Alan Hedley visits a popular club on Tyneside gearing up for a prestigious trophy as years of great work pay off
Heworth Golf Club has poured admirable energy over the last two decades into improving the course – and been handsomely rewarded.
Members and officials are justly proud of their 6,498 course and clubhouse which will host the 2020 McGregor Trophy – the England Boys Under 16 Open Amateur Strokeplay Championship.
It’s an honour not given lightly and it’s fully deserved. Heworth will be pristine and will provide a real test as it invariably does.
Tree-lined holes with fast-paced greens, deceptive bunkers, out of bounds, Heworth may be fairly flat but don’t be fooled this is a real test of your golf.
The layout opens with a couple of shortish par fours, both with out of bounds right which runs tight around the green at the first, with trees and fairway bunkers making for a tough tee shot.
A well-guarded sloping green awaits while the second also has a fairway water hazard as well as out of bounds and a tricky, undulating green. Two pars will be more than satisfactory.
The third, a par three, can be very difficult if you don’t pay attention to the wind. It has a well-guarded, sloping and shelved green with four bunkers and a run-off area. Again, par is good.
Trees line the next and with out of bounds, severe rough and two fairway bunkers, it needs a good tee shot to get at a generous green which has a ditch running across the front edge.
More trees line the 400-yard-plus fifth hole with out of bounds right, and it’s a tight driving hole with a sloping left to right fairway and two hedgerows 150 yards from another sloping green.
The par three sixth plays slightly uphill and is well guarded by bunkers while another testing tee shot follows at the tightest tree-lined hole on the course which boasts deep rough and a ditch running across the front of the green.
Accuracy again is needed at the eighth which has a fairway bunker on the corner of the dog-leg and also at the par five ninth, our choice as signature hole, which has out of bounds, a fairway bunker to menace your second shot and a big green protected by mounding (see fact file).
A long tree-lined par four 10th of 442 yards is not easy to reach in two, while 11 is a 562-yard par five with out of bounds and trees all the way meaning you have to be accurate off the tee to get at a big, sloping green well protected by bunkers.
The 12th is a real toughie at 471 yards, tree-lined with four fairway bunkers and a tricky green – make a par at this one and you’ve done well.
A long par five follows but it’s a birdie chance if you stay out of the trees and deep rough, and read a subtle green correctly while there’s also an opportunity at the short par four 14th.
Get the club selection right at the short 15th or you’ll have a tricky two putt from above the hole and another short par four follows with an equally tricky green with two big swales which run across the green.
The final two holes are terrific. The 17th is a strong par four with trees right and left, but the fairway is generous. The narrow three-tiered green is no guaranteed two-putt.
Then it’s one of the toughest closing holes in the North – a par three of 230 yards surrounded by out of bounds and a green which boasts four bunkers.
Good luck with that!
Heworth Golf Club, Gingling Gate, Heworth, Gateshead NE10 8XY
tel 0191 469 9832
Facebook The Heworth Golf Club
All week £20 (£15 with a member). Winter rate from November 1:
£10 a round all week
Packages available for groups of 12 or more. Buggies available
White tees – 6,498 yards
Yellow tees – 6,203 yards
Red tees – 5,643 yards
18 holes of parkland golf
Two practice areas
Well stocked professional shop
Superb clubhouse with well appointed bar, lounge and dining areas
Locker and changing rooms
Ample car parking
Accuracy from the tee is paramount – it’s not always a driver
There are arguments for the 12th and 17th but most will pick the par five ninth. A sharp dog-leg to the right, it’s not particularly long at 502 yards from the medal tee, but it is very much a risk and reward for those brave enough to cut the corner