Newburgh on Ythan is a tale of two nines. A recurring theme of recent posts has been how an old 9 hole course was extended at some juncture to 18. I have tended to lament this phenomenon, as there are few places where it’s worked really well.
Unfortunately, Newburgh is another that suffers this fate. While typically the second nines were built many decades ago, Newburgh’s is far more recent - opening in 1994.
Today it plays as the front 9. There are some decent holes on it. The Second is certainly a challenging par 3, and the Fourth makes great use of an ancient stone wall holding pen for sheep. The Ninth is also perfectly charming - a par five cascading down the steep hill the front 9 is built on. It reminded me of a lot of post war parkland courses all over the country.
But it’s the original bad 9 I want to focus on here. It’s pure links, and it’s a different animal entirely. The gorse has gotten a little out of hand over recent years, but they are doing a great job in getting on top of it - opening up the playing corridors and views for everyone’s benefit.
The setting is serene. After a few splendid links holes traversing the rumpled terrain, we come to the mouth of the River Ythan. Fifteen is a lovely par 4 played from a tee set on the water’s edge, while the short par 3 Sixteenth was probably my favourite on the course. Only a wedge on a still day over the broken ground to a green set alongside the beach - I’m sure you can hit a lot more club when the wind is whipping.
Often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours, Newburgh is a nice change of pace worth considering on a trip to the area. The views from the front 9 are wonderful, and the golf on the back 9 is very good.