The first is a good opening par 5. Although only 476 yards, short by today’s standards, the drive is played slightly downhill to a fairway that swings left and rises to a big sloping green. There is out of bounds all along the left and severe rough and mounding on both sides – it might be wise to hit a few practice shots before starting the round!
At 422 yards, the par second is a really tough hole. No choice at this one, only a long straight drive will leave any chance of getting home in two. The approach is played uphill avoiding two bunkers 40 yards short of a very tricky green.
The third hole is a 172-yard par 3 where you do need enough club to ensure you hit the centre of the target. If you find the very deep hollow at the front, you will have a devil of a chip to contend with. Also bear in mind the two bunkers on the right of the green.
The drive at the fourth is from an elevated tee to quite a generous fairway. This 377-yard par 4 is one of the easier holes on the course and providing you find the fairway, a good birdie chance. Favour right of centre from the tee to leave a slightly uphill approach to a green sloping back to front, defended bunkers left and right.
The first of the intimidating drives is at the fifth where a carry of about 180 yards is needed to make the fairway. There is a deep ravine full of trees, bushes, rough and water in front of the tee, all combining to put that little extra pressure on your golf swing. This par 4 is just under 400 yards, so ignore what’s in front of you and a good drive will leave a 7 or 8 iron to the green.
The 6th hole, the first of the holes to be redesigned measures 515 yards and requires a drive left of the two fairway bunkers and a lake which is hidden behind them. A new green is well guarded by two bunkers well short of the putting surface , another on the left side and two more on the right side. New mounding creates a number of tough up and downs should you avoid the sand.
The 7th and 8th holes, measuring 374 and 352 yards respectively, have been improved a great deal with new green complexes. What were two birdie chances are now much tougher prospects with two bunkers below the green on the left side at the 7th and two large fairway bunkers matched with two deep greenside bunkers flanking the green at the 8th. The greens now feature some very tricky slopes , long putts and pitch shots from the wrong side can easily lead to high scores at the these two holes.
The 9th hole has an amphitheatre green and the hole at 155 yards presents a test of putting and pitching should you fail to get close to the flag.
The 10th hole demands that you find the fairway and miss the two fairway bunkers on the right side which combined with adjacent trees makes it very difficult to hit the green with your 2nd shot.
The 11th hole measures 414 yards and is a difficult challenge requiring a long tee shot to give you a view of the green which features a deep bunker on the right side.
The 12th hole par 5 at 582 yards is one of the regions toughest with its double dogleg fairway sweeping downhill right to left from the tee before rising back up to the green. The green slopes from back to front and divided in the middle by a ridge to create two tiers. A five is always a good score.
The 13th tee presents you with some stunning views particularly towards the lighthouse and the hole is measured at 162 yards from the elevated tee. The green presents a difficult challenge with a right to left slope and is protected by 2 bunkers either side of the green.
The 14th, a 390 yard par four, tests your driving again with a ravine to the right whilst longer drives can find a steep drop in the fairway leaving a blind shot up the hill to the green. A bunker front right of the green collects many off centre shots.
The 15th hole at 384 yards requires another good drive to carry the ravine and with two bunkers protecting the green on the right side, it is best to hit approach shot to the left.
The 16th at 409 yards is a stern test and requires an excellent drive to carry the Dene to the fairway and then another good hit to reach the plateau green up the steep hill. Achieving a four on the 16th is a great result.
The toughest of the par 3’s, the 17th plays 189 yards uphill from the tee to a large green which slopes back to front and protected by a right side bunker which collects many wayward shots.
The 18th is a challenging hole despite being only a 459 yard par 5. Another large green accepts a long approach although anything missing right, left or long will leave a tricky uphill pitch from a tight lie in front of the clubhouse balcony.
A recent review in the Northern Golfer May 2018 edition commented “ Already a great layout, the recent works\course development have elevated Whitley Bay into the top-tier of courses in the region”.