield, the golf club was planned as part of the 800-acre integrated residential and business community created a few miles off the M20 and many of the golf club members live on the estate. Although predominantly a mixture of woodland and heathland, there is also a ‘linksy’ feel to the layout, especially when the gorse and heather are in full bloom. And, owing to a wise investment in drainage from the outset and freedraining sandstone, the course is always in good condition.

Back in the eastern half of the county, Faversham Golf Club is also frequently referred to as Belmont GC after Lord Harris, the Kent and England cricket captain, leased the land where the course is situated from the Belmont House estate in 1911.

There was a somewhat unusual condition in the original lease which is still in force today, with pheasant shoots having priority over golf. The club mascot is a cock pheasant and, despite the aforementioned threat, they can often be seen wandering the fairways.

The hurricane of 1987 caused damage to this pretty woodland course, but it has now regained much of its former splendour, including an impressive new clubhouse which was built in 1997.

The nearby Canterbury Golf Club is just half-a-mile from the city centre in another woodland setting. The challenging 18-hole course was created by legendary designer Harry Colt in 1927 and many of his original design features are still prominent today.

The club also boasts a new driving range, which is open to the public and Canterbury are currently accepting new members and guests are welcome.

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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