Location: Silloth, England
Course architects: David Grant, Dr. Alister MacKenzie, Willie Park Jr.
From the tips: 6,641 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $$ (£60 pounds)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Starter: Silloth on Solway is located far off the beaten path, but that should not dissuade anyone from playing the course. In a constant drizzle with cool temperatures and cloudy skies, Silloth was a blast to experience. Each hole was creative and what is expected of links golf. Afterward, the clubhouse food was as good as any place has to offer.
Play because …: Pure links is the best reason. Yes, the course has probably changed a little since MacKenzie and Park Jr. stepped on the grounds, but there is a sense that not much has changed at all. Take the classic layout of MacKenzie and Park, add in the nearby sea and windy conditions, and the round becomes magical.
Takeaway: Nothing surpasses the Old Course, that is impossible. But Silloth comes as close as possible and is one of the top five links courses in the United Kingdom. This is the type of course that could be played every day and never become tiresome. The green fee is very fair, the food is great and the hospitality from pros to staff is terrific. There is nearly no reason to play anywhere else.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 10
Pro shop: 5
Pace of play: 9
Best par 3: No. 9 (142 yards). This is the course’s shortest hole. From an elevated tee, exposed most days by the prevalent winds, the views of the Irish Sea at the course’s far end are spectacular. Unlike most holes on links courses, it’s difficult to run a tee shot up to the green. The best approach is deep, but not too deep as the green runs off on both sides.
Best par 4: No. 4 (372 yards). The hole opens with a blind tee shot and, as with most blind tee shots, not until a bell is rung down the fairway can players tee off. Only a long drive down the right side will bring the green into view. The green has the feel of a long, narrow room as hillocks are situated on both sides of the green. This is a uniquely designed hole, devoid of bunkers throughout.
Best par 5: No. 5 (559 yards). The best perspective of this hole actually comes when standing on the fourth tee. The Irish Sea runs along the hole’s right side and the course’s longest hole generally plays into the wind, making it quite the experience. Keeping the ball low and on the ground is key, and bunkers don’t come into play until the third shot. The safe approach is to the green’s right side that kicks the ball back to the left. The green also slopes from back to front.
RATED BY: Alex Miceli