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best golf courses in norfolk

This club is famous for… being cut off by the tides

Be careful not to get stranded when you play the delightful Royal West Norfolk
 

There can’t be too many courses where you study a chart before you play a round. But failure not to put in the necessary groundwork before visiting Royal West Norfolk could end up leaving you in deep water.

For the King’s Lynn-based course, known to most as Brancaster, has a really interesting quirk – it is at the mercy of the tides.

The club celebrated 125 years in 2017 and the classic links was the work of Holcombe Ingelby.

Many of his original holes are still in play. It’s a beautiful setting, with the North Sea in full view on one side and the saltmarsh on the other.

It is played on a narrow strip of links-land and, when the tide is high, the course turns into an island.

This has some very interesting effects. You walk across the beach to get from the clubhouse to the course so, when the water comes calling, the former cannot be reached by car.

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club

Both the 8th and the 9th holes, a 494-yard par 5 and a 404-yard par 4, are also affected by the tides and, while it will almost certainly be a great feeling to play the course in those conditions, you get the sense a single sleeve of balls might not be quite enough.

The great golf writer, Bernard Darwin, described Brancaster as being “wonderfully peaceful” and with a “distinct charm and character of its own”.

Today that calm remains and it starts from the moment you make a call to arrange a trip to the course.

The club has strict limits on visitor numbers – although they are very welcome. This is said to moderate levels to “ensure the playing experience is enjoyable for members and visitors alike”.

Unusually, this is a twoball course for singles and foursomes play only and those who get a tee time are encouraged to follow the members’ standard of alternate shot.

Slow play may be a problem across the game generally, but not at Royal West Norfolk. Most rounds take three hours.

What is your club famous for? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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