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Sean_A

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Glorious GOSWICK: 2021-22 Winter Tour New
« on: January 23, 2017, 09:44:02 PM »
The links at Goswick lie just south of Berwick upon Tweed.  The Scottish border is a mere few miles to the north.  One can guess that Berwick upon Tweed changed hands on many occasions during the four hundred years of border wars between Scotland and England. 1482 was the last time England took possession of the town and this remains the case to this day. When the Act of Union between England and Scotland was put into place in 1707 it effectively ended the dispute.  Though, there will always be cranks in any neighbourhood as Christine Grahame MSP clearly demonstrates. 

The club is approached by a serpentine road off the A1.  There is no sign a course is in the neighbourhood until the clubhouse and links suddenly appear after rounding a sharpish bend.  The hamlet of Goswick consists of maybe 15 dwellings and is hard on Goswick Sands which connects with The Holy Island of Lindesfarne (usually shortened to Holy Island) via the Holy Island Causeway.  For a population of approximately 200 persons the island does have its share of landmarks which help create an air of expectation when visiting...and visiting is well worth while. 

The evolution of Goswick is not materially different from that of dozens of links.  Many an architect has had a turn at Goswick, the names include the original designer, T Dunn, who in 1889 chose the land and designed holes extending to the present 12-14. Not five years later a cadre of members with the help of one R Collins were responsible for extending the course northward to create 18 holes.  In the following ten years both Willie Fernie and Willie Park made their mark. The advent of the Haskell pushed the club to engage James Braid in 1930 to perform extensive work to the links; as many as 13 holes were altered in one way or another.  In 1963 the unheralded Frank Pennink was called in to have his say concerning the front nine.  The club greenkeeper, George Thompson continued improving the course from 1966 to finally arrive at the 6800 yard beauty which exists at present.  Despite the many hands involved at Goswick, the links feels like a united design and for that we can thank the intelligent use of the terrain and the outstanding quality of the turf.  George Thompson is due more than a passing mention for not succumbing to the water and feed craze of the 80s and 90s.  The sense of cohesion is also due to the links being evenly divided by the house; nine holes to the north and nine to the south.  The quality of the often sporting terrain too is evenly split which results in each half having about the same number of the best holes. 

I feel compelled to devote a few paragraphs to Frank Pennink before moving on.  Rather like Donald Steel, Pennink was a man of many talents where golf is concerned.  He earned a blue at Oxford while playing for the side between 1933 and 1935; captaining the team in his final year.  After taking up a position with an insurance company (sound familiar?) Frank won the English Amateur in 1937 and 1938. Because of these wins and others he was selected for the 1938 Walker Cup Matches held at St Andrews; incidentally a team which beat the Americans for the first time.  As was the case with many sportsmen, WWII robbed Pennink of prime competitive years. Spending the war years as an RAF Squadron Leader, it is doubtful there was much time to dream about what could have been on the links.

Turning to journalism after the war, Frank covered golf for the Daily Mail and Sunday Express.  His writing led to the development of a unique voice about courses which resulted in the publication of Homes of Sport: Golf in 1952 and The Golfer’s Companion in 1962.  It was clear that his keen eye for the places of golf would be of great benefit in the design aspect of the game and thus Frank joined the architectural firm of Ken Cotton and Charles Lawrie where he worked on many courses throughout the UK and Europe.  It shouldn’t be forgotten that Pennink also served the game through his work with the English Golf Union, of which he was president in 1967 and Walker Cup selector. 



The competition scorecard.  Yardages, what yardages?  Notice Local Rule 3!  The card is also perforated to remove the marker's score. 


For all the wonderful aspects of links golf which Goswick gives us, the first is an odd duck.  First off, it plays to the east.  With internal OOB hard right, a fairway working around a copse and a green which is set at an awkward angle, perfection is not the word which comes to mind when describing the hole.  For all that, this hole, like the other 17, belong to the Goswick genealogy so it can't be bad. Looking toward the tee.


Nobody could question the fantastic variety of terrain and conception of Goswick's short holes. A medium length par three, the second plays over a deep hollow to a somewhat large green. 


I think this is what the hole looked like in 1903  after Willie Park Jr made some changes.  It was then the 10th, following the what is currently the 17th.  The tee would have been just above the current ladies 18th tee, making for a much more adventurous hole than exists today.


The tee shots for three and four are a similar challenge being leggers to the right. #3


The movement from the right surrounding the bunker is superb.


The 4th plays somewhat similar to the third in that the hole tumbles down from the dunes.  The green is a very severe target to receive long iron/wood play. 




One gains a better look at the tight green from near the 5th tee.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 08:08:49 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-4
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 03:44:50 AM »
Sean,


Goswick was a real eye opener for though I had played it before that was over 35 years ago and I had all but forgotten what it was like. You are correct about the first and it is a bit odd that with so much great land available the area around the clubhouse is quite cramped. 1,9 and 18 are all rather an awkward compromise. I did think that with the exception of the 5th the greens on the front nine were very reminiscent of Brora.


I loved the course and will certainly be back again.


Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-4
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 05:57:09 AM »
Jon

Yes, terrain around the house is flat.  Plus the footpath, road, and internal OOB aren't great ingredients for the best of golf.  Still, there is a certain charm to this section of the property because of all the people milling about.

Goswick Tour Cont

Pennicks Way presumably has something to do with the man, but the provenance of the hole is immaterial...its a goodun' no matter who deserves credit.  This two-shotter works its way left despite the terrain leaning right.  Many drives will finish down the right which is good because while a longer approach, there is the opportunity to kick a shot in from some distance.  Left of the green is an attractive cut-away and to the right are deep bunkers.  To the rear and right is an old shieling (the name for the 3rd), an abandoned fishermen's hut used when these hardy fellows had to remain close to their work. 




Behind the green.


The 6th is the final hole playing north until we reach the 14th!  OOB looms down the entire length of the billowing fairway.  The drive is made more daunting because the landing zone is blind.  After playing the hole I took a look at the card; this wee three-shotter is a mere 426 yards!  I was a decent wedge short of the green in two.  Interestingly, the length of approach is about the same in the summer with the tee some 100 yards further back. 




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 04:42:28 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mike Sweeney

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-6
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 06:51:26 AM »
Sean,


I really do love your post. Thanks for your continued efforts.
"We need to allow people to make decisions for themselves and their local communities and families. Trying to tie everything into one package simply does not work." 5/11/21

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-6 New
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 04:06:00 PM »
Cheers Sweeney.

Goswick Tour Cont

We now begin a run of holes heading south which takes us all the way to #14.  The 7th is an excellent hole running along a dune line to the right.  A lone bunker left is more than enough to give pause to those hoping to gain maximum advantage with the driver.  Bunkers harry the approach as well. I believe that is J Cowden striding confidently up the fairway.
 

The 8th is awkward looking from the tee, but there is more room right despite the looming gorse. The green is set below the fairway beyond undulating terrain.


The side finishes with an unremarkable par 3, which does have the advantage of using the OOB.  Langwhang must be Scottish for long and straight, but this term doesn't do justice to the 10th.  Rarely have I encountered a flat 383 yard hole which went on so long! 

I am quite fond of courses which showcase unusual or well used features, be they man-made or natural. Goswick happens to be packed with such personality and the 11th is a case in point.  We already had the lovely movement from the right on #3, the gouge to the left of #5 green, well used OOB on #6, but these examples did not prepare me for the eleventh.




More lovely terrain for the approach.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 08:11:36 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-11 New
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 08:48:01 AM »
Goswick our Cont

Still heading south, Pilgrim's Way is aptly named because the 12th does feel like a journey even if only for 317 yards.  From the tee I couldn't visualize the hole, but after seeing how the fairway bowls out it is a very risky play to bang driver.   


This view is from the dune on the left where it seems many golfers find impenetrable rough even in winter.


I believe this is what Braid designed!
 

With tees stacked along seaward side of Goswick's dominant dune ridge, the 13th is straight-forward, but all the more pleasing for it.  The front bunker will see its fair share of play when the hole plays downwind.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 07:26:57 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-13 New
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2017, 05:20:22 AM »
Goswick Tour Cont.

We now make the run for home with an isolated hole in the shadow of the main dune ridge.  The terrain feeds off the dune to a low point then rises once again on the left of the fairway.  Bunkers too are well placed to keep the big tee ball in check. 


A view of the hole from the 13th tee.


The runaway half-pipe green necessitates the use of the ground if one hopes to get close to a forward hole location.


Looking back to the tee.


Bide-a-we is aptly named because this is a hole many will not mind a bit if loitering occurs.  Views of Holy Island and the vast beach command one's attention.  The hole too is very good if much easier than it appears.  The 108 yard drop shot feeds into a horse shoe green.  So long as the wind isn't up par isn't an onerous task.  A view of the green from the right, play is from the left.




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 08:13:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues 1-16 New
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2017, 05:24:32 AM »
Goswick Tour Cont.

Lets skip 16 in favour of 17 where a string of bunkers awaits at a goodly driving range.  However, it is the last surprising feature of the day which impresses most. The powers that  be thought it best to leave a footpath directly in front of the green.  The golfer must cope with this unconventional design element if the hole is forward...which it was on this day.  The interested eye will notice a standing stone just left off the green.  These stones, which are presumably footpath markers, used to spread in front of the green....sounds good to me!


The 18th will strike many as an extremely heavily fortified 200 yard par 3.  If we turn around, the daily tee is back on the ridge making the hole play as a short two-shotter.  Its a bit of a messy hole from here and not worth the long walk back.


The forward tee is more like it.


Goswick is very impressive.  My main take away is the remarkable variety created by an out and back design centred around a spine of dunes.  My only apprehension is when the club decided to eliminate the Winter Card. Even more variety was on offer and if a club has space to create more options it should be done.  2022 

Ran's Review.
http://golfclubatlas.com/courses-by-country/england/goswick-golf-club/

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 08:18:07 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2017, 06:11:16 AM »
Sean,
Thank you for this photo-tour. Goswick is certainly somewhere I'd like to play one day. We really are pretty fortunate in GB&I in having so many fine courses that fly under the usual radar and yet provide interest and challenge.
Atb

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2017, 06:30:16 AM »
Another good tour Sean. Like you, I really liked Goswick and will certainly be returning in the future to play the summer course.


Jon

Mark Pearce

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2017, 12:57:11 PM »
I was really pleased that people liked Goswick.  I've long thought that if it were a few miles further North and could claim to be in East Lothian it would get far more attention.  I like the first and second much more than you, Sean.  The first is hard as nails in a westerly or south westerly wind.  I don't really think the OOB is in play but it is hard to make yourself hit the ball far enough right to give a shot at what is a really tricky green to hit with a long iron or even a wood.


2, like 13 and 15 is a far better hole with some wind.  Played down wind it is very tricky to get anywhere near a front half pin.  I'm not a fan of 9, though.  For me it's comfortably the least interesting hole on the course.  I think 3-8 (from the summer tees), 10-12, 14, 15 and 17 are all better than just good holes.  18 is far better as a short par 4.


If people are interested in seeing the summer course, then I'd be delighted to get bak there later in the year.  It's only an hour drive from home and I probably get there on average less than once a year.  That has to change!
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2017, 04:25:55 AM »
Mark

The first isn't bad considering the awful interior OOB and that one can't get a good angle to the green  8)

The second is ok, nothing special as a par 3.

Like you, 9 doesn't thrill me, but at least the OOB is used well.  In essence, its the area around the house which is Goswick's biggest weakness.  The 3s aren't nearly the best, they get by and at minimum are all very different. 

Goswick is a keeper.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 05:00:32 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2017, 12:49:23 PM »
I was looking at the first after the round and if the tee were 30 yards to the left it would still leave the hole as a slight dogleg but would remove the need for the OOB which would improve the hole no end. Yes the 9th would need to be redesigned but if the tee were placed behind the eighth green on the raised ledge there is there it could then be played across the low dip to a green to the right of the present green. Were the club not bothered by a crossing of the first and ninth you could even play to the area where the present first tee is.


It is odd that with so much suitable land and there must be room for another half dozen 18 hole courses at least, that the course is so cramped around the clubhouse. Still, I suppose when it was built this was not an issue.


Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2017, 06:50:23 PM »
Jon

These days I can't imagine a club redesigning a hole to cross-over a hole or play over a green. 

I do wonder if it was possible to build the 9th more toward the start of the 1st fairway (a shorter par than now) with the first hole moved a bit left.  The OOB could also eliminated by making 18 a par 3. I think I would prefer this to having a short 4 and OOB.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 05:18:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Richard Fisher

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2017, 09:34:33 AM »
In answer to Jon, and  this may well have been raised before on another thread, the course did actually extend further south at one point, and I think that 18 holes are now laid out on the same ground that once housed 15 or 16 holes (not quite sure which). I have always assumed this was the reason for the cramped layout around the house, which (to agree with most posters) is the one blot on an otherwise splendid links, whether in summer or winter.

As you say, another half dozen courses (at least) could be built on the highly tempting duneland between Goswick and the Tweed estuary!

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2017, 01:49:35 PM »
Fine tour of another great Golf Course.  Just to add I liked the hard as nails 1st and the second far more than you did. The second has half the surface blind with a huge hole in front. Its also at the highest point of thee course and having to cope with wind would add considerable interest.


The scores in "my" group for these two were 7,7,4 and 4,4,2.  Very interesting.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
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Jon Wiggett

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2017, 02:00:58 PM »
In answer to Jon, and  this may well have been raised before on another thread, the course did actually extend further south at one point, and I think that 18 holes are now laid out on the same ground that once housed 15 or 16 holes (not quite sure which). I have always assumed this was the reason for the cramped layout around the house, which (to agree with most posters) is the one blot on an otherwise splendid links, whether in summer or winter.

As you say, another half dozen courses (at least) could be built on the highly tempting duneland between Goswick and the Tweed estuary!


Thanks for the answer Richard, I was not aware of that. Do you happen to know why the course was reduced in size?


Jon

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2017, 02:21:47 PM »
Are there still signs about the Bombing Range and UXB's?
Assembled in Michigan from foreign parts.

Richard Fisher

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2017, 04:55:32 PM »
Jon
Sorry - no I don't, but in the clubhouse there is (or certainly was) a course plan showing the holes to the south, which from memory seem to be the other side of a burn or brook. I don't know the date of the loss either: one common reason many seaside courses have lost land, whether temporarily or permanently, has been for military requirements, but I have no sense whether that applied to Goswick. Apologies.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2017, 05:54:43 PM »
No problem Richard and I had hoped but certainly did not expect you might know. Perhaps taking Marty's question on board you are on the right track with military use although I would have thought it no reason to abandon the holes as the possibility of being shelled, dive bombed or encountering an UEB only adds to the sporting challenging ;D  Seems like H&S gone mad to me :o


Jon

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2017, 04:42:22 AM »
I do think some changes were made due to "WWII".  What they were, I don't know.  There have also been some changes in my lifetime. For instance, the 12th green used to sit not far beyond the hollow (which was sandy and had a sleepered face)...the green ran sharply away from play. I think some time in the late 60s/early 70s the green was moved to its present position.


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

Thomas Dai

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK Winter Course: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2017, 12:15:52 PM »
Bombing range(s) - with a little googling -

http://www.northumberland-beaches.co.uk/goswick-sands.htm
&
http://northeasthistorytour.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/goswick-sands-nu085445.html

GoogleEarth shows several long sections of concrete square blocks in places along the spine of the dunes to the south, east and to the north of the golf course. Several pill boxes seem to be visible as well. Typical WW2 measures. The Observation Tower shown in the photos in the above websites seems to be located within the now campsite area about half-mile south of the course.

There was also a (James Braid) course on nearby Holy Island that was requisitioned by the RAF during WW2 - http://www.golfsmissinglinks.co.uk/index.php/england/north-east/northumberland/320-holy-island-golf-club-northumberland - looks from GoogleEarth to be cracking golfing duneland.

atb
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 12:31:34 PM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK: 2016-17 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2019, 05:33:51 AM »
All

After a successful Buda, I believe Goswick has a few more fans.  See the dramatically updated tour. 

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

PPallotta

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2019, 11:37:58 AM »
Thanks as always, Sean, for this vicarious pleasure.
Goswick looks to be ideal for me, particularly in this sense: i.e. that it has some of the ruggedness and wildness of the more rugged/wild courses you've profiled, and yet also has some of the 'definition' and 'clarity' of the more gently straightforward English inland courses you've profiled, all in what seems a perfect balance for a first/one time average golfer who, like me, finds shot-making made more difficult when I don't know/am not comfortable where to hit it or what I'm seeing.

Jason Topp

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Re: Glorious GOSWICK
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 12:45:30 PM »
Fabulous tour!  I think I missed this the first time around.

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