Last Sunday we were excited to get out and play Seaton Carew Golf Club Old Course, a Mackenzie designed links course and the 10th oldest course in England. A course that is regarded by many as the best in North East England and one of the top 100 courses in the UK.
We arrived in a very heavy downpour, one of the lads forgot his umbrella but thankfully Carol in the pro shop saved his day by loaning an umbrella to us. She was very helpful and friendly too!
The clubhouse is a good size and has a real community feel, when we arrived the place was packed with diners and golfers, the atmosphere felt great. We got chatting to a few people and everyone seemed very welcoming. Out the front of the club house is a large putting green which we had a quick go on before teeing off.
The course is fairly flat but is at the mercy of the North Sea winds and rain. We were fortunate to be playing on a very calm day, wet but little wind. The course would be significantly more difficult in windy conditions.
The greens at Seaton Carew are very large with good pin positions, different tiers, large undulations, slopes and run offs. They really were in great condition. As with all links courses pot bunkers are a big part of the challenge, these are the deepest bunkers we have played though, many of them have steps to reach the bottom and have very high, sheer faces, easily over 6/7 foot and there’s a lot of them.
You will also face absolutely brutal rough and sand dunes on almost every hole, go too far left or right and you are in trouble. The tee shots on this calm day were not too difficult but extra care is required when making your approach, the key to playing this course is to keep things straight and tidy, take your time and try and avoid the dangers when making your approach shot, easier said than done. You don’t need to be particularly long to play this well though.
Our favourite holes certainly include all of the par 3’s. The third is a great little hole, with 8 large bunkers surrounding the raised green, the 12th, playing almost blind is also great fun.
The par 5 6th is a great birdie opportunity. The par 4 10th is great risk and reward, with a split fairway and blind approach to the raised green if you are off target. The 13th is also a great little par 4 with a sunken green that is well protected by bunkers. The last four holes can really test you, the 17th is very good, a difficult drive is required and then you have a large sloping two tiered green that is very well protected by bunkers, a real card wrecker.
Just when you think you’ve dealt with everything the course has to throw at you, the approach to the 18th can be a little nervy for some, with a nice selection of unprotected, expensive motors, sitting 20 or so yards right of the green
We have to say we think this is the best course we’ve played in the North East. It offers a true championship level challenge, it won’t be everyone’s favourite, it can be brutal in good or bad weather and for the high handicapper it might be a bit too much, but the standard of the greens and the course in general is exceptional.