18 holes, par 70, SSS 70, gently undulating heathland, with fast-running fairways lined by firs and oaks. This is one of the better Essex courses without doubt. Four par 3s but only two par 5s means that scoring below 70 is more difficult than it might seem at first. Possibly the greatest threat comes in the form of tightly-bunkered approaches to the subtly-contoured greens.
With the pleasant terrain, short walks between green and tee, and a sunny climate, this is a lovely place to be and to play golf. The condition of the course is excellent thanks to the hard work and care put into it by the green keeping staff under the expert eye of the Course Manager Keith Chinnery. This is reflected by the Club hosting in 2007 the Essex Open (PGA), the Essex Amateur Championship, the East Anglian Amateur Championship and in 2008 the prestigious Eastern Region PGA Championship followed the Eastern Region Championship Pro-Am.
The James Braid course at Braiswick
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- A short par 4 (338 yards) with both bunkers and trees left and right. For your tee shot choose a club you are confident of hitting straight to give yourself a good chance of making a solid start. Accuracy is the key.
- A double, right-hand dogleg par 5 (532 yards) around tall trees. The safe way is to play down the fairway. Only long hitters dare aim right of centre to try and reach the green in two. Beware of the pond short-left of the green.
- A short left-hand dogleg par 4 (333 yards). There is no real advantage in cutting the corner as a tee shot placed in the middle of the fairway opens up a green which slopes back-left to front-right. Ensure you have enough club for the uphill second shot.
- A long par 3 (191 yards) to a green sloping steeply from back-left to front-right. A swirling breeze in the trees around the tee makes club selection tricky. Often plays longer than it seems.
- A straight par 4 (382 yards) from elevated tee. Carry the oak tree if you can to a fairway sloping sharply right-to-left. Expect to play your second from the left-hand rough to a green partially hidden behind a hill. Carry your second all the way if you can stop it, otherwise run it down the hill. Going through the back of this green makes for a very difficult up and down.
- An uphill par 4 (409 yards) on ground that slopes right-to-left all the way. The ideal tee shot will end short of the gap in the trees, leaving an uphill lie for an approach to a long, subtly-contoured green. Par is a good score here.
- A straight par 4 (386 yards) bunkered down the right-hand-side. Be careful with your aim on the tee as the tee itself points right of centre. An accurate second will bring the chance of birdie on a fairly flat green.
- A short par 3 (156 yards) from out of trees. The tightly guarded, flat green demands precision of length and accuracy. This hole sometimes plays longer than it seems.
- A left-hand dogleg par 5 (516 yards). Cutting the corner is risky as oak trees and out-of-bounds come into play immediately. The ideal tee shot is straight at the fairway bunker for short hitters and a long hook for big hitters. A careful second will leave only a short iron to a well bunkered, flat green.
- A short and interesting par 4 (330 yards) to start the back 9 holes. Hitting the fairway is important here as only a short iron is required for the second to a small, tightly bunkered green. This is a birdie opportunity when played properly.
- A long, straight par 4 (411 yards) made doubly difficult by a hedge on the left and bunkers around the green. Unless you can carry the cross bunker with your second shot then play this as a par 5. The small, two-tier green presents its own challenges. Be pleased with a 4 and content with 5.
- Another long, straight par 4 (425 yards) that requires a solid tee shot. Bunkers lurk all the way for the wayward. A flattish green is welcoming when you reach it.
- A medium-length, attractive par 3 (180 yards). The cross bunker you see is well short of the green, so trust the yardage rather than your eye.
- A short par 4 (327 yards) and good birdie chance. Trees left and right mean that accuracy is essential off the tee. Then it is only a short iron to a flat green. Be careful with the distance as the bottom of the pin is just out of sight.
- A right-hand dogleg par 4 monster (453 yards) that can only be reached by long hitters. Aim left off the tee to avoid drifting into the right hand rough. If you miss the green you will still have a chance of making 4 unless you are in the woods on the right. Take par here and be thankful.
- A short, picturesque par 3 (150 yards) and good birdie chance. Judge the wind and club carefully and an easy par beckons.
- A good par 4 (404 yards). A hazard left and trees right at landing distance mean that you often have to choose whether to hit long and straight or lay up with less club. The safe option leaves a much longer second. You decide.
- A hard par 4 (425 yards) left-to-right dogleg to finish. The wind and ground conditions affect this hole greatly. In summer the ideal play is a left-to-right shape off the tee with a driver. But you may prefer to play just to the corner of the dogleg with less club. The trees on the right and a ditch on the left are waiting for the unfortunate. Bunkers abound, and everyone is watching you now!