A particularly interesting golf tour is possible in the county of Hampshire close to the South Coast, where a golfer can experience three distinct types of golf courses, and on very high quality examples at that, where the playing conditions and challenges are entirely different.
First up is Goodwood, designed by James Braid and one of the best examples of Downland golf in the country. With hilly terrain providing fast running fairways, undulating greens and dramatic changes in elevation, the course offers stunning views towards Chichester and the sea. Being high up in parts the wind will play a part in negotiating the Championship length course, and a good score feels like an achievement. The Club also has a stunning Clubhouse, a second course and a very fine hotel.
Heading west, you can then stop off at Hayling GC; a traditional links course of real character. An old fashioned, and sometimes quirky layout, the course is an absolute joy to play. The sea is in touching distance throughout and offers excellent views across the English Channel, over to the Isle of Wight and the City of Portsmouth. It is the closest links course to London, and lovers of links golf will not be disappointed with the challenge it presents.
Going even further west towards the City of Southampton and the new Forest, another entirely different challenge awaits. Stoneham GC is situated in predominantly heathland, with a smattering of parkland holes; all beautifully crafted by the mercurial Willie Park Junior of Sunningdale fame. Mature woodland, natural heath and much undulation all contribute to very appealing golf experience, that although a little short by modern day standards lacks nothing in it’s ability to penalise an inaccurate golfer.
The huge attraction of the Hampshire South Tour though, is the sheer variety of golf and golfing skills required to master the three very different forms of golf. Where else could you play Downland, Links and Heathland golf of this quality within an hour of each other?