Reason for a Scarborough South Cliff course review

On a day off from NCG towers, and with a tee time thanks to the American Golf club members’ scheme, I wiled away a morning at this seaside course.

Where is Scarborough South Cliff?

It’s not too far from the town centre and, coming from York, it was an easy drive along the A64.

What to expect

Scarborough South Cliff co-hosted the English Amateur Championship with Ganton two years ago.

The course, which was designed by the great Dr Alister MacKenzie, is best described as a parkland/links hybrid.

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

The first three holes and the final eight see you negotiate tree-lined fairways, while the remainder present a seaside challenge.

There are none of the dunes that you might expect, but these links holes are perched around the top of a cliff.

I’d describe the grass as more downland than the fast, hard running surface you would find on a traditional links.

But the emphasis on these holes, and particularly when you are negotiating the trees, is on straight hitting. If you are wild, as I was at the par 3 7th and the short 9th, then South Cliff will hit you hard.

Favourite hole

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

It has to be the 5th. The scene that greets you, with the south bay behind and the North Sea stretching out, can’t adequately be described in words.

I stood there for about 10 minutes just gazing out – until the sound of an approaching group made me hotfoot it down the fairway.

The hole isn’t too shabby, either. At 533 yards, the difficulty isn’t from the elevated tee – where you can see all before you and there’s a fairly large landing area.

It’s on the second shot and the approach.

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

Your third, in particular, is almost blind to a green that has a large bunker in front and feels like it is perched right on the edge of that cliff.

There isn’t much room at the back, but it appears there is none at all. That leads you to be fairly conservative, which is when the sand is waiting.

My best bit

It’s not very often I’m celebrating a two, so to find the 14th green in such fine fashion – a 7-iron from 144-yards to six feet and an uncomplicated putt – was quite pleasing.

Any drive you hit into the centre of the fairway on the 15th, a dogleg that sweeps sharply to the left, also fills the heart with satisfaction.

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club review: What to look for

Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club

The course is split in two by a housing estate.

After finishing the 3rd, you’ll walk over a bridge and through a residential street to arrive at the 4th. Then you cross the road again as you traverse the back nine.

If you’re not expecting this – and I wasn’t – you might experience a slight loss of bearings but it really is only a minor inconvenience.

When I go back

It had been touch and go whether the course would be open as there had been so much rain in the lead up to my round.

That meant I didn’t get to play the 16th and 17th or the last at its full length. Given they looked mightily impressive, I’ll definitely be visiting again to experience those.

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Steve Carroll

A journalist for 23 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former captain and committee member, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the national Tournament Administrators and Referee's Seminar. He has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying and the PGA Fourball Championship. A member of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap.

Handicap: 10.9

Ireland Golf Package: Play Portsalon, Old & Glashedy courses, Ballyliffin, for £375 per person


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