Luxury on doorstep and quality golf too

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Miss JC Newbald is pictured with an assistant, Mrs G Cowd

THIS WEEK IN 1971: ‘Telling the world about Southsea’

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When the rain hammers down and the cold winter wind blows, a golf trip is only for the bravest and most committed souls - especially when it’s in this country.

But when you can combine it with a luxurious hotel break at an affordable price, it suddenly becomes far more enticing to give the clubs an extra outing or two during their normal hibernation period.

At Mannings Heath Golf Club in Sussex downland near Horsham, there are two fine courses to play and a clubhouse that dates back to the 17th century at a club owned by Exclusive Golf group.

The Waterfall Course is open to members only at present, but the par 72, 6,683-yard course hosted the 2013 English Women’s Amateur Strokeplay Championship last August.

Opened in 1996, the par-70 Kingfisher Course offers breathtaking panoramic views over the tree tops and across the South Downs with some elevated tee shots that tick the box for just about every golfer who has ever swung a club.

Rated by the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’ as the best pay and play course in the county in 2011, it’s a challenge in all weathers but friendly enough to give you a fighting chance at a good score too.

It also stands up well to the rain with impressive drainage, meaning you won’t be wading through mud if you do take to the fairways.

But for those who are less swayed by an inviting tee shot and more attracted by a fine dining experience, South Lodge Hotel will leave your mouth watering.

The location and setting itself is something close to a grand country house, complete with the winding gravel drive and croquet lawns.

And with Brighton effectively within easy reach and the South Downs at your fingertips, it makes a great base.

The interior retains its history and grandeur but adds a modern spin with recently-refurbished rooms that will cater for most tastes and is far removed from the clinical, identical feel of so many modern hotels.

There are some hugely attractive features too.

A wine cellar boasts more than 300 wines and offers a unique tasting experience, guided by a resident expert, to broaden your horizons and tickle the tastebuds.

And the quality of the food is exceptional - especially with head chef at the Camellia Restaurant, Steven Edwards, recently crowned Masterchef: The Professionals champion.

While some of us - myself included - may have worried that we might not fit in to such surroundings, it was up there among the most welcoming hotel experiences you could enjoy with staff eager to do as much as possible to help make your stay as pleasant as possible.

It would be hard to argue that it’s cheap - but from £135 per person (based on two people sharing a room), visitors can experience a one-night bed-and-breakfast stay at the luxury hotel including two rounds of golf on Mannings Heath’s award-winning courses. It’s certainly not overpriced and there are deals to be enjoyed.

And if your hands are cold, your waterproofs took a battering or you missed that three-footer on the 18th, there’s something waiting for you back at the South Lodge to lift your spirits.

Alternatively, wait until the weather perks up bit and head back for a return visit when the sun is shining on a fabulous place to visit.

Exclusive Golf was formed in 2010 and is a part of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, a prestigious group of individual, stylish hotels in the south of England, located in stunning surroundings and presenting a luxurious tranquility in beautiful English locations.

Available until March 31, 2014, golfers can enjoy a midweek afternoon round of golf for just £10 per person and only £15 for 18 holes at weekends after midday.

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