I’ve been meaning to swing by Seascale for some time now. When you’re on the M74/M6 between Scotland and England, it’s all too easy to remain on the motorway and avoid making a wee detour around the Lake District National Park to have a look at places like this along the Cumbrian coastline.
A couple of days ago, I had a few extra hours to spare on my way home from Cheshire so I decided to leave the main drag just before Kendall and head further northwest to the village of Seascale, a spot best known for the Sellafield nuclear plant located immediately next door to it.
Am I ever glad I took such a circuitous route back to Glasgow! Seascale was an absolute delight; as authentic a links as you could care to imagine, featuring absolutely fabulous green sites with wonderful run off areas allowing all sorts of little shots to be played around the putting surfaces.
It starts off modestly, a couple of par fours climbing to the highest point on the layout before the 3rd doglegs right around a couple of fields, flanked by a low dune ridge to the left of the fairway. Back-to-back par fives played in opposite directions at holes 6 and 7 complete a solid, if unexceptional sequence of holes.
After turning to face inland and play a long par three at the 8th, the par four 9th then heads straight back down towards the coast, plunging steadily towards a green that’s protected by a meandering grassed ditch to the front of the putting surface and this is by far the best hole on the opening nine.
It then gets a little cramped on this low-lying area to the north of the property, with a couple of, albeit very good, par three holes squeezed into the corner next to the power plant at holes 10 and 13. After this, we head for home and what a start we make to that journey!
Holes 14 to 16 are absolutely top drawer and wouldn’t look out of place at any of the more well-known links championship venues. Each of them has wild fairway contours and testing putting surfaces laid out on really turbulent land between the railway line and a big sand ridge that runs parallel to the shoreline with the Irish Sea.
The 17th requires a blind tee shot up onto the higher ground that occupies the closing two holes and, in particular, the large front-to-back sloping home green in front of the clubhouse. It’s a great finish to a round that was full of surprises – mostly pleasant – for me.
The nuclear station does dominate the northern skyline but, apart from holes 11 and 12 which head directly towards then away from the razor-wired perimeter fence, it never unduly impacts on your enjoyment – a bit like Seaton Carew, there’s too much going on close to hand to worry about any peripheral industrial interference.
Looking in the Top 100 news archives, an article was published last year entitled North West England – Top 20 Golf Courses 2017 with Seascale listed at number 20 in a region of around 270 golf clubs. I think that impressive ranking position tells you all you need to know about how good this place is.
Date: October 31, 2018