I was just looking for a venue near Newcastle, not being Goswick Golf Club, Bamburgh Castle or Alnmouth Golf Club, since we had played these courses already. Just by pure luck I picked Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club, and how lucky I was. Dunstanburgh is a golf course I really enjoyed: it has a very natural & links feeling, and I'm very much surprised it does not make the top 10 of Northumberland. I'm not a fan of rating courses against each other, but I believe Dunstanburgh would easily pass the test when compared with most venues on the Northumberland list.
The round starts a bit funny: after a inviting opener, two (blind) holes play on the top of the hill left of the clubhouse followed by a - impossible to par - par 3. But then the track shows its beauty as a true links course: proper turf, blind (tee) shots, funky bunkered & undulating greens, all the works. At the far end of the premisses, hole 13 is the short par 3 overlooked by the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, the occasional hiker and the colony of seabirds that have their nests at the seashore cliffs. The stretch of holes back to the clubhouse is as nice as the stretch that got you there.
Although they call it a clubhouse, the restaurant is open to the public and serve all that come by: golfers, hikers but also the tenants of the seaside summerhouses that are scattered around the dunes nearby. This results in a very non-golfing, vibrant atmosphere, not often experienced before in the UK. It is a pity the kitchen was already closed after our round, the menu looked very inviting.
Not sure who is in charge of the Northumberland list, but maybe he/she should put on the good old golfing boots and book a tee time at Dunstanburgh and reconsider the ranking of Dunstanburgh on that list.
Date: July 26, 2017