Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.
“If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play at it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.” – Bob Hope
We certainly support the recreational type! The northernmost county in England, Northumberland is home to over 40 golf clubs, many with some fantastic links, parkland and heathland tracks. There are some well-known popular courses, home to European Tour events as well as some hidden gems, with marvellous greens and breathtaking backdrops.
There are many reasons why golf is a popular sport: the social element, the relaxing calm pace of a skilled game and the outdoor setting of the sport to name a few. It is also well known for being a pastime that alleviates stress, so if you are looking to get a new hobby, why not take some holiday time to sample this amazing outdoor sport? It isn’t just for businessmen and retired folk – it’s a sport that suits many!
While the golfers among us can spend many an hour plotting which course they want to visit next, we know the non-golfing friends and family will need to find alternative things to do while waiting for the last hole to be played. We have featured some nearby attractions to each golf course mentioned so you can all coordinate your days to fit around each other – the beauty of a schedule!
Here are the top 10 golf clubs in Northumberland…
This course is renowned for its par-72 1989 design by Dave Thomas and is considered one of the best courses in the North East by many players, especially the bunkering design on the Hunting course. The course has hosted six European Tour events and offers beautiful surroundings, with rolling fairways surrounded by moorland, parkland and heathland and some challenging water features to navigate.
Location: Hexham, NE47 0BX
Attraction close by: Allout Adventures is just under 2 miles from Slaley Hall golf course. Try some muddy quad biking on the largest quad trek in Northumberland or some clay pigeon shooting, archery or axe throwing. There is lots on offer to keep you busy here during your holiday to Northumberland.
Set on 150 acres of spectacular parkland, this immaculately kept course is challenging and one for those who like to be kept on the ball. The first and last holes require some tough decision-making; the first hole, in particular the tee shot, requires some confident play, as this par five hole can be reached in two. Do you dare?
Location: Hexham, NE46 3RZ
Attraction close by: Take a trip to Hexham Abbey; it is a treasure trove of artefacts and history and features lots of interesting artefacts including St Wilfrid's 7th-century underground crypt, a working night stair and beautiful painted panels. Follow it with a well-deserved cream tea in one of the welcoming tea rooms before popping back to Hexham.
With views of the North Sea, Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle, this one is for you if you like your golf with a view. The course is always in good condition and is thought of as one of the best in the area - it has in fact been ranked as the No 1 course in Northumberland. An Open Qualifying Venue 2018-2022, it is rarely affected by the weather and is playable all year round, from dedicated tees to full greens.
Location: Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2RW
Attractions close by: Under 3 miles from the golf course, you will find the village of Beal on Lindisfarne. Providing the route to cross to the tidal island of Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, it is cut off twice daily by the tide so make sure that you check crossing times so that you aren't left stranded. This enchanting village has a wealth of history within its walls and welcomes visitors from all across the world to explore its medieval religious heritage and breathtaking 16th-century castle. Read all about it in our guide to Lindisfarne.
Situated on the coast with views of the North Sea from the cliff-top track, this well-maintained course is one of the oldest clubs in England. Often referred to as the jewel in Northumberland's golfing crown, it looks out over both Foxton and Alnmouth Bay. Though it has a coastal location, the course is home to parkland turf and wonderfully presented greens, and many keen golfers who visit Northumberland make sure this one is on their list!
Location: Alnmouth, NE66 3BE
Attractions close by: Hop aboard a steam train at the Aln Valley Railway to discover this enchanting area without having to lift a foot. You’ll be treated to some wonderful countryside vistas on your journey from Alnwick to Alnmouth and this is a fun afternoon out for all. In fact, this area is so pretty it was featured on Channel 4's 'Coastal Railways with Julie Walters'. The station at Lionheart welcomes visitors most weekends from spring to late summer and there is also an engine shed, cafe, museum and model railway.
Established at the beginning of the 20th century, the National Trust-owned Dunstanburgh is situated on one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the country. With the haunting hilltop Dunstanburgh Castle overlooking every shot, it offers a true test of links golf with some difficult par threes, designed by Open Championship winner and course architect James Braid.
Location: Embleton, NE66 3XQ
Attraction close by: It would be a terrible thing to come to Dunstanburgh and not visit the castle. This ruined castle dating from the 14th century has a twin-towered keep and offers the most amazing views across the North Sea. Make this one for sunny days as there are picnic areas as well as the beach below to sit back and drink in the amazing vistas. Walkers can try the Craster to Dunstanburgh route which passes some glorious sand dunes and the Newton Pool Nature Reserve, both rich in different species of wildlife.
Established at the beginning of the 20th century, this original 9-hole layout has turned into a very scenic 18-hole course. With views out across the North Sea to Holy Island, this cliff-top course has some spectacular holes, especially the par three 8th where the tee shot is played over a cove - the views of the cliffs jutting out on the Scottish border are magnificent.
Location: Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1NE
Attraction close by: Head into the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed to walk the famous Elizabethan Walls, a 1.5-mile circuit offering wondrous views of the town, coast and river. There is also the Lowry Trail which walks in the footsteps of this famous painter, known for his distinctive 'matchstick men' figures. There are guided walking tours from Easter until late summer which gives you an insider's view of Berwick's historical past.
One for those who like their horse racing as well as their golf, this course is set within Newcastle Racecourse. Known for its firm, fast greens and well-placed bunkering, it has been the host for Regional Open Qualifying for the past few years. Designed by Colt and Braid, it is a challenging course but accessible to most levels of golfer at any time of the year.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5HT
Attraction close by: If you've got the car, drop the golfer off and head to the coast at Tynemouth where you will discover the beachside Blue Reef Aquarium. This undersea safari includes underwater tunnels with sharks and stingrays, plus daily seal shows, monkeys and a cafe. Great if you've got little ones with you, it also has a shop to buy some seaside souvenirs as well as the Blue Reef cafe where you can have a quick bite to eat before heading down for a walk or splash about on the beach.
This Lee Westwood course, a fairly recent one having opened in 2011, has its fairways set out over 160 acres of the serene Tyne Valley. It has a beautiful 18-hole course with an engaging layout set around many historical features including a Roman Fort and an ice lake. Host of the 2017 British Masters, it was the first time that a European Tour event had been held at Close House.
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE15 0HT
Attraction close by: It would be wrong to visit this area and not take in a little of the county's history. Just a few miles from the golf club is Heddon-on-the-Wall's section of Hadrian's Wall, the longest unbroken stretch of wall and managed by English Heritage. Whatever the time of year, the wall, thought to be completed in AD 122 or 123, makes a great companion for a walk across the Northumberland countryside.
Originally built as a 9-hole course for Newcastle University, the Lee Westward Filly course at Close House has been recently refurbished and then altered in 2013 by Scott Macpherson. Not the longest course, it is one for the thinking golfer with USGA greens and wonderful views of the River Tyne.
Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE15 0HT
Attraction close by: You'll need the car for this one as it's a 10-mile trip, but well worth the drive if you want to do something interesting on your free day. The vibrant city of Newcastle is home to not only some fantastic shopping and restaurants but also is a hub of culture. Try the Life Science Centre, the Discovery Museum and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Don't forget to visit the Angel of the North, Anthony Gormley's iconic angel statue.
The views of the beach and castle from this course are some of the best in the county. Darwin agreed saying: “There is surely no lovelier view from any golf course." With views of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the Farne Islands and the Cheviots, it is one of the truest links experiences in the country. Though quite a short course, it’s a fun one to play on regardless of the time of year and the club is widely known as friendly and welcoming.
Location: The Wynding, NE69 7DE
Attraction close by: There's lots to do when your other half is playing a round of golf. Bamburgh Castle, referred to as the King of Castles, is a must-visit, with over 3,000 items on display as well as a fascinating virtual tour which unearths the myths and legends of this spectacular fort. Then mosey on down to the village centre to the RNLI Grace Darling Museum where you can learn about the 'Heroine of the Farne Islands', followed by a mouthwatering cream tea in the Copper Kettle Tea Rooms.
Map of golf courses in Northumberland
Other golf clubs in Northumberland:
Retire to a self-catering cottage in Northumberland after a day on the course…
If you need somewhere to rest your head after a long day on the course or at a nearby attraction, have a look at our selection of holiday cottages in Northumberland. From couples' retreats where you can warm your toes in front of a roaring log fire in winter, to coastal cottages perfect for a sunset beach walk during the summer, our collection of cottages in Northumberland will have something for you.