Alan Hedley heads to the banks of the Tyne to play Ryton Golf Club
Ryton Golf Club is a real highlight of golf in the Tyne Valley. While many will consider it short by modern standards at just over 6,000 yards from the back tees, this picturesque layout on the banks of the River Tyne is no pushover.
Tree-lined with occasionally tight fairways and plenty of out of bounds with the river and train line bordering the course, it’s the lightning fast greens which make Ryton an excellent test.
While there are five par fours of less than 400 yards, they are well balanced by five par fours of more than 400 yards. Plotting your scoring opportunities is a good idea here as a birdie or two can come in very handy later when two great shots are required to make a green in regulation.
One of those tough par fours comes as early as the second, which follows a drivable par four opener of 270 yards with out of bounds and the train line on the right side, and trees left.
While the first may be a birdie chance, the 447-yard second with its narrow entrance, water and long green is much more difficult.
A couple of short par fours follow, though the 311-yard third has a well bunkered green and there is a tricky mound to negotiate just in front. Meanwhile, the large cross bunker short of the green at the 313-yard fourth must be avoided.
The first of two par fives, the fifth hole measures just 475 yards and has a generous fairway, though there is out of bounds right and trees left plus a tricky three-tiered green which can challenge even best putters should you find the wrong tier.
Favour the left side at the 385-yard par four sixth to avoid the out of bounds – the narrow fairway slopes towards it – while a small green has many subtle borrows to navigate.
The seventh, the first of four par threes, is the easiest of the short holes at just 131 yards, but you’ll need a decent tee shot to find the correct portion of a two-tiered green guarded by trees and couple of tricky bunkers.
Two of the toughest long par fours follow. The 450-yard eighth is a very tricky left to right dogleg with out of bounds right and trees left. Par is a good score here. At the ninth, your tee shot must reach the corner to leave a mid-iron approach to a raised green.
From here we head into Ryton’s own Amen Corner – opening with a drivable risk or reward par four of 271 yards with out of bounds right and trees flanking the fairway. The green is elevated with a steep slope down to the river and it is well bunkered. An iron from the tee is recommended here.
A fine par three of 178 yards follows. Accuracy is paramount here with out of bounds on both sides and a green which slopes from left to right.
Another 450-yard par four with out of bounds and trees – arguably the toughtest tee shot of the round – completes the trio.
The 13th is a long par five measuring 531 yards which requires a tee shot avoiding the trees on the left before you negotiate the slight dogleg to leave a pitch through a narrow entrance to the two-tiered green.
The downhill par three 14th has a large well bunkered green and you’ll be satisfied with par here while the next is another long tree lined par four of more than 450 yards with out of bounds – beware of the dip before the green at this one.
There are scoring chances on the closing three holes, two of them short par fours of just over 300 yards, but you need to drive accurately over hedges and trees at the 16th. Hit a good tee shot here and you’ll be rewarded with a look at a large, rolling green which should yield plenty of birdies.
The 17th has a tricky blind shot over the hedge to a long, narrow green which is well protected by bunkers before you head to the signature 18th hole (see fact file), which is overlooked by Ryton’s splendid clubhouse.
Green fees Mon-Fri £12, weekday fourball £40 Sat-Sun £20, weekend four ball £70 A range of special offers are available on green fess and for group bookings – see the website for details.
Total distance White tees 6,058 yards Yellow tees 5,854 yards Red tees 5,440 yards
Features Large modern clubhouse with bar/lounge and dining room Locker rooms and changing facilities Pro shop Practice range with short game area
Caddy’s tip Hitting the fairway is key on this tight course – plot where you’ll take driver to unlock a good score. The greens are excellent and will reward anyone with a good putting stroke.
Signature hole Few clubs have a par three finish and few have one which is their signature hole, but this 147-yard closing hole is a real test. Played over trees to a large well bunkered green with out of bounds right, this is far from an easy finish!
OUR VERDICT An excellent parkland venue which proves length isn’t always necessary to provide a good test of golf. Accuracy is a must, especially off the tee.