SITUATED above the Derwent Valley and commanding views of Northumberland to the north and the North Pennines to the west, members and visitors to Consett and District Golf Club are constantly reminded of the beauty of this region.
The panoramic views from both the course and clubhouse are simply spectacular.
This mature parkland course, designed by the legendary Harry Vardon in 1911, is set in 100 acres on the border between Northumberland and County Durham. It offers an enjoyable experience for golfers of all ages and ability.
In preparation for the club’s centenary celebrations, the clubhouse has recently been refurbished and now boasts new locker room facilities for both male and female members and guests.
Geoff Cook, the president of the club said: “The preparations are going very well. We have got the centenary book which is looking very good and will shortly be printed. One of our lady members, Margaret Southworth, and her husband have done a grand job.
“Geoff Farnsworth, who will be the centenary captain next year, took over as chairman of the centenary committee following the death of David Atkinson, is also doing a grand job.
“We have a number of county events coming here next year and we are having a dinner dance at the Derwent Manor Hotel in June. I am organising our own wine for the centenary year with our name, badge and a picture of the golf club on the labels. Shirts and sweaters in different colours will also be available, all with our logo on.”
Geoff stated that there were no plans for any course alterations apart from general maintenance and tidying up.
He added: “The preparation has gone very well and I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a tremendous year for the club.”
And as a special offer for the centenary year, the first 100 new members through the door across all categories are to receive a £100 reduction on the year’s membership fee.
WITH a par of 71 and measuring just over 6,000 yards off the medal tees, the premium is on accuracy, not length. Yes, there are a few holes where you can open the shoulders and go for it, but in doing so if you find the wrong side of the fairway . . . beware!
A good tip to remember is that the ball always gathers towards the valley, and that includes the approaches to the greens. On playing the east-facing holes, keep right, and the west-facing holes, keep left.
Consett is noted for having superb greens but they can be awkward to hold if the approach shots are in the wrong place.
As for the course in general, a lot of improvements have been made in recent years. The first green has been replaced and another new green at the 17th has lengthened the hole from 117 yards to 142 yards, making it a much tougher proposition. The 8th also has a new green and with further extensive drainage work, Consett’s golf course has come on leaps and bounds.
A straightforward hole to ease you into the round is the first – a 360-yard par 4. A good straight drive, right of centre will leave nothing more than a wedge to a green well-bunkered to the left.
The 390-yard second is another par 4, where the approach is played to a large green, falling steeply away to the right. There is out of bounds at the back, so take care with club selection.
The third hole is 400-yards and also a par 4. If you are a big hitter care has to be taken from the tee to avoid a ditch crossing the fairway at 260 yards. The approach shot is played blind to a green with a steep bank on the left.
Unusually, the next seven holes are a mix of par 3s and par 5s.
At just under 500-yards, the par 5 fourth is a definite birdie chance, although you will face a tricky chip if you miss the green to the right.
Both par 3s, the next two holes are about the same length.
With out of bounds on the left, the long narrow putting surface on the fifth is protected by two trees left and right, just short of the target.
The sixth hole is played uphill over a dip to a green cut in the bankside with bunkers left and right.
A short walk to the next tee and in my opinion, Consett’s signature hole awaits. A cracking 476-yard par 5, played from an elevated tee over dense undergrowth and woods, to a fairway that swings downhill and away to the left. New houses have been constructed on the left of the course, so take care to avoid ending up in someone’s conservatory. Trees line both sides of the fairway and there is a ditch 170-yards from the tee to take into consideration. Two good shots here should reach the green and a birdie or better may be the result. Play this hole badly, and yes, that’s another medal card in the bin.
The eighth is a 185-yard par 3, where a new challenging two-tier green is now in play. Find the wrong level and your putting stroke will be tested to the full.
Although the tee shot at the 481-yard ninth can be somewhat intimidating, a straight drive through the trees will find a generous fairway and a chance to go for the green.
The tenth is another par 5 and at 500-yards not that difficult. The drive is downhill with out of bounds on the left and copses to the right. The second shot is played uphill and then down towards a small narrow green. Aim to the right and let the slope gather the ball back towards the putting surface.
A 366-yard par 4 follows and can prove a real challenge if you hit the ball left to right. Ideally, a right to left shaped shot is needed to avoid the overhanging tree branches on the left. A good tee shot and a wedge should leave a birdie putt.
With trees lining the hole, the par 4 twelfth is a different proposition altogether. At 365-yards and all uphill, two very straight shots are needed to get anywhere near. The fairway does narrow as you approach the green and with a bunker front right and trees on the left, the approach is a tough shot.
The thirteenth is a 378-yard par 4 and another birdie chance. A good drive right of centre should leave a shortish iron to the middle of the green.
At 146-yards uphill, the par 3 fourteenth can be awkward. There are trees tight to the left and there is a severe slope at the front of the green – don’t be short, so consider taking an extra club.
Onto “Heartbreak Hill”, considered to be the toughest hole on the course. Yes, it’s 386-yards uphill and physically demanding but a long straight drive will leave a middle iron for the second shot. Do not under any circumstances miss this green to the right or you will be watching your ball heading off at an alarming speed towards the tenth fairway. The chip back is practically impossible . . . take my word for it.
A short downhill par 4 follows, where the drive has to be tight to the left to leave no more than a wedge.
The par 3 seventeenth is uphill with out of bounds and a ditch tight to the left. It is a tricky tee shot to a sloping green defended by one of the nastiest little bunkers you will find anywhere . . . even Seve Ballesteros in his heyday would have difficulty in getting out of this one.
The final hole is a 279-yard par 4. No problems here unless the drive is hit out to the right. With a birdie or better to finish with, you will not mind the short uphill climb back to the car park.
The warm and friendly atmosphere in Consett’s clubhouse becomes apparent quickly as golfers and non-golfers relax. There is a lounge, a bar, dining room and a snooker room offering an excellent choice of food and drink.
And of course there are the views . . . Consett Golf Club is worth visiting time and time again, even if it’s just to take in the scenery.
Name: Consett and District Golf Club
Address: Elmfield Road, Consett, County Durham, DH8 5NN
Telephone: 01207 505060
E-mail: consettgolfclub@ btconnect.com
Web Site: www.consett golfclub.com
Location: From the south – take the A1 and proceed onto the A1(M). Then take the A68 and proceed to Castleside. At Castleside turn right onto the A692. Proceed through Castleside and Moorside and follow the road into Consett Town Centre. When you reach the traffic lights at the crossroads turn left along Medomsley Road (B6308) until you reach Number One Roundabout (approximately three quarters of a mile). Turn left at the roundabout (A691). About 200 yards down the bank there is a tight right turning into Elmfield Road. The club is at the end of the road.
From the north – take the A1 to Lobley Hill (about a mile and a half after the Metrocentre), then take the A692 which takes you through Sunniside, Dipton and Leadgate. Follow the signs for Shotley Bridge (A691) and on reaching Number One roundabout, continue over towards Shotley Bridge. About 200 yards down the bank there is a tight right turning into Elmfield Road. The club is at the end of the road.
Green Fees: Adult weekdays £20, weekends £25,Juniors £12. Memberships: Available in all categories. No entrance fee. Details can be obtained from the secretary on the above number. Societies: Welcome with various packages available. Details can again be obtained from the secretary. Buggies: Available – £10 a round.