News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC New
« on: September 20, 2011, 04:45:19 PM »
Hunstanton is a links which begs to be played.  One sits in the house and wonders how many golfers have started their round in sandy agony.  Yet, these thoughts don't in the least discourage us; we all want to see a fair and true blow sail cleanly over the threatening sleepered bunker.  There have been many changes to the original Willie Fernie designs of 1891 and 1895. 

1. Perhaps the one change which leaves a tinge of regret is the loss of the 1st tee.  The opener used to play from the Wash side of the house over the current 18th green and the large sleepered bunker.  Previously the bunker was more open in nature, I don't know when it was sleepered.  My guess is that the work was done in the mid to late 40s perhaps in preparation for the 1946 Ladies British Amateur or the 1951 English Amateur.   

The old first tee was in an area which is now behind the practice bunker on the Wash side of the house. This photo just behind the current 18th green may be where the tee was first moved.


I believe this artwork shows where the tee was eventually moved and remains.


2. A completely new 18th hole was built on the Wash side of the links which now finishes much closer to the house.

3. The old 18th green area became what is now roughly where the current putting green is located.


The 18th during the 1928 Women's British Open.


4. Much of the old 18th fairway is now a practice ground.


5. The current 17th follows its old routing to a new green cut into the dune ridge. The old green was a bit further up on the dune ridge.

6. The second tee is moved left of the 1st green on high ground.

The net effect of the changes is a cross-over section of the routing was eliminated.  Previously there was a walk over the old second hole to reach the 18th tee. 

However, the addition of the stern finishers was probably an adequate exchange!


For some reason the opening holes aren't thought that highly of.  I for one think #1 is perfect; in the right conditions a driveable par 4 with some trouble in the guise of OOB down the right lurking for the aggressive play.  #2 is very good as well. The opening to the green too requires arrow - straight accuracy.




We can see the championship mantra of squeezing fairways with bunkers.  However, despite the front nine playing down the prevailing wind, making the par 5 second quite reachable, trouble for the blind approach is probably more than most want to bargain for.   




If the opening two holes leave plenty of room for conservative golf to earn pars, the dogleg right third increases the difficulty considerably.  The safer left side creates the possibility of tangling with ever-present OOB down the right. 


The heavily bunkered short 4th turns back toward the house and just as at Brancaster, it virtually shares a green with #14.  #5 makes an about face and plays over meadowy terrain which merely pretends to be links.  This hole doesn't sit well with me and I have to wonder what evolutionary changes took place.  The good golf continues on the 299 yard 6th.  The volcano green is Hunstanton's first show stopper.


Prior to changes (I think in the 1930s) the 6th used to dogleg right with a green in the area which the 7th plays over.  The photo looks back toward the house from the dune separating the current 7th & 9th.


One gets the impression that a gap was carved through the dune fronting the 7th.  In any case, this is a lovely short hole which doesn't play much differently than Brancaster's 4th...though it is far and away more attractive. 


Big hitters have a huge advantage on the three-shot eighth.  The hole is a tale of two halves.  Its a messy looking hole from the tee with all the OOB and hazard stakes planted about like young saplings, but once over the double ditch and the access path between the beach and the hamlet of Holme, we enter a world of tranquility.  Just when the course is starting to kick into links gear things get stalled by the 9th.  Not a bad hole by any means, but back to back par 5s rarely works.  Essentially, the problem with #9 is it is too narrow.  This is a lingering problem on a small handful of holes coming home.  I am not sure why as there is loads of space closer to the sea. That said, each hole runs in the oppsite direction so there is the possibility of catching the 9th on an easy off day




The origins of 9 through 11 are unclear.  They may be quite old holes built by James Sherlock in 1925, not long after Braid left "a most destructive trail of bunkers behind him; wonderfully cunningly devised they are..."  They may also be of the newer 1951 vintage when 17 & 18 were dramatically altered.  In any case, we are most fortunate that the 10th is among Hunstanton's 18.  The hole heads toward Brancaster to the east and uses a drainage ditch exceedingly well.  The green too is quite interesting as it is angled in such a way as to make the position on the dangerous left side, near the ditch, most advantageous. 




The double dogleg effect (FOXY!) created by an offset tee and the green partially tucked behind a dune is to be admired, but #11 is a bit too narrow. God help the golfer caught in a cross wind at Hunstanton!


#12 is a bold, blind par 4 played against the grain of an out n' back routing.  A cracking hole, for my money #13 is as good as anything at Brancaster.  The drive is very similar to Rye's 16th, playing blindly over a ridge at an angle.  I can imagine that on days when the wind is ferocious that reaching the top of the dune would be an impossible dream.  Below is P Dickinson's sketch of the hole.




Once in the fairway it is apparent that to earn a view of the green one must be very accurate in length and direction as a drive hit too far right will tumble to a lower fairway leaving a blind second over broken ground.  This is like many holes which once required Herculean efforts to gain the prime position, advanced equipment technology now makes it routine for handicap players to hit the ball so far that trouble is the reward.  Below is a photo from halfway down the back of the ridge.   


What a hole!  The green generally moves from the front to back, but there is an interesting raised bowl in the centre. 


There are several very good two-shotters at Hunstanton, but few mention the quality of the par 3s.  The 14th, a very similar hole to #12 in that the ridge is bi-sected, is an old fashioned blind par 3.  The hole doesn't play as long as the listed 212 yards as once over the crest of the hill there is a keen turbo boost to the well defended green.  The two hollows dug out of the side of the hill used to contain sand, perhaps they should be restored.


Leaking a tee shot right leaves a very unpromising finish to the hole.  The 4th is to the left.


1950s?


Talk about low-tech, Mr Shackelford "oscillates the pole" behind 14 green  8)


The three shot 15th is as tight as the 9th, but it does have an interesting short bunker and mildly raised green.  We now cross back across the dune we played over on #14 for the final three holes and what a finish it is.  Before going forward, we must take a moment to digest the information provided on a plaque at the base of the 16th tee.


The 16th is very attractive downhill par 3 and as previously seen at 1 tee, 6 green, 7 tee and 8 green, the central dune ridge is utilized strikingly well.  In this photo it is easy to see the pin resting in the lee of a sharp rise to the back of the green.


The 17th has so much character that this is one time I will forgive the transgression of being very narrow.   






From a design perspective the 18th is probably better than #17 even if it doesn't have quite the oooompah.  The second is played over broken low ground serving as a footpath to the beach which at one time I think was a huge bunker.  For any that believe it doesn't matter if the 18th finishes in front of the house make a trip to Hunstanton.  Golfers gather immediately behind the green clutching pints of ale eager to see their mates stumble home.  There are few better arrangements than Hunstanton's 18th green, first tee, putting green and pro shop lined up as if on parade for Colonel Clubhouse.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of Hunstanton as much as I enjoy playing the course.  Even if the three-shotters are a bit wanting as a set, there are enough superb par 3s and 4s to keep the golfer happy and keen.  The use of the best feature of the course, the centreline dune ridge, is outstanding.  Anyone who thinks highly of Rye will surely enjoy Hunstanton for if there were ever two courses of the same ilk it is these two links. 

The club has unquestionaby turned the corner with its long suffering conditioning issues for the course is now in top nick.  I would certainly suggest that if anybody is in Norfolk to play Brancaster, they should most certainly also play Hunstanton; 1*.   2015

Part I - Brancaster: www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49686.msg1125201.html#msg1125201

Ciao       
« Last Edit: January 14, 2022, 05:15:18 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton (1-3)
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 05:07:30 PM »
In James Tiberius Kirk stylee:

"Need-to-keep-these-near-the-top..."

Sean, I love you and hate you in roughly equal measure. Is that okay with you?

GREAT THREADS, BABY!

F.
Assembled in Michigan from foreign parts.

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton (1-3)
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 06:41:52 PM »
Martin - yes, I often wonder how many of us (not including you and a few others from that side) would've long remained blind to the wonderful charms and history of the dozens of non-rota courses if it wasn't for the likes of Sean.  I have fallen in love these places.

Peter

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 04:50:31 AM »
Sean,

Great tour - I regularly play Hunstanton every year and know the course from the back of my head. It is a proper championship links course and it is let down by condition issues but I can see the club turning the screw and bringing back the glory days. Gordon Irvine and Martin Hawtree have been working there. One of the alarming suggestions Hawtree has made was to move the first tee away from the 18th green!!

The par 5's can be difficult and easy depends where the wind blows! A crosswind on 11 is unusual as it is either downwind (in autumn) and into a headwind (in spring)

Also the beach huts are part of the course. I have seen people go right of them and have a free drop if too close but still have to clear them  ;D

Would the dynamic duo be good enough for a BUDA? even though we can have 12 players at Hunstatanton and another 12 at Brancaster to enable us to get around Brancaster's maximum of 12 visitors a time. We can meet halfway at Tithewell!!. Then play 2 days at Woodhall Spa?

Cheers
Ben  
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 04:54:15 AM by Ben Stephens »

mike_malone

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 10:08:19 AM »
 Buda 2012 and I'm there.
AKA Mayday

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 12:40:56 PM »
Buda 2012 and I'm there.

I'll be there wherever it ends up.  Hopefully Silloth in 2012 & Brancaster/Hunstanton in 2013.

Great tour Sean.  Thanks for it.

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 12:51:12 PM »
Hunstanton is a very fine course that has always had the reputation of having the fastest seaside greens in the UK, as most of the greens are fairly flat - the 6th being an exception - they can get away with being pacey.

I'm still reeling from standing on the 18th tee in the English Police Championships at level par and walking off with a double bogey!
Cave Nil Vino

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 01:48:19 PM »
Another good tour, Sean. Thank you. I've played there a lot, and it gets good treatment in Patric Dickinson's Round of Golf Courses where he focusses highly on the 13th.

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: NORFOLK'S DYNAMIC DUO: Part II - Howling Hunstanton
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 03:22:13 PM »
Sean,

More excellent work!

Interesting how my one weekend of golf there gives a bias towards the wind those couple of days. Your mention of a driveable first and a reachable par 5 second aren't what I remember at all. In fact Ben and I struggled to get up in 3 on the second playing foursomes into the wind (but then I am a short hitter  ::) ) Also, I don't remember 7 playing anything like 4 at Brancaster. It was a long iron or even a fairway wood into the wind, which makes it one tough hole!

If we could get it to work, these two north west Norfolk courses would make an excellent Buda venue!

Cheers,

James

ps Mark, you mention Dickinson's excellent book which features Hunstanton. Its certainly one of my favourite golf books, and should be sought out by all on GCA.
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 06:25:15 PM »
Sean, the layout of the clubhouse, 18th green and 1st tee is very much like Wallasey, another place where the early finishers can drink and chortle at the later finishers' struggles.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 11:42:28 AM »
FBD

My mother thinks you are cute so its okay if you hate me.

Ben

The DD are easily good enough for Buda.  Where there is a will there is a way, but I leave it up to others to make it happen.

Boony

I had no idea the prevailing wind shifted so much depending on the season.  Why is this not the case at Burnham?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 12:56:58 PM »
I quite agree that these two would make for an excellent Buda. But there's not much else close by for before and after play by those who have come far, and it's a long drive from wherever you land from the skies. Sheringham is lovely and should be played before any more of it erodes. Royal Cromer is a disappointment. King's Lynn is charming, as a recent post revealed, but I suspect it's not why people travel across the Atlantic. Thetford, too, is very attractive and there is history there with Grime's Graves and Thomas Paine. It's not a million miles to Royal Worlington, a place that simply has to be experienced once in your life, if not dozens of times. I adore Aldeburgh, not quite a links, but with many links touches and some of the keenest greens in the country. Felixstowe Ferry has character around its Martello Towers, but only a little of it is old and there is some dull stuff from time to time. Woodbridge, Ipswich and Thorpeness have their merits, but only if you happen to be in the area.

However, it's not a million miles from King's Lynn to Woodhall Spa, which can be twinned with Seacroft, a course that doesn't seem to be on the GCA radar, but should be, I feel. Nor is it an impossible drive into the Nottinghamshire coalfields with Notts, Sherwood Forest and Coxmoor calling loudly. A journey south might also take in Luffenham Heath.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2011, 05:43:10 PM »
Mark

What differences between Sheringham and Cromer make one a winner and the other not?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2011, 06:03:12 PM »
Sheringham has a number of outstanding holes on a site which embraces the cliffs (which are eroding as we correspond) and later proximity with the preserved North Norfolk Railway. Royal Cromer is not a non-course. It has some rather nice holes up and around the lighthouse late in the round, but the rest is pretty mundane on parallel holes on parkland, some of it adjoining the beach. 

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 03:36:38 AM »
Sheringham has a number of outstanding holes on a site which embraces the cliffs (which are eroding as we correspond) and later proximity with the preserved North Norfolk Railway. Royal Cromer is not a non-course. It has some rather nice holes up and around the lighthouse late in the round, but the rest is pretty mundane on parallel holes on parkland, some of it adjoining the beach.  

Mark

You are one of the most diplomatic chaps I know so when you call a place "not a non-course" I sit up and take notice.  I will take your advice and avoid Cromer.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 05:03:51 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Colin Macqueen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 04:56:00 AM »
Sean,
For me it was not that Mark can be quoted calling a place "a non-course" but that he said Royal Cromer was "... not a non-course".

Great use of language. Very pucka of him!

Cheers Colin
"Golf, thou art a gentle sprite, I owe thee much"
The Hielander

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2015, 09:26:50 AM »
On Sunday I had the good fortune to play Hunstanton with Pests from North America...seemingly on a death march through England  ;D   

I am happy to say the conditioning issues with the greens are well and truly a thing of the past.  Each time I play Hunstanton I am more impressed and I will no doubt return. 

See the updated tour.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 08:44:42 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Conley Hurst

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2018, 05:26:15 PM »
The Oxford boys and I just returned from a weekend up in Norfolk with fixtures at Brancaster and Hunstanton. Though the weather was quite dismal today at Hunstanton, we thoroughly enjoyed both courses. I thought Brancaster took the slight upper hand, though I particularly enjoyed 10-14 at Hunstanton.


The beautiful par-3 7th at Hunstanton was unfortunately closed for renovations, though I managed to sneak a look at the changes. The members said the hole should be reopened by Easter. The green had been expanded, and the front bunker had been somewhat reshaped. Surprisingly, though, the railroad sleepers had been removed. From older photographs it looks like it used to be quite a striking view. Unfortunately it was raining so I didn't get any pictures.

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2018, 11:37:03 AM »
It is interesting to note that when this thread was starting out Hunstanton wasn't in the best of condition. I am glad that has been rectified because these are some of the very best greens to be found.


It's nice to see Patric's idiosyncratic illustration of the 13th. Pity he only did the one golf book.

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2018, 02:33:26 PM »
Sean,


I think I have a few old colour slides of Royal Cromer. If I can find them I'll happily post them to you so that you can have a look. They are not of broadcastable quality! If you email me with your postal address I should be grateful. I might eke them out with a few others from the dim and distant past such as Aldeburgh, Ipswich, Felixstowe Ferry....


Mark.

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 05:05:17 AM »
Mark Iíve always been surprised Hunstanton gets a free pass on ultra flat uninteresting greens - bar the 6th - yet courses of a similar standing like Hankley get hammered for having allegedly uninteresting greens.
Cave Nil Vino

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Norfolk's Dynamic Duo: Part II - Howling HUNSTANTON GC
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2018, 05:23:20 AM »
Mark Iíve always been surprised Hunstanton gets a free pass on ultra flat uninteresting greens - bar the 6th - yet courses of a similar standing like Hankley get hammered for having allegedly uninteresting greens.


I wouldn't say that every green is ultra flat at Sunny Hunny.


3rd - slopes front to back
4th - has slopes
6th - quite sleep back to front
7th - has multiple undulations
8th - left to right slope
9th - interesting two tier with small collection area front left
10th - slopes left to right
12th - slopes front to back
13th - quite undulating
14th - slopes front to back
16th - two tier tricky green to putt on


the rest are pretty much flat - hey they are on the more difficult longer holes - 2, 5, 11, 17 and 18 not any of the short ones.


So thats a nice balance in my opinion. Plus I have seen them at their best which felt like 13 on the stump and at their worst - bobbling all over the place.

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back