Having 2 really young children has put a curb on my golfing opportunities so when my wife told me to take a golfing holiday I jumped at the opportunity and planned a trip to Norfolk and Lincolnshire. Royal West Norfolk was first on my list of three courses (Hunstanton and Woodhall Spa being the other two - reviews to follow). Having a few weeks to plan meant that I booked a tee time, spent hours reading reviews about the course and building up my expectations. The drive to the course is special. As you wind through the reeds on the causeway, you can see the club house on top of the dunes in the distance and you start to get a feel for the isolation of the place. Being a lone golfer was an issue because of the two ball rule which RWN operate. When making my booking I did ask if they could pair me up someone else but it seems that no member would dare play alone and as such I made my way out by myself. The walk to the first tee is also unique. Crossing the sandy walkway to Brancaster beach, up the wooden pathway and through the wrought iron gates quickens your pulse in expectation. I was immediately met by a foursome coming off the 18th green with 3 dogs in tow. It seems that having a dog is almost mandatory for members. Dogs are allowed to run off the leash and each tee has a water bowl for their refreshment. I think this policy is refreshing and more clubs should think about adopting this. The course itself was slightly disappointing due to a lack of elevation changes that I would expect from a links course. The bunkering, though, is spectacularly beautiful and I was caught out a few times by bunkers which I could not see from where I was playing from. The huge bunker on the par 3 15th is especially fabulous. The routing of the course is good and you play to all points of the compass. The flatness of holed 7 to 11 make judging distances difficult and I found myself under clubbing quite a bit. I did play on a very benign day and the course was without its usual defense mechanism. The greens are small which means that you have to be very accurate with your approach shots. This is a solid links course but I do think that Hunstanton is a better course despite what the rankings might say. I did enjoy my day out despte playing alone and would recommend a round here to anyone who enjoys their golf.
Date: November 09, 2009