The First (Hole 1)
Sponsored by Presmac Ltd
The opening hole is a short tree-lined 292 yard par 4, played away from the club house and with the prevailing westerly wind; the longer hitters will be looking to get pretty close from the tee. There are two bunkers just short of the green and another front right to watch out for but a solid drive and an accurate pitch should result in a very good birdie opportunity.
Towneley (Hole 2)
Sponsored by D J McGough
Measuring 354 yards, the par 4 second is a tough proposition and with trees left and right, any wayward tee-shots can be severely punished. The drive is slightly downhill to a narrow fairway and the approach is played uphill to a green, bunkered at the front and sloping back to front and right to left. Take care not to overshoot the target or you will be faced with a tricky pitch and putt to save par.
Road Hole (Hole 3)
Sponsored by J R Forbes
Hole 3 is a 474 yard par 5 aptly named ‘Road Hole’ and with out of bounds all along the right, accuracy at this one will reward the careful golfer. The big hitters maybe tempted to get home in two but leak the ball over the fence and you could be facing an insurance claim from an unsuspecting motorist!! Two sensible shots avoiding a bunker on the left 40 yards from the green will leave a short approach into a small target, protected by two bunkers at the front.
Horse Gate (Hole 4)
Sponsored by Tyne Tees Ceramics
The fourth is a 159 yard par 3, played slightly uphill to a well defended green. And with out of bounds to the rear and tight right, you have to be careful from the tee – pick the right club and a good shot will be rewarded with a putt for birdie.
Heavy Gate (Hole 5)
Sponsored by Meldon Electricals
Hole 5 an easy par 5 and at 467 yards downhill, very reachable in two depending on the wind direction. Going for the green is a risk and reward shot, come up short and you will find a small very deep bunker at the front of the green and you have to take into account the out of bounds tight right and dense woodland at the back. Played as a three-shotter, this hole is another good birdie opportunity.
Chopwell Wood (Hole 6)
Sponsored by Curtain &Blinds
Played from an elevated tee, the 394 yard sixth is a really tough par 4. Don’t let your attention wander to the mass of flowering gorse in front of you, it might look pretty but find it and that’s another ball lost. A good straight drive is needed to carry to the fairway and then a long uphill approach to a green bunkered front right – a par at this hole is always a good score.
The Whins (Hole 7)
Sponsored by Greenlay Grass Machinery LTD
The seventh is a downhill par 5 and at 511 yards, the longest hole on the course. The out of bounds fence and Chopwell Woods are along the right, so favour the left side of the wide fairway to avoid all the trouble. A well placed second shot will leave a short pitch into a small green falling steeply away to the rear.
The Nook (Hole 8)
At 448 yards, the par 4 eighth is Garesfield’s signature hole and similar to the previous hole, the woods and out of bounds are on the right. Played downhill to another generous fairway, a good drive at this one should leave a mid iron to an undulating bunkerless green, sloping left to right. Miss this green on the left and you could find a small water hazard and the danger of turning a good par 4 into a bogey or worse.
Crooked Oak (Hole 9)
The ninth is a 357 yard par 4 and a dog-leg right. Named ‘Crooked Oak’, this hole is all about position from the tee to get a clear shot at the green. There are no bunkers to worry about and with the large oak trees bearing the impact scars of many approach shots, favour the left side of the fairway with the drive – this hole should maybe renamed ‘Blasted Oaks’!
Millers Wood (Hole 10)
Sponsored by The Weardale Railway
The tenth is a testing 180 yard par 3, played from an elevated tee over a ditch to an elevated green. There are two bunkers on the right and woods to the left waiting for any wayward tee-shots. The putting surface is small and should you end up above the hole, a slick downhill two putt is by no means a certainty.
Field House (Hole 11)
Stroke index 1 is next, a very strong 435 yard par 4 and with trees left and right only a long straight drive will leave any chance of getting home in regulation. The second shot is played to a two-tier green protected by a bunker front left and sloping right to left at the front. Don’t leak the approach shot to the right at this one, or your ball will find either a lateral water hazard or vanish into deep rough.
The Quarry (Hole 12)
The drive at the 352 yard par 4 twelfth hole is steeply uphill over the marker post to a fairway that flattens out around the 150 yard marker. Having found the short grass, the second shot is played over a ditch 10 yards short of the green and defended by a bunker front right.
Ruler Drift (Hole 13)
Another tough par 4 is next and at 441 yards, this hole can spell disaster. With the fairway sloping severely right to left towards thick gorse and trees, ideally a left to right tee-shot is required to counteract the slope. You are then left with a blind approach to a bunkerless green at the bottom of a steep slope. Miss this target left or run over the back and you will be find a steep down slope and the woods – making a par at this one will feel like a birdie.
Walkers Dene (Hole 14)
The 176 yard par 3 fourteenth is not only a visually stunning golf hole, it’s a real tester as well. Played from another elevated tee, it is all carry and having avoided the bunkers at the front, you really need to leave an uphill putt. If you end up above the hole, there is a real danger of three-putting.
The Valley (Hole 15)
Sponsored by Marston Free Trade
At 386 yards, the par 4 fifteenth is played uphill back towards the club house and can be a real brute if played into the prevailing wind. Favour the right side of the fairway from the tee and let the right to left slope gather the ball towards the centre. The blind approach is not easy, it is uphill to a small green with a bunker front right – consider taking an extra club or two to make sure you reach the putting surface.
Bone Hill (Hole 16)
Sponsored by Mortgage Bureau North East
The sixteenth is a 500 yard par 5 with a left to right sloping fairway, lined with trees, bushes and gorse. There is also a lateral water hazard on the right to be wary of. This hole is normally a genuine three-shotter requiring a well placed second to avoid ending up in a deep gully and leaving a difficult blind pitch to a two-tiered green.
Big Ridge (Hole 17)
Sponsored by D Westwood
The penultimate hole is a 327 yard par 4, played downhill from the tee and then uphill to the green. The drive has to be straight and needs to find the centre of a fairway to leave a shortish approach to a putting surface falling away back left and sloping right to left.
Home (Hole 18)
Sponsored by Springs Roofing
The final hole is another demanding par 3 measuring 205 yards. Played slightly uphill, the tee-shot can be intimidating, especially into the wind and you are having to use a driver. The large two-tiered green has a bunker front left and with out of bounds at the back, you will do well to finish with a par.