The course at Thorpeness Golf Club is a “hidden gem.”
James Braid crafted a brilliant golfing challenge from a naturally stunning coastal landscape.
Thorpeness has been described by the Sunday Telegraph Golfing Guide as "Reminiscent of the inland glories of Sunningdale and Woodhall Spa".
Throughout the club’s history the 6,421 yard par 70 course has attracted major amateur and professional events, including The English Seniors Championship and the PGA Super 60’s Tournament, which regularly features former Ryder Cup players and European Tour stars.
Thorpeness also belongs to a unique group of worldwide golf courses identified by a single special landmark. Turnberry and Harbour Town Links have their lighthouses and St Andrews has its Swilken Bridge – Thorpeness has the ‘House in the Clouds,’ a curious and dramatic spectator which watches over our fairways.
Frank Hill, Head Professional at Thorpeness Golf Club, has been a PGA Professional for over 50-years and has played in The Open Championship and appeared regularly on the European Seniors Tour.
Here is Frank’s hole-by-hole guide to playing golf at Thorpeness.
Positional tee shot to the right side of the fairway will open up the green to make all pin positions more accessible. No need to use your driver but those who do can take an early advantage. Most tee shots landing on the left side of the fairway will bring the green side bunker into play. The green slopes mainly from back to front and from right to left.
"A gentle opener. No need for the driver, favour the right half of the fairway with the tee shot." - Frank Hill
Aim front left quarter of the green and let the ball release up the green towards the hole. The green slopes back to front and from either side the green slopes to the middle. Miss the green left and you have a difficult chip shot down hill to the hole; miss it right and the bunker will catch you out. Tee shots short and left of the green leave the easiest chip or putt to the hole.
"A good short hole,long narrow green requiring a long iron or wood. Don't miss the green on the left." - Frank Hill
THE SIGNATURE HOLE
A dog leg from right to left, aim your tee shot to the right side of the fairway. A drive reaching the top of the hill 200yds from the tee will run down the hill, leaving 150yds to the green. A tee shot to the left of the fairway will create a blind second shot to the green or a lay-up shot amongst two strategically placed bunkers short of the green.
"Thorpeness' signature hole, solid tee shot required, right half of the fairway, leaving a good angle to a green sloping from back to front and right to left." - Frank Hill
A long straight hole that normally plays down wind; carry the slope at 215yds and your ball will roll on gaining a lot of yardage leaving a much shorter iron onto the green. Any drive landing short of the slope will encourage a lay-up shot in front of the green. The green is quite small with subtle undulations; beware of the pin position tucked behind the left bunker.
"Long tough par 4, two solid shots required, a lot of dead ground after the two bunkers short of the green." - Frank Hill
The hole normally plays into the wind the ideal tee shot needs to get over the ridge 230yds from the tee finishing on the right side of the fairway; this will give the best line of sight to the green. A ball landing to the left side of the fairway will be blocked out by trees to any back pin positions. The green has a steep ridge across it from left to right with the back of the green higher than the front. Back tee positions are difficult to get too always guard against going over the back of this green due to the chip shot back will be a little tricky.
"Depending on the wind another solid par 4, tee shot right half of the fairway, leaving a second shot to a two tier green" - Frank Hill
Tee shot should land on the fairway right of centre. Players’ who use their driver must land their ball as far right as possible for the ball to finish at the bottom of the steep slope in front of the green. The second shot from the top of the slope should be hit as high as possible to the front right of the green for the ball to hold on the putting surface. A second shot with a low ball flight will need to land short of the green to roll up to the flag. The green slopes severely from right to left.
"Tee shot needs to be centre/right, leaving a semi-blind shot to a green with big slope from right to left." - Frank Hill
Long carry over water to a well bunkered green, tee shots need to favour the back half of the green to keep away from trouble. The green slopes from left to right and from back to front.
"Pretty short hole demanding a straight tee shot, do not miss the green on the left." - Frank Hill
Drive down the left side of the fairway will give the best view of the green. The bunkers 80 yds short of the green visually bring the green closer, always check your yardage. The green slopes slightly from back to front.
"Solid drive left of the centre will leave a tough approach to a well guarded green." - Frank Hill
A tee shot favouring the left side of the fairway will leave a much shorter club to the green. The second shot will need to pitch short right of the green otherwise the ball will end up rolling off the back. The green slopes from right to left and from front to back.
"Demanding par 4. A drive centre-right is safe. Left side is a shorter route but beware of the bunker. Long second shot left to a green sloping from the right to left and front to back." - Frank Hill
The safe tee shot is to the back left quarter of the green this will keep you away from the bunkers and make all the pin positions accessible. The most difficult pin position is back right. The green slopes from back to front.
"Deceptive short hole, well guarded by bunkers, underclubing is the danger." - Frank Hill
Favouring the left side of the fairway will eliminate most of the green side bunkers and leave the easiest route to the green. Not necessarily a driver off the tee an iron will leave a full shot to the green. The well guarded green leaves difficult chip shots to the various pin positions which tend to be close to the bunkers. The green has a subtle gradient from front to back.
"A short respite here with this drive and pitch hole, second shot needs a high flight avoiding the front bunkers." - Frank Hill
A hole that plays shorter than it looks a good driving hole to a wide fairway with undulations that help a good tee shot gain maximum distance. The bunkers short of the green hide 20yds of fairway, which encourages under clubbing. The green slopes from back to front.
"Lovely driving hole to a generous fairway, watch out underclubing to the slightly crowned green." - Frank Hill
Long par 4 that normally plays into the wind this hole demands a long drive off the tee. The second shot is also long and equally demanding to an unprotected green, except for a deep hollow left of the green. The green slopes from back to front.
"Yet another demanding par 4, solid drive to a wide fairway, long iron or fairway wood is needed for the second shot. Don't miss the green on the left." - Frank Hill
The perfect tee shot for those wanting to reach the green in two is to favour the left side of the fairway, from this position you have the shortest distance to the green.
The three shot strategy is to favour the right side of the fairway as the safe option, the second shot to the bottom of the hill leaves 80yds to the green. The green has a slight incline at the front then falls away to the left side of the green.
"The only par 5, tee shot straight forward, but don't be tempted by cutting too much off with your second shot." - Frank Hill
Dogleg left tee shot needs to stop left of centre and as far into the elbow as possible without running out of fairway. This will give you a shot to the green without having to bend your ball around the fairway tree. The green sits on a plateau that has a slope at the front and on the left side.
"Great par 4, plenty of room on the right but this will leave a long second to a two tiered green. The tiger line is down the left, but you can run out of fairway." - Frank Hill
Aim your tee shot to the front left quarter of the green to stay away from the two greenside bunkers on the right. Tee shots landing short of the green will tend to run onto the green rather than stop. The green has subtle slopes from left to right and from back to front.
"Long iron required to a generous green aiming left of the centre, bunkered on both sides." - Frank Hill
Easy par 4 second shot from the top of the hill leaves a pitch shot to the green. The long hitters must aim to the left of the green to bypass the front bunkers. The green is fairly flat with a slight gradient from back to front.
"Accuracy from the tee required, leaving a short pitch to a deep, well bunkered green." - Frank Hill
Very good finishing hole slight dogleg to the right, a tee shot to the left of the fairway gives a good line to the green. Any tee shot on the right will find it difficult to reach the green. The green has a slight incline at the front otherwise it is fairly flat.
"Accurate drive left of the centre will leave a long second shot, difficult pin positions on the left, play for the middle, lots of trouble over the back." - Frank Hill