This month we head to the seaside to sample a selection of fine links courses
Hartlepool Golf Club
Hartlepool Golf Club is a true links gem on the Durham coast and remains incredibly popular among those who enjoy a testing seaside layout on the North East coast.
The course is a combination of rolling fairways, hillocks and dunes studded with Marram grass, and some of finest views of the North East coast. There have been subtle changes over the years with bunker improvements and new raised tees, but the hand of James Braid, who designed some of the holes, can still be seen – particularly at the signature 10th hole.
At just 6,298 yards off the tips, the course isn’t the longest, though there are five par fours measuring more than 400 yards and like many seaside courses, you can be faced with all four seasons in a round.
The signature par four 10th hole is one of James Braid’s best. It may only be 358 yards but a straight drive is required to avoid the rough on the left and four bunkers to the right of the fairway, while the second shot is blind and must be played over a mound between two higher peaks to a large green below. A fantastic golf hole at the heart of a true links test.
Hartlepool Golf Club Hart Warren, Hartlepool, TS24 9QF, tel 01429 274 398, www.hartlepoolgolfclub.co.uk
Silloth on Solway Golf Club
The Cumbrian coast is blessed with a great landscape for golf and Silloth on Solway Golf Club makes stunning use of the natural terrain to present one of England’s finest courses. Designed in 1892 by David Grant and developed by a number of architects throughout its history including Dr Alister MacKenzie and Willie Park Junior, the course is framed by impressive dunes strewn with yellow gorse. Featuring all the hallmarks of a great links, the views across the Firth are spectacular while the sunken dell greens and hazardous bunkering are brought together in a fascinating golf course which is a real pleasure to play.
Silloth on Solway Golf Club, Station Road, Silloth, CA7 4AE, tel 016973 31304, www.sillothgolfclub.co.uk
South Shields Golf Club
The coastal layout at South Shields Golf Club brings together elements of heathland and classic links with stunning views out across the North Sea. Founded in 1893, the club remains a popular destination on the Durham coast with its easy walking layout and fine year-round presentation. At 6295 yards, the course – originally a MacKenzie-Braid design – is short by modern standards but remains a true test, particularly when the wind blows. The views here stretch in all directions – out over the Tyne estuary, north to the Cheviot hills and south over Wearside to the Cleveland Hills.
South Shields, Cleadon Hills, South Shields, NE34 8EG, tel 0191 456 8942, www.ssgc.co.uk
West Cliffs Golf Links, Portugal
Our friends at Golf Escapes are experts on golfing travel so we asked them for a fine example of links golf on the continent and they chose the stunning West Cliffs Golf Links in Lisbon, Portugal.
Owned and managed by the Praia d’el Rey Golf Resort, West Cliffs Golf Links opened in June 2017 and has everything a golfer could wish for. A truly stunning design with rolling fairways taking in spectacular views of the Atlantic as you carve through the sand dunes, the course can stretch to 7,003 yards, though its generous fairways are welcoming to all players. The greens here are designed to challenge players who aren’t accurate with their approaches, while being beautifully presented year-round. The course was designed by Cynthia Dye McGarey, the daughter of golf course architect Roy Anderson Dye and niece to golf course architect Pete Dye, and takes in the varied landscape and natural terrain of the Silver Coast with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby Óbidos Lagoon.
Blessed with a truly spectacular location, the luxury Praia d’el Rey Marriott Beach and Golf Resort offers guests a beautiful blend of colonial and traditional Portuguese architecture situated beside one of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe.
For more information and to book your trip contact the team at Golf Escapes, tel 01342 811 777, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.golf-escapes.com