Courses played in England
A few notes on courses I have been lucky enough to to play on over the years. I did not make contemporaneous notes nor keep scorecards. Drink may have been taken on these occasions so sometimes there is little that I can add. I haven’t rated them as most have only been played once and my mood and that of Mother Nature’s could unfairly burden a perfectly good club with my opprobrium. Further notes will be added as they are played again
Berwick-upon-Tweed, Goswick; It made a great impression on me as a wonderful links but I used up so much pencil lead on my scorecard that I wish I had carried a sharpener. Everything looked possible but it never quite worked out
Bamburgh; Force 5 hangover, force 6 wind and two par 3s to start. 1 iron needed. Is this why I am no fan of a par 3 starter; bad memories re-surfacing. I am told the views are unforgettable but I could'nt see them through the weather so will have to go back
Royal West Norfolk; I am lucky enough to have played here annually for the last few years. It is a treasure. Crab sandwiches in a panelled room, an out and back layout, ideal turf for a links, wind snapping in your face. I don’t know how we will keep it from further erosion but we must. The appropriately royal we includes members and the rest of us
Hunstanton; It is unfair that two such good courses are so close as everyone will have their favourite when both are wonderful courses. It has a greater variety than RWN, and has it’s share of heritage and is arguably more difficult than it’s neighbour but I just don’t love it as much.
Princes; I had a ‘day' here, with one of my boys, sun shone, just enough wind, 27 holes, putts on rails, best round in yonks. I visited the Sarazen bunker and still got round in my handicap. I am sure it will not always be so clement. A very good layout with so many classic links challenges on every hole. The Dormy house is more of a hotel and a great base for the area. Good size rooms, great food, and no need to drive
Royal Cinque Ports; A proper foursomes links course where you need to leap-frog your partner just so you have a chance of finding your ball. And you get back to the bar in good time. I don’t know why this format is not more popular it needs promoting. And two rounds in the day is so much easier as you get older if you are only playing alternate shots. Odd but true. They could speed up the Ryder Cup by making them leap-frog in the foursomes rather than conferencing every shot. Rolling fairways and thick rough as well as some excellent holes make this a great matchplay course. They also like their hickory shafts here.
Royal St George’s; A veritable classic, always fantastically well maintained, plays beautifully, and as original as many of it’s members. A treat at any time of the year. Lovely rolling terrain. Revetted and sleepered bunkers. You will be forced to play cunning shots from ridiculous stances which give joy when they come off and stories to tell when they don’t
Littlestone; Some startlingly good holes from unpromising terrain. Always nice to start with a par. The ideal hole when you are starting in front of the club house. Some very testing holes on the way back in keep you guessing till the last
Rye; Another ‘proper’ club with some majestic links holes. I have only played in winter, usually trying to squeeze two rounds in on the shortest day of the year, and getting back to the enormous lunch with your fingers unfrozen. Like RWN I love seeing the boats and ships on the sea almost amongst the fairways
Trevose; A course which could be a classic if it wasn’t set up as a holiday course. I spray it everywhere and yet always found my ball without too much penalty. I always feel that it has all the attributes of a wonderful course but without the rough it felt like a missed opportunity. On the plus side I paid my green fee out of the money saved on balls not lost
St Enodoc; Betjeman’s charm and more. There was no way on earth that my putt on the first green was going to roll off the green It hadn’t even entered my head that I might be playing a wedge next. But it did and I played two chips back up to the green. The course kind of pulled me in and wore me down. Like being flirted with by a beautiful girl when at the end of the night she disappears and you are left with nothing
Saunton Sands East & West; Another special trip, this time with my eldest son, we stayed at the Hotel and looked down on the mountainous dunes with trepidation. A combination 18 of the two courses would be fiendish but curiously you are never amongst the mountainous dunes but there are great links contours; holes snaking like giant rabbit runs and the occasional higher tee to pop your head out like a meerkat to survey the scene. My only grumble at the hotel which was otherwise perfect, was being served wine from a less good vintage than the one quoted and being given no discount even when challenged. It is like paying the full green fee and then having to play winter greens all the way round. An annoyance rather than snobbishness
Burnham & Berrow; I am lucky enough to have been a member here. It is massively under rated. Always immaculate with some holes that I have never quite conquered. I love the more mountainous dunes, springy turf and the consistently excellent greens. I once played a four ball better ball against a man who contributed no points and his partner who played the back nine in level par to beat us. I also took a putt too casually that missed which had I known, would have made a difference. Apologies AH. The Home page is a picture back towards the clubhouse from the first