History of Golf in Alnmouth

Alnmouth Golf Club - Established 1869 the 4th oldest golf club in England.
Now celebrating its 150th Anniversary in 2019

In 1869 the first course associated with Alnmouth Golf Club was created on the links down on the sea front in Alnmouth village. It is believed that this course was designed by Mungo Park, a youngish man at the time, who was to become a famous golf professional and the Club's first professional.

Extracts from an early publication 'British Golf Links 1897'  

'The course lie along the links to the north east of the village, the first tee being within a few yeards of the clubhouse and the course which consists of only nine holes is, for its size, an exceptional good one whilst the bunkers are sufficiently numerous to give a throughly sporting character to the green.'

' A first rate player should, with fair luck, get round the links in 40, say five fours and four fives.'

'The greens, though smaller than on many courses, are very good and true.'

So, Alnmouth had now taken its place among the earliest courses and Clubs in England, sharing fourth place in this respect with Hoylake (Royal Liverpool), their predecessors being Blackheath -1608; Westward Ho (Royal North Devon) in 1864; and Royal Wimbledon in 1865.  

Course History

In 1905 the course was extended to 18 holes to obviate a certain amount of undesirable overlapping which occurred on the nine hole course. The extension completed under the direction of Willie Park went northward towards Foxton with the distances between holes on the new course constructed very considerably and requiring sterling golf. The opening ceremony of the new course was performed by the Duke of Northumberland and was followed by a challenge match between the international champions Harry Vardon and JH Taylor.

In the late 1920's the Duke of Northumberland was approached and consented to lease a further piece of land in order to make a new 18 hole course. A survey of the land was made by Mr HS Colt the famous golf architect and his report was published in the Newcastle Journal on the 4th July 1929. The land surrounded Foxton Hall, one of the historic residences of the Percy family, which was to be used as the clubhouse. The adoption of the Foxton Hall scheme was reported on the 10th December 1929 with the new club to come into being on the 1st January 1930.  The new course where we are today, was opened on the 9 May 1931, but sadly the 8th Duke of Northumberland died suddenly in August and was therefore not present to witness his vision.

In 1936 Alnmouth Village Golf Club was formed and took over the running of the old links. Since that time the clubs have maintained their historical links and still play a number of special combined competitions, the most famous called 'the upper and downer' a match between the two clubs played on a combination course of the back nine holes at Foxton (the upper) and the nine holes of the old links (the downer).
Taken from the book on the history of Alnmouth Golf Club called Golf at Alnmouth written by D.P. Walton published in 1992 and recently updated in 2004 by former Secretary Peter McIlroy.  The book is available from the Club by contacting the Club Manager.