Seascale Golf Club, five miles south of Whitehaven, fits neatly into a small area, overlooked by the Sellafield Power Station, but providing views of the Isle of Man and the Lakeland Hills in keeping with the popular perception of the beautiful county that is Cumbria on the North West Coast of England, Wordsworth Country.
Founded in 1893, the course covers less than a hundred acres without giving the impression of one hole encroaching on another. The links are the design of Willie Campbell and George Lowe.
Whilst not long by modern standards, Seascale encompasses a varied terrain at different levels without testing the golfer's fitness. It rises on the 1st and continues down the inland side of the course.
The 3rd provides the first panoramic view from a high tee, as the course continues northwards until the par five 7th turns in the opposite direction. The 8th is a long par three followed by the 9th, the only hole played directly towards the sea. Driving from a high tee, the line is straight at the Isle of Man.
The more memorable holes are on the back nine, starting with a short par three where a stream provides a hazard as it does again on the 13th. In between are two par fours, one measuring 470 yards and a then a shorter two-shotter in the opposite direction.
However, the real test is to come. The par four 16th measures 473 yards with more defences that its mere length. The 17th tee overlooks the beach and the drive over a high hill requires accuracy for an ideal position for the second into the green.
The closing hole is a similar length, the main challenge being an enormous, L-shaped green where several pin positions can give the golfer one final problem – how do I get from the front round a corner to the pin?
The lasting impression is of having played eighteen holes of interest and variety – a good partner to Silloth, further north up the Cumbrian Coast.
Let's start by saying that getting to Seascale is not an easy or particularly enjoyable drive, even from within Cumbria. My 60 mile drive took nearly 2 hours, but it was worth it. That's location covered !!. In terms of condition, it could have been better...greens were slow, with too many bald patches on for a top 100 rated course, especially for June. Friendly welcome in the clubhouse when I paid the green fee (superb value at £17.50 for playing after 2pm), but no yardage chart available.
The course itself starts with 2 short and fairly dull par 4's, and then you have the 3rd, a great right angled par 4 requiring an accurate drive t avoid the internal out of bounds and a well struck long iron to find the green.6th and 7th are decent par 5's, which give you a chance of a birdie. the 8th is a very good down hill par 3 were you need to hit the green and avoid the bunkers to make par. you then move onto the best stretch of hole on the course. The 9th is a really great par 4, requiring an accurate tee shot down the left, before a mid iron iron 2nd shot to a well protected green with water well right, and a small dip around the green (this may have carried water at one time, which would have made the hole outstanding if they ever brought it back. Great views as well. 10th is a very tricky little par 3 with water, bunkers and a sloping green to contend with. If the pin is back right, don't be tempted to go at the flag as the green runs down to the water at this point. This hole would not be out of place on a top 20 course in the UK...it's that good. the 11th should be a par 5 as you won't get up in 2 here, no matter how good you are. I liked the 12th...a clever hole with good bunkering near the green, and a little dip short of it, which makes the approach shot shorter than it actually is.Take one club more here. 13 is a strong par 3 needing a long iron played slightly left to right to find the green, which slopes from back to front.14 is a straight forward par 5, with chances for a birdies and 15 is drivable. 17 needs a straight tee shot to ensure a short iron to a straightforward green, which brings us to the 18th. You need to hit this down the left side, and ensure you aim your 2nd (wedge/9 iron) to the right of the flag, as the green moves sharply right to left, and its easy to miss the green when the flag is on the front left. Overall, this is a good course, with some outstanding holes, but a few weak ones that miss out on top marks. If the greens were better, this would be nearly an Eagle course, but birdie is about the right rating based on its current condition. Certainly worth playing for the 9th and 10th alone.
Played today (12th April) and got it with "its trousers down" as no wind. There was a however a persistent mist that turned to light rain all the way round BUT it still SHONE as a GREAT "true links" and I will be back hopefully to get some sun and wind burn and see it in its full glory.
Friendly staff and met Captain in passing. A very helpful member walked back about 150yards to the tee we were "following" him onto and he was jumping holes, so save me a wrong detour. REALLY enjoyed the course, some great par 4's and 3's - PROPER LINKS COURSE (NO gorse corridors or waist high rough etc)
Nice cask ale - and when you go - YOU MUST - "sally satnav" took me over an almost scottish alpine sheep park with a one track road - some of it with tight stone walls .... luckily as always the "silly cow" took me back a different route (???) which was more suitable.
Once submitted this I am going to email the secretary with whom I booked a 2pm "twilight round" to thank her and then get onto Golf Empire to see what Opens I can enter.
WELL WORTH THE DRIVE and - just as the airport does NOT spoil Prestwick - Selllafield looming does NOT spoil Seascale - MAKE THE TRIP SOON !!