I was interested to find out whether the course would match the quality of its historical landmarks having previously sailed around Bamburgh Castle and the nearby Farne Islands...the course certainly didn’t disappoint. The scenery and spectacular views are unrivalled especially for the modest green fee. The sea and estuary frame most of the front 9 and a few holes on the back half also. There’s also a giant cliff that sits dead centre of the course that you play alongside and then across later in the round. I kept my phone close to hand, taking multiple pictures during the day. It really is a special place to play golf.
Bamburgh Castle Golf Club is madcap, romantic, often quirky and at times a little insane. It features cliff top holes, six par 3’s, a quarry, large ravines, a few drivable par 4s and many memorable moments. Our group had a good mixture of handicaps and we all thoroughly enjoyed the course. Two broke 80 for the first time and so if it’s challenging golf you seek Bamburgh certainly plays easier than standard and is not that challenging.
It has so many good holes, personal favourites were holes 1-4 along the coast, 8-10 inland and 15-17 a mixture of both. Many partial links courses have strong holes by the coast but suffer when you go inland. This was not the case at Bamburgh with some of the stronger holes inland including the signature 8th hole.
On arrival we received an excellent welcome from the club and the condition was top notch for December considering the recent weather. The greens were a little furry in places but we’re still quick and i’m sure would be pristine come spring/summer.
What the course lacks is yards. It’s a meagre 5604(white)/5271 (yellow) yards par 68 with many of the longer par 4 holes playing downhill. There are far too many short par 4s and elite golfers would overpower the course. I didn’t like the 14th hole at all. The green slopes front to back with a large hill behind. All our group hit the ball up the ‘back stop’ and it rolled down close to the hole. It was the oddest shaped green and weirdest pin position i’ve come across. It felt a little like ‘crazy golf’. Another of the par 3s the 6th home was too testing. It was the longest i’ve played. Playing 220 from my watch into the wind from the yellow tees and with the green at least 100 feet above you my usual 260 yard drive came up 10 yards short. This is the first par 3 stroke index 1 i’ve come across and the first i’ve not been able to reach. It was too long and difficult and I think it’s unfair if a 6 handicap can’t get there with a driver.
I’m nitpicking a little as on the whole Bamburgh has many great holes and the views are spectacular. It does lack the finer details that higher rated courses have. The bunkering isn’t of the high quality of a Goswick or Dunstanburgh and the greens are a little flat and dull. I think for me it just lacks a little in condition and design to make it into a top 100 golf course, however It’s so memorable and I can still picture each hole vividly.
I would say the course is especially good for mid to high handicappers, societies and golf trips as it’s not too punishing, great fun and has knockout vistas. I would play this over many of the courses i’ve given a higher rating to because it’s wow factor and the enjoyment of the golf. There are a lot of courses nearby and they all have their merits, but if you’re only planning to play one and looking for the best aesthetically then Bamburgh must be your first choice.
Date: December 13, 2020