Grade 'A' Architecture - Close House

Lee Westwood Colt Course, 13th Hole / 462 Yards / Par-4, New Castle upon Tyne, England
Architect: Scott Macpherson (May 2011)
by M. James Ward

The 7,000 square foot green provides testing riddles for players to decipher


No one word best sums up the core of any great golf hole than the word options. Golf is a game played by a wide range of players with varying skill levels. Great holes provide sufficient elasticity that provides a suitable test and appropriate challenge.

Situated in the beautiful Northumberland countryside, Close House showcases an elegant connection to its home terrain. Elevation changes occur throughout the round on the 170-acre Lee Westwood Colt Course, but none drives home the grandeur and design merits better than the testing 13th hole.

The stout par-4 of 462 yards commences from an elevated tee and golfers have to weigh carefully the choices provided. The more aggressive line of play favours the left side of the landing area. A solitary centre-placed bunker splits the fairway into two distinct landing areas.

Players who can successfully place a tee shot down the left side are rewarded with an easier angle into the large putting surface.

Those opting right off the tee are provided a larger landing area but then face a daunting approach shot to a green well-defended on the right by a single pesky bunker and a steep drop-off into oblivion.

Players unsure in attempting such a demanding approach can opt to lay-up in front of the green but they must also pay heed to a single deep protruding bunker that awaits a hapless play.

The 7,000 square foot green also provides testing riddles for players to decipher with a range of devilish vexing twists and turns. Approach shots that fail to secure a spot on the putting surface can also run-off and leave a delicate play to get near to the flagstick position.

In past events a forward tee at 330 yards has been used on certain days with the 13th played as the 4th and become a drivable risk and reward hole.

Those leaving the 13th with a par on the scorecard will long remember that worthy accomplishment. Credit architect Scott Macpherson for blending into the mixture a wide range of choices for all skill levels to ponder and to execute accordingly.

Close House is no stranger to elite competitions, having hosted the British Masters and PGA Seniors respectively. The facility will also host its second International Series England event (August 17-20) as part of The International Series schedule.

The US $2 million tournament represents the fifth stop on The International Series in 2023.

The International Series England made its debut last summer, in the same region, and was a landmark event for the International Series and Asian Tour as it marked the first time the Tour had staged an event in the United Kingdom.

The International Series was launched last year through a historic investment by LIV Golf that created a premier level of events in developing the next generation of stars and offering pathways to top competition in the LIV Golf League. 

The ground-breaking initiative sits with the Asian Tour schedule and saw seven International Series events staged last season across seven countries in three continents.



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