Alnmouth Village Golf Club was established in 1869, and is the oldest nine-hole links course in England.
The course is just north of Newcastle, backing directly onto the North Sea. There is one par-3 - the first - and the rest are par fours, but on the back nine the 17th hole plays from a slightly longer tee as a reachable par-5, unless it’s into the wind. The course is anything but dull.
It is a classic links course with very subtle contours and tricky run-off areas, so some course knowledge is a great help. The greens are fast and firm, but a well struck shot from the fairway will have sufficient grip to pull it up close to its target. As with all really good links courses there is an aerial option, but also the choice to play the ball as a running approach towards the flag.
The course is not particularly difficult when played with mild winds on a summers day, but with a strong wind and some less palatable weather, the course is far more testing. The first four holes are distinctly ‘out’, along the beach with plenty of room to the left where the final four holes of the course run. The fifth climbs sharply uphill to give outstanding views of the course and coastal scenery and at this point it backs on to Alnmouth Golf Club, a neighbouring 18 hole course with more holes, but less seaside.
With very little trouble to the left on almost any hole, the course could be described for the right-handed golfer as a hooker’s paradise, but it is a far more subtle test than that. To score your best you have to position the ball carefully to give yourself the best chance of an uphill putt. In good weather, however, nobody can call this a very difficult course and it is ideal for holiday golf.
There are alternative tees for most of the holes on the back nine and they offer a slightly different challenge from the tees on the front nine. The greens also vary in style: the second collects most shots and flatters poor ones, whereas the fifth repels all but the most precise of approaches to its upturned green. The links in the summer is fast running but kept in excellent condition by a committed green-keeping team, who obviously do not have a vast budget, but not a blade of grass is out of place and the greens are as pacy and slick as any links.
For those visiting the Northumberland area, Alnmouth Village Golf Club are wonderful hosts, sharing their gorgeous course during the best months of the year for a reasonable daily fee, or the ridiculously cheap £50 a week visitors membership. The club runs the town competitions and has many matches against other local clubs, but is very willing to share its beautiful links.
The clubhouse is compact and sits on the road immediately opposite the course with great views of the first tee and the ninth green.
There is a fascinating history to the club and there is plenty of memorabilia from times gone by to enjoy in the clubhouse, which is like a small museum mixed in with the normal clubhouse furniture. Everyone is welcome in the clubhouse, which is part of the village of Alnmouth and operates like one of the local traditional pubs. The clubhouse is not staffed all the time and there is an honesty box for golfers wishing to play when the clubhouse is not attended. All visitors are welcome and there are no silly dress restrictions.
There is a good size practice ground immediately next to the ninth fairway and this can be used by any golfer, providing they use their own balls. It is a delicious setting with the beach and the village providing excellent distractions after your game is over.
Alnmouth Village Golf Club is in great condition all year long and is run cheaply for the delight of all. If you like your golf served in a charming, slightly quirky and old fashioned way, then you will love this course. It is utterly beautiful and one of the best kept secrets of the north-east.
For further details please visit: alnmouthvillagegolfclub.co.uk