Golf investment drives Newcastle Close House into top 100 UK courses

Close House is the only North East golf course to make it into the prestigious list of top 100 UK golf courses

Graham Wylie, owner of Close House, with the course's Attached Tour Professional, Lee Westwood
Graham Wylie, owner of Close House, with the course's Attached Tour Professional, Lee Westwood

An investment drive has paid off for a Northumberland golf business after it appeared for the first time in the prestigious top 100 UK courses.

Close House owner Graham Wylie has been spearheading a move to turn the Heddon-on-the-Wall flagship course into the region’s destination of choice for keen golfers.

That determination has seen the course make it into Golf Monthly’s coveted list of the top UK and Ireland courses, as the sole North East entrant.

The strict criteria for the top 100, compiled by the magazine for the last six years, means several visits are made to every entry and courses are marked on quality of test and design, condition and presentation, visual appeal, facilities and experience.

Close House appears at number 100 in the list, and Mr Wylie is pleased to see the capital investments made in the leisure destination have paid off.

He said: “This is a major achievement for everyone involved in Close House from the green keepers right through to the club manager.

“Judges make several visits to the course throughout the year and the success criteria is stringently measured across a wide range of services and standards.”

Earlier this year Mr Wylie, founder of Sage software firm and owner of Speedflex, TSG and Close House Hotel and Golf, revealed plans to shut the hotel and turn it back into a residential house.

As of November, the focus has been on the golf facilities and the venue has been rebranded to Close House.

An extensive refurbishment of the club house is taking place and existing luxury accommodation at The Courtyard and The Terrace outbuildings will serve as accommodation for guests in the No 19 Club House, owned by the golf club, as well as golfers wanting to “play and stay”.

Former World No.1 Golfer and Ryder Cup winner Lee Westwood became the official Attached Tour Professional at Close House in 2011 and the Lee Westwood Colt Course was officially opened by him in May 2011.

As Attached Tour Professional, Mr Westwood wears the Close House logo on his cap at every event, combined with an announcement on every tee of his relationship with the venue.

He also attends several events at Close House throughout the year.

Close House has two 18 hole courses situated in the grounds of the Close House Estate and the Lee Westwood Colt Course now has 18 USGA specification greens, is 7000yds in length and a par 71 from the medal tees.

Mr Wylie added: “We have some exciting plans to develop our two courses further and we are making substantial investment in our facilities to ensure we continue to deliver a first class service to all our corporate members and golfers.”

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