Littlestone
Cooden Beach
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Play one of Kent's best links courses before visiting Cooden Beach in East Sussex.

Founded in 1888, Littlestone Golf Club is a remote classic links course, located on the fringe of the Romney Marshes, with the English Channel as the backdrop.

The British Ladies’ Open was held at Littlestone six years after the course opened, which was originally designed by Laidlaw Purves, tweaked by James Braid at the turn of the 20th century and revised in the 1920s by Alister MacKenzie. Frank Pennink made some bunker modifications after the Second World War and Donald Steel and Peter Alliss advised on some minor changes in 2000.

Littlestone 17th

Littlestone is a hidden gem that plays across fairly flat links land, although it does have its own range of sand dunes. New Romney is one of the driest places in the British Isles; consequently, you will rarely need your waterproofs. The dry flat ground makes for some interesting tight lies but rarely will you be faced with awkward stances.

The greens are true and fast making it difficult to hold the ball. There are no tricks here at Littlestone, everything is clearly in view from the tees (including a significant number of bunkers). You will need to be on top of your game to keep your score together especially if the wind blows and the last three holes are amongst the toughest around.

The course possesses numerous good golf holes and Bernard Darwin painted a particularly colourful picture of the 11th in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles: “At the eleventh, there is one of those uncomfortable tee-shots, which are so excellent. There is a canal, a nasty insidious serpentine beast of a canal, which winds its way along the left-hand side of the course, and it is our duty, in order to gain distance, to hug it as close as we dare; yet if we show ourselves the least bit too affectionate towards it, this ungrateful canal will assuredly engulf our ball to our utter destruction.”

Littlestone is a delightfully good golf course that always features in any English Top 100 list.

This clever Herbert Fowler design opened for play in 1912 and remains to this day a thoroughly engaging yet challenging test to all categories of player.

While the course measures a good 6,504 yards at its furthest, it offers a more sedate 6,185 yards from the yellow tee boxes, with five par three holes and a matching five par fives. Nine holes exceed 400 yards and present a different challenge from whichever tee you chose to play from.

It provides an easy walking round of golf with gentle undulations and springy turf making play fun for all ages. The climb up the 9th hole takes you to the highest point of the course where you can take in the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.

Cooden Beach

Natural drainage is provided by internal and external dykes that border many of the holes but these also act as a magnet to errant shots that flirt with the changing coastal breezes which remain the true hazard. It is their unpredictability that makes it a different course every time it is played.

Following much careful and sensitive alteration, the Clubhouse now offers completely modernised changing and showering facilities for both men and ladies, a choice of two lounges where refreshments are available throughout the day, as well as a sumptuous Dining Room on the first floor affording a stunning panoramic view of the course across to distant Beachy Head.

Course comments are taken with permission from the Top 100 Golf Courses website and the individual club websites.
All photos are either owned by GSGB or supplied by the relevant golf clubs and are shown with their permission.