Played by NCG: Great Yarmouth and Caister
Reason for a Great Yarmouth and Caisyer Golf Club review
More research for England’s Top 100 Courses 2018. I’ll be honest – Great Yarmouth and Caister represented an outpost for me this year so it took me a while to work at a vaguely convenient opportunity to make the trip.
Where is Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club?
Great Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club is on the Norfolk coast to the east of Norwich. It’s about an hour south of Cromer, and 20 minutes north of Lowestoft.
What to expect
The famous Great Yarmouth Racecourse is on land owned by the council. They sub-let it to the golf club. I’m telling you this as a preamble to an attempt to describe the opening hole, which proved ever-so-slightly confusing to this first-time visitor. You drive from outside the corner of the racecourse. The fairway, partially hidden, is inside the racecourse. Then you play the second back over the racecourse and towards the green on the other side. It’s a head-scratcher.
From the 3rd green you re-enter the interior of the racecourse. You don’t leave it until after the 10th, though the racecourse is often parallel to the hole you are playing. The shape of the racecourse is an oval, but there is also a Straight Mile, which starts near the 16th tee and joins the oval next to the 1st fairway.
The racecourse is not out of bounds but you take a drop if you find yourself on the Straight Mile section. The railings are effectively staked trees. Otherwise, you play the ball as it lies.
With the exception of the first three and last two holes, Great Yarmouth and Caister is pure links – complete with sleepered bunkers and some delightful green sites.
The 11th is very much the real deal. It is one of a few holes here that reminded me a little of Hayling, near Portsmouth, in character. This is a long par 4, which you play into the prevailing wind, to a fairway flanked by dunes. It flows beautifully and the flat green is situated at the foot of some more wild duneland.
I also liked the 4th, where some sleeper-faced bunkers threaten the second shot and obscure your view of the sunken green.
My best bit
See above – a driver and a chasing 4-iron almost set up an unlikely birdie at the 11th.
There are some fine short holes here as well, none more so than the 7th with its massive, multi-levelled green. When the wind is up, it’s a par 3-and-a-half.
Like all links courses, Great Yarmouth and Caister gives and it takes – one minute you have a short 5 or a drivable par 4 and the next you are struggling to chase a long iron on to the front of a par 3.
When I go back
There are a few things I’d do differently. For a start, I’ll get my head round the 1st (see above).
Don’t ask me how I know, but it’s really hard to find your ball in the thick, ankle-length grass of the racecourse. My advice is not to hit it on here – a recommendation brought to you by the Department of Stating the Obvious.
I will also endeavour not to embarrass myself again in front of Tim Starbuck, the club’s genial manager. He approached us, arms waving, to ask why we we had walked off the 7th green and on to the 10th tee, missing out the 8th and 9th. Sorry, Tim, that was not very smart of us.