Despite its diminutive size, the Isle of Wight boasts seven golf courses. Two of these have 18 holes, several have stunning views and they all welcome visitors. One of our members, a golfer of 50 years standing, has played them all. Here he gives his candid opinion.
Shanklin and Sandown Golf Club
The Fairway, Lake, Sandown
Tel: 01983 403217
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £32. Sat-Sun £40. After 4pm £23
Open: Dawn til dusk. Early mornings reserved for members, ring to enquire
Handicap certificate: Advisable
This was founded over 100 years ago as a private members course and is considered by many to be the best on the Island. Set just below the downs, it is 18 holes on heathland. The club house is excellent and there is a (limited) shop with clubs and trollies – but no buggies – for hire. It gets very busy in the summer so be sure to call in advance. The resident pro (01983 404424) will give lessons by arrangement.
This course offers some real challenges, even for the low handicap golfer. I suggest the high handicapper gives it a miss.
Freshwater Bay Golf Club
Afton Down, Freshwater
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £24 Sat-Sun and bank holidays £28
Open: 8.30am to dusk. Certain times reserved for members, ring to enquire. Booking advisable and essential for parties of 6+
Handicap certificate: Advised but not essential.
An 18 hole course on downland, with added interest due to its being dotted with ancient monuments including two bronze age burial mounds. On fine days it affords spectacular panoramic views over the Solent and the English Channel, but the course is so exposed that sea fog and high winds can make it unplayable (on inclement days ring and check before setting out.) Because the course overlies chalk it is very free draining. The greens are fast and kept in superb condition (secondary greens are not needed). On the downside, because the course is set on the spine of the downs, several holes are sloped left to right and right to left.
The club house is small and friendly; there is no shop but hire clubs and trollies are available (handicap certificate required for clubs).
|Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart. ~Arthur Daley|
Westridge Golf Centre
Brading Road , Ryde
Green Fees: Nine holes Mon-Fri £11.50 Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays £12.50
18 holes Mon-Fri £15 Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays £16
Handicap Certificate: not necessary
Known locally as ‘The Royal Tesco’ because of its proximity to the superstore. Set on parkland, this is the island’s only pay as you play course. Its greens are excellent and it’s the place to head in bad weather because in addition to the nine hole course, its facilities include a floodlit driving range. There are three qualified golf professionals on hand to give instruction, plus clubs for hire and a large, well-stocked shop.
|Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness. ~William Wordsworth|
Cowes Golf Club
Crossfield Avenue , Cowes
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £20 Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays £25
Open: 7am to dusk. Members only Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons. Essential to ring in advance for a tea-time slot.
Handicap Certificate: preferred but not essential
Founded in 1909, this nine hole course is set on parkland with some views over the Solent. Because it is comparatively short (5878 yards) and completely flat it is well suited to those who don’t like walking. There is no professional on site and no shop, but clubs and trolleys are available for hire.
Ryde Golf Club
Park House, Binstead Road, Ryde
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £12 for nine holes, £20 for 18 holes
Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays £16 for nine holes, £24 for 18 holes
Opening Times: Dawn to dusk. Members only Weds 10am-2.30pm Sun dawn to 10.30am
Handicap Certificate: Not essential
Another nine hole course set in parkland overlooking the sea, it has recently been extended to 5772 yards. The turf overlies clay so the going can get very heavy: during wet winter weather you would be wise to call before setting out. There is a steep – but luckily short – drag up to holes number seven and 16. One minus point: the secondary greens are not good. A plus point is that the club house is very friendly. There is no club professional and no tuition; no club shop; trolleys only for hire.
|Golf is a lot of walking, broken up by disappointment and bad arithmetic. ~Author Unknown|
Ventnor Golf Club
Steephill Down Road , Ventnor
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £15 Sat-Sun and Bank Holidays £20
Opening Times: 7am til dusk. Members only Sunday mornings
Handicap Certificate: Not required
Twelve holes on elevated downland which offers panoramic views of the island and the sea. Some fairways have a significant gradient. The exposed position can mean that sea mists and high winds make for an interesting game! If in any doubt about the weather ring before you set out. No club professional and no tuition. The club shop is limited, but clubs and trolleys can be hired. The catering is limited to snacks.
Newport Golf Club
St George’s Down, Newport
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £20 Sat-Sun £25 Visitors should book.
Opening Times: Dawn til dusk but limited for visitors at weekends and Wed ams.
Handicap Certificate: Not essential
The island’s only inland course, nine scenic holes on downland offering pretty views. Hard to find so consult a map before setting out. Be prepared to puff your way up a couple of hills. No club professional, no tuition; shop limited to kiosk service, some club hire. Light refreshments and full catering.
|If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt. ~ Dean Martin|
Osborne Golf Club
Osborne, East Cowes
Green Fees: Mon-Fri £23. Sat-sun and Bank Holidays £27
Opening Times: 8am to dusk. Members only Sat, Sun and Tues before 12.30
Handicap Certificate: Advisable
This course dates back to a couple of holes constructed by Prince Albert. A magnificent approach via the main entrance to Osborne House, leads to a nine hole parkland course in the most delightful setting. An excellent fairway turf and super secondary greens. A couple of holes with inclines but nothing too testing.No club professional, no tuition. Limited shop, club and trolley hire. Light refreshments and full catering.