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Rye Golf Club

Courses


Rye is a private Club and it consists of two courses, the Old and Jubilee. The courses are beautiful examples of traditional links, on the south coast of England. The first competition took place in 1894. H.S. Colt was elected as the first Captain and he designed 18 holes in 1895, which became the permanent course. This set him on a new career as a golf course designer.

Old Course

H.S. Colt was one of the founding members and the first Captain of the Club. By 1895 he had designed a full 18 holes which became the permanent course. Many alterations have been made since as the course has moved south from the marshy land towards the sea but two of his original holes, the 12th and 17th survive to this day. 

The Old course consists of two nine hole loops to the east and west of the Clubhouse unlike many of the old ‘out and back’ links. As a result it has an intimate feel. Although measuring only 6,500 yards off the ’blue’ tees, it presents a most demanding par of 68 with only two par fours  under 435 yards especially in the prevailing cross wind. Rye is famous for the challenge of its five short holes . The often said words    (‘ the most difficult shots at Rye are the second shots to the par threes) are richly deserved. 

6284 Yards, Par 68
5887 Yards, Par 68
5459 Yards, Par 72

Old Course Scorecard


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Out
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
In
Total
Blue
482
181
436
442
174
468
158
444
301
3086
442
322
457
433
185
464
434
234
437
3417
6503
White
482
181
436
412
174
468
158
392
301
3004
418
322
419
433
185
426
417
223
437
3280
6284
Yellow
457
169
376
400
152
445
139
364
290
2792
405
305
383
411
167
392
408
205
418
3094
5886
Par
5
3
4
4
3
4
3
4
4
34
4
4
4
4
3
4
4
3
4
34
68
SI
9
15
3
7
14
1
17
5
11

6
16
12
2
13
4
10
18
8


Red
433
116
358
387
143
390
129
344
283
2583
395
272
376
400
159
353
387
156
378
2876
5459
SI
9
17
3
7
13
1
15
5
11

6
14
2
10
16
4
12
18
8


Par
5
3
4
5
3
5
3
4
4
36
4
4
4
5
3
4
5
3
4
36
72

Jubilee Course

In 1977 a separate 9-hole golf course was opened on land given up by the receding sea. This course, named the Jubilee, has been further developed and rerouted over the years and, with an additional hole built in 2014, now consists of 12 holes (giving two loops of nine) and provides a first-class alternative to the old course.
6434 Yards, Par 70
5905 Yards, Par 69
5119 Yards, Par 69

Jubilee Course Scorecard


1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Out
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
In
Total
Blue
389
232
429
441
321
477
145
363
396
3193
389
232
429
441
321
402
168
508
351
3241
6434
White
389
174
345
388
321
477
145
363
396
2998
389
174
345
388
152
402
168
508
351
3877
5875
Par
4
3
4
4
4
5
3
4
4
35
4
3
4
4
4/3
4
3
5
4
35/34
70/69
SI
11
13
7
3
15
1
17
5
9

12
14
8
4
16
2
10
6
18


Red
306
159
324
366
312
417
124
289
341
2638
306
159
324
366
143
335
128
448
272
2481
5119
SI
11
13
7
3
15
1
17
5
9

12
14
8
4
16
2
10
6
18


Par
4
3
4
4
4
5
3
4
4
35
4
3
4
4
3
4
3
5
4
34
69

Rye

The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses: Volume 1, Great Britain & Ireland

So, what to make of Rye? Like most of the famous links in the UK and Ireland, golf started to be played here before golf course design was even a hobby, much less a profession, and the plan of the course has evolved through several iterations from a rudimentary start. The original layout was done by a young solicitor named Harry Colt, several years before he set out on his architectural career; but much of Colt's routing was tangled up with the busy public road to Camber, and the course has had to evolve away from it over time. Luckily, more good ground was becoming available for use, as the Rye harbor continued to fill up with sand deposits. The site of today's 13th green was part of the beach in 1894; today the same spot is 300 meters from the sea! This is the true nature of linksland, as
mother Nature can be unstoppable when she is in a creative mood.

The centuries of coastal winds formed a number of sharp dune ridges and valleys, and the routing of today's course tackles them from every possible angle. You play along the base of a ridge for the first three holes, then climb up and play atop the ridge at the long par-4 4th. At the short 5th, you leap from one dune ridge to another; at the 6th, you drive diagonally over a ridge, and then play up the back side. At the 13th, you play over a diagonal ridge for the blind second shot to the Sea Hole; at the 16th and again at the 18th, you drive from low ground up onto one of the ridges, on opposite diagonals. In fact, this wonderful routing is the product of several successive routings, each shaped by a subsequent designer who added at least one of the best holes to the course we know today: The fine green sites at the 15th and 16th are part of Colt's original plan, though both holes have been lengthened considerably, and the par-4 18th finishes atop the santeridge, although the tee shot over the "Soup Bowl" bunker was lost to a re-routing and to construction during the war. The green at the short 5th was put up on the ridgetop by the club's committee chair Clement Archer, in 1907. Tom Simpson created the short par 4 9th and the par-3 17th in 1932, when he was hired to eliminate the road crossings.

Sir Guy Campbell discovered the wonderful 4th hole in 1938, giving him more elbow room to improve the opening stretch. Last, but certainly not least, Major H.C. Tippet, who had a hand in designing several courses in America before the Crash of 1929, was appointed secretary to the club at the end of World War Il, and created the short 2nd and 7th holes in the process of getting the course back into play, just before his death in 1947. 

For me, it's a wonder that Rye isn't a fixture as one of the top 50 courses in the world, especially since it hosts one of the game's great competitions the President's Putter matches of the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society, played in the nastiest of winter weather. For years, I thought it must be held back because its par of 68 is too challenging to the establishment; but now I am starting to wonder if the inability to tag the design
with one famous designer's name is holding it back somehow - even if that is exactly why the course is so good. 


Tom Doak 

The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses: Volume 1 - Great Britiain and Ireland - 2014



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