Five of some of the finest heathland courses in southern England have joined forces to market themselves as the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour.
West Sussex, the number one course in the county, Hampshire’s top heathland layouts of Liphook and Blackmoor, and Hindhead and Hankley Common in Surrey, will together present a formidable golf tour in the heart of the English countryside.
It is the aim of these traditional, yet forward-thinking, clubs that this new offering will act as a catalyst to open up the allure of heathland golf in the area to UK golfers whilst at the same time showcasing a stunning grouping of heathland courses set in England to the international golf market.
These established tracks all bear the heathland trademarks of sweeping swathes of vibrant heather and gorse and fairways lined with pine trees and the occasional magnificent oak which all combine to form some of the most picturesque courses in the world.
Meanwhile the fast-draining sandy soils and typically-undulating landscapes of heathland layouts make the terrain ideal for fast, challenging golf.
“With the launch of the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour, we have put together a trail of some of the most authentic, yet natural heathland courses of England which until now have been a fairly well-guarded secret as far as the rest of the world was concerned,” comments Andy Stubbs of West Sussex Golf Club. “For any golfers wishing to discover the sheer pleasure of playing classic, well-designed heathland layouts, our collection of courses would be an ideal place to start.”
To launch the initiative, the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour has joined Golf Tourism England (www.golftourismengland.com) to give itself some immediate profile to the international golf travel market.
Indeed Andrew Cooke, founder of Golf Tourism England, has been instrumental in encouraging the group to link up and to promote themselves as a premier heathland tour to national and international golfers alike.
“By joining together as the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour, these clubs form an extremely attractive cluster of high quality golf courses in southern England, an area already well known for heathland masterpieces such as Sunningdale, Wentworth and Walton Heath. Though quieter in profile to date, these courses are all well established and highly regarded and are regularly included in the various UK golf course rankings, with the likes of West Sussex and Hankley Common often appearing in the top 20,” comments Cooke.
“These clubs are together leading the way in marketing themselves as a credible golf tourism offering to a wider audience and helping to reinforce the country as one of the foremost golfing destinations in the world,” concludes Cooke.
The five clubs in the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour can all be found within an hour of each other and are easily accessed via the M25 and A3 roadways and are just over an hour and a half from London’s international airports of Heathrow and Gatwick.
The Old Thorns Manor Hotel Golf & Country Estate near Liphook is centrally located to act as a base for golfers taking on the new tour. Set in 400 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside, the Hotel offers a range of rooms and apartments, a spa, various bars and restaurants ideal for the requirements of golfers.
In blazing the trail, the Southern Counties Heathland Golf Tour hope to follow in the footsteps of other great heathland trails such as the Melbourne Sand Belt, home to one of the world’s most heralded courses, Royal Melbourne in Australia and the Sand Hills of Pinehurst in America.