Hunstanton on the North Norfolk Wash coastline is a true traditional links. Its a traditionalist's dream - a classic out and back layout, wind assisted for half the round and playing into a stiff breeze on the way back. The course is laid out through the rolling dunes and also on flat links land behind.
A traditional club where the members played with long socks and the 2 ball behind me had their dogs with them. The pro was incredibly friendly and helpful to us as visitors, somehwat different from the approach taken by Royal West, and the members all wanted to chat whilst sharing a pint after the round.
To the course and whilst it has been written about in so many reviews before, my takeway notes are as follows:
- Superb opening par 4,played from a high tee directly outside the clubhouse and pro shop. Challenging visually with a dune blocking direct "down the hole ' visuals and pot bunkers down the right.
- the course for me really gets going on hole 6, as you turn and play back into the breeze but head into the dunes. This hole is class. Whilst short, having not played it before, my second shot with a short iron looked awesome, a few feet from the pin on the raised green. However, on walking up the dune to the green you realise that there was no wide green to aim at - it's narrow and long and my ball, like countless others, had ran off into a valley some 25 feet below the hole. Fortunately chipped up and the ball held, but for nayone overhitting/thinning their shots, bunkers await on the ither side. The pines standing behind the green and hut help frame the hole beautifully.
- the par 3 7th plays from one high dune to another, protected by a large bunker centre. Again visually beautiful.
- back to back par 5s at hole 8 and 9, test your game as you play 8 with the wind and 9th back into it.
- playing back into the cross wind really tested my game. With a naturally high ball flight, keeping the ball low and playing for the wind effect was a challenge throughout the back 9 and i did spend some time in the rough right of the holes 9, 11, 15, 17 and 18!
- loved the 13th, a blind tee shot but your approach to the green is wonderful. Natural sand dunes scattered all around the green. You can see how the land would have looked prior to the course being laid out - and laid out is the appropriate word - there is little sculpting done, the holes apart from the greens simply run over the dunes.
- the par 3 14th, whilst 220 yards and played into a stiff wind is straight forward enough and a well hit shot should be rewarded with a ball on the green. A member playing just before us had a hole in one, shame he couldnt see it happen given the huge dune you tee over.
- the par 3 16th surrounded by 7 pot bunkers is a delight. With a front pin, it was hard to get near. My ball landed just on the front but then rolled through the uphill green leaving a 70 foot putt for birdie! Par was delivered.
- the 2 finishing holes are strong and these 2 combined with the par 3 16th make a wonderful finish to the round. The 17th is somehwat different from all.other holes with a sweeping left to right dog leg to a raised green perched on the dune side. Any approach shot slightly short will end up down in the valley leaving a chip uphill. And the 18th with the beach huts flanking the right hand side, whilst straight forward, has the green complex raised up outside the clubhouse. With a public path 100 yards in front of the green, it was nice to have 'spectators', stiff the approach close and receive applause. Nice if unexpected touch.
Having a drink of Gunners afterwards, reflecting on a class afternoon, and chatting with the members, this was how golf was meant to be. Hunstanton delivers it in bucket loads.
Date: August 06, 2021