Longhirst - Lakes
Earlier this year we visited Longhirst on a very cold, dark winter morning to play the Dawson course, despite the weather that day we had a great time and we were very excited to get back to play the second course at Longhirst, the Lakes Course. So in considerably better conditions, we got out there this weekend.
Like the name suggests, there is a lot of water on the Lakes Course, a lot, maybe too much for some people and I can imagine it is fairly brutal in high winds but for us it offers an extra dimension not many other local courses offer, its fun and gives you a lot more to think about, risk/reward defined. The course will punish anyone taking too many risks and the odd unfortunate shot, but the enjoyment of navigating the water and the layout of the holes make it worth it. We think it compliments the longer, Dawson Course, perfectly.
As mentioned, at just over 5,600 yards from the yellow, it is a fairly short course that is 100% setup to benefit accuracy and good decisions over brute power and distance. The longer hitters will need to reign it in a bit playing this course to avoid the hazards which are quite often positioned perfectly to ruin your drive. There is not just water to look out for, out of bounds, thick rough, tricky bunkers and wooded areas are also waiting for errant drives and approaches.
This weekend the course was in great condition, the recent rain meant the greens and fairways were excellent. The greenkeepers have done a great job during lockdown. The views throughout are excellent too.
In terms of the holes themselves, there are some great looking par 3's like the 6th, hitting down onto a large green that looks rather small from the raised tee box. The short par 5 3rd is a genuine eagle/birdie opportunity with a good drive and approach shot, it's always fun to be able to drive the green on the par 4 11th too. The par 4 17th, driving down to a vast fairway is great, but its important to make sure you dont go too long into water or too wide to make your approach to the green over the water too difficult. Some of the greens, like the 4th are well protected, wise to lay up there!
Hard to say which course we prefer, they are both a great test of golf, the Dawson course is longer, has slightly wider fairways & greens, which might be more suitable for some, and it has its fair share of water too. Pushed for a decision, I think we prefer the unique challenge offered by the Lakes Course, just bring plenty of balls. I'd happily play either when we return though.
For us Longhirst is one of the region's top golf courses and certainly one of the best in terms of value for money. They offer a range of tiered memberships, but even a full adult membership is very reasonable at £585 for two great courses, practice facilities and a top clubhouse that serves a great pint and food.