Some of the finest, but largely undiscovered, Links golf courses in the world, reside in England’s northernmost counties of Durham, Northumberland and Cumbria.
Links golf isn’t all just about the superstars of Royal Birkdale, Royal St. Georges and Royal Lytham, and the other famous links courses. It’s also about unsung heroes like Seascale which provide all the drama and excitement offered by the above … but for considerably less money. Not the longest but, like so many old links, provides a severe test when the wind is blowing. That particularly applies to the more intriguing back nine which runs close to the sea with the demanding closing three capable of ruining many scorecards.
Seascale has been around since 1893 but is still a hidden links gem. You’ll find it on the west coast of Cumbria and this traditional links offers stunning Isle of Man, Scotland and Lake District views.
There is no easy way to get to Silloth on Solway, so it can be under-rated, but it is a bona fide top 50 links with tight, undulating fairways exposed to the winds.
Despite its somewhat remote location on the Cumbrian coast in the north west of England, Silloth is well worth taking the time and trouble to play whether it be for a competitive round or just a special golfing day out. Silloth undoubtedly delivers on both counts. It is an Open Championship Qualifying course, and quite simply has to be played by anyone who loves traditional links golf.
Created by David Grant and Willie Park Jnr along with Mother Nature herself, the course majestically winds its way between towering sand dunes and provides sensational panoramic views. It has a superb variety of holes with the star being the par-4 4th where you must drive to the top of a ridge to have any view of the long, narrow green that falls off sharply on both sides. Pick of the short holes is the Postage Stamp-esque 9th.
Goswick Links is a James Braid masterpiece, widely acknowledged as a truly outstanding links course which is playable all year round. A regional qualifier for the Open championship this 6803 yard par 73 course is real test of golf and is a must play for the discerning golfer. Situated amidst the most stunning Northumbrian coastal scenery is just off the A1 south of the historic and beautiful town of Berwick upon Tweed and sixty miles from both Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Enjoying post-round refreshments in Bamburgh Castle’s charming old wooden clubhouse, it is hard not to start devising a scenario that would allow you to become a country member here.
There can hardly be a prettier course in England – stand on the 14th tee and you can enjoy a view of the sea on three sides, miles and miles of unspoilt beaches, Holy Island and, of course, the eponymous castle, which on a bright morning is framed stunningly by the rising sun behind it.
Fun from start to finish, Bamburgh is by no means the longest course you will ever play at under 5,700 yards. But a further glance at the scorecard will reveal a par of just 68, and that gives you an idea of the type of course this is.