Golf: Holtye Golf Club
PUBLISHED: 12:03 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:52 20 February 2013
This month Clive Agran enjoys the nine-hole wonder that is Holtye - a favourite with A A Milne and his son Christopher
Once described as a pocket-size Ashdown Forest, Holtye is a pretty, nine-hole course that you underestimate at your peril. With trees lining the fairways, patches of heather lying in wait, a smattering of bunkers and unusual ditch-like features created long ago when trees were hauled out of the forest to build ships, there are heaps of hazards on this appealing heathland course.
Nestled next to the A264 that runs from East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells and right up against the Kent boundary, what Holtye lacks in length it more than makes up in charm and character.
A. A. Milne was a regular with his son Christopher (Christopher Robin) and theres a rumour that Sir Winston Churchill played here. Whether the former Prime Minister did in fact tee it up is open to doubt but what is certain is the club was founded in 1893. The centenary celebrations nearly 20 years ago included an exhibition match involving Brian Barnes, Paul Way, Jamie Spence and Holtyes professional, Kevin Hinton. Son of former Chelsea soccer star Marvin Hinton, Kevin was crowned Sussex Open Champion the following year and is the joint holder with Andy Hill of the course record 62.
The Clubs undoubted finest hour came in the autumn of 1987 when, against all the odds, it captured the countys, premier, inter-club, cup competition, the Whitbread Trophy. Having never previously progressed beyond the quarter-final stage, Holtye upset the odds by crushing a powerful West Hove side in the final.
Fast draining, beautifully maintained and with plenty of elevation, Holtye
offers what is arguably the best golfing bargain in the whole of Sussex. After midday on weekdays, the green fee for nine holes is an extraordinarily reasonable 10, while 18 holes (there are slightly different tees on the back nine) is a barely believable 14.