Hunstanton - Norfolk - England

Hunstanton Golf Club,
Golf Course Road,
Old Hunstanton,
PE36 6JQ,

  • +44 (0) 1485 532811

  • Golf Club Website

  • 1 mile E of Hunstanton

  • Contact in advance. Handicap certificate required.

  • Jenny Andrews

  • George Fernie, James Braid, James Sherlock

  • James Dodds

Hunstanton is the ancestral home of the le Strange family; Hamon le Strange invested £30 to get the original nine holes ready for play; George Fernie was the architect. Hunstanton Golf Club was founded in 1891 and Hamon became the inaugural club president. In 1907, James Braid revised the existing layout and extended the course to 18 holes, alterations which cost a total of £25. James Sherlock made further subtle modifications in the 1920s and little has changed since.

This natural course is a simple out and back affair, interrupted only briefly in the middle of the outward and inward nines by a few short holes that zigzag at right angles across the central dunes. The River Hun and the Wash frame this narrow strip of links land, but you are only offered a few glimpses of the sea from the course itself.

Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk are always rated close together in today's ranking tables but, when Darwin wrote about Hunstanton in his book, The Golf Courses of the British Isles, things were different: “Hunstanton is very amusing golf; it is more than that, for it is for the most part very good golf. Perhaps it is a little unfairly overshadowed in public estimation by its near neighbour Brancaster, which is altogether on a rather bigger and grander scale.” Nevertheless, Hunstanton is a connoisseur’s golf course, jammed full of memorable quality golf holes. The members are quite rightly proud of the greens, they are tricky to read, fast, hard and true. The rippling fairways are tightly mown and gently undulating.

Two of the world’s best lady golfers have played and won here at Hunstanton. In the year before the Great War, Cecil Leitch beat G Ravenscroft 2 and 1 to win the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship and in 1921, the great Joyce Wethered beat J Stocker to win the English Ladies’ Close Amateur Championship. More recently, in 1972, Hunstanton hosted the Ladies’ British Amateur Championship, when Mickey Walker went on to win, beating Claudine Rubin of France.

A feat of incalculable odds also occurred at Hunstanton. In 1974, the amateur Bob Taylor holed in one during a practice round for the Eastern Counties Foursomes. The following day, in the actual competition, he again holed in one. The very next day in the same competition, he once more holed in one. If a hole in one on three consecutive days is not enough, you’ll be amazed to hear that it was achieved each time on the same hole, the 16th, a 191-yard par three!

This is a full-blown championship golf links; an absolute must-play for serious golfers. Make your score on the outward nine, the back nine is much more difficult, except for the par 3 16th, a simple hole in one opportunity.

The club recently engaged Master Greenkeeper Gordon Irvine – who has been advising at Askernish, Notts, Luffenham Heath and Royal Cinque Ports – to help implement a number of course improvements that were included in architect Martin Hawtree's master plan for the links.

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Reviews for Hunstanton

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Hunstanton Golf Club is a connoisseur’s golf course, jammed full of memorable quality golf holes. Rating: 4.6875 out of 6

Hunstanton boasts a series of extremely high quality golf holes and whilst it may not quite have the charm and quirk that I often look for (and prefer) in seaside golf there’s no denying this is a true test of your golfing skills on a very good course.

I have always been greeted with an Easterly wind at Hunstanton in the early season which means that the predominantly ‘out and back’ links has played significantly differently to the norm, when it usually blows from the west at this time of year.

The front-nine, played mostly into a two-to-three club wind, is challenging and requires long hitting, especially at the second, third, fifth and eighth. Holes two and eight, both par fives, are genuine three-shotters under these circumstances whilst holes three and five play 448 and 441 yards respectively and as you can imagine into a strong breeze are effectively par four and a half’s.

Most of the really good golf at Hunstanton can be found on the last ten holes but the outward half shouldn’t be dismissed because there is some high quality stuff to be found.

Whilst recent changes have been made you could still throw a blanket over the first tee, 18th green and clubhouse which gives a lovely atmosphere and is a set up I really like. The opening hole is a fabulous getaway too with a large wasteland area to carry, a string of sand traps down the right and a well defended green with a particularly wicked drop-off to the left. It may be cited as a birdie-opportunity but it could equally kill your round before it’s even begun.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

June 28, 2017

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Played here for the first time in October and my ultimate impression was that Hunstanton strikes a great balance between being a stringent and quirky links - often the challenge is there to see in front of you, but on other holes you are left with blind shots.

The first hole is a nice getaway and shouldn't require too much warming up - drive over the large bunker and stay left - several bunkers running down the right hand side - and you're left with a simple enough shot into the green.

Hunstanton Golf Course - Photo by reviewer

Several nice enough holes follow, before an interesting short Par 4 6th where it's all about the second shot as you shoot up to a narrow raised green.

The par 3 7th with the huge bunker in front of the green and a strong tail wind was a lot of fun - it was difficult for us to stop the ball on the green.

Things then toughened up for us from hole 11 as the course started playing into the (presumably prevailing) wind. At one point I think there were also 3 blind tee shots in a row. You either love them or hate them.

The course then has a great finishing 3 holes. 16 is just a pretty well-bunkered Par 3, and 17 is a real challenge to get your Par 4 - a dogleg right to a fairway that cants from left to right. You then have a second shot to a plateau green that is either dead left or a challenging up and down if you miss to the right. The finish on 18 allows to you hit driver as well as you can, and then aim up towards the raised green in front of the clubhouse to finish.

Hunstanton ticks off most of the links course checklist for me: It's natural land, windy (annoying but necessary), well-bunkered (enjoyed my playing partner finding them with ease), and has the odd blind shot.

More importantly, it involves playing lots of fun shots from silly/challenging situations that stick in the memory. I just don't get this on the average parkland.The only small negative is that it doesn't have the sea views or impressive vistas of some links courses - but it's only a small one - it still has a lot to offer and was a great days golf - I look forward to coming back.

For those who say combine it with Brancaster for a great day's golf, I'd say take the day rate and play 36 at Hunstanton one day and then 36 at Brancaster the next day (it's much better value that way, and twice the fun). BB

November 09, 2016

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I have returned home from the UK visiting the folks and managing to fit in a few rounds of golf in the process.

One such round was at Hunstanton, my first visit back there since playing in the Brabazon Trophy there some thirty odd years ago.

The first thing to say is that there is a very good reason that the English Golf Union continues to court the venue for its major Championships, the course is quite simply that a true Championship test of golf, on wonderful links land without any of the luck or quirk associated with alot of links golf.

Some may say, that is part of links golf and that "quirk' is part of the entire links experience, and I have no problem with that mode of thinking....unless...I have a scorecard in my back pocket!!!, then I want the course to reward good shots and punish the not so pure aspects of my game.

Hunstanton does just that ,a marvelous test of all your game in wonderful surroundings at a club where you feel welcome from start to finish.

The clubhouse itself and delightful setting aback of the 18th green is the epitomy of what a links clubhouse should like like, standing Royally overseeing all that lies in front of it.

One of the things that stands out above all others is the marvelous bunkering on the golf course, especially that off the tee, the fairways are not exactly narrow but the ideal placement of the bunkering certainly serves to limit the landing areas, hole after hole you stand on the tee negotaiting the desired line prior to executing the drive.

Mt Hawtree was recently brought on board to make some bunkering changes and his work has certainly been as asset.

New bunkers look as though they have been there forever as highlighted by the new complex on the 15th hole in the landing area..spectacular bunkers placed ideally for either wind direction.

The historically superb putting surfaces of yesteryear are undergoing a grass change at the moment, replacing the old fescues with a bent fescue mix and they are looking fantastic, running smooth and one would imagine with another summer under their belt, back to the lightning speed that scared us all back in my younger days, a great move my the ground staff and those involved in making that hue decision.

Highlighting certain holes is difficult when a course is this good from top to bottom, but the par threes deserve a special mention as all four are supreme tests and the visual on the seventh holes with its awesome railroad ties is simply links at its advice leave the ties alone!!!!

The blind par three 14th bothers some, but the tall marker post is there for a reason and never lets you down.

The finishing stretch of 16-18, is probably the overall highlight of the course.

Three very difficult par holes, starting with one of the finest links par threes anywhere 189 yards to a narrow wonderfully bunkered putting surface, with enough surface movement to satisfy anybody.

Then the two bring it par fours at 447 and the longest 399 in history for the last hole....but perhaps I played it from a longer new tee?.

Number 17 is one of those holes that you could put into any Open Championship rotation and it would be one of the hardest three holes of the week.

Demanding from the tee into the prevailing wind and although bunkerless from tee to green, the narrow green itself is a tough target to hit.

A wonderful golf course a wonderful club with tremendous hospitality, a true must for links lovers , further blessed with its proximity to Royal West Norfolk another must play all be it for totally different reasons.

September 29, 2016

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Played Hunstanton again last week this time in very good weather - sunny, warm and no wind. It is a traditional in/out hard-running links course. It is a good test of golf for all standards. With the hard ground the emphasis is more about positioning than brute force. There are no easy holes here and errant shots are punished. The prevailing wind is down with the outward nine and it is certainly a far tougher test when the wind blows. As another reviewer has said the bunkers need to be improved to raise it to the next level. Definitely a must play (together with Brancaster) if you are in the area.
June 22, 2015

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Preferred Hunstanton to Royal West Norfolk. Played in the same week this Spring and thought Hunstanton to be in better condition and to be more interesting. The short par four 6th then the excellent par three 7th were amongst the highlights. The pro and staff were very helpful, and the two of us had a great experience. Worth playing on a Sunday afternoon for reduced green fees! A well deserved six ball course.
May 20, 2015

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Hunstanton has two most unusual aspects. With the exception of a recently introduced concession for Tuesdays, only two-ball games are permitted. The course also features ‘traffic lights’. The 14th is a long blind par three. Green light on the tee will tell you it is safe to hit. There is also a public access walkway to the beach that runs across the 18th fairway. If the walkway is being used then sensors will activate a red light.

The first few holes can play much easier when the wind is behind. Whilst the 3rd is a par four of 443 yards and rated index 1, with a stiff breeze behind it was only a drive and a mid-iron. The 7th is a striking par three that certainly has the ‘wow’ factor when you see it for the first time. The fairway of 173 yards runs through a valley with large dunes on either side. One enormous deep bunker lies in front of the green, the face made up of vertical railway sleepers.

The par three 16th is one of the best holes at Hunstanton. The elevated tee gives sea views and looks down to a split level green encircled by bunkers. There is no fairway, only long grass, so this is not the time to duff your tee shot. Seventeen is a long par four with a tight drive then a narrow green. The 18th runs through a valley with heavy rough on either side. The green is on a sharp rise and is at an angle, making the target smaller.

This is a really enjoyable and testing course. The fairway bunkers are penal but if you can stay out of them then some holes play relatively short. It may just have just been the wind on the day, but I found the back nine holes to be considerably more difficult than the outward nine. This is certainly one of the premier links on the east coast of England.

This review is an edited extract from Another Journey through the Links, which has been reproduced with David Worley’s kind permission. The author has exclusively rated for us every English course featured in his book. Another Journey through the Links is available for Australian buyers via and through Amazon for buyers from other countries.
May 06, 2015

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Played Hunstanton in the middle of September on a sunny day. From a relatively gentle start, the course gets better and better. The 3rd hole is very strong and demands a good drive. 5 and 6 are good examples of a tough long par 4 and a short par 4 respectively, with the 6th requiring a precise approach to a raised green. Visually, the par 3 7th is stunning. Against the wind as it was that day it is a challenging mid to long iron. 8 and 9 are excellent par 5s running in opposite directions which is balanced. 10 is an attractive mid length par 4 with an interesting configeration of bunkers off the drive. 11 is a straight away 450 yard par 4 brute with no bunkers.12 and 13 provide blind tee shots with 13 being a wild ride fairway. 14 is a long par 3, again blind and difficult to judge. 15 short par 5 which requires an accurate drive to thread through a brilliant set of bunkers. 16 is another beautiful mid iron par 3. 17 is a very strong but attractive dogleg left to right par 4. 18 is stunning with the sea on the right and clubhouse straight ahead. in summary, just a fun round with some visually stunning holes. Top links fayre. (Played RWN in the afternoon - recommend both as a great 36)
October 05, 2014

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Played this course in a Mid-Am 36 holer this April. An enjoyable course, some nice holes and relatively easy to get to from London ..... but overall i found it remarkably 'ordinary' and was disappointingly underwhelmed considering the 'hype' i've heard on websites about this place. It was a good day out at a friendly club and i'm glad i played it, was a good test of golf, but won't be rushing back in a hurry, too many other better links experiences in Kent to choose from.
June 05, 2013

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July 09, 2013
What a shame you feel this way, I've been so impressed with the forward thinking approach this club is showing by continuing to improve and striving ahead in its five year plan, hence it's continued selection as a fantastic challenging course for major men's and women's national pro and amateur tournaments. 
What a fantastic surprise. Had not read the reviews on here before playing, had just heard it was a 'good links course'. 36 holes in a 3-4 club wind made for a challenging day but what a super track - a fantastic variety of holes, many memorable ones and a very tough finish into the wind. Greens were very slick and true. Also played Sheringham the following day in more benign conditions - this was not quite in the same league but also great fun with some stunning holes.
September 27, 2012

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Played 10th April on the Volvo Am Tour nice links nice club house, but that's it nice, nothing special to shout about. How is this course rated 59th and Sheringham down the road isn't even in the top 100. This site is starting lose its credibility. I only entered this event because this site rated it so highly. This is not a top 100 venue beware
April 11, 2012

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April 12, 2012
I find it irresistible to comment on reviews like this. Sheringham is one of the few decent downland courses in Britain but it’s not as good as Southerndown. Hunstanton is perhaps the most testing golf course in East Anglia and while it may not have the charm of Brancaster it’s one of the finest and most natural links courses in the country. Perhaps the reason it is not rated even more highly is because it doesn’t have any really notable holes but Hunstanton is a good solid links course in the mould of Burnham & Berrow and to rate it as an average course is nonsense. I can only assume the poster either knows nothing about golf course architecture or was badly beaten up by a true links. Hunstanton is a definite GB&I Top 100 golf course. Sheringham is not.
April 13, 2012
Hugh - spot on. Joke review.
September 19, 2014
I totally agree with Hugh. Sheringham is in a dramatic location but the course is not in the same league as Hunstanton which is a first class links.