Top 5 golf courses to visit on the Northumberland Coast
The Northumberland coast is renowned for walking, long sweeping beaches and the outdoor active life.
It is probably less known for some of the absolute gems of golf courses bordering the sandy coastline. Having grown up 2 miles from Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club and having a father that has been a member there for over 50 years, Rob is here to tell you what you can experience.
Within a stretch of 20 miles there are in my opinion 7 of the most scenic and tricky links golf courses in the country. From castles at Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh to islands at Warkworth and Seahouses. There is a little bit for everyone on the courses of the Northumberland coast.
I grew up playing at Dunstanburgh every Sunday morning and never got bored of the scenery or challenge the course provided. Climbing up the steep sand dune to the second tee leaves a view to die for. Tunring 180 degrees you see the entirety of Embleton Bay. A stunning curved beach, sweeping its way right up to the sharp rocks of the cliffs at the end. On top stands the remains of Dunstanburgh castle. A ruin of a castle but still dramatically imposing perched up on the cliff top.
Our Top 5
Golf is a huge part of the coastline in Northumberland with several top-rated golf courses winding their way up the coast in amongst the sand dunes and curving round long sweeping bays.
So why not throw your clubs in the car and gather some friends when taking a visit to this beautiful part of the world and play some truly amazing courses.
Looking for the best cottage to stay in on your visit try Guillemot with it’s large hallway for all those golf clubs, or if you’d rather stay further inland find oodles of space at Swallows Rest .
I grew up playing with my Dad in the area and have played a large amount of the courses over the last 30 years and here are my top 5 must play courses.
1. Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course
Set looping around the long sweeping bay at Embleton is Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club. Under the shadows of Dunstanburgh Castle this 18 hole course stretches around the bay almost to Low Newton.
An extremely warm welcome awaits as you come down the hill towards the bay. A bacon sandwich and a coffee in the clubhouse is a must before heading out to tackle the challenges ahead.
Some really challenging and memorable holes lie ahead starting at the 4th a Par 3. Not hugely long but the green is perched upon the top of a mound that sends any errant balls shooting off to places you just don’t want to be.
The 6th hole provides the most amazing view of the bay, sweeping around to meet the rugged cliffs which Dunstanburgh castle sits on. Teeing off some 50ft above the fairway can be a real test on a windy day. Of which there are plenty in this part of the world.
The 13th hole, the Castle Hole is probably the one that is pictured most of all. A short Par 3 hitting over a large gulley to a green lying beneath the shadows of the castle. Short but challenging and always a great spot for a photo.
My home course growing up and a great challenge for all golfers definitely one to put on your list.
2. Alnmouth Village Golf Club
Established in 1869 this course has the title as the oldest 9-hole links golf course in England. Who doesn’t want to say they have played that and with only 9 holes, a quick spin around this course leaves plenty of time in the rest of your day to explore the area. Or just find a nice little pub in the picturesque village of Alnmouth and relax and unwind whilst enjoying the local ales.
Once again, this course hugs the coastline offering several challenging holes to enjoy. Be careful to watch out for the cars crossing the course to access the beach car park and do try and keep the ball off the beach.
The pick of the bunch is the 7th, like the 6th at Dunstanburgh, you are perched high upon the top of the sand dunes for your tee shot. Hitting way up into the sky to land it on the fairway down below. Stunning views of the coastline here include the harbour town of Amble as well as Coquet Island.
This can be played as an 18-hole course but if you’re looking for a quick 9 holes this is a great place to go.
3. Bamburgh Castle Golf Course
One of the pearls on the coastline of Northumberland and a course I haven’t played all that much. Winding your way down the single-track road alongside the sea it feels as though you’re driving somewhere special. As you park the car and step out and look back to where you have come from you see why. Dominating the scenery of this course is the awe inspiring Bamburgh Castle.
Enjoying your pre round cup of coffee whilst looking out at the coastline and the castle, motivation will be high.
The course is short but tricky, fun but thought-provoking with 6 par 3’s in total. Names of holes include Farne Island, Lindisfarne, Cheviot View and Castle View so as you can probably imagine the course is dominated by amazing scenery.
The eighth hole, titled “Island” is Bamburgh’s signature hole. This tricky shot involves accuracy and precision to find the “island green”. The fifteenth hole offers the most picturesque vistas. From this spot, appropriately named “Castle’s View,” you can see castles, hills, and the glistening waters of the North Sea.
If you want to see some of Northumberland’s most impressive scenery whilst chasing a white ball then this the course for you.
4. Goswick Golf Club
According to National Golfer publication this course is:
Ranked among the top 50 courses in England, this classic links deserves better acclaim. No doubt it’s one of the UK’s best hidden gems.’
A round on this championship track is far more qualitative than quantitative. It really must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
I am ashamed to say at the age of 39 and having lived in Northumberland for 27 years before relocating I have never played this gem. It’s on the cards this year though.
I am assured from the oracle of Northumberland golf (my dad), that this is a course you won’t regret travelling the extra 15 miles north to play.
Host to the regional Open qualifying rounds proves the quality of the track that you would be stepping onto. Once again enjoying views over to Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle.
Probably tipping up at the top end of your budget for a round of golf but I suppose you get what you pay for and 4 hours wandering through the undulating fairways will certainly feel like time and money well spent.
5. Alnmouth Golf Club (Foxton Hall)
Alnmouth Golf Club, Foxton Hall overlooks the splendours of both Foxton and Alnmouth Bay on the Northumberland coastline in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. It is widely regarded as one of the finest golf courses in the North East of England.
It seems we say this a lot about the courses in Northumberland but with this course being established in 1869, it is steeped in history. Alnmouth Golf Club is the 4th oldest golf club in England and it comes with a twist. Although the course has a coastal location it has parkland turf which can be confusing at times but adds to the challenge. Coupled with a reputation for the fine quality of the greens and superb presentation you are sure to enjoy a round at Alnmouth Golf Club.
Stand out holes on this course are the Par 3, 5th hole. A picturesque hole with the coastline hugging the left-hand side. Far reaching views down the coast to Amble and Coquet Island means you are open to the challenge of the elements. The direction and the strength of the tough coastal weather dictating the club you reach for.
The 16th is the other memorable hole. On the tee you can see the view down over the estuary of the river Aln behind you. In front of you lies a long Par 5 heading straight towards the North Sea.
Views everywhere you look and some challenging golf to be had at Alnmouth Golf Club, playing your final shots into a green nestled up against the club house is always a nice way to end your round.
The Northumberland area is spoilt for choice when it comes to golf and these are only 5 of the outstanding courses you can play. Others include Warkworth, Seahouses and Magdalene Fields (Berwick), if you want to stay by the coast. Or if you want to head in land there is Alnwick Castle, Linden Hall, Burgham and Longhirst all within a short drive of our accommodation.
If you have never visited Northumberland to get your golfing fix it really should be one on your bucket list. Outstanding courses all year round in on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country.