THE Eleven Arches Golf Course at Bishop Auckland is the North East's newest 18-hole layout and opened for play on Saturday, June 21st. The golf course has been developed by local businessmen, including former Newcastle United professional footballer Allan Barker, and was designed by Durham-based golf course architect Chris Stanton
The course is located only a drive and a pitch distance from Bishop Auckland's Market Place and derives its name 'Eleven Arches' from the visually imposing Newton Cap Viaduct and its dominating views to the South-West.
This, together with two other iconic buildings, the Bishop of Durham's Palace and the Town Hall, provide impressive backdrops to this development.
Located within a large meander of the River Wear, the river forms the course's boundary on three sides for over a mile and a half, enhancing both the golfing and aesthetic qualities.
Its flood-plain setting affords a full panorama of varied scenic countryside views and offers a particularly tranquil golfing experience, belying its Market Place proximity.
The course layout ensures golfers are moved freely around the land providing constantly changing vistas. At some 6000 yards, with a Par of 71, it is not long compared with some other new course developments, but it does provide a great golf test with water featuring on 12 holes.
The River Wear comes into play on 6 holes, affecting a total of 10 shots, whilst four newly created lakes are a feature on another seven holes, affecting 12 shots.
The course is protected by a substantial embankment, which has been re-designed with help from the Environment Agency.
Chris said: "The land comprises fast draining sand and gravel soil and subsoil, which together with the fine grass species sown, promises excellent playing conditions and year round golf. A largely level site provides easy walking for golfers of all ages and physical abilities.
"Being already rich in natural and strategically located golfing features, it allowed a relatively sparing use of bunkers - just 18 in total - necessary to provide a high degree of golfing challenge. These are provocatively located, both to complement and bring such features more positively into play, providing a 'risk and reward' emphasis, to encourage attacking play.
"Another key element of the development strategy was to enhance bio-diversity and wildlife potential of the land, already host to some wildlife species, including nesting migratory Sand Martins, foxes and deer. A network of wildlife corridors have been provided which together with the employment of habitat friendly grass varieties and wildflower establishment will attract invertebrate species, at the base of the food-chain. Specific habitat creation includes lakeside nesting sites for species such as Oyster Catchers and Lapwings. Game and course fish have been introduced into these lakes which are already attracting Swans, geese and various ducks."
There has also been substantial planting and Chris added: "More than 2000 trees have already been planted with more in the coming year. The use of locally indigenous tree species will ensure a high degree of unity with the golf course's landscape setting. Generally these have been planted in elevated positions, whilst also retaining outward views. Gorse and hawthorn is also a feature of the landscape setting and this is being established generally in more out of play locations, however 'carries' are to be established from some elevated tees."
Where Are All The Captains?
GOLF club and county captains, past and present, qualify to become members of the EGU's English Golf Captains' (EGC) National Programme - and indeed many do. One of the many membership benefits is the opportunity to play in the Regional EGC tournaments to qualify for the National, which this year is being staged at Eastbourne Downs Golf Club in September. There are four regional tournaments covering the North, Midlands, South East and South West. The North region includes Northumberland, Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Isle of Man. Historically regional qualifying has taken place outside of the North East, no doubt due to a higher percentage of EGC members being from outside our area.
However, in 2008, we are fortunate that North region qualifying is at The Northumberland Club in Newcastle on August 7. Even though entry has been possible since the beginning of the year, the EGU have announced that 20 out of the 60 places are still up for grabs! If the remaining places aren't filled, there is no doubt that it will jeopardise the North East's chances of staging future qualifying events. So come on you members of the EGC, get your applications in and, if you're not an EGC member, then join and get your entry in.
For further information, go to the English Golf Captains section on the EGU website at: www.englishgolfunion.org
Or contact Paul Reiz, EGC Programmes Manager, on 01526-351-819 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE free adults golf coaching scheme has proved such a success at Romanby Golf Centre in North Yorkshire that it is to continue. The free scheme allows adult beginners the chance to try golf and is the concept of Romanby's Teaching Professional Ivan Oliver. During the Spring period over 60 new beginners gained from the scheme. The scheme takes place at Romanby Golf Centre on the first Monday of each month from 5.30pm till 6.30pm or on the first Saturday of each month from 3pm to 4pm. The coaching entitles beginners to a one-hour tuition session full of tips covering the basic fundamentals allowing the pupils to make a swing and hit some golf shots. Golf clubs can be provided free of charge but there is a £1 charge for the driving range balls.
To book a place contact Romanby Golf Centre near Northallerton on 01609 760777.
THE Yorkshire Veteran Ladies Golf Association was represented by 36 members at the Northern Counties Veteran Ladies Championship at Brancepeth Castle Golf Club. Played over a very difficult course with the challenge of six drives over ravines, two of which were from the white tee markers and with the presence of a cold North East wind, it was a test for the scratch-16 golfers from the six Northern Counties.
However, Yorkshire Veteran Ladies Champion, Pat Wrightson (Huddersfield) was top qualifier on the first day with a gross score of 75. Sandra Paul (Huddersfield) was runner-up with 80 and Hilary Smyth (Pannal) 81. Yorkshire won the Gross Shield for the three best gross scores and also won the Nett Shield for the three best nett scores by Pat Wrightson (72), Sandra Paul (75) and Clare Wish (76 Lindrick).
Hilary Smyth won her two matches and played in the semi-finals against Barbara Laird (Cheshire). In a closely fought match Barbara was the winner by 4&3. Barbara then lost out to county team-mate Sue Dye in the final.
At the Yorkshire Ladies' County Association Championship at the Alwoodley Golf Club, Pat Wrightson was again successful along with her partner Sue Johnson, also from Huddersfield Golf Club, in achieving the best gross score of 80 in the Foursomes Competition.