Missing the links

This month we head to the seaside to sample the best coastal courses across the north

Alnmouth Village Golf Club
Set on rugged coastline within a few feet of the spectacular 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 holes are played within yards of the North Sea. Meanwhile, the view from the seventh tee is one of the best on any golf course in the UK. The course retains much of its layout – and its 19th Century clubhouse – and though it is one of the shortest courses in the region, imagination and controlling the golf ball into the small, fast greens with their many swales and steep drop-offs is key.
Alnmouth Village Golf Club, Marine Road, Alnmouth, NE66 2RZ, tel 01665 830 370, www.alnmouthvillagegolfclub.co.uk

Cleveland Golf Club
The links of Cleveland have a special place in our region’s golfing history. The oldest club in Yorkshire, and the county’s only links course, the club was established in 1887 and the course has been moulded by three of golf’s greatest designers – Old Tom Morris, Harry S Colt and Donald Steel, who designed three new holes in 2000. Cleveland remains a stern test today, measuring 6,921 yards from the back tees with a par of 72. The annual Cleveland Salver produces incredibly talented winners with recent champions including Chris Paisley and Alex Fitzpatrick, who also won the Yorkshire Amateur Championship here in 2017, shooting a course record round of 62. While the course maintains its links challenge with length, often stiff North Sea winds, penal pot bunkers and thick rough, the landscape around the course continues to evolve as the industrial skyline of Redcar is removed and the view returns to the one Morris and Colt would have enjoyed all those years ago.
Cleveland Golf Club, Majuba Road, Redcar, Cleveland, TS10 5BJ, tel 01642 471 798, www.clevelandgolfclub.co.uk

Newbiggin Golf Club
The links and moorland at Newbiggin have stood the test of time and remain a great example of Northumberland’s links golf. 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 on the opening holes, while good long-range putting is also a key to good scoring. At more than 6,800 yards off the back tees, Newbiggin is certainly no pushover.
Newbiggin Golf Club, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, NE64 6DW, tel 01670 817 344, www.newbiggingolfclub.co.uk

Seahouses Golf Club
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. The 15th is recognised internationally as one of the finest short holes in golf. 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.
Seahouses Golf Club, Beadnell Road, Seahouses, NE68 7XT, tel 01665 720 794, www.seahousesgolf.co.uk

Seaton Carew Golf Club
With a layout created by the legendary Dr Alister MacKenzie, and further enhanced by top architects before being refined further in recent years by course manager Tom Coulson, Seaton Carew is one of the region’s most important golf courses. Seaton will celebrate its 150th birthday in 2024 and host the English Amateur championships. Ahead of the occasion, Tom and his team have worked incredibly hard to enhance the golf course. The opening up of the landscape through the removal of 3.1 hectares of sea buckthorn along with multiple bunker renovations, redesigns and additions have improved the spectacle and enhanced the challenge of the Teesside links. Its remaining MacKenzie features and spectacular greens make this a must-play course.
Seaton Carew Golf Club, Tees Road, Seaton Carew, TS25 1DE, tel 01429 266 249, www.seatoncarewgolfclub.co.uk

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 the north’s best 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 a stalwart in the UK’s top 100 and is framed by impressive dunes strewn with gorse. 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 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 year-round high quality. At 6,295 yards, the course – originally a MacKenzie-Braid design – is short by modern standards but remains challenging, particularly when the wind blows. The views stretch in all directions here – out over the Tyne estuary, north to the Cheviot hills and south over Wearside to the Cleveland Hills.
South Shields Golf Club, South Shields, Cleadon Hills, South Shields, NE34 8EG, tel 0191 456 8942, www.ssgc.co.uk

Warkworth Golf Club
Founded in 1891 and laid out by Old Tom Morris, the nine-hole out and back layout at Warkworth is a delight. The current course features 18 tees – each separate from its counterpart on the opposite nine. Looking out over the North Sea, there’s views across to the Carr Rocks and Coquet Island, while inland you’ll find Warkworth Castle. At just under 6,000 yards from the back tees, the key to scoring here is finding the best position on the fairway to be able to attack the well-bunkered greens.
Warkworth Golf Club, The Links, Warkworth NE65 0SW, tel 01665 711 596, www.warkworthgolf.club