New Forest is a nice touch of luxury - an 18th century manor house is now home to the clubhouse. As you walk from the locker rooms up to the bar/restaurant, the stone steps show the wear and tear of over 200 years of traipsing up and down. Each step is gently indented in the middle. Can't be many clubhouses around that boast a history like that.
The golf course is a spanking new affair and at 7am it was wonderfully misty [Photo: Par 5 5th], making the silence thick and damp. By about 7.30 the birds had started and it broke the spell somewhat. As you walk from the walled garden 9th par three (Coollattin anyone?) you have a long walk to the 10th, and the birds seem to be all you hear. Arrive at the 11th and you'll discover something about the course: it's tough. 11 is a par three of 207 yards, with some water along the left and trees on the right. Its Index is 17!
The staff are very friendly - and it had nothing to do with the arrival of some young male actor from Fair City - and were quick to give me directions to Mount Temple.
And what a different story Mount Temple was. It bills itself as a Golf & Country Club, with a Championship course. No, no, no! If this was a championship course would you see rabbits like this on the tee box. Evidently, someone agreed with me, judging by the bunny on the 8th tee box, and by the 17th I noticed that the rabbit had retreated sensibly to the ladies' tee.
Mount Temple is a fun country course, but let's not get too carried away.
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