Following a recent debate on nine-hole golf courses, I was reminded of my own experiences over nine holes – round Basingstoke Golf Centre not far from junction 5 on the M3, Hampshire, and known affectionately to locals as ‘Basingstoke Pitch and Putt’.
Now, Basingstoke Pitch and Putt is exactly that – a pitch and putt. As so many of you pointed out following our recent feature, nine-hole courses should not be labeled as glorified pitch and putts. But, if we’re going to talk about nine-hole courses, I feel we should dedicate some time to the smallest form of the game bar crazy golf.
During my early teens I found myself split between football and cricket. I chose football and, as a result, my golf suffered and my golfing friends took their game to a level I have still yet to reach. But, I will never regret the countless hours I spent at Basingstoke Pitch and Putt as opposed to Basingstoke Golf Club. To this day, when I go home to see my parents, I will make time to visit the Golf Centre and this is why:
Hole 1: A nice easy opening hole. Gets small children and 8-balls away quickly. Can be erratic off the tee and still get down in two. Car park will take care of any shanks to the right.
Hole 2: Course bites back immediately. Thorn tree on the left comes into play with anything other than a confident tee shot. Come up short and you’ll trickle back down the slope. Always plays a club more.
Hole 3: No more than a sand wedge. Go left and you’ll fall away into some penal rough, go long and you could hit the fast train to London Waterloo.
Hole 4: Downhill and always worth playing one club down because if you go long an infamous gorse bush awaits. An empty bunker will swallow anything short and left.
Hole 5: Back towards the railway line, but one of the course’s better birdie opportunities. Trees round the green can make chipping difficult in the autumn what with the leaves.
Hole 6: Uphill with out-of-bounds all the way down the right, a lot of people bail out to the left ending up in a nasty collection area.
Hole 7: The signature hole. In the wind it can be anything from a sand wedge to a wedge. Downhill with no shot if you go long and testy chips if you don’t find the green.
Hole 8: Back up the slope into an unforgiving green if you come up short. Use an extra club, but too much and you’ll end up in the driving range.
Hole 9: Down the hill. You could use a putter and get there but accuracy is everything. Keep left and allow your tee shot to trickle into the heart of the green.
Golf Monthly Forum: Tell us about your favourite pitch and putts