In search for escapism and a chance to practice her ‘swing’ Alex Jenkins sets off to Slinfold.
Get fit, learn to relax and unwind, and perfect the work/life balance. Sound familiar?
For me these three resolutions are made every January and each year I promise this time they will be achieved.
Yet two weeks into the first month and I have usually already given up, with fitness and relaxation replaced with work, work, work.
What I need is to find motivation…and I may have found just the thing in the form of Slinfold Golf and Country Club.
Hear the words ‘country club’ and you may think of snobbish cliques. This is not the case here. Instead, it is an up-market club benefitting from a friendly atmosphere and nestled in beautiful Sussex countryside.
Yes it has an air of exclusivity – part of it is for members only – but visitors are more than welcome and can enjoy some superb facilities too.
“We are proud of our club,” says general manager Dominic Eagle. “This is a prestigious country club that has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere boasting a fabulous spa, gym and golf course.
“We welcome new members and visitors,” he adds, “and we are excited about the developments for 2015.”
These developments include new state-of-the-art bikes in the myride+ cycling studio; the recruitment of two golf pros who will be able to offer tuition and coaching for enthusiasts and novices; plus a par three, nine-hole golf course which should be completed in the autumn.
This is on top of the new driving range and holistic studio that opened at the end of 2014.
It is clear a great deal of money has been invested into the club – and it shows.
What started off as just a golf club turned into so much more in 2009 following the multi-million pound refurbishment, introducing the health and fitness facilities.
As I explore the venue what strikes me is how light, airy and welcoming it is.
The warm and cosy bar area has a mixture of seating, including leather seats you can sink into as you pass away your time with a drink and food.
The large windows maximise the stunning views across the 18 hole golf course and lake, plus on warmer days you can sit out on the bar’s balcony and soak in the picturesque scenery.
Food is served from 8am until 8.30pm weekdays and 8am until 7.30pm at weekends, with the bar open later.
A Sunday carvery is available from noon until 3pm and costs £9.95.
Downstairs there is the Sandpit Crèche for children aged four weeks up to seven years and costs as little as £4.25 for an hour.
Along the corridor is the blissful Retreat – a haven where members and non-members can enjoy pampering sessions and beauty treatments, with Espa and Jessica nail products.
As you cross the threshold you feel like you have stepped into another world, with the low lighting and soothing scents helping to instantly relax you and melt away any stresses and woes.
And with a vast range of treatments, including the ‘stress buster’ massage, I know this is a place I will want to frequent on a regular basis.
The swimming pool, jacuzzi and steam room are for members only as is the high tech gym and fitness classes.
The classes vary from aqua aerobics, circuits and body combat to Pilates, yoga and Zumba.
As with the rest of the club both the swimming pool and gym face out over the golf course.
The only studio not to have ‘a view’ is the indoor cycling-tailored studio, which has special lighting and music settings.
Boasting a high resolution virtual scenery, even if a group class is not running you can still work out.
From world famous cycle tracks and breath-taking mountain landscapes, to inner city streetscapes and desert terrain, myride+ allows the user to experience adventure while getting a fantastic workout.
More than 50 myride+ classes are pre-programmed every week with a virtual instructor giving you support and encouragement.
Heading outside, although the golf course is for members only, visitors can come to use the floodlit driving range, which has 13 bays, is covered and used in all weathers year round.
“We are very family orientated,” agrees Kirsty Loraine, head of sales and marketing, as I comment on what is available during my guided tour of the club. “There is something for all the family.
“There is golf, there is the créche and there are classes.”
On top of all the facilities there is a lively social calender, with trips to the theatre, quiz nights and a huge fireworks display.
As I take in all the club’s features Kirsty says: “We break the mould as to what you think a country club should be.”
And I couldn’t agree more.
Full country club membership (golf and health club usage, unlimited seven days a week for an adult) costs £102.50 per month.
Full health club membership only (seven days unlimited usage and access to the nine hole course) costs £75 per month.
Off-peak memberships are cheaper and discounts are available if partners join together. Other membership packages are available.
For more information, visit the club in Stane Street, Slinfold, call 01403 792620 or visit www.slinfoldclub.co.uk
You can also follow slinfoldclub on Facebook and @slinfold_club on Twitter.
Pictures by Steve Cobb
January 5, 2015 Travel and Lifestyle