Cleveland Golf Club Course Review

A true links of real quality with a great heritage and a unique setting by the old Redcar steelworks

Cleveland Golf Club
Shot of Cleveland Golf Club with Redcar steelworks behind
(Image credit: Cleveland Golf Club)

Cleveland Golf Club Course Review

GF From £24 to £50
Par 72, 6,704 yards
Slope 128
GM Verdict – A proper links course with an incredible industrial backdrop. An underrated test of golf.
Favourite Hole – 14th. A great par-4 sweeping from right to left to a small, raised green. 

Established in 1887, the course at Cleveland Golf Club is the oldest in Yorkshire. It’s a true links layout and the list of architects who have been involved in the design of the course is impressive. Old Tom Morris was an early contributor, then the great Harry S Colt added his influence. More recently, Donald Steel designed three new holes and, following a visit by Martin Ebert in March of 2021, the club has created a rolling, five-year plan of further course improvements. In 2007, Cleveland hosted the English Golf Union County Finals. They have also welcomed the Yorkshire County Team Championship and the Yorkshire Amateur Championship. The club hosts an amateur scratch competition called the Cleveland Salver.

The former Redcar steelworks still dominates the skyline as you make your way out onto the links at Cleveland. Its closure in 2015 was a disaster for the town of Redcar with the loss of 3,000 jobs. It goes little way to make up for that, but the golf course has benefited as it no longer suffers from the smoke and clouds of hot fumes that often blew across the track. Now the industrial backdrop is all that’s left.

The course itself is a great links test with a fine array of holes played over rumpled terrain and dune-lined fairways to greens always kept in good condition and often pretty firm and pacey. The front nine has some great holes played out towards the steelworks with three par-5s demanding strong and accurate hitting. On the back side, more variety awaits with the testing 14th a standout hole. Over 400 yards from the backs, it sweeps from right to left to a smallish, raised green protected by slopes and a bunker. The 18th “Majuba” is a memorable closing hole played back towards the town and clubhouse. Reachable in two, the fairway is generous off the tee, but things narrow towards a sunken green.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?