Dean Bailey heads to the Yorkshire coast to take in the clifftop delights of Whitby Golf Club
There’s a lot to be said for a walk on the seaside on a summer’s day – adding in golf and spectacular views only makes it better.
Whitby Golf Club, high on the clifftops on the Yorkshire coast just outside the town, brings together all of these.
A clifftop links, Whitby’s primary defences are its firm, fast greens and the wind blowing off the North Sea. On a calm day this 6,259-yard layout will yield birdies as drives bound down firm fairways, while even a slight breeze can make the course play far tougher than its yardage suggests.
Following an easy start with a 282-yard par four protected by a water hazard 10 yards short of the green and two greenside bunkers, and a short par five of 449 yards back past the clubhouse with out of bounds left, you get within touching distance of the coastline for the first time at the 344-yard par four third.
With a stunning backdrop of towering cliffs in the distance, the fairway here is defended by a cross bunker and a drop down onto the cliff to the right side. A lay up with a long iron will leave a tough wedge shot to a large, firm green.
The fourth is the first hole to run along the clifftop edge and got our pick for signature hole (see fact file).
The tricky, 394-yard par four fifth plays uphill with out of bounds left forcing you to play right for safety. The green here sits on its own hill with a right-hand bunker cut into the bank well below the putting surface and another at the front left of the two-tiered green.
Played over a huge inlet, the tee shot at the 446-yard par four sixth is the toughest on the course. Anything mishit will find the inlet and road below though a generous fairway awaits a good drive. The fairway sweeps right and uphill towards the green with out of bounds creeping closer to the left side as you continue towards the green.
Heading back down the hill parallel with the sixth, the seventh plays much shorter than its 374 yards with no bunkers guarding a green surrounded by mounding. The eighth returns back up the hill and there are fantastic views of the course from its elevated tee, while the 305-yard downhill ninth may be in reach for some though few will take on a small green protected a fairway bunker with a tall face which blocks sight of the flag from the tee.
Crossing the road, which runs through the middle of the course, the 318-yard par four 10th is a tactical test. Most will play an iron to the widest part of the fairway at this 90-degree dogleg right before pitching over the dip short of the green; though some may take the large, generally flat green with the wind blowing in the right direction.
The first of just three par threes, the 11th measures 159 yards from the back tee and is tricky with two big bunkers short of the green cut below the putting surface before heading to the highest point on the course for the stroke index one 12th.
Measuring 433 yards, the drive here is tough with very deep rough right and left. Only the longest hitters will make it to the top of the hill at around 270 yards and have sight of the green, which sits beyond a steep dip in the fairway with a large bunker cut into the slope at the front right corner. A burn sits at the bottom of the slope around 50 yards short of the green and will gather anything landing short of the green.
Heading back towards the coastline, the 13th is a good birdie chance should you avoid the deep hollow and greenside bunker which will gather anything running down the fairway towards the green. A lay up to around 100 yards is best to a very tricky green complex which falls away right into a hazard and left into the bunker. Heading for home, the 201-yard 14th features a huge, round green with no bunkers while the long 15th and 16th measure 412 and 403 yards respectively and are played left to right and right to left. Both require long, accurate tee shots to make the corners of the doglegs before finding greens which sit above the fairway.
Crossing back over road, the 17th is the toughest of the par threes at 249 yards but all downhill it plays much shorter. Anything short of the green should bounce up to a large, generally flat putting surface with a bunker set just off the front right corner.
Whitby finishes with a great birdie chance at the par five 18th. Playing back over the inlet from the sixth hole, a generous fairway runs downhill to a green set between two front bunkers. Long approaches are tough here though a pitch of 40-50 yards should yield a birdie chance.
Green fees Mon £12.50 Tues-Fri £30 Weekends and Bank Holidays £33 Twilight £12.50 (see website for details)
Total distance White tees 6,259 yards Yellow tees 6,106 Red tees 5,620 yards
Features Clubhouse bar and dining room Locker rooms and changing facilities Pro shop and PGA tuition Practice ground Putting green
Caddy’s tip Keep your ball in play and a hot putter will unlock a good score here
Signature hole The fourth at Whitby is a stunning clifftop par four of 347 yards. The tee shot is played over an inlet with the beach and cliffs left, while a large, deep bunker waits in the middle of the landing area. Bunkers at the front right and back left protect a green which slopes back to front