BAMBURGH CASTLE GOLF CLUB
Par 68, 5,604 yards
Unusually, it begins with two par-3s and has six in total, but don’t be fooled into thinking the course is a soft touch. More often than not, the 210-yard second plays into a stiff westerly wind and with two par-5s to follow, cards can quickly get ruined before you’ve had time to blunt the lead in your pencil. Sympathetically designed to fit in naturally with the contours of the surrounding landscape, Bamburgh isn’t only pleasing to the eye, but a treasure trove of history too. Once used as a Second World War radar station, remnants of various gun emplacements are dotted around the course.
bamburghcastlegolfclub.co.uk, green fees from £47
Par 71, 6,850 yards
Follow in the footsteps of Ryder Cup legends like Lee Westwood, who officially opened the Colt Course in May 2011 and remains the club’s ‘Attached Tour Professional’. While its sister Filly Course still has plenty to offer, the Colt Course is the real thoroughbred of the two. Incorporating many of the Close Hall Estate’s original historical features in its layout, including a Roman fort and ancient wood, the Colt Course provides Championship-standard golf in a delightful setting.
closehouse.com/golf, green fees from £100 (Colt Course)
Par 71, 6,449 yards
A nice parkland-type course with some lovely sea views. Sand can be found everywhere, on the adjacent beach and in the plethora of steep-sided bunkers, but the holes are carefully laid out across a rolling landscape with the elevated 15th green providing the best vista. Generally the fairways are forgivingly wide — but they need to be if the wind blows in off the North Sea.
alnmouthgolfclub.com, green fees from £20
Par 72, 6,804 yards
Northumberland’s number one-rated links course is home to the region’s Open Championship qualifying event and, as such, presents a formidable challenge. Play it straight and you’ll bag yourself a decent round, but stray offline and the grabby rough will have you in all sorts of bother. Hole five
— Pennicks Way — is particularly unforgiving with a fairway and green as narrow as one of the arrow slits adorning the walls of Bamburgh Castle.
goswicklinksgc.co.uk, green fees from £55
Par 70, 6,287 yards
Set adjacent to the golden sands of Embleton Bay and sitting in the shadow of the ruins of the 14th-century castle that gives it its name, Dunstanburgh is another golfing paradise. Like Goswick, Dunstanburgh was designed by Open Championship winner and renowned course architect James Braid, and offers a true test of links golf with its hidden dunes and undulating greens — as well as an exceptionally friendly welcome.
dunstanburgh.com, green fees from £27