Golf in the wild at Allendale

Travel west from Hexham and an enjoyable day awaits at a super nine-hole course as Paul Corney discovers

Set high in the Allen Valley, Allendale’s golf course is a truly spectacular location to play the game.

The clubhouse sits at 1,077 feet above sea level on the west-facing side of Green Hill, which peaks at 1,374 feet.

Although Allendale Golf Club celebrated its centenary in 2006, the course has only been sited at High Studdon since 1992 and is short by modern standards but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.

In the club’s centenary year, three local professionals were invited to challenge the course and break par, something which had never been achieved before. Two out of the three hit their tee shots from the first out of bounds into the adjacent field, and all failed to break par.

Despite this, they soon appreciated the pleasures of this course on the side of a hill, prompting the winner on the day, PGA European Seniors player John Harrison to state: “It can be a bit of a shock getting the ball in the hole. Being short, the course has to protect itself and it does that very well. The course is a great antidote to every 7,000-yard course being designed for slam-bang hitters and with the scenery, it’s a perfect place to come and play golf.”

The treasurer at Allendale Golf Club is author Robin Down. He commented: “If you are lucky, there will be a soft breeze and the turbine will spin gently against a deep blue sky. Sheep will be grazing on the fells; the lonesome call of the curlew will fill the silent air and a hare will be seen scurrying down the first. From the clubhouse, the high moors will be lit by a clean bright light, framed by the clubhouse windows and your heart will lift – this is surely golf heaven – Allendale is the perfect introduction to golf in the wild.”


Allendale Golf Club
High Studdon, Allendale
Northumberland, NE47 9DH
Tel 07005 808 246

Adults – £15 a day
Juniors – £5 a day
Groups by arrangement

White tees – 4,681 yards Par 67
Yellow tees – 4,501 yards Par 66
Red tees – 4,369 yards Par 68

Nine-hole moorland course with 16 tees
Practice net
Putting green
Bar and catering – available on Sundays and all open days (by arrangement for other days)
Changing rooms
Coffee machine
Ample car parking

Consider leaving the driver in the bag here – accuracy is key here

One of the most challenging short holes in the region, the 17th measures 147 yards and the green is partially hidden behind a deep, tree-lined ravine. A carry of some 125 yards will just clear the top of the trees – a fantastic par three – if you find the green!

Aptly named Long Reach, the first hole measures 417 yards and is the longest par four on the course. Beware of the out of bounds on the left so aim for the right side of the fairway. Don’t be long with your approach to the green, the rough at the back of the green is punishing. When played as the 10th, it maybe a few yards shorter but it is just as tough into the prevailing wind.

Only 118 yards, the second has a shallow green and all the danger at the back. The best place to be here if you miss the green is short. Again the hole is shorter the second time around, but the premium remains accuracy rather than power.

The third at Allendale is a downhill par three, and at 187 yards, it’s a hole fraught with danger. There is out of bounds on the left, trees to the right and if you go over the back be prepared to take a lesson in mountaineering – should you be lucky enough to find your ball. Played as the 12th, the hole is much shorter and easier but the dangers are still there.

The next two holes are both shortish par fours and good birdie chances should you be able to read the severe slopes on the greens.

The sixth is a par five with a frightening tee shot between a line of trees, finding the centre of the fairway here is a must. On the back nine, this hole is played as a par four and is considered as the hardest hole on the course.

Another straightforward par four follows, before the eighth, which is played as a simple par four on the outward half and is the signature hole as the 17th.

Finally the ninth and 18th, 149 yards and 222 yards respectively, where many players fall short of the green because of the uphill tee shot.