Ongoing investment is creating a golf course to be proud of on Newcastle’s northern fringe, writes Paul Corney
Parklands, one of the most popular golf complexes in the North East, has been through a variety of names and guises in its lifetime.
The Gosforth Park, Newcastle, club was at various stages in its history known as Wideopen Golf Club, John Jacobs Golf Centre and Gosforth Golf Complex but has now settled well into Parklands, an 18-hole course, 45-bay driving range and short pitch and putt practice area with a mini- golf facility.
At times, its future has seemed uncertain, but the course has always remained a firm favourite with golfers. In recent years, serious investment has gone into improvements to the course and driving range, with new machinery, upgraded drainage and a watering system.
Since his appointment as general manager, Joe Fleetwood has secured the funding necessary to commence the much-needed drainage works.
As for the course itself, with out-of-bounds on the right, the 335-yard second hole requires an accurate drive over a large water hazard. Keep to the left of the fairway avoiding a well-placed bunker 70 yards from the green.
The fourth is 350 yards with out-of-bounds on the left. The ideal drive is to the right side of the fairway to avoid being blocked out by trees encroaching into the left side. The second shot may only be a shortish iron, however the large undulating green does slope away on both sides, so aim for the centre to ensure the next shot is a putt.
The sixth hole is just under 400 yards and a slight dogleg left. All the trouble is on the left so keep to the right side of the fairway. The entrance to the two-tier green is narrow and with bunkers protecting both sides, club selection is paramount.
The seventh is the first of the par fives and at 484 yards is well within range for the big hitters. Beware the large ditch approximately 300 yards from the tee and out-of-bounds all along the left side of the wide fairway. A good drive and an accurate second should be rewarded with a birdie or better.
At only 166 yards, the par-three eighth shouldn’t pose too many problems. The first nine holes finishes with another par five with trees and out-of-bounds on the left. Watch out for the three bunkers on the right at 50, 90 and 110 yards from the green – they certainly come into play on the second shot.
The 10th, measuring 461 yards, is a strong par four requiring two very good shots to get anywhere near the green. With four bunkers protecting the right and a well-defended green, a par here is a very good score.
The tee shot at the par-five 11th appears to be fairly tight but the fairway does open up. There are trees left and right 75 yards from the green requiring the approach shot to be played from the centre of the fairway.
The 12th is a 155-yard par three played to a narrow green with bunkers on both sides and at the rear. Don’t miss on the left or you will have trouble finding your ball in the deep rough.
Hole 13 is a dog-leg to the right. A good tee shot over the small trees on the right should leave a short approach to a receptive green that slopes towards the front.
With a water hazard on the right and three very deep bunkers protecting the raised green, the 14th is a gem of a par three. Only 138 yards in length, this hole’s stroke index is two, so beware.
The 18th, at just under 200 yards, is a tough finishing hole. With out-of-bounds on the left and trees to the right, the small, well-bunkered target will test the best of iron players.