Felixstowe Ferry, 28th May 2017
I don’t really know this part of the world at all. That is part of the joy of this blog. And I loved seeing Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and Sheringham for the first time.
Beautiful brick buildings give an indication of Felixstowe’s commercial vitality over the years, it’s strategic importance is represented by the Martello Towers and Bawdsey Manor represents the patronage of those who have loved this place. All these qualities are present in the nine, joyful, links holes between the sea wall and the road. All have humps and hollows, gorse and gullies, deep gathering bunkers and beautiful greens. These holes are made majestic by the Martello Tower and the yachts in full sail just yards away in the narrow channel. A more than adequate replacement for church and railway.
I cannot say the same when you cross the road. Flatter more ordinary, fewer links features they don’t, for all their challenges, stir the blood and narrow down the focus in the same way. There is still some links turf but much of it is Fen or park land in grasses and feel. But your reward comes when you regain the 13th tee and winding holes demand your attention before the gorse can claim your ball or the bunkers draw you in. Wonderfully sleepered and revetted in turn I saw more sand than in my last two rounds. But it would be a shame to not try everything that the course has to offer yet still play to handicap on those nine.
An historic course with links to AJ Balfour, who, taught by Ben Sayers must have been our best golfing Prime Minister. The Martello Towers take us further back as they were built for defence and to communicate any visible threat from Napoleonic times. Technology improved and coastal watch was eventually superseded by radar which was developed partly at Bawdsey Manor. Both catch the eye across the course. Tables were then turned when Radio Caroline transmitted from off the coast and invaded our consciousness and we were defenceless. I can remember all that, the nine holes played to handicap under the gaze of the Tower, but not those holes over the road.