Review: Ipswich Golf Club

Charlie Lemay made the trip to East Anglia to play a course flying under the radar

Charlie Lemay's picture
Tue, 1 Jul 2014

Review: Ipswich Golf Club

A 5.30 AM alarm is never what you want to be setting on a Sunday night but I was comforted by the fact that I was travelling to Suffolk to play the 18-hole Purdis Heath and 9-hole Bixley Course.

After monotonous congestion on the North Circular it was plain sailing as I flew up the A12 and arrived at the club with time to spare and incredibly excited about the World Cup which was all over the radio.

After bacon rolls and coffee it was time to head down to the new short game area to warm up for the nine-hole layout which lay ahead. Local members warned me not to relax on the short course as it was meant to be a tough test but I took their warnings with a pinch of salt – it was designed for beginners, how hard could it be?

Bixley Course

This track was made forty years after the opening of the 18-hole course and shares the same heathland as Purdis Heath.

The first hole brought me back to reality.  The short par-3 requires no more than a soft wedge but the sloping green makes keeping the ball on the short stuff very difficult.

The greatest compliment which can be payed to the 9-hole course is that if you didn’t tell anyone it was designed for beginners to bring their handicap, no one would know.

The greens and fairways are kept in good condition the punishing rough needs to be avoided. There are a number of memorable holes and you will be able to nut a driver on numerous occasions, although you must be straight off the tee.

The Bixley Course is the perfect warm-up to Purdis Heath as it gives you a taste of what’s to come without spoiling the surprise. Well worth a visit and great value as well.

Weekdays: £12 per day
Weekends/bank holidays: £15 per day

Purdis Heath

After a fantastic three-course lunch which had me waddling out of the clubhouse, it was time to play the 18-hole layout.

Purdis Heath was designed by legendary architect James Braid. Best known for the King’s Course at Gleneagles, Braid can also had a large hand in the renovation of Carnoustie, Royal Troon and Turnberry. Safe to say he was good person to have on board when a course was being designed.

He designed the course in an intriguing horse-shoe shape as it loops around two duck decoy lakes. This means that when the wind blows, as it often does in those parts, you will be attacking holes with the wind coming to you at every angle.

With dogles turning both ways and a number of narrow holes, players need to be straight off the tee or they will have the woodland and heather to contend with. It is a course for the thinking golfer rather than the ‘grip it and rip it’ player and will test the happy hackers and scratch golfer alike.

The open space and abundant wildlife makes the course feel like it is a million miles from the city.  In 1995 and 2002 the course was a BIGGA Golf Environment competition winner due to its value as a site for wildlife and the hard work is the golfer’ gain as he/she can enjoy the serene setting while navigating the course.

The greens roll true and fast and the fairways and bunkers are kept in pristine condition. Stray off the fairway and the punishing rough will have you hacking out to try and salvage par. If you can keep on the fairway and out of the water, which comes into play on numerous holes, you should be able to put a decent score together on this delightful course.

Verdict

A special course which is being overlooked by the golfing community.  Both courses pose a tough test and are kept in excellent condition.  

A 5.30 AM alarm is never what you want to be setting on a Sunday night but I was comforted by the fact that I was travelling to Suffolk to play 27 holes at Ipswich Golf Club.

After monotonous congestion on the North Circular it was plain sailing as I flew up the A12 and arrived at the club with time to spare (albeit incredibly excited about the World Cup as the topic all the radio was talking about).

After bacon rolls and coffee it was time to head down to the new short game area to warm up for the nine-hole layout. Local members warned me not to relax on the short course as it was meant to be a tough test but I took their warnings with a pinch of salt – it was designed for beginners, how hard could it be?

Bixley Course

This track was made forty years after the opening of the 18-hole course and shares the same heathland as Purdis Heath.

The first hole brought me back to reality. The short par-3 requires no more than a soft wedge but the sloping green makes keeping the ball on the short stuff very difficult. The other eight holes followed suit - this was as if not more difficult than i had been warned.

The greatest compliment which can be payed to the 9-hole course is that if you didn’t tell anyone it was designed for beginners to bring their handicap down, no one would know. It's a decent nine-holes in its own regard.

The greens and fairways are kept in good condition and the punishing rough needs to be avoided. There are a number of memorable holes and you will be able to nut a driver on numerous occasions, although you must be straight off the tee.

The Bixley Course is the perfect warm-up to Purdis Heath as it gives you a taste of what’s to come without spoiling the spectacle. Well worth a visit and great value as well.

Weekdays: £12 per day
Weekends/bank holidays: £15 per day

Purdis Heath

After a fantastic three course lunch which had me waddling out of the clubhouse, it was time to play the 18-hole layout.

Purdis Heath was designed by legendary architect James Braid. Best known for the King’s Course at Gleneagles, Braid can also had a large hand in the renovation of Carnoustie, Royal Troon and Turnberry. Safe to say he was a good person to have on board when a course was being built.

He designed the course in an intriguing horse-shoe shape and it loops around two duck decoy lakes. This means that when the wind blows, as it often does in those parts, you will be attacking holes with the wind coming at you from every angle.

With dogles turning both ways and a number of narrow holes, players need to be straight off the tee or they will have the woodland and heather to contend with. It is a course for the thinking golfer rather than the ‘grip it and rip it’ player and will test the happy hackers and scratch golfer alike.

The open space and abundant wildlife makes the course feel like it is a million miles from the city. In 1995 and 2002 the course was a BIGGA Golf Environment Competition Winner due to its value as a site for wildlife and the hard work is the golfer’s gain as he/she can enjoy the serene setting while navigating the course.

The greens roll true and fast and the fairways and bunkers are kept in pristine condition. Stray off the fairway and the punishing rough will have you hacking out to try and salvage par. If you can keep on the fairway and out of the water, which comes into play on numerous holes, you should be able to put a decent score together on this delightful course.

Weekdays: £55, £40 after 2.30pm, £80 per day
Weekends/bank holidays: £65 per day, £45 after 2.30pm, £90 per day

Verdict

A special course which is being overlooked by the golfing community.  Both courses pose a tough test and are kept in excellent condition. 

Head to the Ipswich Golf Club website for more information