Nestling in the heart of the Tyne Valley, Hexham is one of our region's outstanding golf clubs and is now recognised as one of the best golfing venues in the UK and Ireland. The magnificent clubhouse, the natural undulating beautiful parkland course and the breathtaking scenery, all combine to provide an experience that is a little bit out of the ordinary.
Hexham Golf Club was founded in 1892, beginning life on the banks of the River Tyne with members playing on a nine-hole course. Fifteen years later, the club moved up from the river to its present location at Spital Park.
The new course was co-designed by the great Harry Vardon utilising 80 acres of land to the west of the Spital House entrance road, where it remained until 1951. Vardon was so impressed with the quality of the turf, he believed the course would mature into an inland golf course to rank with the very best.
In 1951, the club purchased the whole of the Spital Estate which included the house, a Grade 1 listed building and 70 acres of parkland to the east of the entrance road.
Noted golf architect G. K. Cotton was then commissioned to re-design the course with seven holes to the east and eleven holes to the west of the entrance road.
And how right Vardon was - Hexham Golf Club has now received a gold award in the HSBC Regional Course Rankings, an award that is fully deserved.
Inside the Georgian clubhouse, visitors will discover a genuinely warm welcome, excellent facilities and fine hospitality. Catering for visitors, be it individuals, groups, golf societies or corporate clients, the service is simply first class. The clubhouse has a friendly bar where you can enjoy excellent food, from tasty bar snacks to a more elaborate menu in the dining room - it is the perfect place to unwind in a beautiful and tranquil setting.
Golfers can also improve their game through an enjoyable programme of tuition from the club professional Ben West and also take advantage of a great selection of golf equipment, clothing and accessories in the friendly and well stocked Pro Shop.
At 6294 yards and with a par of 70, Hexham golf course is a very good track and a terrific challenge for golfers of all abilities. Standing on the raised 1st tee, the opening drive looks intimidating with a wooded area to the left and a steep hill on the right. This is a par 5 and at just under 500 yards, can be in range in two providing you find the fairway.
The 2nd is a 166 yard par 3, played slightly uphill to a long green defended by three bunkers. There is no room for error at this one, miss left and you will be faced with a difficult downhill chip - miss right and the ball will disappear down a steep slope towards all sorts of trouble.
At 403 yards and a dog-leg left, the par 4 3rd is a tough hole requiring a right to left shaped tee-shot avoiding the solitary bunker on the right, 230 yards from the tee. The uphill approach is not easy and plays longer than it looks - par is always a good score at this one.
The 4th at Hexham is 188 yards, played to a kidney shaped green defended by bunkers left and right and is quite a tester if the prevailing westerly wind is blowing.
The next five holes are all par 4 s beginning with the 5th, a good birdie chance. There are two fairway bunkers 200 yards from the tee and a further trap on the left at 240 yards. Find the fairway and you will have a shortish iron to a small slightly two-tiered green with a bunker front right.
The 6th at 457 yards is a very strong hole and stroke index one on the card. A long straight drive favouring the right side of the fairway is required to leave any chance of getting home in two. Many players may well find the green out of range and will have to play it as a three-shotter, hoping for a pitch and putt to make par.
The 7th hole is 386 yards and a dog-leg right. A good drive over the marker post and your ball will find the down slope and lots of run. Take care with the approach shot, there is out of bounds very close to the right side of the green and a steep bank to the left.
At 433 yards, the 8th is another strong par 4 and played from an elevated tee. With the fairway sloping right to left, favour the right side from the tee to leave a longish iron to a large flat green.
Although the 9th is only 349 yards, the drive is uphill to a fairway sloping severely right to left. There are bunkers on the right to watch out for, 170, 190, and 230 yards from the tee and plenty of trouble to the left. The second shot is also uphill and played to a green with a very narrow entrance
and falling away steeply to the left.
On to the 190 yard 10th, a superb par 3 played downhill across a deep gulley. There is a large tree to the right of the green and a big bunker front left to take into account - take care with club selection at this one, the hole may well play shorter than it looks.
Only 487 yards, the par 5 11th hole is fairly straightforward and an obvious birdie chance where the longer hitters will be looking to get home in two. There are three bunkers to avoid, one 250 yards from the tee on the right, another 80 yards short left of the green and the third, 40 yards short right.
The par 4 12th is 433 yards and a dog-leg right. This is another difficult hole requiring two well struck shots, a long drive over the marker post and an accurate approach to an elevated two tier green.
You have to be spot on with club selection at the 13th, a shortish par 3 played downhill to a very small two-tiered green. Miss the target and you will be pushed to make par at this one.
The next is a dog-leg left with no real danger from the tee. A par 4 measuring 406 yards where the approach shot is played to a small narrow green with bunkers on both sides.
It's back across the driveway for the final four holes starting with a 493 yard par 5. Although this hole dog-legs left and has out of bounds all along the right, two straight shots should set you up with a short uphill pitch to another small green.
The 16th is the shortest hole on the course, only 122 yards and quite a tricky one at that. The green is well bunkered with steep downhill slopes to the right and rear.
The 400 yard par 4 17th dog-legs right and requires a long drive through an avenue of trees and bushes. Aim left of centre from the tee and you should find the best position for your approach shot which is played to a target bunkered on the right and falling away on both sides and to the rear.
The final hole is downhill and not without its danger, a 344 yard par 4 where any tee shot going left will inevitably result in a lost ball. Knock it down the centre and you will be left with a short pitch to quite a generous green and a good birdie opportunity.
At Hexham, you will find great inspiration, challenging golf and superb entertainment - it is an experience you will never forget.
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Name: Hexham Golf Club
Address: Spital Park, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3RZ
Secretary: Dawn Wylie
Telephone: 01434 603 072
Fax: 01434 601 865
Web Site: www.hexhamgolf.co.uk
Professional: Ben West
Location: Hexham Golf Club is on the B 6531, 20 minutes west of Newcastle and within easy access from the A69. It is one mile west of the attractive market town of Hexham
Green Fees: Until 31st March: Weekdays £20 per round. 4 ball special £70 includes a meal after your round.
Membership: Available. Adult - £551 (Optional joining fee). Junior - £100. Other packages are available - for details contact the Club Secretary on the above numbers
Societies: Welcome. Packages available, for details contact the Club Secretary on the above numbers.
Buggies: Available (depending on course conditions). £20 a round and £30 a day