Horsham Golf and Fitness

Horsham Golf and Fitness

Type of course? Parkland.

Pleasant staff? Yes.

Best hole? None stood out.

Après golf? It was a match, so we had average quiche and salad afterwards.

Nice round? My opponent was lovely and I played well, so yes.

Special memory? My opponent making a rare mistake and going into a pond. All I had to do to win the hole was avoid the pond and put the ball on the green. Simple, no? Splash.

Must play again? No. I’m just not a fan of parkland courses.

Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club

Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club

Type of course? Links.

Pleasant staff? Again, no pro shop. Is it a Northern thing? Again, efficient and nice service from the ladies behind the bar.

Best hole? The 13th par 3. It’s not really about the hole, but more about the view you get from the tee of the impressive ruins of 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle. As a backdrop to a green, it doesn’t get much more impressive. It was also quite funny to take our shot with a little crowd watching us. There’s a walking path that runs along the green and people wisely wait until you’ve played before moving on.

Après golf? An extremely satisfying bacon and roll bap outside, looking at the beach goers, surfers and golfers going about their seaside business.

Nice round? Ruined castles and golf are two of my favourite things, so mix both and I’m a happy girl. Again, the weather and the pace of play were perfect. The course follows the dunes towards the South, so you get to enjoy amazing views of Embleton Bay and of the remains of Dunstanburg Castle. The fairways and entrances to the greens are fairly tight and the dunes vegetation was dense, with beautiful wildflowers, so a couple of balls might have been lost (we both scored 33 points), but it made for a great challenge.

Special memory? Running to the top of the dunes alongside the 9th to see what was on the other side and discovering the beautiful Embleton Bay in all its sunny glory.

Must play again? I would love to. It’s a fun and challenging course, even without the wind. I really liked that this section of the Northumberland coast is enjoyed by many walkers, beach goers, surfers and of course golfers, everyone mixing without any apparent problem. This is a very welcoming golf course at one with its environment. Also in my top 3.

Bamburgh Castle Golf Club

Bamburgh Castle Golf Club

Type of course? Northumbrian clifftops.

Pleasant staff? No pro shop, so the efficient lady behind the bar took our green fees and told us where to find scorecards while cleaning the lines and generally busying herself with running the place.

Best hole? The 16th. You have to drive over a chasm and when you get to your ball, you see that the fairway turns sharply left between two rocky outcrops and there is the green, with the big bulk of Bamburgh Castle in the distance.

Après golf? We had to rush off to beat the incoming tide and make it back to the Very Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Nice round? Fact: the Northumbrian coast is sublime. Also fact: the Northumbrian weather is often… challenging. Once again we were very lucky, with no wind and just enough of a chill in the air to sport a fetching tank top. The golf was fantastic fun (we scored 38 and 36 points with 3 birdies between us), but what made this round extra special was the surroundings: the sea, the cliffs and the looming presence of the impressive Bamburgh Castle in the distance.

Special memory? Standing on the green of the 14th with a 360 degree view of the coast and the countryside. Gorgeous.

Must play again? Definitely. What a great course. Also in my top 3. No two holes are the same: flat, uphill, downhill, ravines, elevated tees, doglegs, intimidating par 3s, it has it all. And the clubhouse is cozy and lovely.

Goswick Golf Club

Goswick Golf Club

Type of course? Links. Whoever thought the area between beach and land would make an excellent place to try and hit a stone with a stick towards a small hole in the distance was a genius.

Pleasant staff? Super friendly, especially the pro who almost convinced me to pick the sparkly pink ball marker instead of the classy black one. Nice try young lassy, but no.

Best hole? It’s hard to pick a hole out, as they’re all brilliant fun, but the 13th, which ends with a small bowl-like green nestled in the dunes, was particularly beautiful.

Après golf? Ham, egg and chips before our round. Classic.

Nice round? Amazing. The course is in the top 100 in England and it’s easy to see why. Narrow, long fairways like a blanket unceremoniously thrown on the floor. Beautifully shaped greens. Amazing landscape by the North Sea. We had fantastic conditions, with light winds and sunshine followed by spooky thick fog. I shudder to think how much harder the course would be on a cold, windy December day.

Special memory? The joy and relief of seeing my shot on the 18th par 3 clear the phalanx of 6 foot deep bunkers protecting the green, only to realise as we approached that there was a second row of even deeper bunkers straight behind. And yes I was in one of them.

Must play again? YES. It’s in my top three.

Linden Hall Golf Course

Linden Hall Golf Course

Type of course? Parkland.

Pleasant staff? Very, both in the pro shop and in the bar.

Best hole? The meandering 13th is tricky to get right and very attractive, with Linden Hall in the background of the green.

Après golf? Delicious pecan tart and carrot cake in the beautiful, cozy bar.

Nice round? I was playing in the mixed Open with my brother-in-law’s best friend. I love the greensomes format and we both played well. Only once did we both drive into a nearby pond.

Special memory? I loved playing with Stuart, whose strong North-East accent made all communication near impossible. Everything he said sounded mysterious and wise and he agreed with me whenever I thought I should hit the ball rather than him. This strategy of pleasantly uncommunicative communication seemed to work, as we ended up winning the Open.

Must play again? No. Nice course, but the holes were all a bit samey.

Northcliffe Golf Club

Northcliffe Golf Club

Type of course? Undulating parkland, but not the bad kind: the grass wasn’t too sticky and the trees mostly kept their distance.

Pleasant staff? I liked the pro because when I whinged that women don’t get to drive over the ravine on the 1st, he said we could go off the men’s tee if we wanted. Scandalous!

Best hole? It would be the first if I was a man, but as I’m not, it has to be the 18th par 3 into said ravine. I can imagine many a good card has been ruined there.

Après golf? A grilling from the local ladies over a decent enough mushroom and mozzarella panini.

Nice round? Wonderful. The Yorkshire sun was shining and I was hitting the ball cleanly, if not straightly.

Special memory? The local ladies playing it cool and pretending they hadn’t noticed the two obvious strangers before we teed off, but being unable to contain their curiosity when they saw us sit down with our lunch after our round.

Must play again? Yes. The course is tidy, beautiful, interesting and fun, with great starting and finishing holes.