Feature Review: Close House - Colt Course
Review By Golf Journalist Josh Carr
Close House is quickly becoming one of the best places to test your golf game in the North East of England. With two courses on offer, the Lee Westwood Colt Course is arguably the sterner test of golf but is well worth it if you’re looking for a challenge.
Long rough, undulating greens and stunning views are to name but a few of the outstanding features around the Colt Course. On top of this, Lee Westwood is the official Attached Tour Professional at this impeccable North East resort.
As you make your way down the driveway towards the clubhouse, you get your first glimpse of the Colt Course and the challenge that lies ahead. I’ve always found that at golf courses where you drive past a few of the holes before arriving at the clubhouse, you get a little more excited for the round ahead. Then again, it can also cause you to think too much into how you’re going to play that hole.
You will be met at the clubhouse by a member of staff who will look after your bag at the bag drop as you make your way into the pro shop to sign in. The locker room will make you realise that there has been no expenses spared at Close House. Everything is very stylish and the locker room even has Sky Sports playing on the big screens. All the staff are extremely helpful and if you have time, make sure you grab a bite to eat before your round.
Both courses at Close House require accuracy off the tee but with the Colt Course being the trickier of the two, it is even more important that you keep the ball in play. Off the blue tees the course measures at staggering 6,813 yards and despite offering a stern test of your golfing skills, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The first of the par 3’s comes at the 4th hole and it is arguably the toughest. The hole plays at 199 yards off the white tees and tends to play at least half a club longer due to the usual crosswind. Avoiding the deep bunkers that cover the right hand side of the green is key to making par on this hole.
The front 9 ends with a picturesque 185-yard par 3 and the key to making a respectable score on this hole is avoiding the water that runs up the left hand side of the hole. An easier hole when the pin is at the front of the green.
Just a few holes later, at the 12th, is another par 3. The hole plays 166-yards, slightly up-hill to a reasonably generous green on and it is important that you select enough club as there are three bunkers waiting to swallow up anything left short. A crosswind can also make this hole a bit of struggle but if you aim for the right hand side of the green the ball tends to funnel towards to the centre of the green.
The final par 3 comes at the 14th hole. The hole is the shortest par 3 at just 157-yards and you play to the smallest green on the course. The hole is tree-lined, which adds to the challenge and you must make sure you don’t leave it out to the right as the green falls away into some longer rough.
The course begins with a 375-yard par 4 and in order to get an unobstructed view of the putting surface, you must make sure you hit the left hand side of the fairway. However, the left side of the fairway can be difficult to hit as large trees line the left hand side of the fairway. The hole is a challenging opening hole that is for sure.
The 3rd hole stood out, as it is a great risk and reward hole for the big hitters if it plays downwind. If it is downwind, and you’re a bomber, then you have the choice of either trying to clear the two bunkers short of the green or hitting a long iron that would leave a wedge in. You must also make sure you take in the outstanding views from the green.
The 8th hole is a brilliant golfing hole with a slight American feel to it. The fairway splits in the middle so you have the option to drive either left or right and either side leaves a testing approach shot, especially if the wind is blowing. The approach is over a stream that kinks at right angles as well as three bunkers waiting to swallow up anything that falls off the green.
The tee shot at 15 starts behind a small lake and is arguably the hardest tee shot on the course. The tee shot is made easier for those who like to draw the ball but it is imperative that you find the fairway otherwise hitting the green with your approach shot becomes all the more trickier. If you make par on this hole, you should pick your ball out of the hole and run.
The 18th is possibly one of the better finishing holes in the North East of England. Off the tee you must avoid both the fairway bunker on the left and the wall that runs along the right hand side. The fun really begins at the approach. Club selection is key here as anything short and right will finish up in the lake and anything short and left could be blocked out by the small wall that surrounds the green.
There are three par 5’s on the Colt Course, the first of which comes at the 7th. The hole plays 466-yards slightly up-hill but is a great birdie chance if you can avoid the bunkers off the tee as it has a large green that is reachable with your approach if the wind is in the right direction.
The 10th hole plays at 471-yards and is completely up hill. Again, avoiding the bunker on the left is key off the tee, which leaves an approach shot into a raised green. There isn’t much trouble after the tee shot bar the strong contours and ridges on the second half of the hole.
Although measuring 504-yards, the 17th hole is a great birdie opportunity. The fairway is wide and slopes left to right and for the approach, as long as you avoid the large copse of Oak trees you ball should funnel down onto the green. This hole can however, become tricky when it plays into wind.
Despite its length, this course is enjoyable for all standards of golfer and if you enjoy a bit of a challenge it is definitely a course you should want to play if you happen to be in the North East of England. With Newcastle situated just 10 miles away, it is perfect for those who may be away on a stag do as they can take advantage of the exciting nightlife.
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