The Club House,
- +44 (0) 16973 31304
20 miles W of Carlisle
Contact in advance
David Grant, Willie Park Jr.
At last, Silloth on Solway Golf Club’s reputation is becoming recognised more widely, thoroughly deserving its position in the Top 100 and one of England's best links courses.
Founded in 1892, with the help of Railway Company money, the course was originally designed by North Berwick professional David Grant. Willie Park Junior subsequently carried out some modifications to the layout between 1898 and 1902, primarily to remove a few blind shots and introduce new holes at the 4th and 5th. Alister MacKenzie submitted plans in 1915 to make further changes, but financial constraints after the Great War meant the club could only afford to proceed with installing a new green on the 3rd and a new tee on the 4th.
Silloth is famous for its affiliation with ladies' golf. The famous Leitch sisters learnt to play on the Silloth links. Charlotte Cecilia Pitcairn Leitch (or Cecil as she became known), went on to be the best lady golfer in the world, winning a record four British, five French, two English and one Canadian titles. In 1910, Cecil played a match against Harold Hilton (one of the greatest male golfers of the time) over 72 holes, 36 at Walton Heath and 36 at Sunningdale. Sportingly, Hilton gave Cecil nine shots per 18 holes and found himself five holes up in the last round, with only the last 15 holes to play. Cecil, showing true grit, fought her way back and ended up winning on the 71st green 2 up and 1 to play.
Silloth has parliamentary connections too. Viscount Willie Whitelaw was the President of Silloth on Solway Golf Club until his death in 1999.
You have to make an extra special effort to get to Silloth because it is located in one of the most remote and isolated places in England, at the mouth of the Solway Firth. When you get to Silloth, it’s a surprise to see the nearby industry that slightly blots an otherwise perfect landscape.
With heather and gorse adding brilliant splashes of seasonal colour, this is a cracking links golf course. When the wind blows, it’s unlikely that you will play to your handicap. Even on a calm day, you’ll find it tough. "It is also the home of the winds," wrote Darwin, "when I was there the wind did not blow really hard, but hard enough to make a fool of me." Finding the tight greens is no mean feat and when you do, they are tough to read with their subtle borrows.
It’s well worth the time (and the money) to get to Silloth and once you get there, you won’t want to leave. You are at one of the best value golf courses in the whole of the British Isles.
This is a hidden gem of the highest order! Firstly, bring lots of balls. You must hit fairways here. The gorse is so penal! Luckily I had a golf swing this day and only lost 1 ball on the bloody last!! The views and the design of these holes is truly wonderful. Some of the green complexes are set between huge mounds, where any shot that lands in the realms feeds in, but miss the target area and it is goodbye golf ball.
1/2/3 are all great par 4’s, 9 is a brilliant little par 3. 10 is a brilliant risk reward driveable par 4, and I believe it is 13, a par 5 where the second shot plays to the top of the hill where the green is so exposed to the elements and either side of the green is just completely falling off the earth if you miss. The complete opposite of some of the hidden greens you find here. A brilliant hole. The whole course was enjoyable, there wasn’t a weak hole, and the head professional was a lovely fella. Worth multiple plays or visits!
Siloth on solway is a truly incredible golf course. It has blind tee shots , blind approaches , elevated and sunken greens and dog legs both along with really strong par 3s.
Condition is faultless the greens are the most undulating iv played . I would pick the front 9 as the strongest and hardest. At number 20 in England I think it’s very underrated.
The only negative I can find is the rough being so penal that anything off the fairway can and probably will be lost especially when it blows, but the brutal toughness of it just made it all the more memorable . Make the journey you find much better
Having had Siloth on my ‘Courses to play’ for a long time, I was excited as a kid in a sweet shop that finally the day had come, having booked a round there as part of my trip up to Scotland. Having escaped Sheffield a day ahead of Tier 3 lockdown the rush of excitement could not be dampened by the pouring rain as we drove the last 30 miles across country, through Wigton and onwards to Siloth. So note my extreme disappointment to arrive at the club and see Course Closed! Not to be deterred, ourselves and a few other hardy souls from Yorkshire gently kept chipping away at the pro, and finally at 1pm this afternoon, with sun starting to shine through, the course was reopened and I got to my wish fulfilled.
And what a course this is. Earlier reviews by Mark White suggests that this could be the hidden gem of all links courses. Tom Dean describes the giddiness he felt on teeing off there, and both these reviewers are absolutely on the money.
This almost a classic out and back layout with a couple of tweaks, notably when the 4th doubles back and also the 13th, with fantastic views of the sea throughout most of the round. The course plays through, on and over the dunes - the front nine in particular sitting in an almost natural unaltered setting - and delivers constant pleasure throughout the round.
The 1st hole delivers right from the off. Your second shot is over a plateau to a blind dell which holds the saucer shaped green. The 2nd, from a high tee is a short par 4. Take a brave line up the right hand side of this dog leg right, leaving a short iron to the green. The 3rd is played over 3 dune hills, the latter one on which the green sits on a plateau. Sweeping curves, mounds, and dog leg left make this a classic looking hole. The 4th, played from the top of the dunes is a blind shot, so it’s let rip and then wander down to see what lies ahead. what is great about this green is that there are no bunkers but severe fall always either side of a narrow green. The fall always are a good 15-20 feet below the greens. The 5th is 1st par 5, which runs along the seashore, a beautiful classic links hole, with well positioned pot bunkers and a green that slopes back to front. On the greens, given that the course had been closed all morning, they were in near perfect condition, running quite quick for this time of year.
Hole 6 is the 1st of the par 3’s at 182 yards into a breeze, with a pot bunker to the front and right, an accurate tee shot is required . Left is all rough which given the rain was quite brutal as any ball finding it nestled down immediately.
The 7th has another green sat in a dell and the 8th a narrow looking hole and green surrounded on all sides by pot bunkers. Then the 9th finishes the outward stretch with a beautiful short par 3, with the Irish Sea sat behind it.
Front nine = world class.
Before starting the journey home, the 10th almost plays at 90 degrees to the 9th, taking the route inland. It’s a short hole at 308 yards and dog legs to the left. Big hitters can go for the green. I chose the more sedentary route which certainly offers a birdie opportunity.
The inward nine are still played over dunes, but set back from the sea, so less spectacular in some ways but equally great views accompany the holes, especially from the raised tees and greens. I loved seeing the silhouettes of players on the high dunes with the sun streaming behind them.
The 11th is another strong par 4 before you play a 200 yard par 3, again to a green that is raised and with bunkers on the right collecting an errant tee shot.
You then get 2 par 5’s back to back. The 13th was my favourite of these two. A hole that narrowed as it climbed back up the dunes to a small plateau green with magnificent views across the course. The 14th leaves a blind approach to the green, which is reachable in two.
The final stretch all had their challenges. The par 3 16th you become immersed in high gorse, and this is the view from the 17th tee. I liked this, Reminded me of Ganton. The 17th and 18th play back into the town and have housing down the right hand side. I liked that and the town background behind the 18th.
Siloth may be out of the way, but I am so glad we made the trip en route to Scotland. As an aside the club members were extremely friendly and made you feel totally welcome. The backdrop of the industrial buildings on the docks was similar to Seascale (where you play down to Sellafield) or Dunbar, but show that an excellent course doesn’t have to the most aesthetic surrounding in every direction. The quality of the course speaks for itself. At £45 each this was money very well spent. I can also highly recommend the American pancakes and syrup in the clubhouse as well! So glad we escaped Sheffield just in time.....
With perfect weather for our day at Silloth we were very excited for the two rounds ahead. We played on the 1st of October on the summer all day package, which consists of breakfast, lunch, two course dinner and two rounds if golf. The cost was £89! The reception from Simon the pro, the knowledgeable staff and members were as good as i've experienced. The food was the best course food i’ve eaten. There really cannot be a better value golf course in the Uk and Ireland.
The course is a mixture of a links landscape but with the heather and gorse of a moorland/heathland style course. The pot bunkers across the course are all small but devilishly deep and must be avoided at all costs. Stunning views of the Irish Sea and nearby Scotland are visible on many of the holes as is the industrial buildings that embody Silloth.
The round opens up with a stunning straight par 4 with a blind shot second having to hit over a hill to the green that sinks down into a bowl. The second hole was my favourite tee shot of the day requiring either an accurate iron down to the largest part of the fairway or a driver to get closer to the green on more of a risky line. Holes 3 and 4 were very strong par 4s with the green on 3 being just above you and leaving a stunningly beautiful shot in. The green on 4 miss it at you peril as both sides run off into deep gully’s where you can find yourself hitting back and forth if you haven’t got a good flop shot in your armoury. Hole 5 is the most picturesque. A short par 5 from the yellow tees, downwind and although S.I. 4 on the card played the easiest hole for our trio. After a great par 3 6th and two solid par 4s the par 3 9th ‘postage stamp’ for me was the courses signature hole. At only 120 yards long with the sea in the background and the green below a solid wedge shot to a small green is required avoiding three front bunkers that are some of the toughest on the course. A really fun hole and one you’d look forward to on each visit. The 10th is one of the courses weaker holes with another blind shot to the green. At the 11th you reach the end of the stretch and immediately turn back into the wind. The holes on the back on the main have slightly wider fairways, are a tad longer and require a greater test of your skills. The 12th par 3 was a long tight testing tee shot where with stronger winds could require many golfers to call for the driver. The 13th was the hardest hole. From the tee it read 450yards par 5 downwind and we thought this must be a mistake, however after doing the easiest part of putting a drive or 3 wood onto the fairway the second shot required pin point precision through a feathery gorse opening to a tiny fairway that was tightly flanked by thick rough and heather. The third shot to the green was so difficult that you never really felt in control even from inside 50 yards and miss the green to left or right and you’d have just as tough a shot from the run off area. It perhaps felt slightly unfair rather than testing and a hole you can easily come unstuck on even with good shots. The next another par 5 was another solid test that defied its stroke index. Hole 16 was a very long hole even into the slight breeze we played it in needing two hefty strokes. Hole 17 brought in the neighbouring houses right as does hole 18 which was a long slog back to the clubhouse. The houses on the right hand side I personally didn’t mind although some are in disrepair. I thought it epitomised Silloth as a quirky local course. However they do have a major problem with balls being hit into the houses as there is no protection and they are alarmingly easy for any level of golfer to hit towards. Gratefully the green fee covers the insurance for such a misdemeanour.
Overall we loved the course. Nearly all the par fours left you pondering which club to use from the tee and the par 3s as a package were as good as it gets. As a negative the greens sadly had just been seeded and tined as is the time of the year and were very difficult to putt on. There were far too many blind shots. For visitors who haven’t experienced the course you do spend a lot of time running up a hill to see the green and back down to your ball as most of the blind shots are from the fairways. Condition wise it didn’t match up to some of my local links courses or to other 5 ball reviews i’ve given. Fairways were a little scrappy and had a lot of divots. There was also some bare parts in the rough that looked a little worse for wear.
I’m between 4 and a half and a 5 ball rating and i'm going to opt for the latter. I’ll give Silloth the benefit of the doubt conditions wise as the beautiful course layout should not be given any less than 5 balls. Get in your car and go you will not be disappointed.
I’d been hoping to play Silloth-on-Solway for some time as I’d heard loads of good things about the course. The chance arose when my son and I had a staycation in the Lake District and we organised a 10am tee time in early August. I hadn’t researched the course, massively, but I had heard it was a real purists dream, combining heathland and links terrain. First impressions, I thought it was typical of an old-fashioned tradition members club, relatively understated yet steeped in history and character. There was a clear air of sophistication about the place, but not arrogance. Head Pro Simon was extremely hospitable, giving a detailed description of the course and making us feel extremely welcome. The course surpassed all my expectations as not only was it a divine mix of my two favourite styles of course, it was a fine example of each. When I think of great heathland courses I generally think of those with elevation changes, variety of dog legs and natural hazards of penal heather that look beautiful but cost dearly. Silloth exemplifies this. Add to this the mountainous backdrop behind Southerness’ Scottish coast, as you glance over the Irish Sea, and you have a beautiful and entirely natural example of Britain’s finest golfing Links landscape.
There are so many incredible holes that have clearly been designed over a century ago, yet still stand the test of time. The par 5, 5th, is reminiscent of the 7th at Royal St Georges as it doglegs left then runs parallel to the cost line, with the added benefit of being able to see the sea from the tee. The par 3, 8th, is a perfect short hole at around 140 yards, again with the sea as backdrop, this heavily bunked short hole presents a devilish test when the wind blows. Another great par 3 is the 12, playing over 200 yards with a bunker short right to catch those who don’t commit.
It’s hard to find a weak hole but there are a few that people will find unfair. The par 5, 13th, was ‘unlucky 13’ for me, as after nailing a drive and hitting what I thought was a great second onto the green I realised when walking to the green why this was a par 5 with a yardage of just 470… it’s certainly a 3-shotter! The elevated green is impossible to hold with a long club, so a lay-up to pitching wedge distance is certainly the sensible play here. The strength of the par 3’s was something I really enjoyed here, the final of the four being the 16th. It’s a real test into the wind, a small target with bunkers left and right and a severe false front. You’ll mostly be required hit a solid tee shot to make par here.
For anyone who can find a way to get to Silloth-on-Solway you really must pull out the stops to get there. It’s not an easy place to get to and, once you have, you feel like there is a little feather in the cap for the chosen few!
As we walked up our 36th hole at Silloth on Solway GC yesterday evening my wee feet were urging "sit down", my belly was rumbling "fish supper" and my golfing heart was whispering "go on, do another 9". The feet and fish supper won the argument but it is a testament to Silloth's fun factor that the idea of playing on was even in the mix, especially given that we were already well into the 13th hour of our day trip, I haven't played 36 holes in a day for over 20 years and have I NEVER contemplated playing more.
On a sunny, dry day with little more than a "one club" breeze, Silloth was simply a joy to play. It was challenging and thought-provoking without being heart-breakingly, esteem-damagingly tough; Colin, my 10-handicap pal, scored 22 stableford points on the home nine in the morning! Unfortunately, my other pal, Nathan, badly cricked his neck just before teeing off, and spent the day moving his neck, head and shoulders like a geriatric, arthritic robot with metal fatigue...and even he had an "awesome" day...and he scored two stableford 4-pointers! We all walked into the sunset (and chippy) with our golfing spirits rejuvenated and with only the merest tinge of guilt at having paid £60...there's good value, there's a blooming bargain and there's...Silloth on Solway GC.
(PS: I know this site requests that contributors focus on the quality of the course rather than the wider "experience" but I still think that friendly, helpful and genuine staff add significantly to a good day out and, on that count too, Silloth on Solway GC scores highly, so thanks to cheery pro Simon Williamson and the friendly catering/bar staff).
I was fortunate enough to learn to play at Silloth as a child without realising how blessed I was! Returning to it now is always a superb experience.
It is the definition of true links where you are fighting nature as much as the course designer.
On the rare windless days, and with a good run with the putter, it is more than possible to match your handicap. When the wind blows it can be an absolute beast.
Almost every hole has a different challenge.. on the first you are hitting to a sunken hidden green, on the fourth you could be forgiven for standing on the tee and asking yourself "exactly where is the fairway".
Hole 9 is 130 yards where, with the wind in play, I have hit everything from wedge to a driver (and still not reached),,
The front nine is the stronger but it is truly 18 holes of links golf as it is meant to be. Nature is allowed to play a part in the structure in the course, there is nothing artificial about it.
It is always in superb condition with fast true greens, and when the ground is hard it is joy to have to manufacture shots using touch and guile rather than just launching it towards the target.
The only thing that stops this being booked for months in advance is the remote location but it is the perfect place to go for a low priced taste of sheer links class.
A brilliant links course with great variety, fun greens, and lots of blind shots. The front nine is particularly strong, and the back nine holds its own, with some great holes. If Deal and Sandwich have the best green complexes in England, Siloth is in the next tier.
Personal favourites are 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 13, 16 and 17. 1 and 7 have great sunken greens, whilst 4 is a fantastic bunker-less par 4 with a classic saddle green. 9 is a fantastic short par 3, and very quirky, as the tee box is right next to the 10th tee box, almost as if they build 17 holes and had to cram one more in.
It's out of the way, but definitely worth the drive.
I played Siloth on a beautiful May afternoon on my way up to Scotland to play golf at Turnberry. It’s certainly a long drive through the lanes to this part of the country but it is well-worth it!
What a course! One of my favourite links experiences - plenty of elevation changes, the odd blind shot, lightning greens and such great fun.
Solid opening par 4 with a sunken green which is followed by a real treat. Hole 2 is a beautiful dogleg right fully surrounded by gorse and a narrow green with penal bunkers. The elevated drive was one of my favourites.
4 was a great short par 4 in the dunes and the par 5 5th played along the beach was spectacular. There are some more solid Links holes before coming to the short par 3 9th which I loved. Absolutely surrounded by bunkers, your short iron game needs to be on point and you need to try and battle the wind to score well on this one (being completely exposed as you are virtually on the beach).
Whilst being slightly less links-like, I enjoyed the short par 4 10th which is a sharp dogleg left where you need to shape your tee shot to avoid going through the fairway.
Whilst the front 9 has the edge for me, the back 9 is still great golf and 16, 17 and 18 is a brilliant finishing stretch.
You need to be hitting it well and straight to score well here but the course is such good quality that even if you lose a few balls in the dunes or the gorse, I think you’ll still be smiling. Lovely little clubhouse bar to have a post-round pint or two and you’ve got a wonderful day.
Our annual trip away this year gave me another opportunity to play the epic Silloth on Solway once again, having only been lucky enough to play it once before, albeit a number of years ago. Driving towards the course, concerns were mounting amongst the group about the unlikely prospect of even setting foot on the 1st tee box due to a continual and untimely overnight downpour. These feelings were not aided by the majority of fields en-route being completely submerged under water. Unfortunately, the concerns were justified as the inevitable whatsapp message came through from another vehicle in the convoy to confirm that the course was indeed closed. There was, however, a slight glimmer of hope offered by way of a course inspection at 10:00 and the resultant optimism amongst the group meant that the journey could continue.
Upon arriving at the course, the accommodating staff confirmed that the course had impeccable drainage and would in fact be playable despite the deluge due to a break in the weather. There was an immediate sense of relief given that our trip was not cut short a day early. I went off in the first of 3 fourballs and was instantly reminded of the enjoyment I experienced the first time I played the course. The opening holes were as interesting and as appealing as I remember. Undulating, tight fairways which rewarded accurate tee shots with plenty of run and punished wayward shots with treacherous heather and gorse to either side. The third hole, a favourite of mine, had one of a few blind tee shots but after sailing one over the mound you are left with an outstanding approach shot into a raised green cut into the side of a grassy dune. The remainder of the front 9 continued much in the same way….picture perfect holes meandering in and out of the dunes with the Solway as an outstanding backdrop. The 9th hole, a short downhill par 3, finished off a quite frankly exceptional front 9 and despite its length provided a tough test by requiring an accurately flighted wedge over some well-placed pothole bunkers.
The back 9 was slightly different to the front but equally as picturesque and even more challenging. Fortunately, the stroke index 1 par 5 13th was playing downwind and, on this occasion, was generous enough to allow for a well struck 5 iron approach to the raised green, leaving a possible eagle chance. Happy days. My confidence was knocked down a peg or two, however, when tackling the remainder of the back 9 which headed back towards the clubhouse and directly into the wind. This resulted in some tough par 4s requiring a 200 plus yard approach into the green, including the 18th which was a challenging but outstanding hole to finish with. Having spoken to a member in the bar after finishing our second round, he assured us that the prevailing wind was usually in the opposite direction which seems to make sense in terms of layout.
I have to say that having now played this course again, it has cemented it as one of my favourites. The course was a true test of golf and was in absolutely pristine condition. This praise can be given even more credibility due to the fact that none of the other courses in the region would have survived the downpour. Despite the rain, the greens remained firm, true and quick but also receptive to an approach. Every hole offers up its own different test and each time you play it you seem to discover something that you hadn’t noticed the previous times.
I want to give this course a 6 but there are so many great courses that I haven’t yet been lucky enough to play. However, if you haven’t played Silloth before, make sure you do. It is well worth the journey, especially for the price. More importantly, the food in the clubhouse is tremendous!