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Sean_A

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Shapely SHERINGHAM GC New
« on: August 23, 2015, 05:07:38 AM »
Set on handsome yellow sandstone cliffs squeezed between the North Sea and the North Norfolk Railway, it is understandable that Sheringham Golf Club should be popular with tourists. For steam train enthusiasts, the North Norfolk Railway is pure joy.  After being rebuilt, the line was opened to the public in 1975 using steam and diesel engines.  The NNR was recently reconnected to the main line station at Sheringham via a restored level crossing.  Covering about 5 miles, the line runs from Sheringham to Holt, both towns being tourist attractions.  The NNR Station is well worth a visit as it is a museum of sorts.  When next in the area I fully intend to board the NNR!   


Tom Dunn laid out the course during two visits in the 1890s, but additional land acquired in 1904 set the stage for a redesign by person(s) unknown to me.  This is a great shame for whoever designed Sheringham made a fine job of it. In its early days Sheringham was known for being beastly long, but topping out at 6546 clearly demonstrates this is no longer the case.  There was much scuttlebutt among one playing partner that the greens were likely flattened at some point in the evolution of Sheringham, but knowing Dunn was the original architect makes me doubt this is the case.  Be that is it may, the current greens do not hold much interest.  It must also be noted, like Berkampsted in far off Hertfordshire, the par 3s are inexplicably and inexcusably dull.  Balanced against these shortcomings is a fine and diverse set of two-shotters highlighted by the magnificent 5th.

The start to Sheringham is both very good and an intriguing mix of holes.  Without including a par 3, the collection of holes includes two drivable par 4s, a bit of a breather par 4, a mercilesss par 4 and reachable par 5. With bunkers lining the right side of the fairway, cutting the corner of the short dogleg left is a tough ask for opening gambit of the day.  Of course, the green opens up from the middle to right half of the fairway. The photo is from a spot which just covers the short left bunker. 


A reachable par 5, #2 does have a few tricks up its sleeve with very dangerous OOB down the right, brought more into play by the hard sloping left to right fairway, and hidden pits down the middle.



#3 plays along the cliffside of the property and also features hidden bunkers which are very reachable with a driver.  The 4th is a very clever short two-shotter. At 315 yards along firm ground many will be tempted to have a go despite a pair of bunkers positioned in a manner which cannot be ignored.  What can't be seen is the severe drop off right toward gorse green high.  Options abound on this little cracker.
   

One cannot rightly say the heroic 5th is unfair, but perhaps it is unreasonable.  I say this because once a very good drive is negotiated, the fairway doesn't offer a straight path to the green which is partially tucked behind a large ridge.  To make matters worse, the double dogleg fairway leans left!  The bottom line is the best angle into the green is 20 yards or so left of the middle of the fairway...in the rough.  Be that as it may, I am one to believe that every course needs controversy and a few holes on which only the best of shots will be rewarded...this is certainly the case here. 
 



We finally encounter a par 3 at the 6th, but for my money this long drop shot hole is, much like the entire set of short holes, lacking inspiration.  In truth, the weak point of the course is the stretch from 6-8, so let us make a beeline for 9.  There is a sucker play blind over the right bunker.  It isn't that the carry is onerous, but sand protects the right flank of the green.  Hit a drive down the middle and one can bounce a fairly short iron into the sunken green. Shackelford is deep into  gamesmanship by fiddling with his spanners.


A longish par 4, the 10th threads a mess of bunkers before the uphill approach.


The best short hole follows, but the 11th wouldn't make a lasting impression for most.


Sheringham does a good job of turning play around on such a thin property.  3-7 are along the cliffs with 15-18 along the railway line.  All the other holes move back and forth down the middle of the hilly property.  All good holes, 12-14 cover the final run away from the house.  The longest of the three holes, 12 is an attractive drive turning a bit right then heading slightly uphill. 


The 13th is quite short, but gorse protecting the optimum line down the right adds prick to the hole.  The 14th is visually confusing with bunkers slashing into the fairway from the left and an obscured fairway line down the right.  The fairway is narrow, but there is no scenario where the safer right side has an easier approach.


Any hole location on the right of the green is well guarded by front right bunkers.


The 15th makes the turn for home with a mid-length par 3.  It is the last three holes which hold promise.  After driving over an old quarry a cluster of bunkers awaits the long ball.  The green aids a running pitch, but it is difficult to ascertain the correct weight.




OOB in the guise of the railway line threatens down the right, but there is plenty of space to ease a drive down the left.  As on 16, a pack of bunkers will threaten flat bellies banging away.
 

The uphill approach.


The home hole takes us blindly over a ridge and hard beside OOB right.  The previous two holes canted left, 18 slopes toward the trouble. There is a great bunker well beyond the crest of the rise, but it is the runaway green which may give pause.


The house as seen from the second fairway.


Sheringham has a certain undeniable charm even if there are a handful of tedious holes.  My game confirms Sheringham's smart reputation for offering firm and fast conditions.  Without question the highlight has to be the 5th, undoubtably one of the outstanding holes in England.  The setting is pretty as a postcard and the strong group of supporting holes is impressive even if some are punctuated by a rather placid set of greens.  For sure, if one is invited for a game or finds himself in North Norfolk, Sheringham makes a fine campanion for Hunstanton and Brancaster. 2015

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 04:45:09 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

Niall C

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 10:50:28 AM »
Sean


I've long been interested in seeing Sheringham so many thanks for your tour. I think I'm right in saying they have lost several holes over the years due to the edge of the cliff eroding which may explain some of the flat greens (?). The other thing about Sheringham that intrigues me is that we have correspondence from MacKenzie in the early 1920's that he sent from Sheringham and I've wondered whether he was there purely on a golfing holiday or whether it was more professional. Anything there that reminded you of MacKenzie ?


Niall

Thomas Dai

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC New
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 11:09:51 AM »
Thanks for sharing Sean.
Wasn't it at Sherringham that Joyce Wethered uttered the famous phrase "What train?" when asked how she kept her concentration when one puffed past as she was hitting a shot?
Atb


Later edit - some recoloured photos from early days


« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 06:09:02 AM by Thomas Dai »

Niall C

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 12:03:07 PM »
Thomas


I doubt Joyce Wethered ever heard or saw a train judging by the number occasions she's supposedly uttered those words. I've heard it said about a game she had Troon and also at the Old Course IIRC.


Niall

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2015, 09:07:57 AM »
My grandparents retired to Sheringham and so I have so many fond memories of the town and the golf course.
In fact the first time I ever set foot on a golf course to play was there.
My great Uncle Charlie was a member and took me out there for a hack, long before I actually took the game up.
Played there everytime I visited the grandparents in my late teens and once watched Lee Trevino play the golf course the week before an Open Championship
Fond memories and a fun golf course to play.
Once again wonderfully and accurately described by Sean

Niall C

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2015, 10:38:45 AM »
Michael/Sean,


Care to comment if you potentially see any MacKenzie in it ?


Niall

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2015, 12:27:01 PM »
Certainly in the shape of some of the green complexes, especially those nestled into hillsides such as number one and seventeen very akin to several of those at CPC.
The flow of terrain into the green complexes could be viewed as Dr Maclike.

Lynn_Shackelford

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2015, 03:57:26 PM »
Sean, enjoyed reading your take on the course.  I agree.  It seems an opportunity lost on a fine site.  Maybe some threatening cliffs changed holes, maybe the greens were redone or not, but the fun in playing certainly ends when reaching the putting surface.  Cannot say that about Royal Worlington which I experienced two days earlier.  There are about 8 holes which are fun and challenging, the beginning and the end of the round involves those holes.  Like I said when playing it, put it in on the Pacific Coast in the USA with the same holes and it would be famous.  As it is, now just another decent course in England with great views.

It must be kept in mind that the elusive charm of the game suffers as soon as any successful method of standardization is allowed to creep in.  A golf course should never pretend to be, nor is intended to be, an infallible tribunal.
               Tom Simpson

Sean_A

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2015, 04:12:49 PM »
Sean


I've long been interested in seeing Sheringham so many thanks for your tour. I think I'm right in saying they have lost several holes over the years due to the edge of the cliff eroding which may explain some of the flat greens (?). The other thing about Sheringham that intrigues me is that we have correspondence from MacKenzie in the early 1920's that he sent from Sheringham and I've wondered whether he was there purely on a golfing holiday or whether it was more professional. Anything there that reminded you of MacKenzie ?


Niall


Niall


That is quite interesting concerning Dr Mac.  I don't know enough about his work to say if anything at Sheringham looks like his hand, but I will say the 13th is out of character with the other holes. 


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

James Boon

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 08:14:34 AM »
Sean,

Sorry for coming late to this thread, but thank you for it! I've always been under the impression that apart from a few nice views along the cliff holes there wasn't much worth seeing. In fact I once stayed next to Royal Cromer and didn't play there, drove past Sheringham and went to Brancaster for my golf...  ::) Perhaps next time I will give Sheringham a go, as it looks to have enough to keep me interested.

Your photo of the 10th shows a hill in the background with a small white hut on it. I assume this is on the cliff edge up around the 4th or 5th somewhere, but that high point doesnt really show up in your photos apart from the downhill nature of the 5th?

Cheers,

James
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

Tom_Doak

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 09:06:58 AM »
Sean, enjoyed reading your take on the course.  I agree.  It seems an opportunity lost on a fine site.  Maybe some threatening cliffs changed holes, maybe the greens were redone or not, but the fun in playing certainly ends when reaching the putting surface. 


I don't have access to post them, but I was excited to see this course in my year overseas because I'd seen some dramatic pictures of the cliffside holes in a 1920's GOLF ILLUSTRATED article.  The 3rd and 4th holes looked like they had eroded waste bunkers hanging off the edge of the cliff [which have long since fallen into the sea due to erosion -- the chalky soil is very erodible].  That made the course really different looking than anything else in the UK, which goes a long way to explaining its higher visibility in the old days.

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 09:59:16 AM »
Tom


I'm pretty sure I've got a copy of those photos, assuming you are referring to the UK edition of GI. Off the top of my head the MacKenzie letter dates from the early to mid 1920's so the fact that the original holes were falling off the end of a cliff about that time maybe supports the idea that his visit to Sheringham might have been more than just a holiday jaunt.


Have you been there and if so anything that suggests MacKenzie might have had a hand ?


Niall 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Shapely SHERINGHAM GC
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 04:24:05 PM »
Niall:


I was there in the fall of 1982, so I don't remember it that well.  I had not heard of a MacKenzie connection at the time so I wasn't looking for possible connections ... nor do I see anything in Sean's pictures that clearly suggests the hand of MacKenzie.  But, it has been 85 years.


The one striking photograph for me was of the approach to the 17th, which looks almost exactly like Tom Simpson's drawing of the approach to the Bottle hole at Sunningdale.

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