Feature Review: Close House Filly Course
Post by Golf Journalist Josh Carr
If you’re looking for a weekend away golfing in the North East of England then look no further than Close House. Situated just 10 miles outside the exciting city of Newcastle upon Tyne, Close House offers two excellent courses as well as luxurious accommodation.
To add to the exceptional golf course and luxurious accommodation, the resort also offers fine food in the state of the art clubhouse as well as some picturesque views across both golf courses. One thing is for certain, you will most definitely want to come back for more once your round or stay is over.
If all of the above wasn’t enough to get you interested then maybe the fact that Lee Westwood became the official Attached Tour Professional at Close House in 2011 will be enough to entice you to visit this incredible golfing resort? You’ve probably noticed the Close House logo on his cap when you see him on the television and more recently during his second place finish at the Masters. Don’t let that put you off, both courses suit both the professional and amateur golfer, with the Filly course arguably more enjoyable for the amateur golfer.
Driving down the driveway towards the clubhouse, you will notice what a well-kept resort this is and how much the staff pride themselves on making this an enjoyable day/weekend for you and your playing partners. If you’re playing the Colt course, you’ll get your first glimpse of a couple of the holes as well as the practice ground on the drive towards the clubhouse.
As you arrive at the clubhouse you will be greeted at the entrance where a member of staff will look after your clubs at the bag drop. The staff in the pro shop and bar are all friendly and will make you feel welcome. It seems a little thing, but in the locker room there are televisions playing Sky Sports News and it makes you realise how all the little details have been taken care of.
Outside the clubhouse you will notice a neat little water feature. There is a very small green elevated and situated in the middle of a small pond. If you get offered the chance, try and pitch a ball onto this green. I can assure you, it is much harder than it looks.
Accuracy off the tee is paramount for scoring around this reasonable tight parkland course. The fairways are tight and lined by either trees or long rough that can prove a struggle to get out of. The course is 6,000 yards in length off the medal tees and now has 18 USGA specification greens to add to the experience.
The first par 3 comes at the 9th hole and is arguable one of the best par 3’s on the course. The hole measures 163 yards off the back tees and you tee shot is played through trees both left and right. There are bunkers along the right hand side of the green and one at the back left waiting for any slightly wayward tee shot.
As you approach the green you notice the astounding 18th Century manor that watches over this green. You will find it hard not to appreciate its incredible design.
Hole 10 is also a par 3 and plays at 166 yards back to where you just came from. The hole is downhill making club selection a bit tricky as anything long will end up in the trees. There is a large bunker short of the green that you must avoid as it proves quite the testing bunker shot.
The penultimate par 3 comes at the 159 yard 12th hole. It is imperative that you avoid the large bunker that surrounds the front and right hand side of the green. The out of bounds to the left and the surrounding trees make this arguably the hardest of the par 3s.
The final par 3 comes at the 160 yard 17th hole. The hole is pretty straightforward as long as you manage to avoid the tree that overhangs the front right hand side of the green.
The course opens with a testing 388-yard par 4. If you haven’t warmed up thoroughly then this tee shot may be quite daunting as there is a large wooded area to your right, which is out of bounds, but if you bail out left you leave a longer approach to the small green.
Hole five is another stand out par 4 on the Filly course and stands at 382 yards. The drive is tree-lined and you must be accurate off the tee if you are to make a respectable score at this hole. For the big hitters, you must avoid the two bunkers that sit in the middle of the fairway. It doesn’t end there, you must avoid the stream and the small pond that sit on the left hand side of the green on your approach. The fifth hole is a brilliant golfing hole.
The eighth hole is a thoroughly enjoyable hole. The hole is 295 yards downhill and for the big hitters it is more than reachable but there is a twist. If you do decide to go for the green, you must avoid the large pond that covers the front of the green. You can either fly it high and get the ball to stop quickly or you can hit it low and funnel the ball onto the green from the right hand side. The only problem is, anything short and left will end up wet.
The 14th hole stands out for its sheer distance for a par 4. The hole plays 423-yards off the back tees and quite often plays into wind, which makes it even harder. Large trees and out of bounds run along the entire left side of the hole but there is a large bail out area all the way down the right hand side of the hole. Make sure you make the most of this hole if you manage to play it down wind or on a calm day.
The course ends with a 363-yard par 4 that heads back up towards the manor. Avoiding the two fairway bunkers off the tee is key as the approach is made a lot easier from the fairway. The approach is uphill over a small wall, which is why being in the fairway is key as you need to get as much spin on the ball as possible to stop on the green. This is a great finishing hole at a great golf course.
There are only two par 5’s on the Filly course but both offer a great test of your golfing ability. The first comes at the 13th and is 478 yards long. The key to this hole is to no hit the ball left as the hole is lined by trees and out of bounds down the left. The fairway is tight but there is an adjacent fairway on the right you can bail out on. However, don’t hit the ball too far right as you may be blocked out for your second or your approach.
The final par 5 comes two holes later at the 15th and stands at 525-yards. The drive is reasonably straightforward but the problems come with the approach/lay up. The fairway tightens the nearer you get to the green and the two clusters of trees on the right hand side are a cause for concern as they can completely block out an approach to the green. If you make birdie here you should walk off the green happy.
If you’re in the North East of England then you should definitely consider playing the Filly course at Close House. It is suitable for all standard of golfer and at a reasonable price. When you add this to the fact that the bustling city of Newcastle is just a short drive away, why wouldn’t you want to go and play the Filly course?
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