There are some tricky holes to be negotiated and whilst there are some good ones nothing compares to the 18th which is a simply outstanding golf hole. Easily worth the green-fee on its own.
A number of drives at Northcliffe are either blind or have a restricted view depending upon which line you take from the tee. This is very much the case at the opening two holes where both dog-leg right-to-left and offer the chance of a birdie.
The third is also potentially a pick-up hole but a small green that slopes from front to back and clever bunkering means that nothing should be taken for granted and running up a bogey or worse is quite possible.
The set of par threes at Northcliffe are very good. The fourth, eighth, 12th and 18th all present their own challenges, especially the final hole which is truly fabulous. The tee is located high in the woods with the green set in the foot of a narrow valley which you must play down and across. To add drama and make shot selection crucial there is a beck which runs the length of the hole and borders the edge of the green on the right whilst bunkers wait on the left. Par 3's don't often make good finishing holes but this is a belter.
Many of the other holes are similar in character with trees bordering several of the fairways and whilst a lost ball is not usually a problem you may find yourself having to play back on to the fairway in order to get back into position.
There are a few par fours which the longer hitters will fancy their chances of reaching but there are also a couple of longer holes to add balance where two very well struck shots are required to reach the putting surface. Both 16 and 17 are strong holes leading up to the formidable 18th.
There is something about Elie that puts you under a spell. It is a truly magical links that, after just one round, has won a place in my heart and mind forever.
There’s very little that hasn’t been written about the golfing mecca that is St. Andrews.