Walmer and Kingsdown Golf Club, Kent, England
Itís the beginning of March and we have just come out of a very damp winter so I am not expecting the course to be in summer condition, but I am surprised how good the course looks and the chalk base has certainly helped the course drain amazingly well.
As the skies start to become brighter, the views of the Straits of Dover start to open up and you can see how busy this part of the channel is, with ferries and boats criss-crossing each other. That is the problem if you are trying to put together a golf score here; there are so many wonderful views you can lose all concentration.
I am falling in love with the square shaped greens and your praise of James Braid can change from hole to hole. One minute the green sits down and the surrounding banks will utilise the terrain to help your ball onto the green, the next they are sending your ball 30-yards away leaving you an awkward pitch back on to the green. To showcase that point the Par 3, 11th hole placement is key. Hit your ball right and the terrain will help your ball onto the green, be straight or slightly left and your hoping you finds one of the two bunkers on the left or you will be down the hill having to pitch up to the green over those bunkers. Itís a very strategic course and local knowledge is key. Throw in the wind on this exposed piece of land and you could easily post a score that an opening batsman would be proud of.
W&K is an out and back course although the 12th does head back out again with the 13th bringing you back towards the clubhouse. I feel the run home from the uphill par 3, 14th starts a great run of holes and all too soon I am putting out on the 18th hole with more spectacular views of the Strait of Dover as a backdrop.
I had never heard of Walmer and Kingdown Golf Club before I was asked to go and review the course for this feature and with it being just 7-miles from Royal St Georgeís Golf Club, itís the perfect place to have an enjoyable round of golf on a challenging James Braid course while visiting for the Open Championship next year.
Top The James Braid designed square greens at the 10th. Above: 3rd green with Straits view
Above 4th green, sign post and 9th green with view of the Straits of Dover
18th green and clubhouse with view out to the Straits of Dover