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Jody Mitchell follows through on her swing at the driving range at Breckland Pines.

Jody Mitchell follows through on her swing at the driving range at Breckland Pines. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Jody Mitchell follows through on her swing at the driving range at Breckland Pines.

Jody Mitchell follows through on her swing at the driving range at Breckland Pines. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Breckland Pines employee Steve Pavick holds a rental set of golf clubs.

Breckland Pines employee Steve Pavick holds a rental set of golf clubs. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

RAF LAKENHEATH — Glancing over the scorecard before we struck out onto the course, I could see there was no water anywhere on the first nine holes of the 18-hole Breckland Pines Golf Course.

Although a novice, I falsely assumed that meant I could track my balls well enough through the gray Suffolk sky to keep the three new Titleists on hand.

But tall grass to the right of the green on the par-3, a 340-yard sixth hole and one nasty slice on the par-5, 465-yard ninth hole conspired against me and I left with only one of the new balls.

Nevertheless, I plan to return after my first stab at one of Britain’s most adored sporting exports.

Truth be told, there may be few finer courses than Breckland at RAF Lakenheath for someone to take baby steps onto the fairway.

The course is not a hotel par-3 gimme course, nor is it St. Andrews. It is a challenging but not overbearing course that offers golfers at all skill levels a chance to play at one heck of a bargain.

My wife and I rented a set of clubs — $4 each — hit a bucket of balls at the range to warm up — $2 each — and then stumbled through the first nine holes — $10 each — and spent a grand total of $32 for a morning’s worth of frustration punctuated by a few moments of genuine fun. The rates fall even further for enlisted airmen ranked sergeant and under.

The first nine offers two par-3 holes and two par-5 holes and most of the holes are straightaway shots with the flags clearly visible from the tees.

Keep the ball straight no matter the distance and you have a decent shot of hitting the ball up onto the green in a few hacks. Then, it’s a test of wills: yours versus the greens keepers.

For those not accustomed to the roar of an F-15E at takeoff, remember that you were more likely to find quiet at the local pub following England’s matches in the World Cup than on a green at Breckland Pines.

Gentleman’s rules are thrown out the window when shooting at the home of the 48th Fighter Wing, where the fighter jets perform aerobatic maneuvers while golfers struggle to line up a 12-foot putt against a slight grade on the slightest of grass.

Breckland Pines boasts budget golfing that draws everyone from the competitive four-days-a-week golfer to the annual hack just fortunate to finish with the original three balls in hand.

That means the course stays busy. Monday and Wednesday are generally the slowest days to hit the course, according to Breckland Pines Pro Shop supervisor Steve Pavick.

Anyone wishing to golf on the weekend should call ahead to reserve a tee time between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Breckland Pines opens the course to family golf on Sundays at 4 p.m. with a shortened course, Pavick said.

Breckland Pines Golf Course

9 holes 18 holes

E-1 to E-4 $6 $10

E-5 and above $10 $14

Younger than 18 $3 $6

Pull cart $3 $4.50

Rental clubs $4 $8

Buggy $16 $26

Range balls are $2 per bucket.

The Pro Shop also offers lessons and club repairs.


Stripes in 7



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