This month we head to the Northumberland coast and find stunning views and excellent golf courses
Goswick Golf Club
A true championship test, Goswick Golf Club is six miles south of Berwick upon Tweed and occupies a stunning piece of linksland. A regular host of the biggest events in the country, the course measures 6,803 yards from the back tees and will test every aspect of your game – from driving accuracy to bunker play from the numerous pot bunkers. Designed by James Braid, the course features many challenging green complexes and a sharp short game and hot putter are required to build a score here. Goswick Golf Club, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RW, tel 01289 387 256, www.goswicklinksgc.co.uk
Laid out on rugged coastline within a few feet of the beach, Alnmouth Village Golf Club is England’s oldest nine-hole course and remains one of its best. Opened in 1869 with its designer, 1874 Open champion Mungo Park, as greenkeeper and professional, the opening stretch runs within yards of the North Sea while the view from the seventh tee is one of the best from any golf course in the UK.
The course retains much of its layout – and its 19th Century clubhouse – from Park’s day and though it is one of the shortest courses in the North East, imagination and controlling the golf ball into the small, fast running greens with swales and steep drop-offs is key. And that view from the seventh tee is simply stunning set high above the bay with a view stretching for miles. Alnmouth Village Golf Club, Marine Road, Alnmouth, NE66 2RZ, tel 01665 830 370, avgc.azurewebsites.net
The sweeping fairways and large undulating greens of the Frank Penninck-designed Bedlingtonshire Golf Club combine to provide a top quality layout and a stern test. At 6,813 yards from the back tees and with a par of 73, the course can be tough from the back tees while often breezy conditions can make this one of the hardest layouts in our region. There are few prettier courses in Northumberland, particularly Bedlingtonshire’s take on Augusta National’s Amen Corner – complete with towering oak trees, demanding tee shots, card wreckers and stunning views. The stretch begins with a daunting tee shot to a fairway protected by thick rough and trees left. At a little over 400 yards, your second shot will be trickier still with a ditch and three greenside bunkers protecting the green. The par three 14th is one of the best looking short holes in the North East. With a burn running behind the green and two greenside bunkers protecting a relatively flat green, it may not be the most challenging but can be tough when the wind swirls. The second daunting tee shot in three holes, the 15th may be the toughest drive on what is generally a generous course. Trees loom left while more await right should you bail out to the wider line. A large green is protected by two deep bunkers to the front and trees at the back. Bedlingtonshire Golf Club, Acorn Bank, Hartford Road, Bedlington NE22 6AA, tel 01670 822 457 www.bedlingtongolfclub.com
Just north of Berwick, the links at Magdalene Fields have been home to golf for more than 100 years. Founded in 1903, the club is home to the most northerly course in England, just two miles from the Scottish Border.
The initial layout of nine holes was designed by Willie Park Junior, the professional at Musselburgh who was responsible for 170 golf course designs throughout Europe, the US and Canada. The current layout, opened in 1974, affords stunning coastal views – northwards over Marshall Meadows Bay towards the towering cliffs at Eyemouth or south over the mouth of the River Tweed with Lindisfarne in the distance. It measures 6,574 yards and is playable year round. Magdalene Fields Golf Club Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1NE, tel 01289 306 130, www.magdalene-fields.co.uk
The links and moorland at Newbiggin have stood the test of time and it is still a popular venue for the county’s best events. Designed by Willie Park Junior, the rolling fairways, sand dunes and North Sea wind make for a difficult test. Big hitting is an advantage here, particularly in the opening holes, while a sharp short game and putting stroke are key to good scoring. At more than 6,800 yards off the back tees, play the course in the height of summer to see it at its best. Newbiggin Golf Club, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, NE64 6DW, tel 01670 817 344, www.newbiggingolfclub.co.uk
Home to one of the finest par threes in the UK, if not the world, Seahouses Golf Club has to be on everyone’s must play list. Set on clifftops above the North Sea, the course is a tricky test with a number of demanding tee shots and birdie opportunities on both nines. Founded in 1913 and extended to an 18-hole layout in 1976, the course regularly features in nationwide listings, while the 15th is recognised internationally as one of the finest par threes. Played over an inlet with the North Sea crashing below, this 124-yard hole can be anything from a wedge to a long iron depending on the wind and has caught out many good players. Meanwhile, the 10th would make a signature hole on many courses – this 165-yard par three is played over a loch to a green sloping back towards the water. Seahouses Golf Club, Beadnell Road, Seahouses, NE68 7XT, tel 01665 720 794, www.seahousesgolf.co.uk
A little further inland than some of the courses on our list, Tynemouth Golf Club is a welcome break from windswept linksland with its tree-lined fairways and undulating parkland layout. The fairway bunkers and devilishly difficult greens offer great visuals and a tough test with the putter, while a number of tricky short holes and long par fours will test every aspect of your game. Of these, the 372-yard par four ninth is the most visually inspiring hole on the course. Played over the ravine which runs through the course, the drive requires a carry of at least 170 yards – increasing as you head towards the green. Tall trees guard the right of the fairway should you play away from the ravine, while the green is tricky to read and protected by three bunkers. A fine example of what to expect from this tricky, but fun layout. Tynemouth Golf Club, King Edward Road, North Shields, NE30 2ER, tel 0191 257 3381, www.tynemouthgolfclub.com
Founded in 1891 and laid out by the legendary Tom Morris Snr, the nine-hole layout at Warkworth is links golf at its best. The current layout features 18 tees – each separate from its counterpart on the opposite nine making each hole a different challenge. Looking out over the North Sea, the course offers views across to the Carr Rocks and Coquet Island as well as being overlooked by Warkworth Castle. At just under 6,000 yards from the back tees, the key to scoring at Warkworth is finding the right sections of the large greens and avoiding the penal bunkering. Plotting your way around may be the best option to leave better angles to attack the flags. You can expect top quality greens here, while the course is popular in the winter months thanks to its coastal location. Warkworth Golf Club, The Links, Warkworth, NE65 0SW, tel 01665 711 596, www.warkworthgolfclub.co.uk
Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages
With more than 480 holiday cottages in prime golfing locations throughout Northumberland including Alnmouth, Seahouses and Bamburgh, Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages is ideal for those travelling to the region.
With a selection of cottages sleeping between 2-12 people and many close to some of the region’s most spectacular golf courses, they’re the ideal choice for a base for golfing holidays. Established in 1981, Northumbria Coast & Country Cottages is Northumberland’s largest independent holiday letting agency, with sales offices in Alnmouth and Seahouses. For further information, tel 01665 830783 or go to, www.northumbria-cottages.co.uk