Golf Course Review of Royal Cromer Golf Club
Royal Cromer Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A delightful coastal course with great views and fun holes
Our 5 Star Rating: 3.8
Royal Cromer, founded in 1888, was originally designed by Old Tom Morris and has recently been recognised as one of the top 100 golf courses in England.
With over 125 years of rich history The Club was given its Royal status from the very beginning through the patronage of the then, Prince of Wales, who would later become more commonly known as King Edward VII.
Royal Cromer is a venue that has been on my radar for some time so I was delighted to eventually play here in April 2016.
As you might expect of this clifftop course spectacular views can be found from many parts of the property and there’s a really good mix of fun and challenging holes to tackle along the way. It boasts many features that you would expect to find on a coastal layout with sandy hills, grassy valleys and an abundance of gorse.
However, ultimately the nature of the turf and types of grasses don’t favour the ground game - it therefore essentially plays as an inland course high above the sea. The par-72 layout will test most aspects of your game though.
Accuracy is important early on in the round, with quite a claustrophobic feel to the opening few holes, before the course begins to open up as it heads towards the coast where bigger hitting is called for.
The approach to the green at the first is an intimidating introduction; flanked by a lateral water hazard, bordered by shrubbery and tight to out-of-bounds at the rear you are likely attacking with a long iron too. The drive at the second must also be well respected, before you play to an excellent green complex, whilst the short, uphill, dog-legging third is particularly tight from the tee and again has an excellent green setting.
The fourth continues the opening run of two-shotters and is probably the hardest hole on the course but the reachable par-five fifth offers a chance to improve your score immediately. There’s no doubt that a 4-4-4-4-4 start has been recorded several times over the years, however, I suspect five fives have been scribbled down on a scorecard on a far greater number of occasions.
You have now reached the sea and the 444-yard sixth, named “Cliff Hanger”, needs no further description as we walk high along the cliffs with the beach down below. Sadly our connection with the coast is fleeting but the seaside flavour is retained at holes seven and eight as we play to raised greens before descending rapidly at the drop-shot ninth that has a ring of deep and deadly bunkers defending the putting surface.
As good as it’s been so far on the front nine the best is yet to come. However, we must wait a few holes before reaching the frantic and fantastic finale that Cromer provides. The worst of the terrain, flat and almost meadowy, has been worked cleverly by the architect and is eaten up with three par fives; the aforementioned fifth runs alongside back-to-back and parallel par fives at holes ten and eleven. Meanwhile, the sub-300 yard 12th is an unusual hole with a plateau green wedged into the hillside before tackling a par three with just the top of a flag to aim at.
The final six holes at Cromer is undoubtedly the best third as we now embark upon the highest section of the course. The signature 14th heads towards the lighthouse where, after a semi-blind drive, the fairway sweeps to the left and for the first time we see some low level ground movement in the terrain reminiscent of true links golf. The next is a superb hole too and is played through a vast valley that ultimately climbs to a sloping green - a visually stunning hole. The next is much more subtle with a hog’s back fairway acting as the main defence whilst the penultimate hole is a delightful 120-yarder where it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that there’s no future in missing the green left. And the 18th is a fitting climax with an elevated drive before you must attempt to find a well-bunkered, two-level green as the round finishes strongly.
Royal Cromer is a course that adds to the wealth of variety and quality on offer along the North Norfolk Coast. From the championship links of Hunstanton to the charisma of Brancaster and the drama of Sheringham this is a venue that will provide you with a memorable experience and a pleasant contrast to the others.
Club Website: www.royalcromergolfclub.com
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Royal Cromer Golf Club.
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