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Sean_A

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Alluring ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: 20-21 Winter Tour New
« on: March 18, 2018, 05:46:32 PM »
The 1874 Open was of historical importance because it was the first time the 9 hole Musselburgh links hosted the event.  All eyes were on the high flying duo of an in his prime Young Tom Morris and Willie Park, who already possessed seven Open titles between them. However, it was the ex-seaman and younger brother of Willie Park Sr playing in his first serious golf tournament, Mungo, who carried the day on the back of a 37 & 38, posted over the first two rounds. 

The wifi password is a subtle homage to M Park. 




While successful, Mungo seems to have been in the shadow of his older brotherís (Willie) success in all aspects of golf, including architecture.  This isn't surprising given the fact that Mungo was a fisherman/sailor the first 20 years of his career. True or not, it is fitting that some credit Mungo with the design of the original 9 holes of Alnmouth GC.  If Mungo did design the course it was while doing a stint in the navy. What is certain is that Mungo was the first professional for this pocket-size 9 hole links wedged between the winsome village and Alnmouth Bay. Being established in 1869 it is thought this is the oldest 9 hole links in England and the 4th oldest course in England, but let us not use these descriptors as ways to diminish the quality of the course.  With lovely terrain and high quality turf, Alnmouth is the real deal. 

It is clear the village remains prosperous, being built on the back of its thriving port which in the 17th & 18th centuries exported large amounts of grain, so much so that there were once 16 granaries in Alnmouth.  The arrival of the train (still in operation) in the mid 19th century gave new life to Alnmouth as a holiday destination.  Unlike some small ports, Alnmouth has retained much of its original charm and in addition to superb natural amenities, the town offers social amenities such as cricket, rowing, boating, rugby and two golf clubs.

The Boat Club's Ferry Hut.


Rowing Club.


It is easy to confuse the Village Club with the much newer HS Colt designed Alnmouth GC (1931) next door on higher ground.  For a short period Alnmouth GC had two courses, the upper and downer, until the Village Club was formed in 1936 and took over the management of the downer links. This in itself isnít odd until we note that the parish has less than 500 residents!  While the links seem a sleepy affair these days, this once was a base of some power in English golf. Alnmouth was one of 24 clubs which controlled the Amateur until the R&A took the reins in 1919.  It should also be mentioned that Horace Hutchinson thought Alnmouth important enough to include it in his famous British Golf Links.  From the description in the book, it is also clear the current routing and hole numbering is the same at least as far back 1897.

Despite recent interior work, not much about the exterior of the golf pavillion (on the right) has changed since this photo was taken. The once sandy nature of the links is no longer as evident except in as much as the course drains extremely well. The gentleman in the photo is stood near the current 1st tee.






More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 13, 2021, 04:01:07 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Niall C

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 09:44:56 AM »
"It is easy to confuse the Village Club with the much newer HS Colt designed Alnmouth GC next door on higher ground."

One post in and you're having a dig at me already !!

Niall
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 02:03:49 PM by Niall C »

Sean_A

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 03:21:18 PM »
Niall...you had me going the wrong way!

Onto the course.  The winter card is a perfect reflection of the course and house. There is no nonsense of a card showing 18 tees...its a 9 hole course.


The first as seen from the road.  For those who believe there is no finer terrain for golf than can be found at St Andrews and Deal...Alnmouth Village offers a hint of promise. 


Not a great starter, but not an easy short hole either.  It is clear the club takes the Village aspect of the name seriously.  It is literally a 1 minute walk to the centre.




Evidence of a much sandier past.  This sleepered bunker was right of the 1st green.


The next six holes all have something to shout about.  The 2nd takes us to the boat houses.  In days gone by there used to be cottages in this fairway.  There is a red herring narrow alley down the right which offers not a scintilla of advantage.


Much like Granny Clark's Wynd, the beach access road is crossed in both directions.




A closer look at the tiered runaway green.


No freeloaders!


The third green is not unlike the 2nd. 




Yes, the Village course is very becoming!


Continuing the hard on the beach theme, the rather modest 4th at 360 yards is the third longest hole on the course. 


More superb terrain.




Climbing to the 6th fairway offers a better idea of what the 4th is about.


The final hole out plays to a wee corner of the property.  It is a very short 4 which would make perfect sense in the summer.  The ladies tee also makes for a great par 3.  Yes, the location is sublime, but the hole is of exceptional quality.






The 5th green from the 6th fairway.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 08:49:33 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Thomas Dai

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues 1-5
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 03:57:22 PM »
Looks extremely cold and windy so well done for getting further than just the car park and the clubhouse! :)
I recall walking some of lower holes during a non-golf holiday a few years ago and thought that the course looked like it would a whole bunch of fun to play. And, as you say, it really is right by the village.

Looking forward to seeing the rest.
Atb

Mark Pearce

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues 1-5
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 07:55:20 PM »
You were there on Saturday.  I didn't get past Doncaster on Friday night because of the weather.  I walked the dog in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon and was as cold as I have ever been.  Playing golf up the coast is impressive.
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

John Mayhugh

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues 1-5
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 07:37:29 AM »
Sean,
Thanks for doing this tour. I've never heard of this course before now.  Completely agree on the scorecard. If you're nine holes, you're nine holes.

Looking at a satellite view, quite the contrast between this course and its neighbor.

David_Tepper

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Sean_A

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues 1-5
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 03:53:36 PM »
Mark...it was very cold, but worse for the afternoon game at North Berwick.  Near the end of the game the wind must have been 30mph...and with the temp not getting above 0!  The course was in magnificent condition...I think the best I have seen it. Alnmouth was also in very fine nick. 

Tucky...cheers.

Alnmouth VILLAGE TOUR CONT

Having run out of space the course can only go one way and that is up.  I am very taken by the 6th and think it is an All-England candidate.  The combination of the tee hard on the beach, blind drive and volcano green is a recipe for greatness. 






We don't stay on the high very long; the 7th drops back to the links in fine fashion.  Playing past the 3rd green, the 7th is one of the more interesting greensites.




Left of the green.


Right of the green.


The rear of green.  The green is raised with a protective scrape guarding the left side approach, thus rewarding drives down the right.


The beautiful rumples of the 8th fairway adjacent to the 2nd green.  OOB lurks down the right, but there is space to play safe.


The green is somewhat obscured by the flat terrain which starts about 60 yards short of the putting surface. 


Unfortunately, the final hole covers flat, but unmistakably links land. 


The great Bernardo believed there wasn't quite enough of Alnmouth to go around and that god intended it to be a 9 holer.  After several visits I am inclined to agree and can only wonder as to why it wasn't included in the True Links tome.  With holes the quality of 5 & 6 the course does have two genuine All-England candidates.   Several other holes too are of great interest due mainly to the compelling terrain.  I won't say the turf is of the same quality as Deal or St Andrews, but the terrain is a very close second.  There is no doubt it will take a certain sense of accepting the obvious limitations of the design to fully appreciate what is on offer. However, for those seeking the simple pleasures of golf (especially if hickories are used or driver is left in the boot!) delivered in a charming manner, Alnmouth Village comes highly recommended.  Much like the course, the village is also tempting.  1*  2020



More charming Northumberland courses.

Seahouses back 9
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66839.0.html

Warkworth
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65712.0.html

Goswick
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64104.0.html

Dunstanburgh Castle
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,67566.0.html

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 03:26:36 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 07:55:10 AM »
Three holes well worth seeing out of nine isn't bad.

What sort of green complex did the 6th have?  Run offs in every direction?

In the earlier part of the tour, I wondered about the path that you see in the photo of the 7th. Is that for golfers or for public access? Or both?

Thomas Dai

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2018, 04:09:58 AM »
Thanks for the tour Sean.
I imagine this course hasn't changed much over the decades so it would be interesting to play it with a ball that only went as far as balls went back in 1874!
atb

Sean_A

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2018, 04:38:41 AM »
Three holes well worth seeing out of nine isn't bad.

What sort of green complex did the 6th have?  Run offs in every direction?

In the earlier part of the tour, I wondered about the path that you see in the photo of the 7th. Is that for golfers or for public access? Or both?

Tucky

Yes, the 6th green runs away in all directions, but to the rear it isn't too bad.

Golfers use that path on #7.  I expect walkers do as well.  From the 6th green a good look can be had of Alnmouth GC next door....it looks pretty good!

I think three holes worth seeing is short-selling Alnmouth.  I would say 5 holes are good to very good and two are great.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 04:01:37 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2018, 05:53:14 AM »
Very fine, very fine...


There's something liberting about playing 9 holers.  You come without all your normal expectations and just get on with it. Fun.


Marked for future viist. Thanks.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2018, 04:11:47 AM »
Very fine, very fine...

There's something liberting about playing 9 holers.  You come without all your normal expectations and just get on with it. Fun.

Marked for future viist. Thanks.

Spangles

I must say our game did feel a bit like that.  We didn't have a card, we didn't know yardages, we didn't know how to keep warm.  We simply eyeballed and fired away.  I don't recall how many times I hit a wood, but it was far more than a coffee warming glance at the card would suggest should be the case.  I think the course needs a bit of wind to get its gander up  ;) 

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 04:19:07 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2018, 05:27:13 AM »
9-hole courses are great. I sometimes wish golf were only a 9-hole game.
atb

Niall C

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2018, 10:32:19 AM »
Sean

Very true about the wind. As much as I enjoyed the course I do wonder how much of that was down to the weather. Can't help thinking without the strength of the wind, it would have been a drive and a wedge a lot of the time. Which is not to say some of the green complexes would have still made it interesting but it would probably lack a bit of bite. That said, I wouldn't be adverse going back to find out.

Niall

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2019, 05:22:41 AM »
Niall

I had a chance to revisit Alnmouth heading back home.  I have to say, the course doesn't need much wind to ramp up the interest.  On this day, I found the course beguiling. 

All, see the significantly updated tour.

Previous Stops on the 2018-19 Winter Tour.

Seahouses back 9
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66839.0.html

Walton Heath Old
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61415.msg1460548.html#msg1460548

Reigate Heath
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64197.0.html

Cleeve Cloud
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html

Cavendish
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,41162.0.html

Hallamshire
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66568.0.html

Saunton East
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51415.0.html

Saunton West
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66490.msg1587657.html#msg1587657

Westward Ho!
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66480.0.html

Aberdovey
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,43564.0.html

Planned Stops

Tandridge
Barton on Sea
Isle of Purbeck

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 09:24:18 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2019, 05:47:05 AM »
Splendid new photos really show off the terrain. Glad it was warmer than on your previous visit! 9-hole courses are terrific.
Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2019, 09:09:28 PM »
Thanks for the tour Sean.
I imagine this course hasn't changed much over the decades so it would be interesting to play it with a ball that only went as far as balls went back in 1874!
atb

So far as I can tell, the greens are in positions which may not be original, but are very old.  Some tees have been altered.  For instance, I suspect the 1st played from near the house and probably over the 9th.  I suspect the 5th was from a tee closer to the ladies current tee and may have been a par 3.  I am not convinced the hole is better from the mens tee.

In any case, it is very surprising that AVGC didn't hold an excellent rep well into "modern times".  I can understand in the past 25-30 years the course would seem quite short, too short to include in discussions of top 100 (though I utterly disagree with that notion), but certainly back in the 70s this course would not have been push-over.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 09:12:44 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2019, 07:21:56 AM »
If we as players are prepared to down-spec on equipment there is a whole bunch of fun to be had playing older, shorter more rural and rustic courses. And a lot of historical appreciation for how the game, the equipment, the design, the construction and the maintenance developed too.
You donít have to go back to hickories either, pick up some old blades and persimmons on eBay, there are loads available, and give them a go. You might be positively surprised. It should also be a good learning experience for those of the generation who have only ever known titanium, graphite and cavity backs.
Atb


Later edit - colourised photos of AVGC in the past -

« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 01:56:07 PM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2019, 06:41:54 AM »
I have long said some holes are better for technology and some worse.  In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to have the right equipment for the right holes. 

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

Malcolm Mckinnon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2019, 10:38:58 PM »
Sean,


I had the privilege of sampling Northumbrian golf for years coming down from Edinburgh while my daughter was a student there, I am really appreciating these photo tours.


Please hear me when I say that you must, must  see Bamburgh Castle Golf Club. Not quite Pebble Beach but not so far removed either if you consider the views.


Ciao,


Malcolm Mckinnon

jeffwarne

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2017-18 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2019, 10:48:01 PM »
Niall...you had me going the wrong way!

Onto to the course.  The card is a perfect reflection of the course and house. There is no nonsense of a card showing 18 tees...its a 9 hole course.



love it
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2019, 05:19:28 PM »
Sean,


I had the privilege of sampling Northumbrian golf for years coming down from Edinburgh while my daughter was a student there, I am really appreciating these photo tours.


Please hear me when I say that you must, must  see Bamburgh Castle Golf Club. Not quite Pebble Beach but not so far removed either if you consider the views.


Ciao,


Malcolm Mckinnon
Tom Doak had in right in the original CG.  Bamburgh is a perfect Dumb Blonde.  Not a bad golf course but views on a par with anywhere.  On a sunny day, with the tide out, it's just spectacular.  Pebble may be more immediately spectacular, just, but it doesn't have the castles, Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands as part of the view.
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

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2019, 10:59:59 AM »
Sean,

I had the privilege of sampling Northumbrian golf for years coming down from Edinburgh while my daughter was a student there, I am really appreciating these photo tours.

Please hear me when I say that you must, must  see Bamburgh Castle Golf Club. Not quite Pebble Beach but not so far removed either if you consider the views.

Ciao,

Malcolm Mckinnon

Malcolm

I did play Bamburgh, but the weather was very unkind.  So unkind, I resolved to ignore the visit and go back at some point.   That point has yet to come  :D   I think I will try to focus on Alnmouth Village for now...I suspect there is more there to see.  I was meant to play Dunstanburgh Castle the same day (a rare choice of 36!) as BC and chose to skip it altogether once I saw the flooding of the burn separating the house from the course. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 11:01:38 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: ALNMOUTH VILLAGE GC: The 2018-19 Winter Tour Continues
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2019, 12:13:01 PM »
As evidenced on several of the other threads, this was visited by several pests who all expressed their positive vibe to me.


ON Monday morning deserted by fairweather friends and with heavy rain forecast, I thought sod it I'm near enough for a quick look. ON arrival about 8.30 I had the place to myself. the sky was clear and there was Zero wind to suggest it changing. It looked tempting and after locating the honesty box    I played it to my handicap in 1'10 mins.
I can only think I was golfed out OR the charms of the course are being seriously oversold here.

- 6 of the holes are (from memory) 340 to 370 long. Driver, wedge/9i
- I hit every fairway, there's no definition of the holes.
- The promised micro undulations afforded me not one awkward shot.- The greens are simple (but true), slope affairs.

As Sean says in his review, perhaps it (seriously) needs wind.


By contrast I really enjoyed the challenge of Bamburgh Castle GC, even if the greens really are about as simple as they can get. I'll go back to Alnmouth but only if time is too short to play Bamburgh again.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 12:15:55 PM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

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