Course of the week - The Waterfall at Mannings Heath

12 Oct 2009 06:54

Golf.co.uk stops off in leafy Sussex this week to take on the highly-regarded Waterfall Course at Mannings Heath.

Mannings Heath Golf Club is located just three miles outside the market town of Horsham and offers two contrasting 18-hole layouts.

Of these, The Kingfisher serves as the fresh-faced new addition - delivering municipal play at remarkably good value on what is a well-maintained and enjoyable younger sibling to the club's main attraction.

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But it's The Waterfall Course that takes the plaudits. Opened in 1905, the picturesque, undulating design provides a superb and varied challenge through a peaceful wooded valley.

Your round starts with an imposing downhill drive in the shadows of the grand 17th-century clubhouse, to a fairway that climbs back up to an elevated first green. It's a sign of things to come and your legs will feel be feeling every yard by the time you return to the well-appointed facility for well-deserved refreshment.

The course is in immaculate condition and for many visitors it's the par threes that truly stand out.

The first of these is the daunting 5th, 'Punchbowl', which requires an arrowed long iron from an elevarted tee into a green protected by steep banks. The 10th, 'Waterfall', demands similar accuracy from a high vantage point, while the short 15th is guarded by hungry bunkers.

During the Second World War, an allied plane crashed close to the 15th tee and there is a plaque to mark the fallen on a nearby tree.

While the par threes capture the imagination, there is still plenty to offer from the longer holes.

Accoring to the club's webiste, the par-four 11th was rated so highly by South African great Gary Player he included it in his list of the top 18 holes in the world.

The par-four last is yet another of The Waterfall's holes that lends itself to high drama. After driving downhill your approach is steeply back up again to an elevated green, where anything short will be punished severely.

This is a challenging and enjoyable course that is well worth a visit and thoroughly deserves its place inside the top 100 in the UK.

- Golf.co.uk staff