Goswick - Northumberland - England

Goswick Golf Club,
Goswick,
Berwick-upon-Tweed,
Northumberland,
TD15 2RW,
England


  • +44 (0) 1289 387256

Founded in 1890 as Berwick-upon-Tweed Golf Club on links land named Goswick (Goose Farm) by the Romans, Goswick Golf Club, as it's now known, lies six miles south of the Border Town of Berwick, and boasts views of the North Sea and to the south, Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle. It's not known who laid out the club's original course but Willie Park Junior (1903), James Braid (1930) and F.W. Hawtree (1964) have all helped to shape the course that's in play today.

A twisting lane between arable fields reaches Goswick Links between the railway and the dune-lined coastline. The links lie either side of the clubhouse, front nine to the north, back nine to the south. There is little to choose between the two nines, both being equally varied in terrain and challenge.

The 1st rises uphill as a dogleg and is followed by a short 2nd across a chasm. The 3rd is now the longest par four on the course at 437 yards. Exposed to the elements, the challenge on the front nine is variously dunes, out of bounds on 6th and 7th and contoured greens, most notably on the medium length par four 8th.

A long par four – 425 yards – opens the second half, before a par five and the 12th, Pilgrim's Way with a narrow landing area off the tee and a blind second shot.

The mid point of the second half is the most scenic and follows a climb from the 14th green which is surrounded by hills on both sides. A par three follows, and while the finish is only medium length, 16 can deceive after a blind tee shot, 17 requires care, and the fairly short 18th is tempting, but a wayward shot can bring penalty from slope or bunker.

Add the variable of the winds of the East Coast, and quite an experience awaits on a course, which now measures 6,800 yards from the championship tees. In 2018 Goswick Golf Club hosted Open Championship Regional Qualifying for the first time since 2012. In 2019, for the second consecutive year, Open Championship hopefuls battled it out at Goswick.

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Description: Founded in 1890 on land named Goswick (Goose Farm) by the Romans, Berwick-upon-Tweed Golf Club (now renamed Goswick Golf Club) boasts views of the North Sea and to the south, Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle. Rating: 7.8 out of 10 Reviews: 42
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Mark White

I had been wanting to play Goswick for three years and finally got there at the end of a sixteen day golf trip that included the following:

Ardfin, The Machrie, County Sligo (all 27 holes), Carne (All 27 holes),Enniscrone Dunes, Narin and Portnoo, Cruit Island (9), Rosappena St Patricks, Rosappena OldTom Morris, Rosapenna Sandy Hills, Portsalon, Ballyliffin Old, Ballyliffin Glashedy, Fairmont Torrance, St Andrews New, St Andrews Castle, St. Andrews Eden, Crail Craighead, and Gullane #1.

I mention these courses because Goswick compares favorably to most of the ones listed with the exceptions of Rosspenna St Patricks, Ardfin, and County Sligo.

Versus the others, it is not the championship test that Ballyliffin Glashedy is. It does not have the tall dunes present in the Wild Atlantic routing at Carne nor the dunes of Enniscrone, The Machrie, or Narin and Portnoo. It is much better than the three course I played at St Andrews. Perhaps the closest to it is Rosapenna Old Tom Morris in reverse or Portsalon as both courses have a number of unique and quirky holes with elevated tee shots as well as flat holes.

Golf Club Atlas thought highly enough of Goswick to include it in their “custodians list” of 147 courses that best represented the diversity that golf can offer. It is easy to see why. The course is set off on its ownwith only walkers and bikers sometimes passing by. While there is a train that whizzes by fairly often, it goes by so quickly that it is gone almost as soon as you hear it or see it. There is a sense of peace and contentment here as you play your way around the course. The course has a wide diversity of holes ranging from easier to difficult. The course has elevated tees, elevated greens, hidden greens or hidden parts of greens, flat holes, holes that incorporate wild land movement, plays firm and fast, has large greens, and two very thin, small greens. It has greens that have wild contours and flatter contours. There are flat fairways and rolling fairways. There are holes that make one think “how do I par this,” or “I can possibly birdie this hole.” It has greens that have a lot of mounding surrounding the greens. At some point, the player will experience everything at Goswick.

The course is set inland a bit from the coast with massive dunes bordering it which likely are too wild and tall to build a golf course. Otherwise, you might have a worse version of Carne. In any event, the dunes are likely environmentally protected.

There are a few issues with Goswick. The long par 3 ninth has no appeal whatsoever. The short, downhill finishing par 4 hole is a miss as the third weakest hole on the course. The course is cramped with many tee boxes lying close to the previous green putting players at risk or disrupting the approach shot. Possibly the worst green location is the double back to the eighteenth tee after a steep climb where any player that might be on the seventeenth green is greatly as risk as the tee shot goes over nearly half of the green.

With regards to the ninth, we were told it is being considered to eliminate this hole and relocate it near the sixth. I am not in favor of that. I think all they need to do is to raise the green four-five feet and put another bunker 25 yards in front keeping the existing three bunkers and they would have a terrific hole and keep the original routing intact. It might be wise to either have the eighteenth either play as a par 3 or relocate the green on seventeen and play it as a par 4 which would keep the intent of eighteen also intact. For me, I would change the eighteenth to a par 3 and avoid the double back climb up the steep hill.

We had a wind that was slightly above normal but kept increasing in speed as we played the back nine. It favored us for the holes 10-13 but it was brutal for the final five. We guessed it was a steady 35-40 mph and looked at the weather app to confirm it. Thus, I do not really know how much I liked the holes or not given I was struggling to stay upright.

I know I want to return to Goswick. I also highly recommend it.

The course measures 6790 yards from the blue tees, par 72 rated 73.7/132. There is a set of white tees at 6631 yards but we settled for the yellow tees at 6395 yards, rated 71.9/127.

1. Par 4 - 392/370. A gentle dogleg right with trees down the right. You must clear the corner to have a good look at the green. The green sits on higher ground perhaps 50 feet high. Three scattered bunkers guard the front although they are 10:yards from the green. The green looks as though it breaks sharply back to front but in reality is flatter then it looks. I liked the hole.

2. Par 3 - 162/152. This might be the best hole on the front nine playing level but as one is atop the dune you are exposed to the wind. There is a very deep valley before the green that one must carry or they will likely lose their ball in the tall grass of the valley. The right side of the green is hidden by a tall dunish mound. The green only holds the highest of shots landing at the front. Behind the green the ball can find tall grass or a collection area. Landing short left after the valley gives one a chance to recover but it’s not a high probability. There is one bunker near the back left.

3. Par 4 - 435/397. From an elevated tee, this dogleg right has a forced carry where longer hitters can significantly shorten the hole. With the wind at their back they will need to avoid the bunker on the right side of the fairway. A bunker is on the left about 100 yards from the hole followed by three on the right with the final one ending at the green. The green has subtle movement but the difficulty of the hole is getting there.

4. Par 5 - 546/496. The previous green can be in play off the tee. This is a similar tee shot to the third playing from an elevated tee on a dogleg right. This time the right side is defended by two fairway bunkers followed by another for those attempting to cut the dogleg to shorten the hole. The ground rolls a bit as you approach the green nestled against the side of a higher dune and gorse. I have never seen a green as small and thin as this on a par 5. It sits inside mounds like a small Punchbowl rising to the back. There is a long bunker going down much of the left side of the green. It is splendid.

5. Par 4 - 417/412. You reverse direction and play somewhat uphill on this dogleg left where three bunkers guard the sides of the green. It is a challenging hole.

6. Par 5 - 528/518. This par 5 has the most movement in the land it’s many rolls and dips and well as high dunes mounds about 80-60 yards short of the green. Two bunkers come into play on the left side of the fairway with one off to the right. The green sits above a sizable sharp false front,with flanking bunkers built into the front wall. A second bunker is on the left. The green is very long with a front swale. It is another good golf hole due to the land forms and green complex.

7. Par 4 - 387/382. This hole play inside of higher ground down the right which hides the train railroad line. There is a single fairway bunker on the left perfectly placed for the average length players to force them right towards the taller grass and higher ground. The fairway is flat until you near the green which is raised about ten feet on the left side disguising the green. Five bunkers are on the left side beginning about 15 yards before the green continuing to the back. The green has a definite tilt to the left. It is another good hole mainly due to the green.

8. Par 4 - 422/401. I felt this was one of the weaker holes on the course. Tall grass is down the right with three bunkers on the inner corner of this dogleg left. I did like the green which has a front left corner bunker and a right rear bunker.

9. Par 3 - 198/190. There is not much to this hole due to a flat green and inadequate bunkering. You go from here past the clubhouse to the tenth tee.

10. Par 4 - 420/417. We had the wind at our back as it started to pick up. This hole plays essentially straight with a sort of short ravine running through the hole. A bunker is in play off the tee on the left. The next fairway bunker is on the right 25 yards short of the green. The final bunker is on the front left of the green. I felt this hole needed two more bunkers at the green and better mounding nearby.

11. Par 5 - 559/513. Tall grass and out of bounds s down the right. The first bunker is a center-line bunker 75 yards short of the green. It is deep so one must avoid it. A bunker is left front and two bunkers are on the right of this flattish green.

12. Par 4 - 365/357. Let the fun begin. Tee shots can easily reach the mounds, hills and crevice-like opening of this short par 4 making the approach shot become blind. I do not recall a bunker on the hole nor does it need it given the land movement that hides the green. This hole is quirky and fun.

13. Par 3 - 198/154. This hole plays the most different between the blue and yellow tees. Five bunkers guard the green including a central bunker 15 yards short. The green has higher ground behind it. It is visually attractive and a challenging par 3.

14. Par 4 - 394/371. One begins the march back to the clubhouse playing as a slight dogleg right with the land riding to the green. Three bunkers are in this fairway perfectly placed. They are deep. I caught the final one on my second shot which is seven feet deep and one cannot see the flag as it is still 75 yards from the green. The green sits in a bit of a bowl and has a guardrail to the right where balls can come back onto the green. All of us disliked the hole even against a wind that was very strong.

15. Par 3 - 151/137. Much like the fourth, this is one of the most unique holes one will play due to the Punchbowl green which looks like a thin snake down below. A front pin is very difficult to get close to given the down slope in front of it. If one lands on one side on higher ground their recovery shot can use the opposite bank to roll back. Three bunkers guard the right with two on the left so precision is required. It is quirky and it is fun trying to figure out the club to hit. This is one of the most unique holes one will ever play.

16. Par 4 - 427/397. From an elevated tee, this hole plays straight with tall grass on either side. The two bunkers are at the green which has a small front half. The first bunker is left about 15 yards short of the green and the second is on the right front corner. I do not remember much of this hole as I struggled to walk against the wind.

17. Par 5. - 521/481. This hole was extremely difficult into the worst of the high wind. You play from a slightly raised green on a dune. After the tee shot the hole plays flat. On a normal day the six fairway bunkers are likely in play off the tee, including three cross bunkers. The grass is very high down the right and nearly as high down the left. Five bunkers near or at the front of the green provide a sturdy defense.

18. Par 4 - 268/259. From a very elevated tee you notice the seventeenth green below you and the trees on the right that border the opening hole. Tall grass is more prevalent down the left side. If one finds the fairway they should have a decent chance for par as this is a very short hole. The players behind us opted not to climb the hill and played it as a short par 3.

As I stated, Goswick offers every thing at some point a player would like to see on a golf course. While I have only played about 45 of the top 100 in England, I would put in ahead of many I have played that are rated above it. I think it likely belongs in the range of 42-55.

May 28, 2022
7 / 10
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Stuart H

An overlooked and underrated links - well worth a day out. A narrow and twisty road off the A1 takes you across the train tracks and to the dunes and links land that of Goswick. Each 9 holes is a loop from the clubhouse, lending itself to a 27 hole day.

The standout holes for me being:

Hole 1: A very tough doglegged par 4 with a raised green sloping back towards you and OOB to the right. Driver + mid iron without the wind but can fluctuate with the wind direction.

Hole 4: In particular the bathtub green that awaits on you this par 5, difficult to reach in two but a fine birdie opportunity. The dogleg from the tee and bunkering can leave you scrambling for par.

Hole 6: My favourite, par 5 with OOB to the right all the way along the undulating fairway and well placed bunkers eager to gobble up a lay up second shot. The green is raised and on two tiers.

Holes 12 -> 15 present a quirkier stretch with blind approach shots, bunkers aplenty and a good opportunity for a hole in one (15).

Holes 17 and 18 present good birdie opportunities as reachable (in 2) par 5 and driveable par 4 - the latter's green looking incredibly small from the raised tee and the countless bunkers around the green.

All in Goswick is a course that is well worth a day out and on a trip up the east coast to Scotland - very good value green fee too.

Full disclaimer, I am a member at Goswick (recently joined and loving it), friends who had not heard of the course left very impressed.

December 03, 2021
6 / 10
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David Oliver

Ranking of just inside the top 100 links is about correct although it is vulnerable to dropping out with Dumbarnie Links definitely and possibly others being included. It has a good mix of holes (notwithstanding the first 3 par 4s and 5s were palpably left to right). Particularly enjoyed the variety of the par 3s. Best non par 3 holes were the par 5, 6th hole which had a strong defence in front of the green, par 4, 7th which although dead straight was attractive, no frills, and the slight dog leg par 4, 14th where the green sat in a bowl with dunes both sides. Great views from the elevated par 3, 15th tee. Worth the trek to play Goswick

September 06, 2021
6 / 10
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Dan Binfield

Played Goswick on the excellent twilight green fee offering great value at £40 each. The course was presented in fine condition, with the greens rolling very true and at a wonderful pace; not too quick but certainly not slow.

The course opens with an interesting dogleg, requiring good placement off the tee and with out of bounds right. I also enjoyed the second, an attractive par three played over sand dunes and providing the first view of the sea.

The front nine continues with a good mix of par fours and par fives; I felt that the elevation changes really made the holes. My favourite among these was the sixth, a great par five, not short but again placing a premium on accuracy. Personally I found that taking driver was probably not the best play due to the increased risk associated with this. Strategically this is a fantastic tee shot, for one must decide how far right they wish to aim with out of bounds lurking close to the fairway's edge. However, the brave and skilled player is rewarded with an easier approach into the green. On that note, I thought that this was a delightful green complex with interesting borrows. Seven and eight are quality par fours, the eighth in particular proving a tough test into the wind.

The only disappointment on the front nine was the ninth; although there was nothing inherently wrong with it and played a tough hole into the wind, it just wasn't as special as the other holes in this set.

The back nine commences with a solid par four; I felt that the hole emphasised the approach over the drive. This nine continues with many impressive holes. I enjoyed the eleventh with a somewhat intimidating tee shot and a beautiful green, the thirteenth with another great green complex and heading out towards the sea, and the short par five seventeenth.

Another contender for my favourite hole was the fourteenth, the fairway littered with bunkers; I feel that the best play for most would be to lay up short of the bunkers. The approach is largely concealed from the fairway but this is a fine green complex and blends beautifully into its surroundings. This gives the hole a wonderful sense of isolation.

Perhaps the one thing holding Goswick back from higher ranking are the final holes of each nine; again I found the closing hole to be something of a disappointment. It is a very reachable par four, but for me there is insufficient penalty for missing the green. I think that on most occasions one would be slightly disappointed to walk off here with a four. The hole also contributes to a busy area around the first tee and this felt a bit chaotic, something which is in contrast with most of the other holes.

The putting green near the first tee was in excellent condition, and although we didn't use the driving range bordering the railway, it looked like a first class facility.

The course reminded me of Seaton Carew somewhat, and I really enjoyed the course. I feel that one could certainly argue that the course should feature higher up in the rankings.

August 13, 2021
8 / 10
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Michael Budgen

Stopped off at Goswick on the way to Scotland, this is almost an insult because the course is good enough for the journey itself, and throw in the Town of Berwick-on-Tweed as well, its a brilliant place to play.

The course is a mixture of Dune & Flat Links land, and I particularly enjoyed the almost figure 8 routing that meant you never had to 'slog' in the same direction too long into the wind, as the courses takes you up and down, towards and away from the towering dunes.

I can honestly say there isn't a week hole on the course, the design is a full & stern test of golf, without being overly penal, and means you have to play all the shots to get round.

It's also great value, so well worth a trip in itself.

July 01, 2021
8 / 10
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Neil White

Can there be anything better in our great sport than a beautiful day on a championship links?

The opening round of our two-week 2021 summer holiday was on the Northumberland coast where we stopped over en route to Scotland.

We played Goswick, a day after its club championship, and the course was in stunning condition.

So much so that a chap playing in front of us asked if we were members because he visits annually and wanted to ensure that people knew it has never been in better shape.

Situated six miles south of Berwick, Goswick is unpretentious with a one-level clubhouse and basic but tasty food with friendly staff.

I had already been in correspondence with its secretary who had arranged a double-header deal which the club has with Muirfield and the club professional matched his bonhomie.

After we had warmed up on the excellent driving range, he warned us that the course was in good nick but ‘difficult’.

I backed up his wise words on the first, a rising bending par four, and the second, a downward tricky par three, by sliding into deep greenside bunkers because I had been too greedy with my approaches.

The elevated second tee is one of several which has dramatic views across the beach and out to the North Sea.

The vista in the opposite direction across the Northumberland countryside is equally exhilarating.

Anyway, early lessons showed that Goswick is a course where accurate drives are rewarded because it is not overly long.

Pot bunkers, long rough, bushes and out of bounds can punish wayward shots but plotters may engineer good scores.

Mrs W yielded juicy fruit from the SEVEN par fives on the women’s card. Men have four on theirs but none are beasts when the wind is gentle, although I suspect it isn’t very often.

Every hole at Goswick is interesting and many have twists and turns, although in the front nine I would plump for the straight eighth as a favourite.

It is deceiving because of a slope of heavy rough to the right of the green and a bunker waiting to gobble up balls to the left. Weaving between them was a bit of a thrill.

The run-in at Goswick also had our pulses racing. The dogleg 14th which rises to a hidden green elicits possibilities of birdies and the picturesque, steep downhill part-three 15th requires a shot over a hump to the front left of the green. I know this because Mrs W and I both landed ours within four feet of the pin.

The 17th is a short part five into one of the many large putting surfaces and the 18th is a comfortable par four for men from an elevated tee – although those who go for the green may find themselves in one of the bunkers which protect it.

The women start from halfway down the hole and play it as a par three,

Goswick is an unusual experience for the ladies because there are only six pars fours but Mrs W scored well and we proclaimed that it was probably the course we had jointly enjoyed the most so far on the top100 quest.

Sure, there are others which we both prefer individually but we both thought this was well above expectation and had a brilliant start to our holiday.

June 28, 2021
7 / 10
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andrew dinsdale

On arrival you are greeted with an old twee clubhouse, land wrapped by yellow whispy grass and rolling pastel green fairways. With only the passing trains to remind you of urban life a feeling of isolation surrounds you as you prepare for your round. As tranquil and bohemian a setting as you can play golf in.

On the day we played the rough was cut back and there was barely a breath of wind, the course however still held a stern test for even the lowest handicappers in our group. Stand out holes were the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 12th and 14th with some stunning views of the sea on many of the back nine holes. The course has fantastic topography throughout from elevated tees to rolling fairway and was thoroughly enjoyed by all 10 of our group.

Conditions wise it was of the highest standard. The speed of the greens were electric for the time of year and some of the more undulating putting surfaces were very tricky. Major kudos to the green staff.

The course is very charming and exquisitely pretty. It’s a stern test and has a mixture of doglegs and elevations. Goswick rightly sits as the best course in Northumberland and is definitely a top 100 golf course in England. However I do take umbrage with other reviews saying it should be a top 100 Uk. It isn’t anywhere near that for me. The par 3s are a little bit of a mixed bag and it lacks the wow factor of some of the 5 ball reviews i’ve given. However I don’t want this to detract from what is a lovely links course in a fabulous setting and one that i’m excited to come back and play again.

Nobody who plays Goswick leaves unhappy no matter what the score.

November 10, 2020
7 / 10
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Tim Elliott

Goswick represents links golf near its very best. An isolated coastal location and unusual holes with stacks of variety, the course is played over fairways with springy turf onto firm immaculate greens surrounded by quite penal bunkers. We were lucky to play on a warm sunny September afternoon where the moderate wind at the start was little more than a gentle breeze by the end of our round.

The golf course, just six miles south of Scottish border town Berwick-upon-Tweed, carried the town’s name until recently and is 2 miles off the A1 motorway. It is separated from civilisation by farmland and the London to Edinburgh express train line with about 8 fast-moving trains an hour. The facilities are homespun and comforting, but must not detract from a golf course which is, in my view, correctly regarded as the best in Northumberland.

After a strange start with a dogleg right around a small corpse of trees to a steep-sloping green, and a testing par 3 into a bowl, the next 6 holes are a breath-taking mix of longer holes, all of which are challenging, the highlight being the long 6th with OOB down the right. The back nine was fun from the ‘top drawer’ with a very special stretch from 12 to 15, and two excellent, more conventional, challenges at 16 and 17. The 18th, a downhill very short par 4 surrounded by bunkers was an interesting risk-and-reward finish, and should leave most golfers with a smile on their face and a desire to return.

September 25, 2020
8 / 10
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Andrew Robinson

Goswick Golf Club - What a course!! When ever I travel up to Scotland to golf up the A1 we always stop to play Goswick. Course has a mixture of scoreable holes, and some demanding holes. Recently has being hosting Regional Open Qualifying which is a credit to the club and an indication to the quality of the course. Some stunning holes on the land, and I personally believe if should be ranked much higher than it currently is. If this course was in a better location, over Southport, I believe you would see this course ranked in the top 50 UK Course.

December 20, 2019
7 / 10
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Freddie

Somehow have managed to end up playing golf on the other side of England but it was totally worth it. This is a great links course and I'm glad I've been able to play there. It was very windy but thankfully stayed dry. The greens were fantastic and the condition of the course was very good. Some holes were absolutely stunning as they overlooked the north sea. Its a great club with an equally great golf course.

The first hole seemed to be one of the few trees that were on the course. A downwind par 4 dog leg right where you either lay up with a 5 wood or try to hit a massive drive over the out of bounds onto the fairway. I can confirm the second idea was a bit over ambitious but at least I gave it a go, The 2nd hole is a great looking par 3, From the tee you can see out to the sea and it actually reminded me a lot of Portrush with the dunes that there were. I thought the par 5 4th was also a good looking hole, with almost a bowled green where the ball feeds in from anywhere hit up the right. The back 9 seemed a bit better and more exciting in my opinion. The 12th is a blind par 4 where playing for position is very important. A 200 yard shot is ideal off the tee and then followed up with an approach shot from 120 yards where the pin is not in sight. The 14th is also a great par 4 where everything from the right of the green feeds down towards the hole. The approach shot is lovely, however it's normally into the wind which makes it quite a long 2nd shot. The 15th hole has to be my favourite on the course, a 145 yard downhill par 3 with the sea all behind you, a truly magnificent looking golf hole.

This is a fantastic experience and the long journey is definitely worth it, classic links golf, in my opinion should be ranked a bit higher in the England rankings.

November 12, 2019
8 / 10
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