Inspired by Andy Newmarch review below, I made the decision to add Gorleston to our Norfolk golfing holiday. And I'm glad I did.
What a treat it turned out to be. There is nothing better than playing links or cliff top golf and this course delivers fun and challenges in bucket loads.
Playing today in blue skies, bright sun and a light breeze, off the yellows as visitors, the springy sandy turf meant that the course played alot shorter than the 6146 on the scorecard.
There are a mixture of very short par 4 holes (1, 2, 9, 10 ), medium to long par 3's and on the back 9 a couple of par 5's, both medium length at just over 500 yards. Throw in a long par 4 (430 yards) on the front 9 and 2 back to back 400+ pars on the back.9 and you have a really good mix of holes.
I won't run through them all as Andy Newmarch did a great job. I would say the standout holes for me are the stretches on the cliff tops (holes 5 -8 and 16) of which the 6th is the best, with its cross bunkers seen off the tee and also additional ones which you face on the 2nd shot as well. With a sharp sloping front edge to the green which is above you, pick your approach shot in carefully. The best green complex for me was the 16th - beautifully framed and bunker design excellent.
The best par 3 is the 11th, visually it looks better than the similar 7th, with bunkers front and left, making it look longer than its yardage shows. I'd disagree with Andy on the 4th. Whilst it is long at 220 yards, rather than shorten it, I'd prefer to see the gorse reduced so you can see the hole better off the tee, so whilst long you can actually weigh up your shot options better by seeing the whole hole.
On the 'new' holes (45+years old!) Whilst i understand they don't fit in with the rest of the course, they are necessary. The fairway on 13 is too wide and despite being over 220 yards to the dog leg, running through into the thick rough was easily done. I did however like the 14th. Flanked by mature deciduous trees and pines, it has a real heathland/woodland feel, played on turf which looked like a carpet. With a green sloping back to front it replicated the 13th green template, but a much stronger hole.
There is still plenty of space available which the club has acquired which will help future proof the club. Whilst this may mean a change from cliff top golf to more heathland/woodland if it enables this club to survive and thrive it must be welcomed.
At some points of the course you can stand and look across 7 fairways, narrowing to just 2 at the furthest point from the clubhouse. There is still room on the original layout to move holes inwards as the cliffs inevitably retreat. At one point this afternoon as i looked across the fairways with the grasses and trees separating them, and the sun and blue skies above, i felt like I was abroad - Portugal perhaps. I felt blessed.
Add to this a very friendly welcome, great value for money and conditioning that was of a good standard and I'd totally agree that this is a course you should fit into any golfing trip to Norfolk. Plus with the horse racing on this evening in Great Yarmouth, despite not winning a single race in the donkey derby, this little trip to south Norfolk has been very special indeed.
Date: August 04, 2021