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Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course Review

By: Matt Holbrook | Wed 20 Sep 2023

'The best stretch of coastline in the UK' plays host to Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, which sits in the shadow of the 14th century castle ruins sharing the same name. This outstanding links test has picked up Golfshake Highly Recommended status five years running. 

Designed by Open Championship winner and renowned course architect James Braid, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course offers a true test of links golf. With the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the clubhouse that is also used by plenty of walkers heading down towards the beach, the views on offer and excellent layout all combine to provide a memorable experience. 

Pre-Round Thoughts

The welcome received was terrific. There is no large pro shop, no grand entrance, but a lovely warm friendly bar/café/restaurant/pro shop all mixed into one. It definitely fits with the experience at Dunstanburgh, were green fees are extremely fair and close to the best value of golf you can find. 

Again, no great warm up facilities, a little practice green and chipping green, but in keeping with the traditional style of experience which I for one, am quite the fan of. 

Views of the castle ruins in the distance are available on most holes too, which is another benefit.  

Dunstanburgh Castle

Front 9 Overview

The first six holes all play to the left of the clubhouse. After a gentle opening hole where the fairway feels like it doubles up with the 6th, you head up to the 2nd tee on top of a steep bank where the first real panoramic views are on offer. 

The tame dogleg from right to left requires a good shot towards the fairway marker, even a touch left is fine as the moundy fairway falls away to the right meaning holding the fairway in dry months is a task in itself. An approach shot into the green which is raised on one side means no margin for error, my advice would be to not miss right. 

The 4th - Plateau - is a beast of a par 3. At only 164 yards from the white tee, my guess would be playing it into wind is a common theme, challenging drop offs all around with a nasty pot bunker to the left means there really is no miss here and finding the raised green will feel like the majority of the work is done, however the sloping element to this green means a two-putt isn't a foregone conclusion. 

The 6th is the last of the holes on 'this side' of the layout, another elevated tee with the best views on the course and you hit down almost over parts of the beach, on a terrific right to left dogleg. 

I also really enjoyed the 8th hole, you hit down into a dell from the tee, there is plenty of room down there but it's blind from the tee, then hitting back up onto the green which is raised from the fairway, meaning distance control is crucial. 

Dunstanburgh Castle

Back 9 Overview

The back 9 gets off to a pretty tough start. 

The 10th - especially if playing into a wind - is a beast, at 425 yards from the white tee, a well hit tee shot playing towards the castle ruins in the distance will do well to avoid the bunkers on either side of the fairway. The large green might be a bit more of a friendly target, but coming in from such a distance and run off areas aplenty, getting on in two will feel like a win, while the green slopes from back to front leaving you an uphill putt that you won't want to hit a few feet past. 

You turn back on the short par 4 11th, most will be able to avoid the two bunkers down the left hand side, but the two pot bunkers short of the green will need your attention if you are going to have a crack at the green from the tee. Will more often than not be playing less than the 309 yards on the card due to elevation and wind, a real nice fun hole to open your shoulders and have a crack!

'Castle' is Dunstanburgh's signature hole. A cracking little par 3 too. 

With a ravine to hit over, the green sits at the bottom of the bank where the castle ruins remain. The hole is only 127 yards from the white tee, less than 100 from the yellows, but with everything else going on around you - waves crashing off the rugged coastline, castle ruins atop of the hill, it's easy to see why this hole gets the kudos it deserves. 

As you now head back towards to clubhouse, the 14th is the only par 5 on the course and the final par 3 soon follows as the holes run with OOB down the left hand side. 

The 18th is a great finishing hole, avoiding the bunkers from the tee will still leave you a tough, lengthy second shot that needs to carry the burn that runs just short of the green in order to give yourself one final birdie chance - but again, beware of the out of bounds down the right hand side. 

Dunstanburgh Castle

Post-Round Thoughts

What an experience. 

This links classic is laid out in such a clever way that it makes the most of the natural terrain offering up some excellent elevation changes and views to boot. 

The condition is fantastic, the links land drains well - as we experienced -  and never do you feel that two holes are the same and that rustic feel to the course is superb. 

The tee boxes are set out so that all abilities can enjoy this test and regardless of how far you hit it, you can still enjoy this wonderful venue. 


Dunstanburgh offers up that sought after blend of classic links, scenic views, terrific layout and rawness that golfing connoisseurs will soak up with a generous smile on their face as they do it and will want to go back for more. And more. And more. 

Overall Rating - 9

Course (Conditions) - 9

Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 10

Course (Green Condition) - 9

Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 8

Club Facilities & Clubhouse - 6

Practice Facilities - 4

Friendliness/Hospitality - 10

Pace of Play - 9

Value For Money - 10

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