Hunstanton links is a classic 'out and back' design, on either side of a central spine or dune ridge. The 12th, 13th and 14th holes play across this ridge. The course has been altered many times. 40 bunkers were added in 1907, on the advice of James Braid (one of the Great Triumvirate). The course was extended in 1923, under the direction of the new Professional, James Sherlock, from 5,700 to 6,300 yards with new 9th, 10th and 11th hole. Its present length from the back tees is 6,760 yards (6,910 from the championship tees).
Further changes occurred in 1950 during the secretaryship of E.W.St.G. Spencer, 'The Monster'! with the construction of plateau greens at the 6th, 7th and 8th holes, and controversial but, in retrospect, brilliant changes to the two finishing holes. Before 1950, the 18th green was the site of the first tee (making it the most formidable opening hole in British golf), and the 18th hole was played down the present practice ground to the putting green. The old 17th was a fierce par 5, with a blind second shot over the ridge to a green behind the present 1st green. The present 17th sticks to the seaward side of the ridge with a narrow green tucked shelf–like into the ridge. The new 18th, also on the seaward side, is equally difficult! In 1971 and 2002-4, new bunkering was introduced on 8 of the holes, making Hunstanton, from the back tees and with the usual breezes, a tough but exhilarating test of golfing skill.
Over the past five years the course has undergone extensive redevelopment, under the guidance of Martin Hawtree, including new bunkering of all four par 5s and reshaping of the 8th and 10th holes. This current phase of development was completed this winter with the redesign of the 1st and 18th holes.