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Sean_A

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SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« on: June 09, 2022, 02:46:16 PM »


I was impressed enough with the Bishop & New layouts that I decided to stop in again at Seaton Carew to see the Micklem course. This 18 hole iteration was of course named for famous English amateur golfer, Gerald Micklem. Micklem came into prominence after winning the 1947 English Amateur hosted by Ganton. He was a member of the 1947 & 1949 Walker Cup squads. Off the back of another English Amatuer win, this time at Royal Birkdale in 1953, and a President's Putter victory in the same year, Micklem was once again selected for the Walker Cup 1953 & 1955 sides. Additionally, Micklem captained the 1957 & 1957 teams. Well known as an golf administrator, Micklem chaired the R&A Rules Committee and eventually was Captain of the R&A in 1968. A long time member of Sunningdale (it was his home club), the club rightfully saw fit to establish the Gerald Micklem Cup in his honour. Perhaps most importantly, it was Micklem, as a member of the R&A Rules Committee, who guided the process to adopting the larger 1.68 inch ball. The R&A mandated the use of the larger ball in the 1974 Open and this ball became the world-wide standard.

With its heavy cape of industry it may sound unlikely to many people, but Seaton Carew is first and foremost a resort. Although, one of the most famous, or infamous, incidents of the area occurred when a ship wrecked monkey was hanged as a French Spy!  It seems far fetched, but by the time of the Napoleanic Wars, many people from the Hartlepool area had never seen a Frenchman before. Some biting cartoons of the day depicted the French with tails and claws. It was more likely a small boy unable to answer questions in English was hung.  It was sometimes the case that young boys were put to work priming the canons and thus called "powder monkies". Be that as it may, to this day folks from Hartlepool are sometimes referred to as monkey hangers.  Indeed, Hartlepool United's mascot is called H'Angus the Monkey!  Below is the statue at the town marina.



The founding of Durham and Yorkshire GC in 1874 was a direct result of the tourism which was dependant on the limitless beach. Like many Victorian seaside resorts, Seaton Carew has seen better days, however, the course remains!  When founded it was the first golf club in Durham and Yorkshire, hence the sweeping title.  While an 18 hole course existed long before Dr Mackenzie came on the scene in 1925, it is the work of the famous architect which endures. 

Unusually, the course has 22 holes for in the mid 70s Frank Pennink designed four extra holes because the land was there!  The result is the club has five routings with the New Couse being the most recent addition.  At least four of the layouts are measured and rated for competitive play.  It is the Brabazon Course on which the big events are played and indeed the Brabazon was staged at Seaton Carew in 1985 and 2014.  I believe the main course remains the Old Course which is Mackenzie’s layout with a few changes. For whatever reason, the day we turned up the Micklem Course was in play. Fifteen of the Old Course holes are used on this card; Micklem holes 1-5, 7-11 & 14-18. 

Rocket

A shortish two-shotter starts the round.


The interest at the green end of the course is immediately apparent.


Long Trail

A longish par five, the 2nd features another good green. The club has been working on the bunkers recently. Some of these are the best looking in GB&I I have seen since the old Aberdovey bunkers.




Doctor

This hole predates Dr Mac's work and is named for another person. Cutting back toward the house, the short 3rd is quite an intimidating hole.


Dunes

Well into the dunes, the 4th is another modest length par 4 and very attractive at that.






Pond

There is an odd walk over to reach the 5th tee on the land-side boarder of the property. A pond is not far off the tee, hence the name of the hole. There is a large bunker up the left, but once again, it is the two-tier green which provides the interest.




Mashie

A tightly guarded semi-blind short hole, the 6th.


Sand Hills

A lovely hole somewhat similar to Dunes (4th). The narrow 7th fairway hugs the lea of the sand hills down the right and leads to another wonderful green.


Road

Still heading toward Cleveland GC across the Teesmouth, the 8th is a severe legger right over largely flat ground. Big hitters will certainly be tempted to take on the marshy like terrain out right.


The bunker scheme around the front to back sloping green has been drastically altered.


Jimmy Kay

Not a long par 4, the ninth is dead straight and a good birdie opportunity.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 22, 2022, 06:44:25 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

John Mayhugh

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2022, 09:09:52 AM »
I like the looks of those green sites. Doctor looks very intimidating.

Michael Whitaker

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2022, 07:08:31 AM »
Sean - my wife loved the monkey story.  ;D  I agree it was probably a small boy who was hung.


Your report is the best… as always!



I’m hoping visit Seaton Carew this summer on my Buda tour. Fingers crossed.


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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2022, 08:08:13 AM »
Sean - my wife loved the monkey story.  ;D  I agree it was probably a small boy who was hung.


Your report is the best… as always!



I’m hoping visit Seaton Carew this summer on my Buda tour. Fingers crossed.


Whit


When I heard the story enroute to SC I couldn't stop laughing and didn't believe it until it was googled. I made my mate drive to the statue as added proof. I spose ya can't make this stuff up.


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

James Reader

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2022, 12:43:26 PM »
Sean - my wife loved the monkey story.  ;D  I agree it was probably a small boy who was hung.


Your report is the best… as always!



I’m hoping visit Seaton Carew this summer on my Buda tour. Fingers crossed.


Whit


When I heard the story enroute to SC I couldn't stop laughing and didn't believe it until it was googled. I made my mate drive to the statue as added proof. I spose ya can't make this stuff up.


Ciao


About 20 years ago, H’Angus the Monkey won the election to be Hartlepool’s mayor.

Peter Sayegh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2022, 06:13:39 AM »
Sean, the right to left cant on number three seems significant from your photo. Is that how it plays? The yardage you played?

Again, thanks for the tour.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2022, 06:31:00 AM »
Sean, the right to left cant on number three seems significant from your photo. Is that how it plays? The yardage you played?

Again, thanks for the tour.

I think we played about a 160 tee. There is a slope. Plus a short grass feed away around a few bunkers into another fairway. I missed left, hit the bank and ended up with a 40 yard pitch over sand 😲. The green is fairly large though.

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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-9 New
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2022, 10:09:36 AM »
SEATON CAREW TOUR CONT

TEES

The hole plays to a green adjacent to the 8th green. If a drive is pulled left there are two formidable bunkers which need to be carried and the bunker near 8th green serves double duty with the 10th in protecting  the raised green. 


LAGOON

One of my favourites, the 11th isn't a long two-shotter, but in the winter when the right side must get a bit damp, this is a formidable hole. There is no tee shot bailout as the dune on the left can cause issues. The photo below is taken from atop this dune.


GARE

A decent length par 4, the 12th bisects the line of play for most holes and takes us toward the sea. Pennink did a good job blending the green with the older holes.


CHAPEL OPEN

Radically altered, this hard dogleg right used to be lined with buckthorn after the fairway turned. The tee shot was more exciting as the buckthorn could be carried to the blind fairway or one could play safely left. If some bunkers are installed on the carry line the tee shot thrill will be returned without invasive buckthorn and the hassle of lost balls. 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: Today at 02:54:18 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Mark Pearce

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-12
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2022, 05:26:23 AM »
Quite sad to see the Buckthorn (NOT gorse) has gone on Chapel Open.  There was always a degree of nervousness as you hit over the corner to see if you'd made the carry if you pushed a tee shot even a little.
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: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-12 New
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2022, 06:39:52 PM »
Quite sad to see the Buckthorn (NOT gorse) has gone on Chapel Open.  There was always a degree of nervousness as you hit over the corner to see if you'd made the carry if you pushed a tee shot even a little.

Buckthorn is generally a horrible plant for a links environment. It's incredibly invasive and encourages broadleaf plants to grow which competes against the fine grasses that characterise links golf.

Ciao
« Last Edit: Today at 02:54:52 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course 1-12 New
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2022, 06:44:11 AM »
SEATON CAREW TOUR CONT

BEACH

The 14th is a pure execution hole. Two accurate shots are required for this dead straight hole.  The green is quite domed with lost ball danger down the right.


If one tries to bail left and pulls a good lie, the approach angle is not overly inviting.


COSY CORNER

Rounding off a fine set of short holes, the 15th is heavily fortified by fronting bunkers, there are no prizes for being short.


The green is difficult for a fairly long par 3.


DOG LEG

The final three holes are the same for all Seaton Carew layouts and head for home. The 16th is a good hole shifting left to yet another raised green of the somewhat turtle back type....tough par 4 at 433 yards.

SNAG

The 17th is likely the hole most will remember and it is certainly one of Seaton Carew's best.  The fairway moves right, but staying right eliminates the dogleg as it were. Although, the carry is blind on that line.




BILL HECTOR

The home hole is a bit of a let down with buckthorn and a sewage treatment plant down the right.  The green though is large and can cause some grief. 


Seaton Carew continues to grow on me as I play each layout. There is little doubt in my mind that the Micklem is the best of the three iterations I have seen. Having played all the holes on the property, it is hard to see how the Old or Brabazon could be better. I am told Makenzine & Ebert are working on a plan which may look for an exclusive 18 hole  design. I suspect that a few holes may be altered to complete the plan. If this is the case I hope at least one more short hole is added. Whatever the plan, the greens should be left as is!  I think enough of Seaton Carew Micklem that it shoots into my Happy 100. 1*  2022

Ciao
« Last Edit: Today at 02:58:29 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2022, 08:04:49 AM »
Thanks Sean.
atb

Mark Pearce

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2022, 04:11:05 AM »
My heart sank when I read that Mackenzie and Ebert are doing work there.  It may be unfair but I have little confidence that that will improve it in any way other, possibly, than aesthetics.
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

Ben Stephens

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 03:56:30 AM »
My heart sank when I read that Mackenzie and Ebert are doing work there.  It may be unfair but I have little confidence that that will improve it in any way other, possibly, than aesthetics.


Mark,




I had the opportunity to play golf with Tom Mackenzie last Monday and had a great chat with him, learned a lot even he had played 100 holes in the previous day. I could see more why lots of clubs use M+E. Also they have built their reputation over time and Tom is now working with Royal Birkdale as well.


They are seen as a 'safe' pair of hands by many clubs and clubs looks for experience which they have a huge amount of that. The question should be towards the club for the selection of Golf Course Architect and the reasons why. Also Architects are not always given a free rein as certain clubs have a strict brief and a budget to adhere to.


Look at Cabot Highlands selecting Doak. It is harder for lesser known Golf Course Architect to win jobs as clubs are becoming more risk averse.




Cheers
Ben

Niall C

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 05:09:58 AM »
Ben


Presumably you aren't putting M&E in the lesser known category that are finding it hard "to win jobs" ? I'm not suggesting that they have an endless stream of potential work that they can pick and choose from but at the same time with their profile and track record in the UK they are better placed than anyone else, including Tom D, Gil Hanse and C&C, to pick up club jobs in the UK I'd have thought.


Niall

Ben Stephens

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Re: SEATON CAREW GC: Micklem Course
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 09:18:10 AM »
Ben


Presumably you aren't putting M&E in the lesser known category that are finding it hard "to win jobs" ? I'm not suggesting that they have an endless stream of potential work that they can pick and choose from but at the same time with their profile and track record in the UK they are better placed than anyone else, including Tom D, Gil Hanse and C&C, to pick up club jobs in the UK I'd have thought.


Niall


They are not in the lesser known category and I know Tom is now working on a couple of courses in Iceland so it is not just the UK.

Their marketing is quite good and they produce an annual bulletin each year which is impressive. They have a team of 4 people (i think) which is quite small considering the number of projects they are working on and have their own trademark restrained look style which is seen at many of their projects.


When you talk to Tom he does make a lot of sense and I can see why lots of clients like him.
 
I also understand that work at St Andrews Bay will be starting soon.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 09:19:45 AM by Ben Stephens »

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