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East Coast England Golf Courses

Just south of the border lies Berwick-upon-Tweed, an excellent links and well worth playing. It was extremely dry when I was there in 2006 so it is one I plan to revisit. Driving south a little further you will come across Seahouses -strictly holiday golf but worth playing with several holes right at the cliff edge beside the sea.

Further south you detour from the main coastal road and head for the town of Hartlepool. Just to the south, beside Hartlepool Bay, you will find the very good links Seaton Carew. They have 22 holes here and the two nines are played in several sequence combinations. This is grand golfing terrain but you have to ignore the visual aspect of the power plant and petro chemical plant just a few miles away.

Next stop is Ganton, about 11 miles inland from Scarborough. Ganton is a top class links. Yes , I have classified it as a unique 'inland links' as this area was once covered by the North Sea. This is a really good layout, quality bunkers and an ever present wind. What's your decision re the 17th where you hit across the road - is it a long par 3 or a short par 4?

              (photo Ganton)

You now have a longer drive to the Seacroft links at Skegness. Whilst Skegness has some fairly unsitely areas of amusement arcades and caravan parks the course itself is well worth playing. It is plenty of fun and a reasonable challenge without being too difficult. Whist I will discuss it in more detail under the inland courses, whilst at Skegness you can detour inland on the A158 to play the wonderful but very challenging Woodhall Spa located in the town of the same name.

               (photo Seacroft) 

Just south of The Wash are two links that should be high on your priority list, namely Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk. Hunstanton has its share of unusual holes and makes an almost unique use of  'traffic lights' to solve the problem of a blind shot to the green  at the par 3,14th and beach goers wandering across the 18th.

 If you really want to know what it was like to play golf 'between the wars', then Royal West Norfolk is a must. The old clubhouse is pretty much on the beach and seems destined to be troubled by rising sea levels. You have to check the tide times just to be able to access and depart. Sleepered bunkers and tidal marshes are just some of the challenges. You will never forget the short par 5, 8th best described by Bernard Darwin with the analogy... 'of a man crossing a stream by somewhat imperfect stepping stones, so that he has to make a perilous leap from one to the other.'

To the south lies Sheringham and then Cromer. Each are interesting clifftop courses with Sheringham being more of a links nature. Cromer is on heavier soil and has some particulary challenging holes bordered by very thick bracken. Each is worth a game if you are in the area but I would not be make a trip just to play them.

There are two unusal links before you get to Deal. Great Yarmouth and Caister lies on the coast parallel to the city of Norwich. I found this to be quite disappointing - I don't know that it is compatible having a horse racing track inside the golf course. Further south is Felixstowe Ferry with its distinctive Martello towers left over from the Napoleonic wars. Holes 1-3 and 13-18 are on the sea side of the road and are more the genuine links feel. Road ways are always a problem -at the par 3,12th you hit over the road back toward the clubhouse but first you must clear the high wire mesh fence that protects passing traffic from low shots.

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