North Foreland Golf Club Main Course Review

North Foreland Golf Club's fine Main course works its way down to the chalk cliffs near Broadstairs a number of times

North Foreland Golf Club - 12th hole
The par-4 12th at North Foreland with its unusual reverse-tier green
(Image credit: Jason Livy)

North Foreland Golf Club Main Course Review

GF Round: £75; Day: £100wd; Twilight: £40-£50
Par 71, 6,412 yards
Slope 131
GM Verdict – A course with a different feel, mixing parkland and clifftop golf as it makes its way right down to the cliffs near Broadstairs twice on the front nine.
Favourite Hole – The long par-4 17th with its uphill approach, though mercifully the drive does play downhill. Steep run-offs and a front-right bunker make it a must-hit green.

North Foreland Golf Club - new bunkers

The club has done considerable work of late to improve the visuals and strategy of its bunkering

(Image credit: North Foreland Golf Club)

North Foreland, in the far north-east corner of Kent, boasts two courses, with the Northcliffe a fun par-3 18-holer where the longest hole is 126 yards. Don’t be fooled, though – it knows how to defend itself with small, tricky greens and rough to make you think. The Main course, which plays either side of a road and down to the chalky cliffs, is our main concern here, ranking among the best golf courses in Kent. It has, in the past, hosted Open Qualifying, and lies not too far from the area's three famous Open Championship links.

North Foreland Golf Club - 4th hole

Looking out over the 4th green towards France

(Image credit: North Foreland Golf Club)

It starts out with two short par 4s, although by way of defence the green on the 1st is an exceptionally small target while the 2nd doglegs left. But at just 274 yards the latter may certainly tempt you into going for it over the trees if the right-to-left shot comes naturally to you. You then work your way down to the cliffs, eventually reaching them on the linksy-feeling par-3 5th, which plays up to a ruined folly that once had a tall central tower, and is well-protected by two deep bunkers. This hole, and another par 3 down to the cliffs two holes later near the Captain Digby pub, stand out visually heading out. The 7th is a little longer with wonderful views of Kingsgate Castle and its commanding clifftop setting to your right.

North Foreland Golf Club - 5th hole

The 5th is one of two fine par 3s set close to the cliff edge

(Image credit: Jason Livy)

The back nine perhaps feels a little more open overall as it too plays down towards the sea before climbing back to the clubhouse twice. Look out for the testing green complex on the tough par-4 12th, where a big bunker set into a striking knoll protects the front-right side of a two-tiered green, with the tiers, unusually, sloping away from you. The 17th is the pick of the homeward run - a long par 4 that sweeps down and then up to a green with a steep slope at the front, a deep run-off to the right and a large grassy hollow to the left. Cover these 451 yards in regulation figures and you’ve done very well indeed.

North Foreland Golf Club - 7th hole

The par-3 7th with Kingsgate Castle away to the right

(Image credit: Jason Livy)

In fact, both nines finish strongly, the front nine via two very long par 4s and the back nine adding a near 200-yard par 3 by the car park to that testing 17th to ensure that the final run can be quite fraught with a decent score going! Some excellent bunkering work has improved the visuals and strategy of several holes at North Foreland in the very recent past.

Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf