The Biggest Hitter in Town! – Close House Golf Club
Guest post by Chris Graham
Last Wednesday, big hitters descended upon Close House for a long driving contest, showcasing the facilities of the venue to great success, with more events planned. Chris Graham has reported on a memorable evening in the North East of England.
The biggest hitters in the North East rolled into Close House Golf Club, Newcastle upon Tyne on Wednesday 20th February to battle it out for a prize pot of £2000 and some serious bragging rights. Close House enjoyed record breaking attendances and much praise from fans and players alike whilst hosting the 2017 British Masters, where Irishman Paul Dunne won his maiden European Tour title ahead of runner up Rory McIlroy. Close House Golf has a PGA Golf Academy and Driving Range which features; Toptracer, GASP system, Flightscope, and SAM PuttLab software, and boasts an impressive 45 holes; The Championship Lee Westwood Colt Course, The Lee Westwood Filly Course, and The 9-hole Yearling Course. Situated only within 20 minutes’ drive to Newcastle and with luxury accommodation and fine dining also available, Close House is swiftly becoming one of the most popular golf destinations in the UK.
Close House’s Toptracer technology meant that although many of the drives were hammered out of sight, those in attendance could see exactly how far each drive was being hit as well as; the ball speed, launch, apex, and carry distance. During some practice there were some monster drives of over 360 yards being hammered out into the distance despite the low temperatures on this cold winter evening. Even on a cold night there was a good amount of folk in attendance enjoying the spectacle, and apart from the odd cry of ‘Light the Candle’ , ‘You’re the Man’, and ‘Mash Potato’ the bustling semi-sober crowds were impeccably behaved.
Qualifying consisted of 40 players vying for a spot in the 16 player knock outs, the players were separated across four Top Tracer bays and given three balls at a time over a period of 1 hour to set their longest drives which had to land within the 50 yard wide grid. After a two man playoff for 16th spot was completed the line-up was confirmed and the knockouts began. Unlike the professional long drive competitions where competitors are allowed six attempts to post their best score, there would be only three attempts meaning there was a real possibility of an upset if one of the big lads couldn’t keep the ball on the grid. This is precisely what happened in the first match as the number one seed was sent packing without registering a score on the board.
As the rounds progressed it was looking likely that the two eventual finalists, Simon Mullholland and Douglas Dinwiddie (brother of European Tour player Robert Dinwiddie) would have a great chance as both men were regularly banging out drives of over 350 yards, and a much anticipated finale did in fact arrive when Dinwiddie dispatched Close House professional James Howard in one of the semi-finals with a drive of 351 yards. The crowds gathered excitedly for the battle of the two big men (both 6 foot 5 at least) and expected to see some monster hitting to bring the show to an enthralling climax. Sadly the final didn’t live up to expectations as Douglas Dinwiddie appeared to crack under the enormity of the pressure packed final and was unable to find the grid with any of his three attempts. Simon Mullholland stepped up with his second attempt and hit a necky low drive 314 yards down the middle of the grid to seal victory and take home the spoils.
Close House Golf Sales Co-ordinator & Assistant PGA Professional a big hitter and beaten semi-finalist himself commented: “This is the first time we have put on an event like this and we were extremely pleased with the turn out, congratulations to our winner Simon Mulholland, and thanks to everyone that attended. We are arranging another seven events as a direct result of this success and the top two from each event will go through to a Grand Final, details of which are to be confirmed”. James Howard can be contacted on 01661 856004 / [email protected]
About the Author
Chris Graham began golfing aged just five, is a golf enthusiast, and has worked for the European Sales Team at Golfbreaks since 2011. He plays off a handicap of two and lives near his home club of Whitley Bay in Tyne and Wear with his wife and two young children.
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