Paul Corney takes a trip to south east Northumberland to find a well manicured course which is a pleasure to play
Blyth Golf Club has had no fewer than three homes since its formation in 1905. The first was a nine-hole course on the links to the south of the town where golf was played until the start of World War I. The Club then moved to a 12-hole inland course, adjacent to Plessey Road (known as the Old Course), where it remained until 1976. Then, a newly built 18-hole course situated at New Delaval was developed on land which in the past was home to a thriving mining community, leased from Blyth Valley Council.
In 1991, the club took over the responsibility of maintaining the course and in 2008 the membership became master of its own destiny when the course and clubhouse were purchased from the council. Today the course might not appear as difficult as some in the North East, but don’t be misled into believing that it can be a walkover. The fairways may be generous and the mostly large greens are very receptive, however, there are many well-sited bunkers and water hazards that can ruin a good medal round. The first hole is a strong par four measuring 393 yards and a slight dog-leg right. With trees left and right as well as out of bounds to the right – although you have to be really wayward to fall foul of that – the opening drive is far from easy. Watch out for the two bunkers at the corner of the dog-leg, they will come into play for the shorter hitters.
At 434 yards, the third hole is a very tough par four and is considered to be the toughest on the course. Again the fairway is tree-lined and there is out of bounds all the right side. From the tee, the fairway is generous and should favour the left side as there is some room before you reach the trees. There is a large bunker on the left 25 yards short of the green and another front right. The fifth is the longest hole on the course, a 539-yard par five with a dog-leg left. The tee shot is slightly uphill played to another generous tree-lined fairway. Two bunkers are located on the left at the start of the dog-leg and on approaching the green another trap is positioned on the left 30 yards short of the putting surface. Another two bunkers protect the green which falls away to the right and rear – a good drive, sensible second and an accurate pitch should leave you putting for a birdie.
An exquisite par three concludes the front nine – a shortish hole played slightly downhill back to the clubhouse. There is a pond front left of the green to worry about and a bunker on the right. Club selection is all important at this one so take into account the strength and direction of the wind. Another strong par four is the 11th and at 410 yards, this hole requires two very good shots to reach the green. There are bunkers 40 yards short of the green so play short of them if you feel you can’t carry them. Again, this hole is tree-lined and there is out of bounds along the left to take into account.
The next is a good par five with out of bounds on the left. The hole dog-legs left with a large bunker protecting the corner and a large pond to the right waiting to gather any wayward shots. This hole is a test of course management where good shots will be rewarded and bad shots severely punished. Following the signature 13th hole (see factfile) the 16th is a short par three and the easiest hole on the golf course. It may only be a wedge for some but the tee shot is played to a well guarded two-tier green – make sure to find the correct level otherwise you will be in three putt territory. And finally, the 18th is a 491-yard par five and a great finishing hole. This one dog-legs severely to the right but is a good birdie chance to finish the round. And then it’s off to the recently refurbished clubhouse where there is a great selection of food along with competitively priced drinks.
Weekday Adults £26, Juniors £8
Weekends Adults £29, Juniors £8
Other reduced rate packages are available
Buggies £15 a round
White tees – 6,485 yards par 72
Yellow tees – 6,248 yards par 72
Red tees – 5,486 yards par 73
18-hole parkland course
Practice and chipping areas
Small but well-stocked golf shop
PGA tuition available
Ample car parking
Excellent bar and dining facilities
Event location (weddings / parties etc)
For its defence, Blyth’s golf course depends on its well-placed bunkers and its sloping greens. Before visiting it might be wise to get a little bunker practice and perfect your putting stroke otherwise you could find yourself frittering away unnecessary shot
The par three 13th is the signature hole at Blyth. Played over water, there is very little room for error and if you come up short, you’ll be reaching into the bag for another ball. The green slopes back to front and is bunkered both left and right, so club selection is paramount – as is accuracy. A really testing short hole off the back tee