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2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC New
« on: April 02, 2019, 10:16:18 AM »
Barton on Sea is a bit unusual so far as English villages go.  In the 1890s the area consisted of two large farms which were sold. Just after the turn of the century the village began to take shape as we know it today. The first golf course appeared in 1897, but that course is long since a memory.  The beach is separated from the village by 100 plus feet cliffs which are very popular for recreational activity and famous for their geological content. These cliffs are of course eroding at a rapid pace causing several buildings to be lost and the reason why Barton on Sea GC is configured in its current manner. 

The current course dates from 1920s to a design by H Vardon, although nearly all of it was rebuilt by the hand of HS Colt in 1932. I believe it is for this new Colt design that a magnificent art deco clubhouse was built and remained in use for the club until the 1990s.  Tragically, the clubhouse was detroyed to make way for new housing.  Interestingly, the photo offers a glimpse of the bunker style.

JH Stutt, son of JR Stutt, the well known builder who worked closely with James Braid, completed a new design which includes 27 holes in 1992.  The 27 hole configuration results in the Colt holes being split between the Needles and Stroller nines.  The Needles refers to the chalk formations off the west coast of the Isle of Wight.  They are a spectacular sight and a sober reminder of erosion. The Stroller is named for the famous horse which is the only pony to have competed in Show Jumping in the Olympics.  Marian Coakes won the silver in 1968 riding Stroller.  The horse was buried at the farm over which the course is now built. There is a plaque to commemorate the horse! 

The Becton/Needles combination is considered the premier 18 hole loop.  Becton is a complete Stutt creation while the Needles nine has holes 2-8 attributed to Colt.  Though to be honest, the modern shaping goes a long way to negating any touches that Colt may have originally included except for maybe width.  The course is for the most part very wide, however, the width doesn't serve much purpose because there are too few features to create interest.  The bottom line is for much of the round the two nines feel very much like extra wide 80s/90s design.   

The start isn't promising as Becton's opener is on the far side of the parking lot.  To add insult to injury the hole is a very dull affair. After a very long walk to the second tee, things improve dramatically.  Hemmed between a high ground on the left and water right, the downhill tee shot is attractive and meaningful. 

The short 3rd too is very good. It seems simple to bail right, but there is a great hollow protecting this flank to a green that runs away.  This may be the best hole on the course.  The path location could do with some extra thought.

A very reachable hole follows with a raised green. 

The next hole features a funneled blind drive.  A good drive in keen conditions can travel quite some distance which is helpful considering water must be tackled for the approach.

We turn back on the 5th for a funnel drive, but uphill.

The green is another of the built up type as seen on the 4th.

More to follow.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 10:07:31 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Winterfield & Alnmouth

Richard Fisher

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Re: 2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC 1-5
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 06:33:17 AM »
A pedant writes. Marion Coakes and Stroller took silver (not gold) at Mexico 1968. Bill Steinkraus won gold for the USA and David Broome a bronze (his second such) for GB. Not that any of that has any impact on Barton on Sea GC!

Richard Muldoon

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Re: 2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC 1-5
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 05:52:41 PM »
Played this course quite a few times at the twilight rate when holidaying at Bournemouth and looking forward to the rest of your write up.
Some thoughts.
Always find judging the approach to the 2nd hard to gauge the distance, whether through the dead ground between the stream and green or the trees close behind or a combination.
The 3rd is a lovely hole but I wish they would get rid of the bloody bush/tree to the left of the green. Serves no purpose other than to slow down play especially as the prevailing wind pushes shots it's way.
From memory though driveable the gap to run a ball onto the 4th green is too small in my opinion, especially with the usual cross wind. Was your picture taken from slightly right of the line from the tee?
I believe the original clubhouse was where the flats are behind the 6th green. I also think this green was further back down the fairway.
I'm interested in your take on the 7th.


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Re: 2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC 1-5
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2019, 09:30:45 PM »


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Re: 2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC 1-5
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 06:27:30 AM »

Yes, I found the approach to #2 tricky....seems shorter than it looks.  The green is pretty cool being a subtle crown type running forward and back from about 2/3s through the green.  The third could do with the foliage on the left and right (cropped) removed. This is a very, very good hole. The 4th was taken from the tee.  While fairways were shaggy, the ground underfoot was very firm.  My partner drove the green by hopping the left bunker!

Barton on Sea Tour Cont

I had no idea what was about to happen when stepping into the 7th tee.  Another blindish drive to a marker pole...ok.  In the middle of the fairway I am confounded as to what I should do because after walking forward it was clear I was playing a monster hole. 

There is a pond at the bottom of the hill and a stream flowing right, both blind to me. Not being convinced I could carry the pond I asked how long the hole is...the answer was 575 yards!  I suspect this is a needs/must hole with the water blocking the path and to be honest, its probably a good hole from the daily tee some 60 yards forward.  Many golfers would likely have to worry about not driving in the water.  In any case, with a downhill lie, going at the steeply uphill green in two takes some skill. 

It had to be that the monster 7th is followed by the bantam 8th. 

Becton's final hole reminded me of many newish courses I have played in Michigan. Flat, flat and more flat with uninspired shaping...and this after a long walk to the tee.  Although, the green has an interesting step-up.  Becton has a very mixed bag of styles and holes.  All in all, it is fairly forgettable.  Onto the Needles.  While not dynamic land, the soil and turf is much better on the Needles.  The architecture too is a bit better, although the terrain offers a few more features which are well utililized.  However, the opening hole seems a left-over from the Becton 9.  Too often it feel as if width is favoured over interest.  The second is a stiff par 3.

The third is interesting.  The uphill drive is funneled by a dune on the right...funneled directly toward hidden bunkers over the rise on the left!  Turning right for the fairly long approach, I like the bunker well short of the green on the right.

Now we play over what must be one of the widest expanses of short grass I have ever experienced. This par 5 isn't long, but plays severely uphill to a green tucked in dunes.  The approach is good, but the first two shots are dull as dishwater.

More to follow.


« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 06:29:19 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Winterfield & Alnmouth


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Re: 2018-19 Winter Tour: BARTON on SEA GC 1-13 New
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 03:56:12 AM »
BARTON on SEA Tour Cont.

A drive curling around a right dune makes a for a good 14th.  Another par 5 follows...a visually odd hole.  The visual signals suggest the hole will leg right past the far bunkers.

But no, the green is set some 80 yards beyond the bunkers.

A tough, low profile longish par 3 follows.  The ott mounding undermines the simplicity of the hole.  Thinking back on it, the short holes are actually a good set with excellent variety.  The 8th too is good; a par 5 which is shaped like a banana. 

It doesn't look to be the case from the photo, but the home hole is an island green par 3 finishing in front of the house windows. 

While I am not keen on the course, the hazy weather prevented me from enjoying the views of the area.  Generally I found the course to be poorly focused in terms of the use of width, visual signals and interesting features.  It is a great shame the club chose to identify with modern feel architecture rather than going back to the chalkboard with the Colt design elements.  In fact, it doesn't feel like there is any of the Colt's spirit at BoS.  That said, the 3rd hole on Becton will stick with me for a long time as a great way traverse ground by making a dead simple hole packed with interest.  There is a handful of other mildly interesting holes, but in the end, this visit hasn't inspired me to place Barton on Sea on the return visit list.

Previous 2018-19 Winter Tour visits



Alnmouth Village,65709.msg1599230.html#msg1599230


Walton Heath Old,61415.msg1460548.html#msg1460548

Reigate Heath,64197.0.html


Cleeve Cloud,49796.0.html

Saunton East,51415.0.html

Saunton West,66490.msg1587657.html#msg1587657


Westward Ho!,66480.0.html

Planned Stops

Isle of Purbeck
Castlerock Bann 9

« Last Edit: April 20, 2019, 08:48:37 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Winterfield & Alnmouth


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