Dean Bailey discovers a stunning course minutes from Newcastle
Golfers in Newcastle are well served by top golf courses – from classics laid out over ancient moorland to modern tracks with fantastic facilities.
At Gosforth Golf Club, less than five minutes from the heart of the city, you’ll find the best of both. From the warm welcome in the clubhouse and pro shop to the 18-hole layout, which is divided by the Ouseburn and has produced some of our region’s best players, Gosforth is a treat from the moment you arrive.
Equally well known as the Bridlepath, due to the path which splits the course in half through its centre, the clubhouse side is regarded by many as the tougher test. It opens with a simple enough par four of a little more than 300 yards before the first real test – the tee shot at the 435-yard second with out of bounds right. It doesn’t get much easier at the green where an out of bounds fence looms at the back edge and two deep bunkers protect the left side.
The stretch before crossing the bridlepath is one of the trickiest. Finding the right portion of the greens at the par three third and fifth holes is key as the greens are fast and tricky to read – the latter hidden from view down the hill. The 342-yard par four fourth features the Ouseburn for the first time – lay up short with a long iron before pitching to the two-tiered green here.
Crossing the bridlepath, the sixth is great risk and reward par four of 298 yards with a large bunker protecting the front of the green – though who can resist going for it?
The seventh is the toughest hole on the course and the first of Viking corner, named after the pub which used to sit on the boundary of the course, and where the wind swirls between the trees. This 451-yard par four is played steeply uphill to a large green and holding the putting surface is incredibly tough.
The wind is the toughest factor at the downhill par three eighth, though you should find the large putting surface.
The club has been working with the Sports Turf Research Institute in the last two seasons to improve the quality of the putting surfaces and having visited numerous times in that time, it’s clear the work is paying off. Expect to find some of the best putting surfaces in the region here throughout the season.
The ninth and 10th are both tough par fours, 397 yards and 416 yards respectively, with deep fairway bunkers and trees bordering both sides of the fairways. At the short par three 11th a short iron should present a good chance of birdie if you avoid the deep bunker at the front edge of the green.
The two par fives at Gosforth are played back-to-back with the 532-yard dogleg 13th the simpler of the two. At the 14th your drive must avoid the out of bounds tight right while also missing the ditch which crosses the fairway some 300 yards from the tee.
Crossing back across the bridlepath you enter one of the toughest final stretches in the area. The 15th plays back into the prevailing wind and at 412 yards, the second shot to a steeply two-tiered green must find the correct tier or risk an embarrassing series of putts to get back up or down the slope.
The 179-yard par three 16th is no pushover with two large bunkers short of the green, while the 17th at 260 yards presents a good birdie chance – though finding the steep slopes around the green or the three cavernous bunkers can scupper any last chances of a good score.
The 18th at Gosforth is one of the toughest finishing holes in the North East and gets our nod for signature hole. The 18th at Gosforth is played into the prevailing wind and deservedly ranked as one of the toughest finishing holes in the North East. This 434-yard par four is flanked by a hedge to the left and the Ouseburn at its widest point on the course to the right – a daunting prospect on a hole which requires driver should you wish to reach the green in regulation. Closing with a par four is a great finish.
With such a tough finish, it’s no surprise Gosforth has produced some of the counties finest players in its 111 years – from 1954 English Amateur Champion Alan Thirwell to seven-time Northumberland champion Jimmy Hayes and Jenny Lee Smith – winner of the first Women’s British Open.
OUR VERDICT Always presented in fantastic condition, Gosforth is a delight to play with a mix of challenging long holes and interesting short holes which make for a fun round of golf everytime you visit.
Green Fees Oct 2016 – Mar 2017
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun £16
With a member £12
Every Weds & Fri
£12 inc. coffee and bacon sandwich or a pint of draught beer
For full details see website
Total Distance White tees 6,084 yards
Yellow tees 5,806 yards
Red tees 5,585 yards
Features Clubhouse with bar, lounge, catering and changing rooms
PGA tuition with Grahame Garland
Practice area and practice net Putting green
Buggy and trolley hire
Ladies Get into Golf centre
Caddy’s Tip Gosforth isn’t the longest course but you can get yourself in a lot trouble by blazing away with the driver. Be sensible from the tee on the shorter holes and avoid the trees – there are lots of them out there!