White tees 6,011 yards, par 70 Yellow tees 5,600 yards, par 70 Red tees 5,386 yards, par 72
- Welcoming clubhouse with fantastic food -Two practice grounds and a putting green -Buggy and trolley hire
Dean Bailey enjoys a game of two halves at Stocksfield Golf Club
The Tyne Valley is blessed with fantastic ground for golf, with both sides of the River Tyne featuring courses on the hillsides which make the most of the views down by the water and across the valley.
At Stocksfield Golf Club, you get to enjoy the mature English woodland setting on the newer front nine and the views across the valley on the older back nine. Divided in their layout and typography, the woodland front nine – was created in 1975 – climbs up and across the hillside before dramatically coming back down the hill in one swoop. The more open back nine meanwhile dates to 1949, when the club moved to New Ridley Road from its original nine-hole site.
The front nine is defined by its trees, which frame a demanding test of accuracy from the tee.
At the 354-yard opening hole, a 200-yard shot slightly left of centre and just beyond the gravel road is ideal. From here, a short shot over a valley is all that’s required to find a generous green with a single shallow bunker on its back edge.
The slightly longer par four second is a test of strategic golf. A tight left to right dogleg played between the trees, the longest can go over the trees with driver and shorten the hole – while bringing in a great deal of risk – while more cautious players aim for the corner of the dogleg and face a blind, steeply uphill approach to a small, heavily contoured green which is protected by a bunker front right.
The longest shot into a green which many will face on the front nine comes at the 180-yard par three third. The massive green is split into two sections by a short, steep rise two-thirds of the way up the putting surface. A single bunker guards the front left section.
The boldest may take driver at the 305-yard fourth, though you must shape the ball from left to right, make it round the trees, and carry the ditch which splits the fairway at 250 yards. For most, a long-iron to the corner leaves a wedge shot to a very well-defended green with a pair of front bunkers and a long third bunker guarding the left side. Back flags are more accessible than they appear.
At the fifth, beware the slope in the fairway, which gathers balls left towards a pond some 260 yards from the tee. Most will only have a short approach over the pond to a vast green split into right and left halves by a ridge in its centre. Flags on the left are tougher to attack as a single bunker guards this side.
Playing across the hillside, tee shots at the 307-yard sixth must favour the left side as the fairway slopes to the right. An unnervingly straight driving hole, the incredibly narrow green, made narrower by a bunker on the left and a pair of overhanging trees, is 34 paces from back to front. The back left section, lying beyond a short rise, is a particularly small target.
Having climbed up to the seventh tee, players face two of the most demanding shots on the course. With the landing area sloping steeply left, tee shots must be played right to hold the fairway and leave an unobstructed view of a tiny green perched on the far side of a steeply sloped valley. You must avoid coming up short here at all costs.
The fairway at the 388-yard eighth again slopes down the hill and tee shots must favour the left side. The approach is split by a ditch, which rarely comes into play, while the elevated green sits on a shelf with a steep drop on the right side. The signature par five ninth follows.
Having climbed to the top of it, making your way back down the hill couldn’t be more dramatic. The steeply downhill tee shot at the 487-yard par five ninth is simply awesome. Take note of the wind here as you’re above the trees for the first time and the fairway is another narrow target. Many will make it down to the flatter section, where the hole moves to the right, heading over a ditch some 80 yards from the green before wrapping around a huge oak tree on the front right corner of a long, narrow green. The putting surface runs away from players into its back right corner and features two deep bunkers as well as a long, steep run-off on its back edge.
The 10th, a second demanding par three, requires another long-iron shot to reach a back to front sloping green protected by a single bunker on the right side and a large tree to the left.
The first par four of more than 400 yards (from the white tees), the 11th requires two great shots to reach a tiny green which is just 23 paces from back to front and is set on a narrow shelf in the hillside.
While trees are a factor on the 360-yard 12th, there is plenty of room in the fairway at this left to right dogleg par four. A straight approach to the green is key with two front bunkers narrowing the entrance. The back half of the green is more generous.
At under 500 yards, the par five 13th may appear a pushover, but finding the fairway isn’t easy from the tee – the bunker and trees mark the left side. From here, the hole heads gradually uphill to a green set on top of the slope with a pair of front bunkers narrowing the entrance and hiding the true size of this green.
The 168-yard 14th is played steeply uphill and requires a lot more club than its yardage first suggests. Two bunkers are hidden from view, though the green is wide and the slope at the back can help funnel balls back onto the putting surface.
Playing from the highest point on the course, the 15th may be in reach for the longest hitters should they drive over the oak tree on the right. For most, a drive running down the hill will finish in the semi-rough well below the green and leave a tricky pitch to a green with short, steep run-offs on all sides.
Played uphill, your tee shot at the 355-yard 16th must favour the left side to stay well clear of the two fairway bunkers and trees. The shallow green has a pair of cavernous bunkers on the right, and a narrow strip of sand protecting the back left section.
The longest of the par fours, the 426-yard 17th is often shortened by the wind and players may reach the section of fairway between the two doglegs. From here, you have an unobstructed view of a devilishly tricky green. Beware the left bunker.
Bringing the round to a close is a short par three. Just 136 yards, the 18th has two front bunkers which are deep, while anything left will bounce away from the flag. The target is large for such a short shot – but finding it is essential.
A round of two halves, beginning with a spectacular routing through stunning woodland before opening up into parkland, Stocksfield is sure to test every aspect of your game.