Alnmouth Golf Club can trace its origins back to 1869, making it one of the oldest clubs in England. Mungo Park laid out the club’s original 9-hole course and he became Alnmouth’s first professional cum greenkeeper, winning the Open Championship at Musselburgh in 1874.
Willie Park Jnr added another nine in 1905 and an exhibition match between Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor marked the opening of this new 18-hole layout. The Duke of Northumberland, when he was Captain of the club in the late 1920s, agreed to lease more land to the club, allowing the course to expand further northwards.
Harry Colt was asked to design the new layout, utilising the land around Foxton Hall, a historic old residence belonging to the Percy family, which would then be used as a rather grand new clubhouse. A new club was formed on 1st January 1930 and the refashioned course followed a year later, opening for play on 9th May 1931.
Alnmouth Village Golf Club was founded in 1936, with members playing the original Mungo Park 9-holer. The two Alnmouth clubs retain their historical links to this day, competing annually in the famous “Upper and Downer” competition, an event played on the back nine of the Foxton (Upper) course and the old links (Downer).
Don’t expect a leisurely stroll round the fairways when you tee it up here. The course measures a relatively modest 6,525 yards from the back markers but it also attracts a standard scratch score rating of 72, one stroke more than the overall par, so it’s a true test of golf.
Alnmouth’s location on the Northumberland coast brings with it the windy seaside playing conditions of a links but this 18-hole layout is most definitely parkland in nature. Holes are routed across a pleasantly undulating landscape which peaks around the 15th green, allowing golfers to enjoy some wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.The 179-yard 5th is considered as the course’s “signature hole” and it plays to a heavily-bunkered raised green that sits close to the beach, completely exposed to the elements. On the back nine, the 12th hole appears rather benign with a stroke index 10 rating but it’s a tough par four with out of bounds on the right, playing to a blind green.
The 5th hole is undoubtedly the star of the show at Alnmouth and the rest of the course play second fiddle. To be fair the front nine is enjoyable but the backside is distinctly average. There’s little here to suggest to me that this is a Harry Colt course and I’m sure much has changed since it was originally laid out. There’s nothing seamless about the layout with two starkly different nines on either side of the road. The conditioning however was excellent when I played here last month but it’s a miss architecturally.