This month, we head west to Cumbria and visit four of the North West’s best golf clubs
Silloth on Solway Golf Club
The Cumbrian coast is blessed with an excellent 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 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. A stalwart among the top 100 golf courses in the UK, regardless of which list you use, Silloth has to be on every golfer’s must-play list.
Silloth on Solway Golf Club, Station Road, Silloth, CA7 4AE, tel 016973 31304, www.sillothgolfclub.co.uk
Penrith Golf Club
Set between the Lake District and the Eden Valley, Penrith Golf Club was formed in 1890 on rolling moorland with views of Blencathra and Helvellyn. The course is laid out on Beacon Hill above Penrith with its mature parkland aesthetics and spectacular views offering the perfect backdrop to a fascinating test of accuracy and green reading skills. Measuring between 6,148 yards from the blue tees and 5,402 yards from the red tees, the challenge here leans more towards ball striking and control rather than driving distance, while a superb set of undulating greens ensure the course is far from a pushover. Meanwhile, the town of Penrith is an ideal hub for a golfing holiday, with accommodation and a number of golf courses nearby.
Penrith Golf Club, Salkeld Road, Penrith, CA11 8SG, tel 01768 891 919, www.penrithgolfclub.co.uk
Appleby Golf Club
Situated just off the A66 – making access from the east simple – the golf course at Appleby best-described as inland links. Designed by Open champion Willie Fernie, the course makes excellent use of the dramatic landforms and undulations throughout its 5,986 yards, with heather and bracken tightening the layout and providing a stern test of accuracy from the tee and when approaching the greens. Positioned atop sandstone, which creates firm turf conditions, the course is free-draining and remains playable year-round – a rare trait in the land of the lakes! The signature hole at Appleby, the 15th, was voted 98th in GB&I’s best golf holes and has Hilton Beck, out of bounds and a concealed green to contend with. Best of luck in your endeavour to make a two.
Appleby Golf Club, Brackenber Moor, Appleby, CA16 6LP, tel 017683 51432, www.applebygolfclub.co.uk
Brampton Golf Club
Brampton offers many things – an incredible variety of holes; a heathland course which is playable all year round; spectacular scenery with views to the Pennine fells, Lake District peaks and all the way to Scotland; and a particularly friendly welcome. Designed by five-time Open champion James Braid, the course remains a challenging test today. The panoramic views from the clubhouse, which include the par three first hole, are stunning and serve as a perfect backdrop for pre- or post-round food. The first is one of nine holes on the clubhouse side of the road which have given Brampton the label of “mini Gleneagles”, while the other side of the road features the more rugged, quirky and spectacular holes. The eighth is the standout hole for many with its elevated tee offering views for miles around and a great look at the driveable, short par four. Meanwhile, the glacial lake of Talkin Tarn provides a beautiful backdrop to a number of holes. The last three holes are particularly thrilling with the chance to take on another par four and five before a perfect bookend to the course.
Brampton Golf Club, Tarn Road, Brampton, CA8 1HN, tel 016977 2255, www.bramptongolfclub.com