The large village of Seahouses is a few miles south of Bamburgh. The name is actually a 20th century invention. The original inland settlement of Sunderland (later North Sunderland) was largely agricultural. As the harbour developed, fisherman's sea houses were slowly built in the area. This also spurred toursim connected with the Farne Islands a few miles off the coast. Eventually the main road linked the harbour with the old village of Sunderland. Some time in the early 20th century the area became known as Seahouses, a change which helped resolve the confusion with the rapidly growing Sunderland south of Newcastle.
A course straddling both sides of King Street (B1340) near South Beach was built by 1913. I suspect this course was probably built by the original greenkeeper and was no more than 9 holes. By the 70s, 18 holes were in play, which meant there were and are three distinct sections of the course. What are now holes 3-8 on the west side of King Street. Holes 1, 2, 9, 17 & 18 in the area south of the clubhouse. And 10-16 on the headland section of the property north and west of Sunderland Point. Many of the features of these holes make me believe they are the new section of the course. The 10th, which plays over Logan's Loch, was designed by club member George Logan. Looking at old maps, it is unclear why the powers that be chose to use much of the least interesting land for the orginal design. There used to be a quarry near Sunderland Point so maybe this is the reason. In any case, the headland section of the course has many of Seahouses' best holes.
One other aspect of the design bears mentioning because I have never come across this routing oddity before now. The fairways for 2, 9, 17 & 18 in effect share a rather narrow strip of land which is more suitable for two holes. The odd thing is, 9 & 18 share the road side of the fairway and 2 & 17 share the beach half of the fairway. So yes, 9 and 18 head toward the house cheek by jowl except they cross over! It seems to me this section of the course would admirably support two holes and indeed, the 17th is a very good hole even if it shares a fairway with the 2nd....heading in the same direction. I think one can easily see where I am going....there is a terrific 9 hole course to be had completely on the east side of King Street. Because there are nine hole green fee rates, this tour will focus on the back nine.
Seahouses doesn't offer a mild mannered handshake to open proceedings. The opener is a full on par 3 over water. The terrific 16th is in the background.
An interesting aspect of the design is the entire right side of the water is lined with tees. One has to walk this way to cross the water and given the wind I experienced, multiple tees is a sound idea. Below is the shortest carry of just under 100 yards.
Left of the green.
The lovely uphill 11th is no letdown.
The bunkering compliments the ground movement.
Heading back down the hill, the 12th is obscured and the green is slightly sunken. Looking back up the fairway; the 13th is left.
The only fairway bunkering on the back nine is on the 13th. Truth be told, it's dire. The hole is decidely uphill and what looks to be fairly recently built rudimentary bunkers flank the fairway at about 225 out. The approach is very tricky, especially with a strong tail wind.
Dead against the North Sea, the short 14th is the second of three par 3s. With no three-shotters, the card is a tight par 33 against a tipped out 2726 yards. The tee is in a stunning spot with views up and down the coast, but no view of the green. I knew the green had to be fairly close to the cliff edge and I was right. I tried to replace the pin, but the wind was so strong it wouldn't stay. It could be that the flag can normally be seen from the tee.
I thought it a strange place to locate a loo, but I soon discovered the hut, which can be seen from many parts of the course, is a hide for the North Northumberland Bird Club. Other than listening to Charlie Parker on occasion I am not much of bird guy, but the club sounds cool in a geeky sort of way.northnorthumberlandbirdclub.co.uk/
More to follow.