Richie's new challenge

THE new par 71 Sharpley Golf course near Seaham in County Durham proved too much of a lure for top green-keeper Richie Hood.

THE new par 71 Sharpley Golf course near Seaham in County Durham proved too much of a lure for top green-keeper Richie Hood.

Inspired by the beautiful tranquil and rolling landscape at Sharpley, he has jumped at the challenge and taken over as head greenkeeper.

When owner Simon Weightman explained his vision for the course, Richie had met his mentor and is relishing working with him towards an impressive opening.

As head greenkeeper, he will be responsible for the final grow-in period and finishing-off work needed to realise the potential of this attractive site.

For the last four months, Richie has been looking after the tees, caring for the greens and going more than a fairway to put Sharpley Golf on the map and establish its reputation in the local area and beyond.

With tee markers to move every morning depending on play, wind direction and strength, pins to move to keep golfers thinking about their final putt, fringes to trim, the rough to cut and divots to repair, the day tees off with an early start, but not all the work of the greenkeeper is obvious.

Menacing pests and diseases in the soil waiting to strike on the tender, lush springtime grass are never far away.

However, it's not the threat of bugs that keep Richie awake at night - the weather dominates his day and dictates his working week.

An extensive drainage network has been built into the course to a high specification and with the introduction of new technology, Richie can now control the recently installed irrigation system from the office or home, meaning whatever the weather, he's able to react and keep the course in the condition golfers expect, day to day, season to season.

The course has been designed with input from three top architects and shaped using an experienced team, over seeding using only quality cultivars proved to be a great success.

The greens have been built to USGA specification using traditional Bent fescue mix of grasses and set in acres of fantastic countryside with panoramic views of the nearby coastline. It really is a total escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Sharpley Golf is located just of the Seaham/Seaton exit on A19 and is easily accessed from the B1404.

Its location convinced Richie that its popularity would be guaranteed.

Sharpley Golf has already been hosting golf taster days for ladies and the response has been incredible with requests for green fees and memberships coming in fast and furious.

Richie explained: "The course is still in development but the greens are fantastic to putt on. I am just awaiting the green light on the basic amenities from the course owners to be able to set a date for the golf taster days to be available to the general public on a pay and play basis, prior to the official opening next year."

It is guaranteed that with Richard Hood running the show, Sharpley Golf will grow in status and popularity under his watchful eye and reap the benefits of his vast experience gained over the last 25 years.

For more information on the opening of Sharpley Golf contact Richie on 07789-220505 or visit:


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