Golf Course Review of Sandilands Golf Club
Sandilands Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A relativelty flat and easy walking course close to the North Sea
Our 5 Star Rating: 2.8
The East Coast of England, with the exception of East Anglia, is a fairly barren place for links golf.
The North-East has a splattering of fine courses but once you head south from Cleveland it isn’t until you reach the enticingly named Sandilands Golf Club, located between Mablethorpe and Skegness in Lincolnshire, where you will find the next true links venue.
And in all honesty Sandilands is borderline as to whether it can be deemed a ‘true’ links because the nature of the grass doesn’t quite produce the firm and tight lies that are notorious of quality seaside golf, albeit the fairways are sandy and quick draining. However, the course features in the excellent book, True Links by Malcolm Campbell and George Peper, so we will give it the benefit of the doubt on this moot point.
Regardless of whether or not the course is authentic links there are plenty of interesting holes to discover here. The layout of the property dictates that the opening three and final three holes are played on a very slender strip of land. So much so that the first and last actually criss-cross one another and the third and 16th share the same narrow fairway.
The course opens up for the middle part of the round as the routing takes you one way and then the other before turning for home at the 13th in a straight northerly direction. Despite the twists and turns one never loses a sense of where they are because the land is quite open and the line of dunes protecting, as well as hiding, the course from the sea acts as a constant guide.
Apart from the aforementioned shared fairway the driving zones are relatively generous and there was little rough to speak of on my visit in August 2014, however, I can imagine when a stiff breeze is whipping in off the North Sea you will be grateful for all the width you can get.
The favoured shot into many of the greens is a running approach although on my visit they were soft enough to hold a well struck shot; perhaps a little too spongy at times.
Due to the general ‘out and back’ nature of the course a draw shot is favoured on several holes but with danger down the left, in the form of gorse laden banks on the first dozen holes in particular, it’s easy to find yourself bailing out to the right and facing a longer approach shot, usually from nothing more than semi-rough.
A country lane also comes into your thinking when playing some of the holes. This single lane track is close to your right for the opening tee-shot and on your left for some of the closing holes. It would take a bad shot to land on it but it’s always best to wait until there is no traffic approaching before you play!
My favourite hole was the par three tenth which featured some well-placed bunkers around the almost boomerang-shaped green. The 11th was also a stand-out hole with a nice drive from an elevated tee before you play to a lovely green setting at the foot of the dune ridge; the main decision to be made at this hole is how close you dare hug the sandhills down the left.
This is a very easy walking course where the only climbs are up to the elevated tees at a few of the holes from where, on the front nine especially, you get to enjoy superb views of beach and sea. Meanwhile, the surrounding Lincolnshire Wolds provide a pleasant vista on the inland side.
Sandilands isn’t close to being in the same league as the only other Lincolnshire links, located slightly further south at Seacroft, but I can see why many people, societies and holidaymakers especially, enjoy their golf here. The green-fee of just £15 that I paid on a Monday afternoon was excellent value and because the course is owned by a local hotel, The Grange & Links Hotel, there is always some well-priced stay & play deals available.
Club Website: www.sandilandsgolfclub.co.uk
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Sandilands Golf Club.
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