I played Goswick as part of a stop gap in Berwick on a tour up the Open and, along with the rest of my group, was taken aback by how good it was! Along with Siloth on Solway on the fringes of Cumbria, it suffers far too harshly for its remote location and lack of prestige, and like Siloth deserves significantly better in these rankings.
The land itself is absolutely cracking golfing property, with acre upon acre of Northumberland coastline stretching into the horizon. It's a proper links course, with undulating sandy links turf, wispy links rough, gorgeous sea vistas and browned off fairways, using changes in elevation, sweeping doglegs, angled tee boxes and natural undulations to give it its character. Unlike similar style courses I have played - Hunstanton in Norfolk comes to mind - there is a real feeling of space and wilderness here as well, carved through isolated Northumberland duneland as it is.
I felt the front nine had the edge over the back, holes 3 through to 7 being really quite top drawer, though the back has its moments.
It does have its dips, most notably the short par 4 18th which seemed shoehorned in to make up the 18, but never enough to detract from what is clearly a 5 ball course.
Again, it is difficult to understand why this has the ranking it does, not least with the R&A recognising it as good enough for Open qualifying. There are some flaws that stop it being really top drawer, but I haven't played a course outside the England top 50 I would rate over it, and it's more than worth the effort to play.
Date: July 14, 2018