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Sean_A

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Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC New
« on: September 12, 2019, 08:24:16 AM »
Straight down the hill from Embleton lies the Embleton Links adjacent to Dunstanburgh Castle, both of which are owned by The National Trust.  The ruined 14th century castle was built by Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, a prominent opponent of King Edward The Second and leader of the rebellion which resulted in the diminished powers of Edward II.  It is unlikely Lancaster ever enjoyed the fortified Dunstanburgh Castle as soon after its completion he was captured at the Battle of Boroughbridge and eventually executed.  Royalists took possession of the castle and in its last hurrah became a stronghold during the War of the Roses when the castle changed hands several times.  The castle never recovered from the many sieges and has been in disrepair going on 500 years.
 
A 9 hole course was built hard on sandy Embleton Bay just north of the castle in 1900.  The land was owned by a hotel and the idea was to provide golf for its guests.  In 1919 Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland purchased the estate and engaged the enormously talented James Braid to revise and extend the course to 18 holes using land to the south and north. This design process was done in at least three stages and wasn’t completed until 1937, just in time for WWII and a take-over by the army.  The course didn't recover for 10 years when club membership was finally instituted.  The course has been altered somewhat to remove some blind shots and generally stretch out the yardage, but remains essentially a Braid design. Getting back to Sutherland, he was a well known philanthropist who donated considerable sums of money to various institutions, including £200,000 to establish the medical school at Kings College, Durham.  Interestingly, Close House was among the several properties he owned!  Sutherland was also the last private owner of Dunstanburgh Castle which he donated to the country in 1929.  Eventually, in 1961 the golf course and estate were donated to the National Trust.  It is often the case that golf owes a great debt to men such as Sutherland and that is certainly true for Dunstanburgh Castle GC.

The opening three holes are not representative of Dunstanburgh's best.  This is especially the case for #1, a hole only the designer could love.  Climbing the hill to the blind second, the fairway leans in opposition to the dogleg left.  The third doglegs left as well and is a bit more like a standard hole.  For mine, Dunstanburgh really starts on the volcano 4th, a par three. 






The diminutive 5th is more than meets the eye.  The bunker is perfectly placed to foil a lay-up and the player hoping to hit the green.  As can be seen the fairway leans well left and it is easy to pull a bad lie.


The course comes back near the house after six and what a hole it is.


The approach is necked by a large dip right of the green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 03:01:33 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

John Mayhugh

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 08:44:51 AM »
Sean,
Thanks for doing this tour so quickly. Prior to it being named as one of the Buda courses, I had not heard of Dunstanburgh Castle. I'm really glad that Mark included it.

Agree that the first three holes were not the best ones, but I really liked the green site on the 2nd. The 4th looks far less daunting in the photos than it did in person. The hollows in front of the 6th green make for a really fun (if not predictable) run up approach.

Bryan Izatt

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 10:29:49 AM »



I too was not enamored of the first 3 holes.  The first was a long slog into a stiff breeze.  I suppose it was good to get the climb up to the 2nd tee out of the way before fatigue set in.  There was a shallow round bunker in the rough left of the aiming post on the 2nd that seemed silly.  The 4th did not appeal to my eye hit it straight toward the middle of the green and hope for a good bounce.  Left and right were bad.


I liked the short 5th - a chance for mere mortals to perhaps drive the green down wind, but a green that flummoxed those I played with who tried to pitch their second shots on the green.   An interesting short bump and run second was a better play, I think.


The 6th was good hole downwind although the impenetrable left rough eats many a ball, I'll be.  Down wind the broken ground in front of the green was challenging to find a way to land short and get the ball onto the green.


More evident later in the round was the use of cops - more than I've seen on most courses.




Jason Topp

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 10:43:22 AM »
I liked the 2nd and 3rd, particularly in the wind we faced.  As John mentioned, the 2nd green was quite good and I thought the 3rd tee shot was appropriately uncomfortable for a relatively short hole.


The 4th seemed basically impossible from watching my two groups play it.  I deciphered no method to have a reasonable chance of holding the green. 


I loved the 5th.  The slope of the land and the bunkers make for a wonderful short par 4. 


On the 6th, I blew my tee shot way right.  As I got ready for my 2nd, a hiker walked by and said "best angle into the green."  He was right.  I think I would bail out in that direction if I played the hole regularly.  I would need to play it more to decide if I thought the hole worked well. 

Thomas Dai

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2019, 02:58:12 PM »
Looking forward to seeing more. The volcano par-3 4th looks pretty evil/lovely.
atb

Michael Graham

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2019, 03:47:11 PM »
A new goal in life is to hit and hold the 4th green at Dunstanburgh.


I wish Mark Brodie could have calculated the negative strokes gained for the 4th in Saturday morning’s four-balls.

John Mayhugh

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2019, 03:56:02 PM »
I was just off the 4th green in front with both of my tee shots. If I can get that close, surely competent players could hit the green. Probably just takes a bit of experience with where to land the tee shot and trajectory.

Marty Bonnar

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2019, 04:09:19 PM »
At 4, I deliberately chose to play a thinned, skulled, ‘typical Links running shot’ to about ten yards short of the green, thought I’d then test myself by chipping it fifteen yards past leaving a simple downhill putt which I left just outside gimme length which I missed for a 5. Luckily our opponents were intent on playing tiddlywinks up and over the green on both sides. My partner won the hole easily!
 ::)
Ha!
F.


Assembled in Michigan from foreign parts.

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2019, 04:14:15 PM »
I played Dunstanburgh on my way back from Scotland on a beautifully clear but freezing cold early spring day about eleven or twelve years ago, with the wind howling. Got to the fourth hole and tried to figure out how to play it; ended up hitting what was basically a long pitch and run with a five iron, starting miles right and hooping back on the gale.


Hit it quite nicely, it was running before it got to the bottom of the slope at the front of the green. Ran up the slope, but was just going a little bit too quickly and it shed off into the left hand bunker. Almost!
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
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Tony_Muldoon

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2019, 04:17:31 PM »
Re the 4th.  My partner told me that when they had The Northumberland Championship there, several scratch player scored 8 on the 4th!


Agree the first is the second worst hole we played at Buda, and the course comes alive at 4.






I loved the drive on 6, but if the wind we had is typical, the second shot is hit and hope.   Better was to come.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
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Michael Whitaker

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2019, 05:10:56 PM »
The 4th was definitely a puzzlement. I tried to bounce one up the first time around and finished at the bottom left of the hill. On the second I tried to land the ball just short of the green surface and hope for a deadening bounce. It worked
fairly well and I finished pin high just barely off the right side of the green. If the ball had rolled another foot it would have trundled down into the right hand bunker. Pure luck.


I wonder if the play might not be to land the ball on the upslope behind the green and let the ball bounce backwards?
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Sean_A

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2019, 06:22:51 PM »
The 4th may be better served to have some of the rear bank cut.  Even so, the hole is harsh, but not overly so. 

DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE TOUR CONT

The fine ride continues with the 7th.  The hole is somewhat similar to Goswick's 12th with a hidden pit, although the lay-up is not nearly as obvious at Dunstanburgh. Indeed, not much is apparent on the tee as the hole legs left into the unknown. 


The two tier green is akin to a side by side double barrel shotgun.  Situated on a plateau below high ground to the left, one most likely will need to use the left slope in some manner.   




More rambunctioness follows, however, the 8th is perhaps more conventional than the 7th.




Drivng to the right side of the fairway seems to open up the green.


The 9th isn't nearly as compelling as the previous several holes, but the setting is magnificent.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 15, 2019, 06:05:30 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

Jerry Kluger

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-9
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2019, 05:19:52 AM »
I only played the 4th once and made a mess of it.  If I were playing it in a stroke play competition I guess the only way to feel confident that I will make no more than a bogey is to play 20 yards short of the green, then chip up and try to get down in 2 putts.  I don't like to be negative if I don't have to but that is a hole which certainly would need some work to get it to a point where it is a more reasonable challenge for most golfers.

Mark Pearce

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-6
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2019, 02:53:32 PM »

Agree the first is the second worst hole we played at Buda, and the course comes alive at 4.

I loved the drive on 6, but if the wind we had is typical, the second shot is hit and hope.   Better was to come.
The worst being the 9th at Goswick?


If a North wind was the prevailing wind anywhere in the UK, that would be a surprise!
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

Michael Whitaker

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-9
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2019, 05:57:38 PM »
Sean - I like your idea of mowing the back ridge of the 4th and allowing for longer shots to come down the hill.

I "tweaked" your photo of the 4th to show what it might look like with the back hill cleared a bit...

"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Sean_A

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-9 New
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2019, 06:00:10 AM »
DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE TOUR CONT

As can be the case with provincial courses, the quality level of Dunstanburgh is not maintained throughout.  Many holes, starting with the 9th, feel very similar.  The 10th is one of these, however, at least the hole abuts the beach. 




A straightaway two-shotter, the 11th does lean heavily left.  I suspect holes 12-14 are post WWII because there is a modern feel to these holes which is slightly out of character.  Heading back toward the castle, the 12th feels distinctly meadowy,  but the design is interesting and I suspect fairly new.  There is a lot happening visually and I did notice many golfers hit right of the fairway.  The green is on a rise beyond a turf cop with a backstop which encourages aggressive play.


A very short par 3, the thirteenth is a classic dumb blonde hole.  The only reasonable goal when playing downwind is to hold the rather dull green. 


Turning for home, there is a series of not long on the card holes which play long.  I did like the fall-away to the rear of the par five 14th.


More to follow.

Ciao
 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 05:55:46 PM 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: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2019, 08:35:49 AM »
Folks


I think you are being far too harsh on the first few holes. They will never be brilliant given the terrain and the limitations with the dog-leg on the 3rd but neither are they dreadful. In contrast the 4th is a good hole and a real challenge for such a short hole but not sure it's quite as good as others think but still a really nice hole.


It's hard for me to like the 7th as I lost two my drive both times I played and I thought I hit OK drives. The rectangular benched green is in complete contrast to the green at the next and for once Sean's photo's don't do the 8th green justice. For me, easily the best hole on the course.


Niall

Mark Pearce

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2019, 10:54:53 AM »
Sean,


Do you think the three club wind had anything to do with players missing 12 to the right?  Similarly, 13 is almost impossible to hold in that 3 club Northerly.  In the prevailing SouWesterly, it's possible it plays like an altogether different hole?
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: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2019, 05:56:52 AM »
Mark

Yes, into the wind the 13th is a different hole, but the 15th is already one such hole...no? Speaking of the 15th...

DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE TOUR CONTINUED

The short 15th is not dissimilar to the 13th.  Come up short and there is trouble, but in the case of 15, unless one is very short, there is a reasonable play.


While not blind, the drive hard on the left boundary at 16 does keep the golfer guessing as to what is out there.  There is no guessing for the approach to the punchbowl green.  Although, I am curious as to the reason for a hairy berm.


I like the open play between the berm and bunker.




There isn't anything very different between 17 and 9, 10, 11 & 14, but the movement of the land shy of the green is pleasing.


A tough two-shotter over water doesn't sell the home hole very well.  It is rather a shame the back nine isn't anywhere near the quality of the front, but this was the question on my mind going out as I spied the inward holes.  I don't think anyone would claim Dunstanburgh is a great course, but the strength of the front nine, lovely setting, very reasonable greenfee and welcoming clubhouse come cafe are enough reasons to return.  2019

It is clear to me that Goswick is much the superior course to Dunstanburgh.  It is far less clear that Dunstanburgh is any better than the third Northumberland course I played that week....Alnmouth Village. Dunstanburgh has more better holes for sure, but it has an equal number of rather average holes.  There is quite a bit of fodder to wade through for the best bits, AV isn't like this at all. 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,65709.0.html

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 08:33:40 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Mark Pearce

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2019, 07:40:16 AM »
Yes, into the wind the 13th is a different hole, but the 15th is already one such hole...no? Speaking of the 15th...
Errr, no.  They play in different directions, so on any given day play very differently.  The "miss" is also very different on both.  Similar length but only on a still day (and there are very few of those) will they ask the same question.
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

Mark Pearce

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2019, 07:52:07 AM »
I think Goswick is, by a reasonable distance, the best course in Northumberland.  The Colt course at Close House is the best inland course.  I hadn't been to Alnmouth Village before and was really, really impressed.  Great greens and plenty of quirk.  I'd agree it's a step above Dunstanburgh, though some may find the lack of length a reason to mark it down.  I don't dislike the back 9 at Dunstanburgh but there's no doubt that the stretch from 4 to 8 is the best golf on the course.  Like many out and back style links (DCGC isn't strictly out and back but is, essentially, two lines of 9 holes going in different directions, the way the back 9 plays depends so much on the wind.  I thought 12 was an interesting hole, 14 is a decent par 5 and 16 has a more interesting green than most.  For me, 18 is a serious let down, the least interesting ground (other than 1) on the course and, at least into that wind, the difficulty of getting over the water in 2 makes it little more than a slog.
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

Michael Whitaker

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2019, 06:34:26 PM »
Mark

Yes, into the wind the 13th is a different hole, but the 15th is already one such hole...no?
Sean - we played the 13th from the White tee and it was a very different proposition from there as you could not see the putting surface at all. Very interesting play from the Whites!
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Bill Gayne

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC
« Reply #22 on: September 16, 2019, 07:58:39 PM »
A couple of thoughts on Dunstanburgh Castle GC. Overall I really enjoyed the course and found it perfect for the formats we played (foursomes and greensomes). The set-up and maintenance practices were very sensible and I would think that all could go to Dunstanburgh and have a fun day at a reasonable price in a post card like setting.


Some more specific thoughts include that I liked the drive on the third hole in that a more aggressive player could take it down or over the gorse line on the left, a drive down center left a reasonable shot into the green, and a miss right was dodgy with what type of lie you may have.


On the seventh hole many places would try to force the player into the pit by growing penal rough on the right. This wasn't the case in that it allowed for another option on a short par four. To many short par fours are one dimensional and this one actually had a couple of options.


As Mike pointed out the 13th hole was much better from the white tee box on the left.


There was plenty of width on the holes in the shadow of the Castle. One hole that it made a difference was the sixteenth hole. A drive up the left side left a clear angle into the green while a drive on the right was blocked by a dune in front of the green.


It was a really enjoyable place to spend a day.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2019, 08:01:52 PM by Bill Gayne »

Sean_A

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC 1-14
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2019, 06:20:42 AM »
Yes, into the wind the 13th is a different hole, but the 15th is already one such hole...no? Speaking of the 15th...
Errr, no.  They play in different directions, so on any given day play very differently.  The "miss" is also very different on both.  Similar length but only on a still day (and there are very few of those) will they ask the same question.

I guess my point was there will be plenty of days where 13 and 15 play very similar to each other, not on the same day of course. Because of this the variety isn't what it could be. Not that I think either hole is brilliant, they are stock type designs.

Ciao

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

Mark Pearce

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Re: Dashing DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE GC
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2019, 07:29:16 AM »
Agreed.  Though I do think there's more to the greensite at 15 than 13.
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

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