Tee’d Off – Islanders Guide to Golfing

I am, by my own admission, pretty poor at golf. I try, I fail, I try again.

Sometime ago I was invited to a charity golf event - Pinmar superyacht golf tournament in Palma, Mallorca. We raised 83,000 Euros which is not bad. I could hardly raise my ball off the tee.

Prior to this event in which I knew I would struggle I thought that a trip to the Westridge Golf Centre was a good idea just to try and get into the swing of things as it were; my goodness – I was hitting them…well at least a fair distance, purchasing more balls as I went. It’s very addictive and an excellent way of getting your ‘driving’ frustrations out the way without anyone judging you as if you were about to t-off on the first drive of 18. Suffice to say, I walked away thinking I have got this driving thing down to a T.

Upon arrival in Palma, well suffice to say all the practice was in vain. Begged, borrowed and stolen clubs for my first ever 18-hole extravaganza did me no favours. I am not blaming the tools of course, but I am. That said, if I had not attended the driving range at Westridge, the result would have been a whole lot worse.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife purchased a ‘drive and play’ voucher from the ‘Price is Wight’. An excellent deal for 4 people and we had a great time. No pressures, the sun was out and once you play the first 9 holes you go round again. The Staff are very accommodating and the players that use the course regularly, very amenable. ‘Play through’ may have been said to them on a few occasions of which they were very grateful. When one is not as gifted as some others on the course it’s nice to know that not all clubs can be tainted with the same Golf snobbishness that can be found elsewhere.

I must mention that, over a number of years, I used to go to the 10-hole course at the Farringford (West Wight - once a hotel and former house of Alfred Lord Tennyson). This was a fantastic par 3 course and much fun was had with a number of good friends. The course is no longer unfortunately as it is now a private house and the grounds are being returned to how they once were when Tennyson lived there. Not a bad thing I suppose, but it was a great way to spend a few hours with friends without wasting the whole day in the rough!

Freshwater Bay Golf Club, is one of the most spectacular courses in the UK. Set on the downlands overlooking the English Channel, this seaside links style golf course is 5,725 yards long, par 69 which provides a challenge for golfers of all abilities.

Other Golf Clubs are available of course….

  • Cowes Golf ClubThis is a fairly flat 9 hole, parkland type course. A good way to combine a gentle walk with a good test of golf.
  • Newport Golf ClubA quite tricky 9 hole downland course where a little local knowledge can be very valuable. Fortunately this is a friendly club where visitors are regularly invited to join members in a round.
  • Osborne Golf ClubA lovely 9 hole parkland course, set in the grounds of Osborne House, the Island home of Queen Victoria. Mature oak trees dot the course and it is quite common to see red squirrels.
  • Ryde Golf ClubAnother 9 hole parkland course with very little long rough, but an out-of-bounds fence on the right of most holes make it tighter than Osborne. 
  • Shanklin & Sandown Golf ClubAn 18 hole heath-land style course, with gorse, bracken and heather producing some excellent and interesting holes. Pro shop and a first class club house.
  • Ventnor Golf ClubA 12 hole downland course which makes good use of different tees for the second nine holes, making them play quite differently. The course is not easy to find, so you will need a map or good directions.


With thanks to Freshwater Bay Golf Club for providing a better description of these courses than I ever could.

FORE!! (not on my watch)