CLOSE HOUSE | COURSES & TRAVEL
Just 15 minutes from the centre of Newcastle and just a short drive over the border into England lies one of the UK’s most exciting and most talked about golf developments - the magnificent Close House.
With Lee Westwood as its attached Tour professional and now confirmed as the host for the 2017 British Masters, quite simply, it’s got the lot: great golf, great facilities, great people and a great location.
You enter along a long, straight, narrow road, flanked by tall trees and inspired by Hawick-born owner Graham Wylie – founder of software company Sage – and his first visit to Augusta National. “I was driving down Magnolia Lane and I thought it was magnificent,” he said.
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I had the privilege of playing both courses during my visit to Close House. The Colt Course is the senior of the two and is a quite fantastic track.
Designed by Scott Macpherson, it tips its hat to the famed English golf course architect Harry Colt, the man behind the likes of Sunningdale, St Georges Hill, Wentworth and many distinguished others. The shapes of the bunkers, the rectangular tees and the variety of par-3s all take their inspiration from the English golfing legend.
To say the course holds your attention throughout would be an understatement. No two consecutive holes play in the same direction, so you continually have to recalculate wind direction and strength, whilst the changes in elevation make your yardage calculations all the more tricky.
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The Colt Course 14th hole.
The fairways are cleverly designed, too - some are wide, some are narrow - whilst the greens are fast and subtly contoured.
The 13th is a particular standout. You play from an elevated tee down to a massive fairway that slopes down towards what is quite a small, slightly raised green.
Bunkers lurk where the average player’s best hit will likely run out, so taking a line to the right or left of them will give you the best chance at getting tight to the pin.