Played by NCG: Hexham Golf Club
Where is Hexham Golf Club?
Hexham, founded in 1892, is in the beautiful county of Northumberland. The course is just off the A69 and is mere 23 miles from Newcastle and 37 miles from Carlisle. If you love your history then the charming town is the perfect base for exploring nearby Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman World Heritage Site.
Reason for going
Hexham is my hometown and the town’s golf course is where I learnt to play the game. This particular occasion I was taking on my Old Man in a friendly game.
What to expect
A challenging but also rewarding inland course with stunning views of the Tyne Valley. There are plenty of surprises in store for unsuspecting visitors – tricky doglegs, well-placed bunkers and deceptive greens. There are no water features in sight but the clever little details throughout the course more than make up for it.
My best bit
The par-3 10th is a real gem. You make a short climb from the 9th green to the 10th tee and the daunting task ahead of you immediately hits home. You a presented with almost a mini valley, with a sheer drop below the tee down to rough grass before a hill rises up to the raised green. The pin is 178 yards away from the yellow tees and a huge oak tree guards the right-hand side of the green. However, if you miss the green left then you face a tough chip shot from long rough to the raised green.
Watching your ball thud close to the pin is pure bliss.
What to look out for
The 1st and 18th holes are a match made in heaven. The two holes crisscross one another (people on the 18th have right of way) and there is an element of risk and reward for both. The 1st hole is a par 5 and the green is reachable in two if you have a long enough drive. However, there is an out-of-bounds running perilously close to the fairway along the left-hand side and careless tee shots have ruined many opening scores.
The 18th is a par 4 and the task ahead of you looks very intimidating when standing high up on the tee box. Again out-of-bounds runs all the way down the left and tall trees are ready to punish you if the ball goes too far right. Caution must also be taken on your approach to the pin as a deep bunker protects the front of the green to the right.
The majestic Spital Mansion (renovated in 1954 to become the clubhouse) emerging from behind the trees as you make your way down the 18th is a sight to behold.
When I go back
I will take more care with my club selection on the tricky par-4 3rd. I underestimated how far it was to the raised and almost hidden green and my ball fell short and rolled agonisingly back down the slope. The green is lightning fast and sloped, meaning most people are happy to walk away with a bogey.
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