With 125 years and counting under its belt, Newcastle United Golf Club has a fascinating story on the borders of the city, and a golf course to match its great history as Dean Bailey discovers
Golfing history around Newcastle is long and storied and few clubs can track their history as far back, or as well, as Newcastle United Golf Club – nor can they claim to be closer to the heart of the city.
Now on Nuns Moor to the north west of the city, the club’s origins date back to 1891 and to a course laid out on the Town Moor by Tom Morris Snr.
In October 1891, the City of Newcastle Golf Club was formed and the course created. By June 4, 1892 Newcastle United Workmen’s Golf Club was established and shared the course with the City.
In 1898, a faction of around 130 members split from the club to form The Northumberland Golf Club at High Gosforth Park. Nine years later, a second group moved to the City of Newcastle Golf Club to Three Mile Bridge, where it remains today.
By 1973, with the construction of the central motorway, Newcastle United’s time on the Town Moor was up and a new course, measuring 6,600 yards with a par of 72 on Nuns Moor was constructed – where the club stands today.
The first sets the tone for your round – a 408-yard par four open to the wind which can sweep across the moor so it requires a solid tee shot to find the dip in the fairway and leave an approach to a small green protected by two front bunkers.
Though slightly shorter, the second is far tougher – generally playing into the wind and uphill. Avoid the bunker to the left of the fairway at 200 yards and you should have a good approach to a generous, pear-shaped green with no bunkers.
The 347-yard par four third can yield birdies should you find the dog-leg left fairway and play your short approach into the right portion of the green. Unlike its predecessors, the 154-yard par three fourth is well guarded by bunkers. Club selection is key with the green measuring almost 40 yards from front-left to back-right. Another short par four follows, as does a birdie chance should you find the correct portion of an undulating green guarded by steep mounds at the rear. Meanwhile the par five sixth is aptly named Hookers Horror with out of bounds left. At 546 yards, length and accuracy are required here to avoid five fairway bunkers and two greenside bunkers en-route to the small green.
The 159-yard par three seventh shouldn’t cause too many problems – though beware two bunkers set short of the slightly elevated green.
Around the turn you’ll find three of the longest holes on the course and will need three good tee shots. The 436-yard eighth is the toughest – avoid the two fairways bunkers at this uphill par four and you may still need a wood to reach the two-tiered green which features a bunker to the right. Two par fives follow – played into and with the prevailing wind. Out of bounds waits to the right of the ninth, while a drive to the right side at the 10th should leave a much shorter approach.
The respite of the short par four 11th is welcome – though be wary of the often uneven lies in this fairway, and its two fairway bunkers.
Watch a county event here and you may well see some take on the green at the sharp dog-leg left 12th… don’t. Play to the widest part of the fairway with a long iron to leave a short downhill approach to an hour-glass shaped green pinched in the middle by two bunkers and sloping from back to front.
The final par five, measuring just 497 yards and yielding many birdie chances – should you avoid the cavernous greenside bunker to the right of the green, follows before back-to-back par threes.
The 14th got our pick for signature hole (see fact file) while the 15th, at just 136 yards, can offer a birdie chance should you avoid its two bunkers and the mounding around the green.
Heading for home, the par four 16th and 17th holes each measure a shade under 400 yards. The 16th is one of the toughest driving holes on the course with the fairway pinched by rough at around 250 yards from the tee. At the semi-blind 17th, the fairway is more generous though the green is better protected with two bunkers and a large hollow just short of the green.
The strong par four 18th, at 417 yards, is a tough finish. Out of bounds hugs the left side of the fairway and a long approach must be threaded between three greenside bunkers to find a narrow putting surface.
Newcastle United Golf Club, 60 Ponteland Road, Cowgate, Newcastle, NE5 3JN
Tel 0191 286 9998
£10 per person (to March 31, 2018)
£17 per person (to Oct 31, 2018)
Buggy and trolley hire available
Society and group packages available, contact the golf shop for details
White tees – 6,638 yards
Yellow tees – 6,422 yards
Red tees – 5,867 yards
Large clubhouse with a choice of hot and cold food
During the summer months the greens can be exceptionally quick and difficult to read, beware anything which can run away downhill – it has a tendency to do so!
A picturesque par three on the boundary of the course, it can be tough to reach the elevated green at the 189-yard 14th – particularly into the wind. Be wary of the water hazard and bunker at the front left corner – both are in play when the wind blows. Par is a good score.