Rye Golf Club

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  • Architects:
  • Holes of Merit:
    2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18
  • NCG Rank:
    43/100 in GB&I
  • Golf.com Rank:
    67/100 in the World

At A Glance

Rye Golf Club Old Course is a Harry Colt designed links & is a private club. There are no tee times at Rye Golf Club - just an invitation at the Secretary's discretion. Not only is it one of England's best links, but it also tops many of the lists in the United Kingdom and even the world!

In 1925, Harry Colt was called in to consult on the road boundary. The club then consulted James Braid. Both proposals were ultimately rejected. In 1932, Tom Simpson was called in and completed work. Later Sir Guy Campbell would modify Simpson's alterations.

Tom Simpson regarded 13, The Sea Hole, as one the very best blind two-shot holes in the game.

Tom Doak recommends golf architecture students pay special attention to the routing.

From 1899, the Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society began playing their home matches at Rye. This relationship continues strong today. The biggest event in the Society's calendar is the President's Putter.

Further Reading

Sean Arble's tour of the course can be found by clicking here.

Golf Club Atlas' review of the course can be found by clicking here.

Jaeger Kovich contributed an analysis of the 7th hole on The Fried Egg.


Full Course Review

In 1893, it was decided that Camber sandhills would be ideal for a links. A course was laid out and opened for play in 1894. However, it was in 1895 that Harry Colt designed 18 holes which would become the permanent course. In 1907, Colt lengthened the course making use of the 'new' land made available by the receding sea. Despite its location on the South coast of England and heavy fighting taking place just across the Channel, Rye Golf Club was relatively unaffected by WW1. By 1932, a redesign of the course was undertaken by Tom Simpson. In 1938, more major alterations were made by Sir Guy Campbell.

Despite the fortuitous near-miss of WW1, the club would not remain unscathed during WW2. Despite the clubhouse taking the brunt of the hit, the course would be affected too. The front nine accommodated anti-invasion defences with eight of nine holes on the back remaining open for play. Despite this, the 1938 course remains largely intact with the exception of gravel excavations alongside the right of the 11th and a new green surround on the 17th in 2010.

Bernard Darwin wrote of the links: "A narrow strip of admirable golfing country with a range of sandhill running down the middle and a road and a fence running down one side. That road is a great source of exasperation... but it has largely been the making of the course. It is constantly playing a more or less subtle part, and the merits of rye are subtle rather than obvious."

The Rye Golf Club website reads: "Speed of play is a very important aspect of golf at Rye, largely because a foursome, to be enjoyable, needs to play 18 holes at a very good pace, and therefore all players, regardless of format, are expected to play their part in ensuring there is adequate time for those lunching and playing again in the afternoon. Calling other, faster groups through is encouraged at Rye, and there should be no reluctance to do so to ensure that everyone travels at the speed they wish without inconveniencing anyone on the links." This alone should put it on the top of your must-play list. It says so much with so little about the club and course.


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The Essentials

Everything you need to know before you go!