At last, Silloth on Solway Golf Clubís reputation is becoming recognised more widely, thoroughly deserving its position in the Top 100 and one of England's best links courses.
Founded in 1892, with the help of Railway Company money, it was originally designed by Davy Grant (with a little help from Willie Park Jnr.).Silloth is famous for its affiliation with ladies' golf.
The famous Leitch sisters learnt to play golf on the Silloth links.Charlotte Cecilia Pitcairn Leitch (or Cecil as she became known), went on to be the best lady golfer in the world, winninga record four British, five French, two English and one Canadian titles. In 1910, Cecil played a match against Harold Hilton (one of the greatest male golfers of the time) over 72 holes, 36 at Walton Heath and 36 at Sunningdale.Sportingly, Hilton gave Cecil nine shots per 18 holes and found himself five holes up in the last round, with only the last 15 holes to play.Cecil, showing true grit, fought her way back and ended up winning on the 71st green 2 up and 1 to play.
Silloth has parliamentary connections too.Viscount Willie Whitelaw was the President of Silloth on Solway Golf Club until his death in 1999.
You have to make an extra special effort to get to Silloth because it is located in one of the most remote and isolated places in England, at the mouth of the Solway Firth. When you get to Silloth, itís a surprise to see the nearby industry that slightly blots an otherwise perfect landscape.
With heather and gorse adding brilliant splashes of seasonal colour, this is a cracking links golf course. When the wind blows, itís unlikely that you will play to your handicap.Even on a calm day, youíll find it tough. "It is also the home of the winds," wrote Darwin, "when I was there the wind did not blow really hard, but hard enough to make a fool of me." Finding the tight greens is no mean feat and when you do, they are tough to read with their subtle borrows.
Itís well worth the time (and the money) to get to Silloth and once you get there, you wonít want to leave. You are at one of the best value golf courses in the whole of the British Isles.
If the above course review article is not accurate, let us know by
Average Reviewers Score:
I played in nice weather in September 2013. True to reputation, this course is an unheralded gem, limited only by it's somewhat remote location near the Scottish border. Greens and fairways were both in excellent shape, with a series of holes requiring longish, accurate shots. Three members joined me during my round, and one made the point that the course would be a viable entrant into the Open rota if it were 500 yards longer and locational logistics were more favorable. Hard to argue with that assessment, as the course does compare favorably to Lytham, Turnbery, Hoylake and others.
Stopped off at Silloth on our way north to Fife in mid-June. Played in a 3-club wind with heavy rain for the final 9 holes of our round. Despite the conditions we enjoyed our round. On a number of fairways there were GUR marked out in hollows where presumably water had collected and remained over the Winter/Spring months. Otherwise the course was in excellent condition. Favourite holes were the short 9th and very tricky 13th. In my opinion, the two finishing holes are a little bland by comparison with what precedes them. Silloth is challenging and enjoyable in almost equal measure. This was my third visit and hope to go back again.
However far off the beaten track this place looks, throw the map away and get yourself there, its well worth the effort. some fanastic holes, front nine has some memorable holes, quite a few with sunken greens in amongst the sand dunes so blind shots to flags .... you just know the greens down there somewhere. the back nine is little more forgetable but its a great test of golf. friendly enough welcome, and dont be put off by the 'ghost town' drive down the seafront to get to the course ... i guess it just adds to the isolated feel and nature of the place. if you make the effort to drive to here, also go that little bit further over the border and try Southerness which probably isn't that far over the Solway - as the crow flies....
Played at Silloth in early may on a damp, dull day but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've played Silloth 5 times now and I love the course more each time I play it. The course was is fantastic condition and the greens were superb. In more recent years the course has become a little easier to play, especially from the tee, as much of the gorse has been removed from some holes but this does detract from the course. All in all I'd say that Silloth is without doubt the best value course in the UK.
Played Silloth on a very cold windy and rainy day in March when it would have been really easy to hate it. But, I thought it fantastic. The first 9 I thought I was to have the round of my life, but then we turned into the wind and very nearly ruined our cards. The course is stunning, thought provoking, demanding but very fair. I would imagine that on a beautiful day it would be breathtaking and I only hope I get the chance to play it again like that. Off course the people were very welcoming and attentive and the refreshments are good and fairly priced. Back on the course I cannot single out an outstanding hole as they were all individual and special.
If any serious golfer has ventured to the very north of England, scoured the map and thought that Silloth Golf Club is just a bit too far out of the way. Well, I would seriously advise them to have a rethink and make the effort to play there.
The course is a real test for any level of golfer but the sheer variety of holes never lets you get bored at any point during the round. There are short par 3ís, short par 4ís, testing dog-leg par 4ís and one of the best par 5ís Iíve played. As you would expect, when the wind blows the course can be brutal, demanding patience and nerve hit narrow fairways and small well-protected greens.
Unfortunately, for my visit in November it was very evident that the course had suffered due to the sheer amount of rain that had fallen throughout 2012. I would be very surprised if money is not invested in extra drainage to certain areas of the course. Some of the low lying areas on some of the fairways were a foot deep in water. For a links course this is extremely rare but to be fair it didnít detract from the overall challenge of the course in any way at all.
There are some truly memorable holes. If only all course designers could take a look at the 9th; a short but memorable par 3. Measuring only 130 yards, the tee shot is played from a raised tee but it demands precision and total commitment to hit the small target. If that isnít enough there are some deep well-placed bunkers surrounding the green, seemingly staring at you whilst you deliberate what club to hit. Who needs a 250 yard par 3 when they are as good as this?
The 13th is just one of the many holes that has used the natural contours of the land to maximum effect. In this instance a sublime, strategically challenging par 5 has been created. The tee shot must find the relatively flat fairway but it is only then that the fun really starts. Should you lay- up short of the banks of heather you can see in the distance or try to hit a fairway wood or hybrid to the raised area short of the green? The only problem is that this area is very small and if you go left youíll have a horrendous lie; similarly if you go right heavy heather lies in wait. The fun doesnít stop there as the fall offs from both sides of the green are steep and severe. What a wonderful golf hole
The 2 holes Iíve outlined are just a small glimpse of what there is on offer. I could wax lyrical about the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 11th and 14th holes which are all a great test of golf in their own right.
I was so glad that I made the effort to go out of my way to play Silloth. If any serious golfer has not done so, I would advise them to go out of their way to play here. It is a super course with a splendid variety of holes. It is tough but it is fair and a rollercoaster ride you wonít forget in a hurry. Simply, a must play golf course.
Played at Silloth last weekend after a 4 year absence in glorious conditions, warm sunshine and not a breath of wind. Having only ever played here in winter the course certainly played easier but it still offers a stiff challenge in benign conditions. Playing from the white tees the course is long enough but it does not feel like a hard slog. The front is the better visually, with the view off the 5th tee being the highlight, but the back nine is the more difficult. The course gives you good opportunities to score well, the 2nd and 10th are two short par 4's and all of the par 5's do offer you a birdie chance as they are not over long. But in my opinion the strength of the course lies with its par 3's, four of them in all.
The first is the 6th, from an elevated tee itís a mid iron to a bowl shaped green with trouble and a devilish bunker front left. The 9th, along with the 5th, is probably the signature hole on the course. Only a wedge or 9 iron, its surrounded by bunkers and steep run offs either side of the green. The two pars 3s on the back nine, 12 and 15, are of similar length were a long iron or hybrid is needed to hit the green. Both holes have thick gorse and heavy rough running down the entire right hand side of the hole, so anything slighty off line is a goner. The greens are raised up too so you cant run the ball in. To finish the course has a long par 5 (17) and a great par 4 in 18 that finishes at the side of the clubhouse.
Yes silloth is a bit of a treck but not that much of a treck !!, make the effort, if you do you wont be disappointed. Excellent
This is one of the best links I have played, really punishing rough, very true greens although not very fast. The catering is spot on, and all the staff we met were friendly and extremely proud of their club. The weather may decide how well your scorecard looks and if your home club allows you to open your shoulders Silloth may be a stiff challenge. 10/10 for me.
Silloth had been on the MPPJ radar for ages however, the recent bad weather made me question if this was the right time to make the 5 hour round trip to play here as winter golfing happiness could have been easily achieved a lot closer to home, and this was one course that I wanted to play with its best drawers on. But I, like many, have been champing at the golfing bit recently and that coupled with further reassurance from the Silloth Pro Shop, and the indispensible BBC 5 day forecast, (always check the flythrough) we decided to make the cross border raid.
I have to confess that pre-round research of Silloth through websites, books and photos made the place look a bit austere. I am very happy to report that although tough, it is a very fair and aesthetically stunning outpost, a sublime course of dells, gorse, challenging drives and pulpit greens, it is wonderful. I have mentioned the carries from the tees, some quite considerable, and many into a prevailing wind so, if you are struggling off the tee, this may not be the place for you. In fact, if I had visited last year when I couldnít have driven Miss Daisy never mind a golf ball, it may have been too much for me. However, the Big Dog was in a benevolent mood so I shouldnít have been such a big girlís blouse.
Favourite holes? That is tough as I donít think that there is a weak hole but holes 4,9,12 and 15 are a wee cut above. I must also mention the fantastic treatment from the catering staff, who couldnít have done any more for us and further thanks to the ordinary members we encountered during our round and afterwards in the clubhouse who were as friendly as I have ever experienced on an away day. So if you fancy a day by the sea with an abundance of quality holes Silloth is the very place for you. It will challenge and delight in equal measure and you will not regret, for one solitary second, the time it took to get there. If I may I would like to leave the last word to the masterly Bernard Darwin who summed up Silloth far better than I ever could ďNever in my life have I seen a more ideal piece of golfing country. There is everything that a golfers heart can desireĒ. MPPJ
I think the 3rd at Silloth is one of best holes ive ever played and you dont mention it. Thats sums Silloth up for me. A great course
I played the course yesterday - 12-10-2010. The quality of the course was very poor. I can appreciate the green keepers preparing the course for the winter. However to charge full rate whilst the tees, some greens had been hollow-tined and covered in sand, and the fairways scored was unfair. The fairways hadnít been cut or rolled for some time. Although the greens were in general pretty good. The layout of the course was good, albeit the par fives are not long enough. The fairways are too generous and should be narrowed and a couple more bunkers would make the course a stiffer test. When I played there was little wind and shot a 3 over 75 - and felt I left a lot of shot out there. The par 3ís are good. The front 9 is better than the back and would suggest making at least one of the 3 par 5ís on the back a par 4. The course doesnít deserve to be as highly rated as it is in my opinion.
Can't quite fathom this review. You must have caught the course on a bad day. Silloth is my favourite course that i've played and a regular fixture whenever I am up in the lakes. Class through and through. Also if you think the course is easy you must be the best golfer i've ever seen!
Well well, played all the top links and this is well up there, only RCD is different class. Anybody over 18 handicap though dont bother, it will eat you. Great design, nice welcome and as for the green fee, nowhere is better value.
Having grown up playing golf around nearby Carlisle, I shockingly had never experienced Silloth until last August, at the age of 24.
The first thing that hits you about the club is the understated clubhouse and very friendly welcome. Members at Silloth are very proud of their club and feel like they have hit the jackpot, with membership to an incredible club for a fraction of the cost of other great links tracks.
There are great tales to be heard of the club denying Walter Hagen an exhibition match, the exploits of former Captain, Willie Whitehall and the familiar quotes of Bernard Darwin, which are part and parcel of most top clubs in Britain.
The course itself is tough. Accuracy off the tee is rewarded but stray approach shots often end in classic pot bunkers or dramatic hollows, like those that flank both sides of the tricky 4th green. The greens run fast and true and I believe the area drains very quickly, so you're unlikely to find it soggy under foot. Where the course turns, the hand of Alistair Mackenzie is especially evident, with false fronts and cleverly disguised bunkers.
I cannot stress how impressive this course is. It will rightfully host the English Amateur Championship in 2012 and has been reinstated as a qualifying course for the Open Championship. Many trusted golf writers claim it is a better course that several current 'Open' venues. Without the local infrastructure, it will never host that tournament. So use the opportunity to experience championship-quality links golf with tiny green fees!
I played this fantastic course at the end of 2008. I went as part of a group of 16 and must say the club made us feel most welcome by greeting us with a full breakfast! it was all part of the deal which totalled £50, and i was lucky enough to play twice. Course itself is very difficult but also has the odd chance of birdies, like the short par 5 on the back 9. i play off 9 handicap and shot 79 which i was very happy with, but it may have been 69 on my home course which is by far easier! The front holes aim directly out to sea which makes getting off to a good start difficult so you must warm up or your round is over before you even start! for example the first is 380yards, i hit a great drive followed by a great 3 iron and was on the fringe. i would normally hit those 500yards!!! do not underclub!!
Gave this call a 5 ball on my last review. Have since played it again with my now fiance. Not a chance this course is a five ball. Six baller all the way. Playing it again was a diferent experience completely. This is definately a course where you NEED to know your way around. Certain parts of the course are just not worth a visit. I've never played a course where every hole is completely unique and challenges every golfing instinct you have. I have actually had pleasant dreams about some of the holes and scenery on this course. Only downside is the industry and Cumbrian weather. This ain't gonna change tho. Get your Galvin's on and make a weekend of it here. A course every golfer in the North of England should make an effort to play.
If there is a better links course, it is marginal. Played Troon and Turnberry, Hoylake and West Lancs in space of two weeks. Hard to decide if this is best of the 5, between here and west lancs. Factor in the price, £40 for a day, cannot be beaten. The course was superb, true links, lovely condition and stunning views. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Played this course the day after my birthday as a gift from my girlfriend (who walked around with me, and hit a few cheeky shots when there were no members in sight!!!). Made the shortish trip from Keswick and was a very pleasant drive. Lovely sunny spells, but to give you an idea of how strong the wind was, i stood my trolley bag up outside the car as i got my shoes on and the wind blew it over!! First four or five holes are as tough driving holes as i've ever played, but was delighted to hit low and straight screamers at all of them. Really enjoyed the round once i realised that my handicap meant not a thing at this course. Par three's were the most memorable holes for me, with the 12th a gem. I still have alot to learn about links golf as i hit the five iron of my life at the 12th. Pitched virtually on the hole, but ran off the back of a hard green. This is a course where you may not be immediately blown away by the beauty, but you remember lovely things about the course as you reminisce the round. On one hole you literaly have to climb out of the green it's so secluded. Members v. friendly and Mr Todd regaled us with tales of Cecil Leitch (who he claimed hit it like a man), and the railroad company. Only one gripe- found the proshop workers very unfriendly and unwelcoming (considering the effort to get there), perhaps the knew-found fame of the course is getting to their heads. Will return one day i hope. Shab, Moor Allerton GC Leeds. Handicap 12 Claim to fame- parred first 3 holes into the teeth of the wind. Sadly round deteriorated after that!
I have played here a couple of times and really enjoyed it on both occasions.
Very tough opening holes with sandy waste off the fairways true hazards, made me wonder if I had enough balls in the bag !
The hogsback uphill par 5 is super tough.
Would love to play this traditional, quirky links again - it's not manicured to death, overmarked or sanitised, and all the more fun for it.
Definitely worth the visit if you make the difficult trip, and found the members and staff extremely helpful and friendly. dan
Played 4 courses over a weekend.. St Andrews Old, New, Jubilee and Silloth.The best by a distance was Silloth!!! what a fantastic course... Only negative comment, were not told every tee would be on a mat! can understand par 3s but not every hole...
I've played Silloth a couple of times and the last reviewers comments are bang on. Unbelievable value for money and a great warm welcom in the clubhouse. The course is a true test of golf with some really long carries and blind shots. A brute of a links in all weather.
A great test of links golf, especially when the wind really blows. Silloth isnt the longest course you will ever play but with almost no 'flat' fairways, accuracy from the tee is vital to avoid the gorse. Some fantastic par 3's and a couple of reachable par 5's make a low score a possibilty, however if you stray only slightly from the beaten track this course can really bite you! The only blot is the unsightly industrial buildings that more the view on the home stretch however this is a very minor negative. A fantastic course and well worth a trip up to Cumbria, if this course were further South it would definitley be up there with the best of them.
Played this treasure a couple a years ago now i think and , i hit the jackpot ! they had open qualifiers on the day after i played so the course condition was mint.it is well worth the trip to find this fantastic slab of links which will leave you longing to come back i know i will .
Out of the way - but worth a detour. A very hard course - especially in the wind. Keep staright and avoid the rough. If you find your ball you won't get it very far. Great links golf - St George's just beats it as the best I've played in England but in VFM terms this is hard to beat as a greta days golf.
I have some mixed feelings about Silloth - the plus points were some very fine holes, namely 3rd, 11th and 18th (plus all of the par 3's especially the short 9th), the good value for money green fees and a warm clubhouse welcome. The minus points were the docks and some housing do spoil the views on the opening and closing few holes, and it really is very remote. On balance, would recommend taking a detour via Southerness rather than Silloth, if travelling to West Scotland from the South.
The fact that the course is pretty remote definitely adds to the place in my point of view... That's a big part in your day out at Silloth!! A great place I found...
23 July 2009
Have played both and on balance feel that Silloth has more memorable holes than Southerness, but why not play both !
I played this lovely links course in Spring 2005.
It was very challenging, we had 30 mph winds throughout the day. This course had the most friendly members of any club we played in England. The course offers great value at 35 pounds during
the week. We would definitely play here again, the Lake District is a good base upon which to stay.
This is a wonderful links course that's 100 miles from everywhere. However, don't let the location deter you from seeking out and playing this challenging yet fun layout. The holes have a great variety of twists and turns, and every hole turns out to be much more of a test than you would think by looking at the card. The short par three 9th is one of the great short par threes in the world, up there with the postage stamp at Royal Troon and the 8th at Pebble Beach. We played there in the summer of 2006, and the conditions were very fast and dry, yet the course held it's own. Our group was based in Southport for our trip, and it was a 2 1/2 hour drive up from Southport, but this course deserves to be sought out and played by all lovers of links golf. Richard Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee
£35 for 36 holes in the height of summer?! You will not get better value (or anything close) anywhere in the UK for a top 50 course. Outstanding. Morning round played in gentle conditions, but the course showed its teeth in afternoon when the wind (and rain) got up. Some fabulous holes - with some great par 3s. It's like going back in time in Silloth - but I'm not complaining - the course was superb. Old fashioned links that was great fun to play - fair and hugely enjoyable. Only problem is that it's miles from anywhere (although some would argue that this adds to its charm) - and views are spoiled by very ugly factory.... but it's the best value golf anywhere in the UK. Play this and Southerness - you will not be disapppointed (and still have change in your pocket).
First and foremost, golf at Silloth is exceptional value for money with green fees less than £50 (£35 midweek) for a top 50 course. Silloth is a good, old fashioned out and back layout with a real wild, untamed feel to the terrain Ė itís very natural and nothing is tricked up here. Not overly long at just over 6300 yards from the regular gents tees, it really is a remote jewel that shines brightly in the northwest corner of England. The clubhouse was a very welcoming place and indeed there was an Irish golfing society outing presentation taking place when we were there after our round. God knows what it must be like to score at Silloth when the wind gets up as this tight little track was a tough cookie to play on a good day in perfect scoring conditions. Pity about the old harbour mill which looms behind the clubhouse as you play the last few holes but concentrate on the job in hand as youíll need your wits about you to get home in as few a number of blows as possible. If you come this far off the main drag to play Silloth then I would highly recommend that you also play Southerness across the Solway Firth on the other side of the border giving you a real tough twosome to test your golfing prowess. James McCann
Went a long way to play this course but I was not disappointed. Very scenic, starts out with a drive over a sand dunes with the green set below. Some of the holes are right along the water. The par 3 nine very memorable, somewhat similar to the postage stamp at Royal Troon. The most friendly members I found at any club we played. I will play here again
Amazing links course. Large dunes with amazing views to the sea. Can be very hard when the wind is blowing. The only disappointment is the 17th and 18th. The club members are all very friendly as well.
Golf as it should be. 18 great holes of links golf, friendly club members and pro shop, good value. On a gentle day Silloth can give up a good score, but when the wind off the Solway strengthens, so should the player brace himself for a challenge. The course has a few idiosyncracies, but so too do all great courses. A few blind carries and the vagaries of the links bounce test the players resolve.
A glorious course with a lovely natural flow to the holes. Wonderfully scenic, very challenging. Accuracy is everything on many of the holes with sunken greens and big trouble off to the sides. Negative points? The car park is far from scenic (and?), and on the seventeenth and eighteenth, the houses on the right of the holes remind you you're in a faded Cumbrian seaside town, and not a golfing elysium. And the location? OK, it's remote - but the drive from the M6 is gorgeous. Probably the best course I've played - and a bargain!
A seriously windblasting course - tests you to the very limits. Very natural, very tough but leaves you with an amazing sense of achievement once you've played it - and plenty of memories too - from the great views across the Solway Firth, a clubhouse with plenty of history and searches through wild gorse for your lost balls (and those of many who went before). Not a course for the faint hearted but then I did play it in November.