Join us on a tour of some of the North East’s best coastal courses
Alnmouth Village Golf Club
Set on rugged coastline just a few steps from the beach, Alnmouth Village Golf Club is home to England’s oldest nine-hole course. 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.
Having climbed the hill on the sixth hole, 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 a tough test.
Set on clifftops above the North Sea, the course at Seahouses Golf Club is predominantly laid out on free-draining terrain, ensuring it remains open year-round. While the course is not particularly long by modern standards, it is a pleasure to play with six par threes – two of which are among the best in the UK. While the 10th is a delightful short hole, the 15th has stunning views and is played over an inlet with the North Sea crashing below, and can require anything from a wedge to mid-iron depending on the wind. The clubhouse and veranda overlooking the beach is a wonderful place for refreshments, and to relax and enjoy the view.
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 – including significant work in recent months on the famous Doctor par three. Meanwhile, the opening up of the landscape through the removal of 3.1 hectares of sea buckthorn along with multiple bunker renovations, redesigns and additions has improved the spectacle and enhanced the challenge of the Teesside links. Its remaining MacKenzie features and spectacular greens make this a must-play course ahead of the English Amateurs next season.
The coastal layout at South Shields Golf Club brings together elements of heathland and links with stunning views of the North Sea. Founded in 1893, the club remains a popular destination on the Durham coast with its easy-walking layout and year-round presentation. At 6,295 yards, the course – originally a MacKenzie-Braid design – 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.
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 see 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 find the correct sections of the well-defended greens.