I am recently in receipt of some stunning new photography from the magnificent Silloth on Solway Golf Club in Cumbria, close to the Scottish border, and decided to write a blog to indulge myself in the happy memories of a visit there a few years back.
Upon visiting Silloth’s website, I was greeted by a home page that proudly announced that the golf club had been recognised as the No.1 golf course in Great Britain and Ireland with a green fee under £100. Conscious that green fees have been escalating at the best courses in recent times, this piqued my interest. There then followed a lovely prose by a Fergal O’Leary who works for Top 100 Golf Courses and is described as the ‘best travelled man in golf’; he extolls the virtues of the course, but then also expresses frustration that the course might not be getting the recognition it deserves in the various course rankings, due to its geographical location.
A couple of interesting and related points here I think. Firstly, anyone who has had the pleasure of playing Silloth will know that it is, unquestionably, a world class golf course. It is also one of the more attractive links courses in terms of scenery, with views across to Scotland on the opposite side of the Solway Firth. Always in excellent condition and offering a warm welcome, it is a course that should be played by any self respecting individual who claims to be a golf enthusiast and passionate about playing the best links.
So why would it be so underrated, and be charging a green fee that is less than half the amount that an equivalent course in other regions in the UK will charge?
As Fergal quite rightly points out, there is no excuse for it being underrated due to geography. Golf courses in the far reaches of New Zealand and Tasmania get rave reviews, so Silloth is hardly remote by comparison; it’s only 40 minutes from Carlisle and the M6 for heavens sake!
However, a once popular and grand Victorian seaside resort town, Silloth has long since become much quieter; the closure of the railway line from Carlisle in 1964, started a decline in the towns fortunes, and now, apart from the golf club itself, the town green and promenade, there is little else on offer.
The popular two night, three course trip favoured by so many golfing groups is possible, but no obvious cluster of courses emerge when considering an itinerary; although finding a way to play Seascale and Southerness, or Carlisle and Brampton Golf Clubs. would most certainly be worth the effort. Playing Silloth for three days with overnight stays somewhere close would suit me, and most others, just fine.
But, in truth, it doesn’t have the bars and restaurants of a Deal, Sandwich, Southport or Lytham. It’s not so much that it’s remote, maybe sequestered is a better word; the Golf Club is the main attraction, but it’s tucked away behind a working dockyard, which seems entirely appropriate…and just adds to the mystery of a forgotten town.
But whatever the history, it’s important for a golfer to know that in the present day, he or she can play a sensational golf course for £95. Not only is it the best course under £100 in the British Isles, I would even argue that if the green fee were £195, it may well be the best course under £200.
And finally, when talking of value for money, Silloth’s winter rate of £55 is just exceptional, and must be the best deal on the planet!