The Silloth on Solway golf course is located in sandhills just outside the Cumbrian coastal town of Silloth and is blessed with views across the Solway Firth to Scotland. One of the most original to be found anywhere in England, the course is also one of the most attractive with its medium to large dune formations full of a heather, gorse and fescue covering that provide a wonderful contrast to the playing corridors.
Like nearby championship links in Ayrshire and Lancashire, fairways here are full of dangerous pot bunkers and tight bumpy turf yet Silloth is different for the unusual manner in which the site’s natural elements are incorporated into the design. Where the Open venues tend to play along logical lines, Silloth is less conventional and full of hidden greens, blind driving zones, large central hills that obscure targets on par fives and small plateau greens on long downwind par threes. The opening stretch is terrific yet can seem almost illogical as the layout opens with the first of several blind dell greens and is followed by hidden fairways at the wonderful 3rd and 4th holes. The 4th is truly superb and from a concealed valley demands a precise approach into a narrow bunkerless green that falls away almost ten feet on either side. The front nine culminates in an awesome crosswind short par three over a ridge and into a tiny shelf green that drops sharply on one side and is heavily bunkered on the other. The remaining short holes are also memorable, while funky par fives at 13 and 14 are other huge highlights.
After experiencing the best holes here it is hard to believe that this charming golf club still manages to exist in relative anonymity. Like North Berwick, Machrihanish and Brora in Scotland, Silloth on Solway is golf at its most raw and the game is poorer for the fact that courses like this are no longer being built.