Work on restoring the golf course at Seaton Carew has continued in recent months as the club continues preparations to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2024.
Under the course management of Tom Coulson, who joined Seaton in May 2020, the links course had already undergone several changes, including multiple bunker renovations. Over the last few months, some 3.1 hectares of sea buckthorn have been removed, returning the course to one bordered by sand dunes rather dense shrubs.
“The removal of the sea buckthorn has made a big impact,” said Tom. “Retuning the sand dunes to their original aesthetic will make a big difference to the look of the golf course, returning it to an authentic links, as was envisioned nearly 150 years ago. The course already feels more expansive and will only improve as the sand dunes regenerate and fill in those areas where the sea buckthorn had taken over.”
As well as clearing the sea buckthorn, Tom and his team have created five new fairway bunkers on the seventh and eighth holes, tweaked the greenside bunkers on the seventh, and reinstated bunkers at the back of the seventh and eighth greens to enhance the challenge to specific pin positions.
A large bunker finished with a combination of sleepers, dune rough and revetting has also been created between the seventh and ninth greens by combining two smaller traps, while another bunker has also been reinstated on the ninth green.
“We have ambitious plans for the golf course and we’re enjoying the process of working through the projects,” added Tom. “We’ve stretched ourselves as a small team and going forward we’ll be working alongside contractors on the biggest projects to maximise what we can achieve during the winter months. We have more works planned for next winter and the process of improving the underlying agronomy on the greens to provide faster and, importantly, firmer surfaces is ongoing. In the short-term, our focus is now very much on preparing for the 2022 season and ensuring the course is at its very best for our members this summer.”
The programme of course developments will culminate with Seaton Carew hosting the English Amateur Championships in 2024, partnering with neighbouring Hartlepool Golf Club to host the opening rounds of the men’s and women’s championships, with the final rounds played at Seaton.