September is a cross border affair as we visit the eastern counties of Essex and Suffolk.
Frinton was designed in the early 1900s as a seaside resort and has remained unspoiled ever since, with some of the finest beaches in the country. Sandwiched between the sea and a railway line there is little room for expansion, which helps retain the charming small town feel.
The golf club was founded in 1895 and used a nine hole design by Tom Dunn on land now occupied by houses in Second and Third Avenue. In 1904 twice Open Champion Willie Park Jnr. designed a new 18-hole course on the present site, an area formerly renowned for hare coursing. On the advice of the famous golf course architect Harry S Colt various improvements were made to the original design that left the layout largely as we find it today. These improvements, however, were greatly set back during the Second World War. Frinton lies on a stretch of coast that was thought to be a possible site for an enemy invasion and so, with the exception of the first three holes, the course was requisitioned by the Army and sown with mines.
The current course is not excessively long by modern standards and at first glance the absence of trees may indicate an easy test but that’s only part of the story. Fast, firm and undulating greens require sound putting, tidal ditches cross many fairways requiring good course management and, being on the coast, there is usually the wind to consider. The main 18-hole course was recently renamed in honour of Arthur Havers who was the 1923 Open Champion and Frinton club professional.
Ipswich Golf Club at Purdis Heath is a wonderful heathland layout in the most tranquil of settings. You would never believe you are just a couple of miles outside the busy town centre and could easily assume that you’re playing one of Surrey’s highly regarded sand belt courses.
The club was originally founded in 1895 and in those days the members played on Rushmere Heath – a delightful spot which is now the home of Rushmere Golf Club. In 1926 they decided to move and acquired more than 200 acres of ideal golfing land for James Braid to design a new course. Braid’s classic design ensures that the elements hit you from all directions. Additionally, he made full use of the natural contours of the land by laying the course out on the high ground around two lakes.
Undoubtedly Ipswich is a first class golf course which changes character seasonally. The autumn colours are sensational and in spring, with the rhododendrons in full bloom, there’s no better place to be.
There are many fine holes including the excellent par three holes at 10 and 15 where the tee shot must carry across water to a green which is heavily protected by bunkers. A recent bunker renovation has now elevated Ipswich to an even higher level and a position in the GB&I top 100 could be just around the corner. The image above is from behind the 9th green.