Sedbergh

Sedburgh dog golf 1

Our latest guest post from Bertie (and his persons Steve and Mrs. Brown) not only provides another pooch perspective on par play, but also highlights the imperative to “keep asking”. While Dog Golf UK tries to keep its database up-to-date, my experience has been that policies change from time to time. Usually this shift has been the unfortunate case of being informed that a course doesn’t welcome dogs after all despite someone telling me previously that they did (I document all my calls to clubs who tell me they allow dogs). In the case of today’s Sedbergh, the report is a fortunate addition to the database. When I had contacted Sedburgh previously, they said that dogs were not allowed,. But when Bertie did a round and I double checked, they were hesitant but in the end said that people did bring their dogs on the low periods of Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thanks to Bertie for not just another review, but also another course for people to check out:

Another weekend away with friends who have a place at Barnard Castle, and we needed a course we could play and have lunch. We settled on Sedbergh and what a gem of a course. Nine holes (18 tees) and it is immaculate.

Some very tricky holes, with drives over river gorges, water features and some tricky undulating ground. This is a course that no one will take apart.

Its £15 for 9 holes and having a dog is not a problem. The owner is on site and very welcoming, his son is the greenskeeper. There is a fabulous clubhouse, more of that later.

The first hole is tricky with hole protected by bunkers, unseen, the second a drive across the river onto a green. Then a short walk takes you to the third well over 500 yards and you can see a Victorian iron railway bridge behind the green. It is a very picturesque course.

You have great views of the Yorkshire dale. Another par 5 has the green protected by a ring of water. Eventually we arrive at the 9th. A green you feel you can reach. On our visit there were two societies starting off on our return.

Dogs are not allowed in the clubhouse but they serve one of the best steak and ale pies this northern lad has ever had on the verandah. Mrs. Browns’ fish pie was also excellent.

What of Bertie our Tibetan Terrier, after all this is about golfing with dogs. I think Bertie has decided that golf balls are not worth chasing. He allows us to play our shots, and whereas once he had to have his own ball he isn’t interested now. We do use a lead to tie him up when teeing off and putting wherever possible. We have a long lead and he now trots happily alongside us, we do stand on the lead if we need to do so. He still won’t sit and look at the camera for the killer photo!

The big problem I have is not controlling a dog while playing, but the fact Mrs. Brown is obviously already a better golfer than me and the gap is only getting wider!

Sedburgh dog golf 2

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle dog golf 2

And other delightful account from the roving northern Dog Golf correspondent team of Bertie and Steve:

Having visited the highest and oldest nine hole golf courses on this holiday we then played Alnwick Castle. This would be easier for controlling Bertie as we were joined by the youngest daughter. On arrival went in to pay, told the lady the secretary had said we could bring a dog, she didn’t bat an eyelid “no problem”.

Now Alnwick Castle is a real 18 hole course, and it is a club that is on the up. I understand the Duke of Northumberland owns the land. While we were there work had started on a new club house and there will also be a number of expensive properties built on the outer edge of the course.

It is £15 a round and a small charge for trolleys and the current clubhouse is next to one and eighteen so nine if furthest from the clubhouse, this will change as the new clubhouse is right in the middle of the course.

The day we went there was a seniors competition on and none of these even noticed the dog. Mrs B parred a short par 3, well done her. Couple of seniors saw her drive the ball straight onto the green and then me shank it wide left onto their tee. They were still waiting to play as we arrived and the old fellas just gave me that pitying look as i was clearly being outclassed. One whispered “My wife does that when i play with her as well”!

The course opens up into an open parkland course with good views of the surrounding countryside. There are some steep climbs but overall it was in excellent condition. There were lots of ground staff knocking about and they all waved and said hello as wed passed with Bertie.

On returning to the clubhouse for a drink the bar staff insisted that Bertie be served first taking a bowl of water out to him before we could even order ours!

It is a good course and the addition of a new clubhouse will really enhance the experience, we speculated about buying one of the houses should our lottery numbers come in.

Alnwick Castle dog golf 1

Alnwick Castle dog golf 3

Alnmouth Village

Almouth Village 1

Bertie (and Steve) provides another first-hand report on a Northumberland course while Grace relaxes in the backyard for a well-deserved break and a bit of recuperation:

Alnmouth Village Golf Club is the reason why we took up golf. When Bertie was a puppy we stayed in Alnmouth and Bertie loved the beach so much we have been back a few times. There is a magnificent nine hole course between the village and the beach, it really is stunning. We always said it would be great to play the course hence we started golf lessons and this was the first time we would actually play the course instead of just walking the dog on it!

We played twice, once just us and then with another couple who came to stay for a couple of days, they have a Jack Russell. Alnmouth must be the most dog friendly place in Britain, dogs are welcome everywhere.

The clubhouse has lots of picnic tables and dogs are welcome inside as well. They do the whole range from bacon butties to Sunday lunch. It’s incredibly friendly and £15 for nine holes. Trolleys, just help yourself and put them back afterwards.

The course is flat apart from one hole, the sixth. You drive up onto the plateau onto another fairway with a short iron shot onto the most elevated green, it’s a short sharp incline and its a blind shot requiring you to ring the bell for the next group to play.

The next tee gives you amazing panoramic views of the course and Northumbrian shore. It’s a quite satisfying tee shot as you see your ball fall downwards onto the fairway below. It’s a typical links course and if your ball disappears into the rough don’t bother looking for it!!!

Members are so used to dogs, as we played and crossed other parties they would wave ask if we were on holiday and pass on tips for the next hole. On one occasion we were just walking Bertie on the path alongside the course watching others play. Bertie spotted a ball on the fairway and ran to retrieve it with two mortified owners running after him. The four ball just fell about laughing while the owner of the ball just complained that Bertie could have dropped it nearer the hole.

Alnmouth Village Golf Club is England’s oldest nine hole course and remains an enduring course to play you are ever anywhere near.

Almouth Village 2Almouth Village 3

Alston Moor

Alston Moor dog golf 1

I am sad to report that Grace might just be entering dog golfing retirement as she is suffering from a lame right-rear leg making it very difficult to walk. The debilitation has slowed her down and is combined with some other indications that she is simply becoming a very old girl (14 years old in a few weeks). I am happy to report that one of Dog Golf UK’s supporters, Bertie (and his person, Steve Brown, unofficial “northern correspondent”) has stepped up to share a number of guest posts from their recent Northumbria golf tour. Thanks Bertie (and Steve)!

Alston Moor Golf Club – The highest golf course in England. Bertie, our Tibetan terrier is two and a half years old. Having a dog changes a lot of what you and where you go on holiday. We have now gone to the same Northumbria cottage three times since we got Bertie. During that time we have also started playing golf, so whereas the three hour drive from Lancashire to the cottage would have been broken up with a quick stroll along Hadrians Wall we now look for golf courses!

So Alston Moor Golf Club fitted that description perfectly. It is a remote course with wonderful views of the North Pennine moors. I had emailed the club secretary who made it clear Bertie would be welcome. It was £15, which is outstanding value.

On arrival we were welcomed by the secretary and as the weather was bad we had the golf course to ourselves. The course has ten greens, nine holes with eighteen tees. The course was in really good condition with some tricky holes. The course also had two defibrillators, it is a steep climb back towards the clubhouse! The clubhouse was closed while we were there so plan to not have access to standard facilities.

We saw deer just yards from the course and bertie had a great time.

What did we learn about dog golfing? If you hook him up to the trolley he pulls it over. And, we need a second lead to attach him to benches etc while we tee off. Eventually we gave in and gave him his own golf ball.

Alston Moor will definitely be visited again on our journeys north.

Alston Moor dog golf 2

Redlibbets

Redlibbets guest review

Another kind reader and keen dog golfer is Terry Aston who shared their experience at Redlibbets. Redlibbets is one of several dog-friendly courses that he introduced me to and I have added to the database. His fairway adventures are shared with not one, but two black labs – Winnie and Millie. Millie is herself a golf connoisseur of some distinction having visited 65 courses in her career putting her right up there for lifetime bests with Grace, Rusty and very few others. They we also accompanied by his wife, Jenny. I find it a curious that yesterday’s guest, today’s as well as Lori and myself are husband-wife teams. I wonder if playing with dogs is relatively more popular with those golfers who treat the sport as a family affair? Here is Terry’s report:

Yesterday, Nov 16, Jenny (my wife), Winnie and Millie – our 2 black labs – played at Redlibbets, Kent.
We were made to feel very welcome and one member went through every hole telling us what to expect, we were nearly late for our tee time. Teeing off the first was a slight dogleg but fairly level and was a gentle introduction to the course. All the fairways were pristine and the greens in excellent condition. The whole course was superb and there was a good variety of holes. The course was set out over 2 sides of a valley with a couple of the fairways running along the bottom of the valley. For the time of year we were surprised at how good a condition the course was in. The 2 dogs really enjoyed their walk which was a fairly easy walk with a couple of steep climbs. We would not hesitate to return if in the area. The bar was open for food but we didn’t stay. All in all, a successful day.

Bakewell

Bakewell 1

While I have been limited in getting out on the (UK) courses, a few dog-loving readers have been more ambitious and have shared some guest posts reviewing more courses for DogGolf.info! First up is Steve Brown (and “Mrs. B”) with their canine caddy, Bertie. They play a number of course in the north of England (which are great to hear about since it would be a long way for us to go and that region is relative less represented in dog golfing):

To begin with we are novice golfers, don’t even have a handicap, we are also relatively new dog owners with Bertie the Tibetan Terrier not quite two when we visited Bakewell. It was my third visit to a golf course and Mrs B and Bertie’s first.

We were on holiday and found the dog golf website which really encouraged us to take Bertie with us.

We emailed the club secretary before booking. She was excellent and a real credit to all those volunteers who keep local clubs alive. She encouraged us to play but did say they didn’t normally allow dogs but come back to her if that was a problem. We did, telling her the tee time we wanted no one else was booked in and it was late in the day. We understood that the dog would be on the lead and kept of greens and bunkers. We offered to contribute for Bertie’s green fees!

Having got the go ahead we booked a 2pm tee time. It’s a small club with a clubhouse with 9 holes with two different tees for each hole. We met several club members on the round and no one questioned Bertie’s presence and all were very accommodating and friendly.

The course is high on the hillside offering fantastic views over Bakewell. It is steep in parts and it’s a good workout. Tee shots are sometimes over the previous greens and one over a bridleway and another over a small country lane.

We all had a great time and you do need to make accommodations for having a dog, swapping the lead over etc, however we were last out so there was no pressure from players behind us.

My takeaways from this first attempt at dog golf are:

  • Plan how you intend to play with the dog ie who will do what, do not just set off.
  • Pick a quiet time of day.
  • Engage the club you want to play at, recognise they might have concerns, leave your contact details so they have some confidence if something went wrong.

We would definitely play Bakewell again, it’s a great little course which is challenging. The secretary was brilliant. It has encouraged us to take Bertie out with us again.

Most of all Bertie led under the table in the pub that night, result!!

Bakewell 2