Workington Golf Club lies just outside the small town of Workington on the Cumbrian coast, about halfway between Maryport and Whitehaven. Formed as West Cumberland Golf Club in 1893, the club initially operated a 9-hole course on the other side of the town near Siddick.
After the course closed during World War I, the club reformed as Workington Golf Club and moved to its present location at Hunday Wood, where another 9-hole course was brought into play. A few years later, James Braid was called in to extend the layout.
John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming take up the story in this edited extract from their book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses: “Braid paid two visits to the site of an existing nine hole course, which resulted in eighteen holes opening in 1927.
The visit in 1925 was recorded by the local press who noted Braid was entertained to lunch by the committee, which indicates the high regard in which he was held for these were the days when professionals were not permitted to enter clubhouses.
His 10th and 11th holes are now a practice ground as new land was obtained permitting the construction of three new holes. He received £20 for his first visit. On his second visit of inspection in July 1927, he was quoted as saying the course ‘needed further refinements to the bunkers.
This was unusual, as normally Braid was adamant that his original plan was correct.”
Howard Swan was brought in during the early years of the new millennium to carry out a number of unspecified course modifications.
Workington GC, early Sunday morning 2 hour drive to play in a rearranged open from last October. What a lovely surprise, hole after hole the course just got better. Immaculately framed with pine trees and well manicured a credit to the green staff who had been furloughed, well done. Playing in near 40mph winds the course was certainly a challenge along with very well bunkered greens and greens with as good a growth as I have seen this year. Definately would advise anyone from getting a game here, amazing value for money and little gem of a course.
Workington is an interesting and pleasantly undulating parkland layout in the picturesque surroundings of the Western Lakeland Mountains. Originally formed in 1893 as West Cumberland Golf Club, life began as a 9 hole layout which lasted until the outbreak of the First World War. With declining membership, the club closed down only to be reformed after the war in a different location just south of the town.
Initially, James Braid was consulted on the new layout, then F G Hawtree was called in during the 1950s. In more recent times Howard Swan's complete refurbishment of the course, spanning a ten year period, includes an impressive array of new bunkers.
The routing is a little quirky in places with four of the five short holes arriving between the 6th and 12th. Two of them, the 7th "Quarry" and 10th "The President" are excellent but pretty tough targets to hit. The 10th with four bunkers and a stream protecting the green is a particularly good hole.
The stream also comes into play at 4, 6, 7, 11 and 13 which makes for some challenging golf. Of these the par fives at 4 and 13 are memorable holes, both being riddled with danger. On the home stretch the 15th is another demanding par three and the short par four 17th, a heavily bunkered risk and reward hole, is visually strong and very tempting from the tee.
Certainly worth seeking out if you are in the area and all for a very modest green fee.