I played Close house just 15 minutes from Newcastle in April of this year and was struck at how good the greens were for a county that was covered in snow fror vast amounts of the beginning of 2013. Heavy snow however was never going to stop this green team and the benefits are there for all to see. However the courses ( yes Close House has two 18's.) are not the only benefit of taking a trip with us to Close House. This venue has undergone a transformation over the last few years and is aiming to look at being the go to place for the North East as a golfing venue, it is not far from being close ( no pun intended) to that objective. The main house where the bar, restaurant and original bedrooms are situated is luxurious and welcoming. The food is fantastic, full of flavours, and the bar is well stocked. Anywhere that has Birra Morretti on draught is always going to rate highly with me. If like me you are lucky you will be given a room in the former stable quarter where all the rooms are named after Ryder Cup venues. I stayed in a deluxe room ( dont worry every room is deluxe !!) and after travelling all day did make use of the roll top bath. With Tv's that push out of the wall and disapeer when required and free wifi etc etc there is all you need to keep in touch with anybody should you require. I didnt bother with any of that as I was too busy either playing golf or watching sport in the 19th hole bar where thefood was equally as good as that served in the main restaurant.
So to the courses.
We played the main 18 hole course 'The Colt' and all we can say is how happy it made us !
The fairways were fair not huge, but fair. If you went off to either side the rough was manageable, not sure how it would play in summer mind ? The greens were fantastic for this time of year. Very responsive and true without any tricked up messing about. Pace plays it part but master that and you can score. My friend from Sweden hates hidden greens and says its not fair if you can't see the flag from any part of the fairway, he would be happy here as everything is there right in front of you. When you cross the road and play the second part of the front nine the course starts to test your metal. A big hit is required uphill and a true struck iron onto the green will then be required but that green is so inviting you just have to go for it. When you play the hole downhill opposite you ( 2 holes later) you wont be able to resist smashing it straight down the middle either, I didnt and was rewarded with a birdie ! The par 3 over the lake next messes with your mind over club selection, whatever you do dont go long and hit the trees, watch the ball drop onto the wall and then bounce back onto the green and run back to the flag 4 feet short. It may well raise an eyebrow from a playing partner ! After the par3 you then cross the road again and play the majority of the back nine and this holds some fabulous holes to play. One of my favourite holes on the back nine was the 16th a great drive demanded and a subtle iron then required to ensure you get your four.
Overall the course was in brillant condition and it has some beautiful positioned holes and it is a test. I don't think you can fail to be impressed with the standard of the course, the hotel and most importantly the service from the staff. I cant wait to go back and play it again.
Ian played Close House in April 2013.
See the LGC offers for this venue here : http://www.luxurygolfcollection.co.uk/close-house-hotel