Seacroft: Brace yourself for a great day out

This Lincs links is a coastal gem

Bob Warters's picture
Fri, 22 Mar 2002

I once played golf with a former footballing pal at Kettering, who lost all 12 balls in his bag to a violent slice after nine holes as the course, with out of bounds on the right, meandered its way out to the A43.

Seacroft's course-planner.

Concentrating a little harder, he only lost six of mine on the back nine, which ambled back to the clubhouse.

Memories of the episode came flooding back as I read a preview of the Seacroftlinks course in Skegness.

"A traditional out-and-back layout on a narrow site with OB on the right of no fewer than 14 holes. No slicer’s paradise."

Then I remembered one of my playing partners was left-handed. So that’s alright, then.

As it turned out, only my son, a strong-hitting 17-handicapper lost a ball, to the mud-flat nature reserve, which forms a barrier to the North Sea, to the right of the appropriate 13th – but on a few occasions, it was a close-run thing.

Seacroft, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1995 was a joy to play this week, especially with a light breeze, under almost cloudless skies. But I’m well informed that with a north-easterly, whipping across Gibraltar Point, it can be a brute.

Seacroft's fifth green.

Originally a nine-hole loop from the Vine Hotel, it was re-designed and extended to 18 holes by noted 1883 Open champion Willie Fernie at the turn of the 20th century and slightly re-modelled when more land was acquired in 1911 and 1923.

The heart of the original clubhouse, with its dark panelling, gnarled wood lockers and competition-winners’ plaques still remains, in a distinctive, modernised, white-painted building that dates back to 1904.

Every hole on the course, which lies between two saddles of sand dunes, is unique. Indeed it appears to have more tee options – for both winter and summer play – than the five courses that make up the St Andrews Links Trust.

While modern technology in clubs and balls has made some of the original bunkers redundant, there are at least 75 more, strategically placed to trap the unwary. At £2.50, Seacroft’s detailed course-planner will be the best investment you’ll make.

Opening with a gentle par-4, Seacroft bamboozles with a succession of blind tee shots, before the short, but demanding par-3 fourth, perched on a mound, tests your precision.

The long, par-4 seventh, Spion Kop, is aptly named, tucked behind a towering mound, though a steep, shaved bank on the left of the green, can turn a bad shot into a better one.

At 538 yards, the 11th (Long Vale) is the longest at Seacroft but usually less demanding than the signature 13th with its elevated green set in a bunker-protected mound. At the risk of appearing cocky, I have to admit a career 3-wood found the putting surface and two putts secured a birdie that will live long in the memory.

A benign day made the blind tee shot at 15 less of a challenge than normal, while even a mishit at 16 can still provide an escape route from a gully running alongside the undulating fairway.

The 17th and 18th are strong par-4s, with the closing green containing enough subtle and sadistic borrows to turn even the best putter into a quivering wreck.

Skegness’s pet description is world-renowned as ‘bracing’ but at Seacroft ‘brace yourself’ would be more fitting. If you go there with a slice it can be demoralising, kept under control you will enjoy one of the best days golf of your life.

What you should know
Course: 18 holes (6479 yards), par-71Address/tel: Seacroft GC (secretary/manager Richard England), Drummond Road, Skegness, Lincs PE25 3AU (Tel:01724 763020).Green fees: Midweek (from 9.30am): £30 per round (£40 a day); weekends: £35 (£45). Society/group rates on request.Meals: From £7.50 (including coffee).How to get there: A52 from Boston or Grimsby or A158 from Lincoln. Two miles south of Skegness (follow signs to Gibraltar point).



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