Cleveland GC has the proud boast of being the only true links course in Yorkshire and the oldest, too, having been established in 1887. The first competition was played on 4th June, 1887 and two rounds of the links resulted in a tie between A.C. Tofts and J Bastard.
The course was said to be originally laid out by Tom Morris, with changes made later by Tom Vardon (then pro’ at Ilkley GC), Harry S Colt/J S F Morrison, Fred G Hawtree and more recently by Donald Steel when holes #14, #15 and #16 were built in the dunes. The course is on an exposed swathe of linksland, unprotected from the ravages of the North Sea and subsequently, has distinctive “links” characteristics, with some holes playing through duneland and others in the flatter hinterland between links and marsh/wetland.
GGD were appointed in April 2012 to undertake a full course assessment inspecting all aspects of the course at Cleveland, focussing, in particular, on bunkers, tees, greens, inter-fairway dunes and featuring and practice facilities. There is great potential for the course to be improved and refined. The improvements to the golf course features will be further emphasised with new planting of native shrubs – gorse, sea buckthorn and marram grasses – between fairways (in out-of-play areas).
The opportunity is there to give Cleveland GC a wider regional and even national profile, which could make the club a potential venue for Open qualifier events.
Photo credit: JG/Cleveland Golf Club