Well worth a visit

We pay a visit to a handful of our favourite courses across the region and take a look at some recent developments which make each of them well worth a visit, or revisit, this summer

Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course
The refinement of the golf course at Dunstanburgh Castle has been an ongoing project for more than a decade and the course has earned a reputation for superb conditioning and presentation recently. Host of multiple events in 2021 – including the Faldo Series, Northumberland county events and the NE/NW PGA Championship – Stuart Imeson and his team continue to present the course at tournament level.
Following extensive work on greens and tee boxes, a major programme of bunker work saw every bunker rebuilt from 2014-2019 – some reinstated as they were constructed while others have been moved, repositioned, expanded and created. Work has also been done to refine the golf course – particularly the fairways and approaches to greens by creating new mowing lines to increase definition and installing irrigation in areas which suffered in the height of summer. A number of new championship tees have ensured Dunstanburgh keeps pace with modern equipment, while the teams never stands still in progressing the architectural quality, golfing challenge and conditioning of the golf course.
Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course, Embleton, NE66 3XQ, tel 01665 576 562, www.dunstanburgh.com

Blyth Golf Club
Following the successful completion of a new fourth hole in 2020, Blyth Golf Club has continued to progress with further investment being made on the course and the club’s facilities.
The completion of the fourth hole, which has proved a hit with members and visitors, was soon followed by the introduction of a new short-game practice area. A three-tier green, complete with a bunker and run-off areas, is an ideal place to work on your game.
Meanwhile, the course is benefitting from an extensive development plan, which has resulted in performance improvements to greens, tee boxes and bunkers. New drainage channels and pathways have also been installed.
Behind the scenes, a new 200m² greenkeeping unit is ready to welcome a new fleet of mowers this summer.
Looking further ahead, general manager Steven Moffett said: “It’s been a very busy couple years, but for all the right reasons. The club remains firmly committed to investing in the course, with the aim of delivering the best possible product for our members and guests. Course conditions are fantastic and improve year-on-year, which is testament to our amazing team.
“This year looks to be a big one – we have a strong membership and recently introduced a waiting list; we have a junior academy in place; and we’re working towards becoming a signatory of the Women in Golf Charter. In May, we’ll also be hosting the Northumberland Ladies County Championship.
“Later this year, we will begin work on the clubhouse, which will include an extension to create a new spike bar and a full refurbishment of the function suite which overlooks the golf course.
“If you’ve not played Blyth recently, it’s certainly a great time to pay us a visit.”
Blyth Golf Club, Plessey Road Blyth, NE24 4DB, tel 01670 540 110, www.blythgolf.co.uk

Seaton Carew Golf Club
The ongoing restoration of the golf course at Seaton Carew, under the guidance of course manager Tom Coulson, has brought an already highly respected golf course to the next level in recent years. Multiple bunker renovations have been carried out across the golf course, which has been remodelled by Dr Alister MacKenzie and Frank Pennink in its history.
In the past six months, some 3.1 hectares of sea buckthorn has been removed, returning the course to one bordered by sand dunes rather dense shrubs – as envisioned by MacKenzie. Tom and his team have also created five new fairway bunkers on the seventh and eighth holes, tweaked the greenside bunkers on the seventh, and reinstated bunkers at the back of the seventh and eighth greens to enhance the challenge to specific pin positions. A large bunker finished with a combination of sleepers, dune rough and revetting has also been created between the seventh and ninth greens, while another bunker has also been reinstated on the ninth green.
The team has also progressed the agronomy practices across the course as the club prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2024 and host the English Amateur championships. An evolving test, a visit to the Teesside coast should be on your to-play list this summer.
Seaton Carew Golf Club, Tees Road, Seaton Carew, TS25 1DE, tel 01429 266 249, www.seatoncarewgolfclub.co.uk

Morpeth Golf Club
The golf course at Morpeth Golf Club was designed by six-time Open champion Harry Vardon and remains a unique parkland challenge, enhanced further following recent investment.
Course manager John Scurfield has continued to develop the course in recent years, with improvements in playing conditions being supported by a £250,000 investment in machinery. The greenkeeping team has also grown to five, while a number of new tees and bunker projects have enhanced this fun and challenging layout.
Major investment has also been made in the clubhouse in recent years, with the upstairs dining room now welcoming some 100 diners for Sunday lunch weekly, while new head chef Daniel Suggate, who arrived from Barluga, has won high praise since his arrival.
Investment has also been made in the locker rooms, swing room and snooker room, while a new outside space is the perfect place to relax after your round.
Morpeth Golf Club, Morpeth, NE61 2BT, tel 01670 504 942, www.morpethgolf.co.uk

Walk this way with PMP Europe
The return of the BTME show to the Harrogate International Centre in March also saw the launch of a new scheme aiming to help clubs upgrade their pathway networks.
Yorkshire-based PMP Europe unveiled its Golf Club Partnership Scheme at the event – an initiative that will give course managers and greenkeepers direct access to the innovative Flexipave porous surfacing product.
PMP Europe is the UK’s principal supplier and installer of the unique Flexipave surfacing, dealing with commercial installations for more than 10 years. Following work to resurface paths at Whitely Bay Golf Club earlier this year, the company identified that many clubs have the skill and capacity to install the surfacing themselves. By training greenkeeping teams on how to prepare, mix and install the material, the scheme will allow clubs to simply purchase materials and complete their own work.
The scheme is intended to reduce the capital cost of installing new paths by eliminating the labour costs associated with using a contractor. It also allows clubs to keep a stock of materials, giving them the option of installing small sections as required.
The Flexipave surface is made from a 50/50 mix of recycled tyres and natural stone aggregate, which results in a porous surface. The system helps to keep paths free from standing water, with the rubber element offering excellent grip underfoot. With minimal machinery required and most of the installation done by hand, clubs can also expect minimal disruption to play during installation.
For more information visit www.pmpeurope.co.uk/golf