News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Pure PULBOROUGH New
« on: September 15, 2018, 05:38:18 AM »


Much like Sandy Lodge in faraway Hertfordshire, Pulborough is set in an unlikely sandy golfing oasis surrounded by clay soils.  There is a sense of anticipation when making the turn off the A283.  However, we must cross a small bridge over a low lying wet area which causes some trepidation. The reasons for such alarm are quickly abated when the opening hole is revealed after rounding the clubhouse.  It is an august scene of pines, heather and white sand. I imagine most folks have the same sense of arrival as did I, yet the opener is arguably Pulborough’s least interesting hole!
 
A relative late comer to the golfing scene, Pulborough has yet to celebrate its centenary.  The course was officially opened in 1931.  It is, however, difficult to determine who designed the course as attribution is given to Ferigna Incorporated; a partnership of GC Campbell, SV Hotchkin and CK Hutchison.  Links & Courses, a partnership of Campbell & Hutchison, is also given credit (with Hutchison given top billing).  Finally, the would be club founder, one Commander Hillyard, also had a strong hand in the eventual realization of the course and club.  It is thought Hillyard amended and built more bunkers, moved a few greens and shortend a few holes.  Perhaps most importantly, Hillyard shortened the 6th to a 240 yard hole which offered the golfer the option to play over or around the marsh.  To complicate matters more, it is suspected that Hillyard may have taken advice from Tom Simpson.  Whatever the case may be, Hotchkin and Hutchison were thoroughly experienced in the arts of golf design, construction and maintenance when the commission for Pulborough was settled.  It can sometimes be difficult to discern if the work of these three was the result of partnership or individual efforts.  Suffice it to say, many prominent and influential courses were touched by the hand of Campbell, Hotchkin and Hutchison.  Examples include Ashridge, Kington, Brancaster, North Berwick, Woodhall Spa, Princes, Humewood, Royal Ashdown Forest, Carnoustie and Gleneagles (Kings and Queens).  Sadly, it would seem there were differences of opinion while working on West Sussex which ended the short-lived partnership. 

After serving in the Leicestershire Yeomanry during WWI, Hotchkin purchased Woodhall Spa in 1920 and with the help of Hutchison dug into a complete redesign of Colt's work.  After a famous trip to South Africa to work on several courses which included Durban and Humewood, Hotchkin returned to England in 1928 and recruited Campbell and Hutchison to Ferigna. 

After a very good amateur career which was stunted by WWI, Hutchison gained experience working with J Braid in building Gleneagles prior to assisting at Woodhall Spa.

Campbell was a family friend of the Hotchkin who was a correspondent and served as sub-editor under Bernard Darwin at the London Times.  One might have thought Campbell would suffer from the divorce.  This wasn't the case at all for he was in high demand and worked on many courses which include Trevose, Rye, Royal Dublin, North Berwick, Deal, Princes and Haagsche...to name a few.  Interestingly, Campbell seems to have had a change of heart where bunkers are concerned.  There can be little doubt that the bunkers scheme at West Sussex provides the major man-made challenge, but in a March 1954 Golf Monthly article Campbell advocated for reducing the use of bunkers.  Both JS Morrison and Tom Simpson later wrote articles along the same lines as Campbell suggested.   



The scorecard can sometimes be mentioned, but in this case it would be remiss not to cover old ground.  Par is a miserly 68 against a yardage of 5961 (in praise of yellow tees).  There is one par 5 and five par 3s.  Among the twelve par 4s are five holes which measure more than 400 yards. Two of the short holes hover around the 200 yard mark.  What does all this information mean?  Well, Pulborough is no easy task.  For most golfers there will be plenty of wood play.
 
In some ways, the club has given the golfer a break on the opener.  The tee is set by the side of the house.  Should that tee be moved forward to the front of the house (where the forward tees are) then another long par 4 is the result.  On balance, I would rather see one tee for all, right in front of the house windows for there can be no better way to start a round of golf.  As mentioned previously, the 1st isn't a hole to commit to memory, but it does set the scene.   


Sometime after WWII, the second's yardage was reduced.  There used to be a tee back left, calling for a legger left.  With the course boundary hard left, it may be wise to play a bit further right than one might ideally wish on the second.  The approach is blind in that a rather large carry can't be seen.


One of the few holes where big hitters have an obvious advantage, the third is a narrow, modest length two-shotter.


This last bunker is difficult to see from the tee and might catch many a golfer out....or worse, the shoulder will kick balls right.


Pulborough comes into its own on the 4th.  The hole legs left around a bunker and fierce heather.


The slightly uphill approach is to a green which slips away from play is none too easy either.


The short holes are now in abundance with five in the next eleven holes.  The shortish 5th is a beauty, as are all Pulborough's par 3s.  It is on holes such as this that trees really make their mark because of blocked views toward Chanctonbury Ring on the summit of the South Downs.






Simpson sketch of the hole. The fact that Simpson provided a sketch suggests that perhaps he had a role in the alterations made by Hallyard?  Some holes certainly look like the hand of Simpson!


Next is Pulburough's most famous hole...and rightfully so.  The hole orginally played as a par 4 of some 350 yards, hence the fairway out right.  It would seem a very prominent founder of the club, Commander Hillyard, was responsible for the conversion of the hole from a par of 4 to 3.  The club takes this fairway seriously as the blue tees ignore the position of the green and point resolutely toward the fairway.  The one reservation I have is the tree.  It seems to me that those wishing to take on a risk playing the hole as a two-shotter are unduly hampered by the tree.


No tree!


Most golfers will ignore this sideshow and take aim at the green some 50 yards over the pond.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 06:47:58 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-4
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 08:18:22 AM »
I like both the 2nd and 3rd quite a lot.


The former has that quite dramatic dip / ridge with a really simple, bunkerless green that makes it difficult to judge approach distance.


The latter just sets up beautifully from the tee and plays very strategically when the pin is on the left.


Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 04:35:23 PM »
Thanks Sean.
Looks very nice indeed.
Looking forward to seeing more.
Atb

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 06:17:51 PM »
Looking forward to this, Sean.
Yes, I took a look at the card - one heck of a tough looking 5900+ yards.
But then: looking at the photos so far: there's room. You can run the ball up.
Yes, the 5th is surrounded by plenty of sand, but then at 138 it is a fairly short iron.
Yes, the 6th is stout indeed, but then if you choose to clear the pond, again there's run up space. 
The maxim so far: #ArchitectureNotCard
P

BCrosby

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 07:04:57 PM »
As always, interesting and informative.  More please.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2018, 08:52:05 PM »
If only somebody would build a course like that in the U.S. 😉😀

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2018, 03:13:39 AM »
Pulborough is one of my absolute favourites. I choose it along with Walton Heath Old, Alwoodley, Woking and a Colt course (choose any one of Sunningdale, St. George’s Hill or Swinley) as my Heathland 5....


I might prefer it over any of them.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6 New
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2018, 03:26:53 AM »
Ally

Yes, I like 2 & 3 as well, but they are not stand-out holes at Pulborough.  I am confused by your comment on 3 though.  To me its one of the more penal holes on the course being such a quite tight fairway.  If you can carry the ball 250-260 the hole is fairly simple so there is a huge benefit to bigger hitters.

Pietro

IMO, the card is simply a reflection of the architecture...so yes, architecture not card. 

PULBOROUGH TOUR CONT

The terrors of the 7th can clearly be seen while playing the 6th, even if our attention can't quite be drawn to whats next.  One of Pulborough's more difficult holes, oddly, this is a hole (along with the 11th) which plays as a par 5 in Stableford and Bogey comps when played from white tees.  This is essentially a watered down version of bogey score.  The 7th is a very clever hole in that it magnificently transitions/connects the furthest part of the property through a neck in the property....yet it doesn't feel or look as if this is the case.  If one looks carefully a little valley on the left near the top of the ridge can be seen.  The Captain of the club in 1933, LC Ducane, couldn't make the carry so the valley was constructed...Ducane's Hollow.  After a thrilling drive, the second is a bit dangerous as the 8th tee sits within easy green high range of a pull hook draw. 


The 8th is a pared down version of the 6th in that the fairway spreads well right....I saw folks ahead of us play this as a par 4.   At 170 yards its not as long as the 6th, but it is uphill.  I would prefer if the tee was a bit forward so as to avoid being hit in the back of the head from errant shots on the previous hole!


Back in the day.


I like the 9th, but fear technology has spoiled the heroic nature of the design.  At 350 yards there is little pressure to challenge heather. 


Another hole moving left, the 10th requires a bit more length to take on the bunkers. This hole was also altered by Hillyard.  He moved the green back to its present spot to create a par 5 which played over a sandy area named Sahara.  This area is now trees and there are bunkers to recreate the challenge. 
   

   

If the sand is carried, the uphill approach is fairly straight forward, but not lacking interest.


We exit the 10th to come upon a far more open area of the course which is probably what the entire property looked like in 1930.  Perhaps the toughest hole on the course, nothing but two long and accurate shots will do.  On the day, the green was well out of reach for me. 


Many will be left with a third shot such as this.


In some ways, the 12th is a more difficult short hole than the 6th.  Regardless, this is a great combination of braun and beauty.


With all the trouble right, the natural inclination will be to miss left where a gulley separates the green from the 13th tee.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 06:54:42 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-12
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2018, 04:54:20 AM »
Sean,


3 may be a little tighter than ideal but there’s classic simple strategy there: fairway bunkers one side, green side bunkers other side. It does make a big difference approaching to a left pin if you are on the wrong side of the fairway.


Like you, neither 2 or 3 are among my favourite handful. Was just commenting on the holes as you went along.


Love the stretch from 4 to 8.... Like Ballybunion, this stretch has three one shotters in four holes.... so much for the “rule book”

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-12 New
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2018, 12:30:58 PM »
Ally

Yes, 4-8 do require some shot making and these holes are easy on the eyes.

PULBOROUGH TOUR CONT

In the early 1930s Hillayard straightend the 13th to its current iteration.  The card implies we get a bit of a break from the hard hitting, but playing uphill to a green well guarded by sand doesn't make the thirteenth feel like a layoff. 


The relationship between the fairway, bunkers and green is perfectly symbiotic. Longer hitters can go for any part of the green with a fairly high degree of risk.  Shorter hitters can play up either side of the fairway depending on where the hole is located to earn a good spot for an up and down attempt.




A noble par 4 with some teeth, despite a fairly unadventurous tee shot, the 14th is a hole which will not soon be forgotten. 






The final par three comes in the form of a meadow hole over water.  With Pulborough being layed out quite close to two rivers which are tributaries of the River Arun, the Chilt and the Stor, there had to be some low ground as a holding point for water. Hence the pond was built at some point after the course opened. There is no hint of such, but quite surprisingly, there is the fairly large settlement of Chiltington Common just beyond the River Chilt.




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 06:58:09 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Matt Dawson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-6
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2018, 12:47:54 PM »
Pulborough is one of my absolute favourites. I choose it along with Walton Heath Old, Alwoodley, Woking and a Colt course (choose any one of Sunningdale, St. George’s Hill or Swinley) as my Heathland 5....


I might prefer it over any of them.

I think I might too. It is an absolutely sublime spot to play golf; tucked away on the edge of the South Downs in such a beautiful part of the country

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-15
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2018, 02:05:08 PM »
There more I’ve seen of this course the more I like!
Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Pure PULBOROUGH 1-15 New
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2018, 04:59:39 AM »
ATB

You would fall hard for Pulborough!

PULBOROUGH TOUR CONT

One of the pleasures of playing well regarded courses which are somewhat under the radar is that there will be holes that people don't mention, but will grab the attention of some.  Pulborough has a few of these sort, but the 16th may be the most surprising. The hole moves us closer to the flatter section of terrain around the house, but not before giving us a provocative pair of shots. One of the few oddities of the routing takes the golfer past an obvious teeing area in which the fairway can be seen to a lower area offering very little in the way of visual clues.  Its a bit of a tradeoff as the lower tee means most can hit driver; the upper tee will require a finicky lay-up for many.  The photo makes it clear to readers what is required.


A very good drive will leave an approach similar to what is pictured below...perhaps some insight as to why the hole is known in some quarters as Sheba!


A closer look at the green.


Another one of Pulborough's ho-hum excellent holes.  I say the 16th transitions the course to the flatter section of the property, but in truth the tee shot for 17 finishes the job.  Well, thats almost the case as an awkward walk is required to finish the job.  After seeing this solution to the "neck" problem, it is easy to see why Dr Mac's solution at Alwoodley is so elegant.  The drive needs to finish left to earn a view of the green area and to avoid the long carry over the forward bunkers.




A closer look at the bunkering.


The home hole too is quite deceptive.  I thought there was oodles of room between the bunker left and the bunkers right...not so.


The approach isn't onerous if one drives beyond the left bunker.


The house and forward tees for the opening hole.


In Pulborough we are given a gift for the ages.  As a package, the course greatly impressed me and with surpisingly few head turning moments for such a classy design.  However, I would say Pulborough joins Walton Heath Old and New Zealand as the best bunkered courses in the London environs.  Peter Allen was spot on: "I think if I had to choose one example to demonstrate the best sort of British inland course, to explain what it was trying to do to provide entertainment, and why it had to be so different from links, to some men from Mars or a group of intelligent Americans, I think I would pick Pulborough, much as I love Woking, Liphook, St Geoerges Hill and a dozen others."  Pulborough shoots straight into the top 10 of my Happy 100!  1*  2018

BTW...BB has my eternal gratitude  ;)

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 05, 2021, 05:30:01 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back