Dean Bailey visits one of our region’s busiest golf complexes and finds a golf course in its prime
Change has always been part of the Parklands story. The club and course in Gosforth Park, Newcastle has been Wideopen Golf Club, John Jacobs Golf Centre and Gosforth Golf Complex in its history – though it has found its place as Parklands in recent years and matured into a fantastic layout.
In the last couple of years the golf course has been improved immeasurably and now leads the offer here – which includes a driving range, mini golf course, practice facilities and a pro shop home to four teaching professionals.
Laid out within Gosforth Park, the course is easy walking while the bordering woods, well-placed trees and penal bunkering protect generous and beautifully presented greens.
Out of bounds features on several holes on the front nine, including left of the 309-yard first hole which requires a long iron or wood to the widest part of the fairway, avoiding two bunkers 60 yards short of the green to leave a wedge shot over the deep front bunker and another trap to the right.
The tee shot at the second is one of the toughest on the front nine, requiring a carry of 230 yards over water with out of bounds bordering the right side of the fairway. From there you’ll have a short iron or wedge to a long green with two bunkers.
The short par four third may be in reach for some at 301 yards though you must avoid out of bounds left and bunkers and trees to the right.
The fourth is 354 yards with out-of-bounds left and the landing area is tough to find with more trees looming on the right side. The key here is finding the fairway short of the ditch at 280 yards to leave a mid iron or wedge over two bunkers at the front edge of a green which is wide and features several tricky undulations.
The fifth and sixth holes require long, accurate tee shots. Both more than 370 yards – there is room to get the driver out at both holes. At the fifth, two big bunkers guard the left side of the green while another waits to the right. At six, the approach is one of the toughest on the course between banks of trees to a raised green with two bunkers cut well below the small putting surface.
The first par five and a great birdie opportunity, the 483-yard seventh is protected by out of bounds left while two large fairway bunkers on the right will catch anyone playing too far away from the trouble. The landing area for the second shot is generous though there are three small fairway bunkers right which narrow the approach to a very generous green with a large bunker on its left side.
The eighth is a tricky little par three of 166 yards with three bunkers surrounding the green – beware the bunker over the back which is likely to leave a tricky up and down. The par five ninth is another good birdie opportunity. A long drive will be rewarded with a chance to reach in two while anything left here is in deep trouble. At the 10th, the toughest hole on the back nine, some will struggle to reach the 460-yard par four in regulation. Three fairway bunkers guard the right side and the large green with two deep greenside bunkers can be tough to find.
The 509-yard 11th is the last and toughest of the par fives. Big hitters should be wary of the water hazard crossing the fairway at 290 yards while the fairway gets narrower as you approach one of the most challenging greens on the course with two bunkers cut below the front edge of the lower of the two-tier green.
The 156-yard par three 12th requires accuracy as the green runs away from each edge while the par four 13th is a tricky hole to master. A fairway bunker on the corner of the dogleg right at 210 yards must be avoided as the approach to the green is guarded by a water hazard.
The 14th got our pick for signature hole (see fact file). Heading for home, three par fours will test your accuracy. The 15th is the easiest hole on the course and should yield a birdie opportunity should you find the fairway left of the fairway bunker 80 yards from the green.
At 16, play short of the water hazard 180 yards from the tee or take on the carry of 220 yards. Three bunkers protect the front of the large green but finding it shouldn’t be tough from the fairway.
The 346-yard 17th is one of those holes you don’t like to see when you have a good card going. Out of bounds left, and three fairway bunkers and trees right, make finding the fairway tricky. The green is tough to read with a number of undulations – particularly when putting from back to front.
Green fees From £13 – a number of special offers are available for groups
Total distance White tees 6,060 yards Yellow tees 5,816 yards Red tees 5,595 yards
Features Large clubhouse open to the public Driving range Short game practice course Putting green Mini golf Pro shop Buggy and trolley hire
Caddy’s tip A sharp wedge player will make birdies here
Signature hole The 160-yard par three 14th is the perfect mix of picturesque and tough. The raised green sits at the top of it’s own hill with deep bunkers cut into the slope – anything finishing in these bunkers will leave a very tough up and down. Anything missing the green will bound away and leave an uphill pitch to the tabletop green – club selection and a solid strike are key
OUR VERDICT A fun course which has improved a great deal in the last couple of years, you must play it if you haven’t visited in a while