Golf Course Review of Great Yarmouth & Caister Golf Club
Great Yarmouth & Caister Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A traditional and honest links where gorse is the main threat
Our 5 Star Rating: 3.7
Great Yarmouth & Caister was founded in 1882 making it the oldest golf club in Norfolk. It’s also one of the best.
Steeped in history The Club was adopted by members of Royal Blackheath Golf Club (England’s oldest club) who provided Captains, Officers, members and trophies.
The historical importance of the club doesn’t end there for Great Yarmouth & Caister is also the ‘Home of Bogey’.
This dates back to their 1890 Autumn Meeting when Dr Browne, a member of Coventry Golf Club, suggested the idea of playing a match under handicap against the number of shots a scratch golfer would take playing perfect golf.
Moving forward to the present day and “Caister Links” more than caters for the needs of the modern golfer, especially those who seek good quality links golf on an all-year round basis. Norfolk is rightly noted for its acclaimed courses in the North; Hunstanton, Brancaster and to a lesser extent Sheringham. However, it is certainly worth edging a little further around the coastline to sample this honest and traditional links.
Holes four through to 15 are of a particularly high standard and are played on pure linksland with tight, fast running sandy fairways lined by dabs of gorse. There is plenty of movement in the fairways over this stretch of holes as well as some superb green locations.
Before then the course makes an unusual start where one must duck under the barriers of the neighbouring and intertwining horse racecourse no less than two times on the opening hole! Your drive should easily clear the racetrack for the first time prior to playing over it again with your approach to the green. The majority of the front nine is laid out inside the track and this is where many of the best holes can be found.
The second and third, along with the final three holes, are all played on the inland side of the straight mile and have a softer, greener feel to them when compared to the bulk of the course which is played over classic rumpled linksland. There is still good golf to be found at the start and end of the round though; out of bounds is a threat on the second and a ditch comes into play at the third. The closing trio make for a tough finish too with plenty of gorse at the 16th, the 17th is a long par three and there is danger everywhere at the last, a particularly tight driving hole.
However, the course really comes alive at the fourth with a tough two-shotter played to a green nestled in low lying dunes that must cross a quartet of wooden-sleepered bunkers. Meanwhile, a periscope must be used at the next to see if the fairway is clear on this partially blind hole that swings to the left and is nicely bunkered both right and left.
The green sites at the next two holes are quite superb. The sixth is a short par four whilst the seventh is a long par three with a huge two-tiered green. I suspect it’s not uncommon to score three-four on this stretch. Both holes have raised greens and in a fierce wind I can imagine they are frighteningly difficult to hit and hold.
Holes eight, nine and ten provide the backbone of the course. Each is a stellar par four with good driving and sharp iron play required to initially avoid the gorse from the tee, the main threat at Caister, and then to find the excellently positioned greens.
A short walk outside the racecourse is then required to reach the 11th tee where the high quality golf continues and this bunkerless hole may just be the star of the show. Played through a valley of dunes and gorse it’s a stunning looking hole.
The good stuff doesn’t end there though. The short 12th is a brilliant par three boasting another plateau green before you turn back and play the long 13th. The one-shot 14th provides variety with a sunken green this time and is surrounded by wooden-faced sand traps. The 15th also has a fine green setting located on just the other side of a huge hollow which will deter all but the longest of hitters from attempting to reach the green in two.
I got to see Great Yarmouth & Caister on a glorious spring day. The sun was shining and there was just a gentle breeze. The Club Manager assured me it was like this all the time! Even in those conditions this exciting links provided plenty of challenge. I can imagine when the wind blows it will become a real test where imagination and creativity will be called upon in spades.
Club Website: www.club-noticeboard.co.uk/greatyarmouth
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