Great Yarmouth & Caister, 29th May 2017
Have you ever seen those golf courses built in the middle of horse racing tracks? And wondered what was the point? Flat and featureless so as not to disturb the horses or the glinting binoculars; they hold no golfing charm. Just a money spinner when the horses are away. But not here. This is different.
If I was in the stands at Great Yarmouth I would swing my binoculars away from the Classic prospects to the beautifully sleepered bunkers, sunken greens, rising dunes, canny dog legs, gorsey hollows and undulating fairways. Would I be able to bash a seven iron over the banks and hold the green? Or would I have to run it across the slopes and thread it through the bunkers to avoid the cross wind and catch the green?
Inevitably there are a couple of holes compromised by the equine neighbours but the majority, the best of them are enticing challenges, with no little difficulty. The greens were variable after a difficult spring and on the day we played three of the par threes were set up with the same club length which was a pity as they were good looking holes. The outermost 12th is glorified by the Life boat station. This gives a clue as to how tough this course must be in inclement weather. And a Lifeboat station must go down as one upmanship over mere railways and churches. Added to the list of accoutrements for my ideal links course. However this is the only suggestion of the sea which is not visible at any point. Views are denied by the holiday park and caravans.
The next par 3 offers a view to a sunken green protected by the aforementioned sleepered bunkers and is perhaps the most picaresque. With so many other great courses it will struggle for attention but when it is good it is very, very good but when it is average it is just not worth it which may account for a third of the holes. It is with these exceptions a proper and lovely links course.
Appropriately enough, as the home of bogey golf, there was a more than generous handful of them. Tie it in with a day at the races.