The 4 Point Compass Golf Challenge

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What if you could remove the boundaries and play on all four courses on the North, South, West and East points of the compass on the UK mainland?
Posted on
June 15, 2023
by
Andy Newmarch in
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Every golfer enjoys a challenge and most golfers believe their home course to be the best but just think of the vast opportunities outside the boundaries of the rough and beyond the fringe.

What if you could remove the boundaries and play on all four courses on the North, South, West and East points of the compass on the UK mainland? That is what Stuart Pearce the captain of Gorleston Golf Club in Norfolk did at the end of May 2023.

A golfer’s experience akin to the Three Peaks Challenge saw Pearce and his team play all four courses on all points of the compass on the UK mainland. These are Mullion GC in the south, Traigh GC in the west, Thurso GC in the north and his home club Gorleston which it the most easterly in the UK - the trip was completed in just under 6 days and covered a total of 2,450 miles.

Stuart Pearce and team playing Gorlestoin Golf Club

It got off to a pretty easy start as they played Gorleston on Sunday morning 21st May.

Gorleston GC was established in 1906 and the club are proud of their history and heritage. The course lies on top of cliffs with constant spectacular views over the North Sea. It is gently undulating and playable by all abilities. The coastal breezes and small greens provide a classic seaside challenge.

It extends to 6,341 yards playing to a par 71. Highlight holes include the short par fours of 1st and the 9th and the signature hole is the 7th ; a short par-3 that has been re-modelled with bunkers protecting the elevated green perched on top of the cliffs and it is the most easterly hole in the UK.

After completing their initial 18 holes, the team set-off on the 450-mile trek to Mullion in Cornwall.

Mullion Golf Club is situated on the cliffs of the Lizard Peninsula and is framed by sandy coves and protected reed beds. It is not only the most southerly course in England but one of the most beautiful courses in the West Country. The course was founded in 1895 as a 9-hole course but has been improved and lengthened and today the 18-hole course boasts fabulous views and measures 6053 yards with a par of 70.

Holes worthy of mention are the 6th to the 12th, which determine whether you will have a good round or not. The 11th tee is unique as it is situated on a cliff edge.

Mullion Golf Couse - The most Southerly course

After a 12-hour drive and an overnight stay the team enjoyed a great round with the help of their captain; Hjalm-ar Wara and then settling down for the night before embarking on the 750-mile drive to Traigh, the most westerly course in the UK.

Traigh Golf Course is seven miles south of Mallaig on the A830, the famous Road to the Isles. The word Traigh (pronounced 'try') means 'beach' in Gaeli, and a series of sandy beaches run alongside the course, with stunning views to the Hebridean islands of Muck, Eigg and Rum, and the Black and Red Cuillins of Skye.

The course is based on a line of grassy hills, with the springy turf of a true links course. It’s a nine-hole course with a par of just 68.

The coastal walk to the north passes seven other large beaches including Camusdarach, where the famous Burt Lancaster film “Local Hero” was shot on the beach.

The clubhouse is open 10am to 5pm from the beginning of April to the end of October but when the clubhouse is closed an honesty box for green fees just adds to the charm of the place.

The Golfing Compass Point Challenge (UK Mainland) - The 4 Point Compass Golf Challenge
Traigh Golf Club - Most westerly course on the 4 Point Compass Challenge

 

After a great round with the club’s vice-captain, the team were back on the road for the 200 mile drive to Thurso - the last and most northerly course on the schedule. After a hearty breakfast the final round was played with the club’s vice-captain. Thurso Golf Club was founded in 1893 and at 58.58 degrees north is the most northerly golf course on the mainland.

Although on the coast it is surprisingly a tree lined parkland course offering golfers of all abilities an excellent challenge. There are lush fairways, generous well-maintained greens as well as some beautiful whin bushes. The course also boasts magnificent views of the Orkney Islands and the surrounding countryside and hills.

During their visit the 4-Compass Team also travelled to every local lifeboat station where they met each local coxswain and had a tour of the Lizard, Mallaig, Thurso and of cause their local lifeboat station Gorleston and Great Yarmouth. The RNLI are close to Stuart’s heart and his charity choice for his tenure of his captaincy. The trip was successfully completed in 6 days and over 2,500 miles were travelled.

Thurso Golf Course - The most Northerly course in the UK

 

Gorleston GC Marketing Manager Steve Titterington commented:
"As with most golf clubs at present the squeeze on revenues is particularly taxing. Although we have a great membership which has been growing our demographic is elderly and we need to be as proactive as possible on raising our awareness. We engage with our member via a quarterly newsletter and have a very active social media platform which is so important in today environment as we move to a more internet based and mobile world."

However as the most easterly course they had something unique and wanted to capitalize on it. Therefore, the ‘4 Point Compass Golf Challenge’ evolved and we set about contacting the other three clubs on the other points of the compass. Each club had a similar landscape and demographic - they had a loyal membership but have to rely on additional green fees from visitor’s to balance the books. All were focusing on their unique location but hadn’t thought outside of their boundaries.

"As we talked to each club, we all agreed to form the 4 Point Compass Challenge and Stuart and his team made the trip to raise the awareness of all."

The challenge clearly is a mammoth undertaking if completed in one hit but the idea is to make this a defined event. As a consortium we are looking to produce specific ball markers as a memento for each club and have also commissioned a logo. A visitors certificate will be issued to all that complete the challenge to increase awareness and we hope that this becomes something of a ‘must do’ event for the competitive and energetic golfers amongst us.

All courses are situated in very picturesque parts of the UK and although they are unique by their location they are surrounded by many other individual courses and are great places to visit for the whole family and are ideal for golfing groups wanting something different.

As Stuart’s chosen charity was the RNLI it made perfect sense to tie in a visit to every local lifeboat station. During the tour the team met the local coxswain and had a tour of the Lizard, Mallaig, Thurso and of cause their local lifeboat station Gorleston and Great Yarmouth.

The trip was successfully completed in 6 days, and they travelled over 2,500 miles and have already raised over £1500 in one week to his Just Giving page.

For more information on how you can get involved and to book a course contact Steve at Gorleston Golf Club on 01493 222244 or email the office@gorlestongolfclub.co.uk titling it 4 Compass Golf Challenge. www.gorlestongolfclub.co.uk

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About Andy Newmarch

Being one of the original owners of the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses’ website enabled Andy to travel far and wide playing and rating courses, with the numbers somewhere around 1200 courses in 40 countries. Although now away from the day-to-day grind of course ranking, having a keen eye on course developments is still high on the agenda. Currently hanging on to a handicap index of 9.9 he is probably as competitive on the course than ever but more often than not will compliment this by relaxing at the 19th hole to make up for the hard work!

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