Norfolk’s Finest 18 – Final Part

Welcome to the final part of my composite course of the finest holes in Norfolk. For the rules that I have followed to devise the course, see Part 1 here.

In this part, I will cover holes 13 to 18, as well as summarise the course as a whole.

13th Hole – Middleton Hall Golf Club – 158 yards Par 3

Middleton Hall Golf Club is an extremely strategic course found just outside Kings Lynn in West Norfolk, full of short dog-leg holes and water hazards. It is a thinking golfers layout, where positional play is key and the Driver is often taken out of play.

Funnily enough, it is one of the less strategic holes that features on my layout.

Middleton Hall 13th

All of the Par 3’s on this composite layout are aesthetically pleasing and this is no exception. Sited at the far corner of the course, a mid-iron will be required to a medium-sized green. If you can block out the extremely picturesque setting, then a solid shot can offer a good chance of a birdie 2.

Other 13th hole contenders: Royal Norwich.

14th Hole – Fakenham Golf Club – 422 yards Par 4

The pretty market town of Fakenham, in Central Norfolk, is the location for a liquorice allsorts of a 9 – hole course. This is the second course on the back 9 to be routed around and inside a horse race-track and Fakenham features 3 holes within the track and 6 that run around the outside. The holes on the inside of the track offer a very different feel to the others, as any vegetation is cut down to a certain height so that racegoers can see the horses all around the track from the stands!

The standout hole is the 5th/14th, a strong Par 4 with a number of hazards to contend with.

Fakenham 14th

Despite the graphic, the hole dog-legs slightly from right to left with the fairway narrowing towards the corner with a pond on the inside and trees on the corner of the bend.

A long-iron is often required for the approach shot, with a long, narrow green. A bunker and the race-track await a missed shot to the right, whilst trees and a river will punish any pulled second shot.

Another Par 4 that will require precise ball-striking to keep your card intact.

Other 14th hole contenders: Dereham, Royal Cromer.

15th Hole – Royal Cromer Golf Club – 394 yards Par 4

The spectacular Royal Cromer sits atop the cliffs on the North Norfolk Coast.

Cromer_Aerial03
Royal Cromer Golf Club – 15th green at base of shot

Many players will be surprised that the 14th hole – featuring the iconic lighthouse – does not feature as part of this course, but in fact many golfers list the 15th as their favourite hole on the course.

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15th Green

This hole requires a very accurate drive into a valley fairway flanked by banks of fern and gorse. The approach shot plays much longer than its yardage as it is uphill. The green is wickedly sloping and quick.

Other 15th hole contenders: Hunstanton, Thetford.

16th Hole – Thetford Golf Club – 153 yards Par 3

One stunning hole follows another as we move to the shortest hole on the course.

Thetford 16th

For most golfers, this hole will only require a short-iron, but the real challenge here is in the mind. From tee to green you will find impenetrable heather, stunning whilst in flower, whilst the ‘island’ green is surrounded on 3 sides by a large bunker and at the back by gorse and scrub.

If you can overcome the mental challenge, then a good opportunity for birdie awaits. For many golfers however, the beauty often turns to a beast of a card wrecker.

Other 16th Hole contenders: Royal West Norfolk, Feltwell.

17th Hole – Hunstanton Golf Club – 447 yards Par 4

Many of the holes on this composite course are brutally difficult. The 17th at Hunstanton possibly vies with the 5th at Sheringham for the fictional Stroke Index 1 position.

Hunstanton 17th
Approach to 17th green

This is a sweeping left-to-right dogleg with an extremely nallow entrance to a long green with a savage fall off to the right hand side. Played into the prevailing SouthWesterlies, this is a wonderful test of golf. The lightning quick putting surfaces offer little respite even if the green is somehow hit in regulation.

Other 17th hole contenders: Sheringham, Thetford.

18th Hole – Bawburgh Golf Club – 473 yards Par 4

Bawburgh Golf Club, just South of Norwich, offers a suitably grand finish to our remarkable layout.

Bawburgh 18th

The tee-shot offers a wonderful slightly downhill drive, but any nerves are not helped by out-of-bounds to the right and bunkers/thick rough/banking to the left.

The approach offers the chance to be a hero, with a long carry required over water to a huge green.

Other 18th Hole contenders: Hunstanton, Swaffham.

Full Course Card:

  1. Ryston Park – Par 4
  2. Swaffham – Par 4
  3. Caldecott Hall – Par 5
  4. Barnham Broom (Valley) – Par 3
  5. Sheringham – Par 4
  6. Eaton – Par 4
  7. Richmond Park – Par 4
  8. Royal West Norfolk – Par 5
  9. Costessey Park – Par 3
  10. Kings Lynn – Par 5
  11. Great Yarmouth & Caister – Par 4
  12. Feltwell – Par 5
  13. Middleton Hall – Par 3
  14. Fakenham – Par 4
  15. Royal Cromer – Par 4
  16. Thetford – Par 3
  17. Hunstanton – Par 4
  18. Bawburgh – Par 4

Overall, the course offers a wonderful challenge. The balance achieved is pleasing, with a mix of straight holes and dog-legs in both directions. Some holes will give up an opportunity for birdie whilst others are very very difficult.

Perhaps the only element missing is a driveable Par 4. There are certainly some good ones in Norfolk, but I just could not find room in the end. There are also many excellent Par 3’s that do not feature. I will shed more light on these in an upcoming blog.

In the end it is certainly possible to feature an entirely different 18 holes and still match the quality. Such is the appeal of course rating – I encourage you to come up with your own version. What has been shown is the depth, variety and quality of golf in Norfolk – a perfect base for any golfing tour.

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