The Silloth golf course has been a major visitor attraction ever since Davy Grant laid it out it in 1892 over the linksland west of the docks. It has evolved continuously since then, including contributions from two of the great classic designers: Willie Park Junior and Dr Alister MacKenzie. A number of blind holes still remain, architecturally-incorrect in the modern era, but a source of uncertainty, surprise and occasional delight to successive generations of members and visitors.
Some of the original sandy wastes remain as heroic hazards, but the course is mostly clad in mature dune flora that is ideal for presenting the great challenge of links golf. The fairways are covered in the springiest of Cumbrian turf, inviting crisp iron shots and courageous woods. Shoreward holes on the way out are mostly framed by high sandhills covered with heather and bent; gorse prevails on the back nine. The fairways are never generous in width, but always more rewarding than first appearance from the tee.
Three holes are typical. The elevated tee on the par 3 Ninth looks down on a small island green with a steep fall to the right, protected to the front and side by an array of deep bunkers that demand an accurate shot from anything between a wedge and three iron, depending on the wind.
Silloth’s signature hole is the par 5 Thirteenth, with a drive over gorse to a deceptively wide fairway. A tight second through a narrow gully, into the prevailing wind, must negotiate an angled slope that deflects all but the most accurate of approaches to an elevated green at the top of a ridge.
The final hole requires an accurate drive on to an angled fairway, usually with the help of the prevailing wind, before a long approach in to the final green under the critical gaze of those safely ensconced in the Nineteenth Hole. The player can then enjoy the comforts of the busy and atmospheric clubhouse: a meal made with local produce; beer from the town brewery; and above all, a warm Cumbrian welcome.
The great golf writer Bernard Darwin wrote about his first visit to the course in 1925. Ever the traditionalist, and never one to hide his enthusiasms, he wound up his account:
‘I never more violently fell in love with a course at first sight.’
Silloth has always represented great value for money and in 2013 Today’s Golfer magazine voted Silloth the Best Course in Britain and Ireland under £60. It is also in Planetgolf.com top 100 courses in the world!
Silloth on Solway Golf Cumbria hosted the 2002-2007 R & A Regional Open Championship Qualifier, and in 2007 the English Ladies Close Amateur Strokeplay Championship. In 2009 the club also hosted the EGU Mid Amateur Championship for the Logan Trophy. In 2012 the Club hosted the English Amateur Championship won by Harry Ellis.
Come and sample the Silloth experience and play ‘the best value course in Britain’
“Our group of 20 golfers made our annual end of season pilgrimage to Silloth last Friday (16th October) and were blessed with possibly the best weather so far this autumn. We had a tremendous day, as always. The course is just such a pleasure to play and in great condition as usual. A day’s golfing at Silloth in perfect weather really does help restore the soul.”Graham Sanderson
“Please pass on our appreciation and thanks to everyone at the club for making us so welcome and at home. Special thanks to David and Octavia and their staff for looking after our refreshment needs. We all departed for home well satisfied with our day out – the value for money is second to none. We hope to return many more times..”Peter Jones
“Just a short note to say how much we enjoyed ourselves yesterday. The course is an absolute gem (the best and most difficult any of us had encountered, which was probably why we finished so late) and it was worth every penny plus the 3 hour journey. I’m absolutely certain we’ll return, probably with a few more in tow. Hopefully it’ll be a bit less windy next time. Once again, many thanks.”Dave Moss