Set in stunning Northumberland countryside Close House is a relatively young resort, but with two golf courses and stylish accommodation, it's certainly worth a visit.

Close House, Golf Breaks UK

By Alison Root

Set in stunning Northumberland countryside Close House is a relatively young resort, but with two golf courses and stylish accommodation, it's certainly worth a visit. 

Close House had been on my radar as a place to visit for some time. I’d seen the name on ambassador Lee Westwood’s golf clothing and through the promotion of various events including this year’s PGA Senior’s Championship, so I expected it to be good! Located less than 8 miles from central Newcastle and set in the beautiful Tyne Valley surroundings, Close House is easily accessible. It’s not a million miles away from the south of the country and if, like me, you choose to take the train from London with golf clubs in tow, the journey is hassle-free.

A winding driveway leads to the elegant estate and mansion house that dates back almost 800 years, to the early thirteenth century. I was lucky enough to arrive when the rhododendrons were in full bloom and so my first impression was Augusta of the North, and that was before I had experienced the very slick greens!

In more recent times Close House was owned by Newcastle University and the mansion house was used as a conference centre with classrooms and offices. In 2004 the whole estate was sold to Graham Wylie, a local British businessman and co-founder of The Sage Group, the UK’s largest software business, who then reopened it as a hotel and golf venue in 2005.

Wylie is passionate about horses, hence the name of the two golf courses - the Filly and the Colt - and a massive bronze statue of one of his most successful racehorses, Inglis Drever, occupies the lawn in front of the mansion. The Filly Course with views across the River Tyne Valley was originally built as a 9-hole layout for Newcastle University and extended to 18 holes in the 80s, but when Wylie took over the course was redesigned to bring in a greater element of risk and reward. Naturally this means that golfers have shot options so it’s a really pleasant parkland course to play - easy walking, wide fairways, and compared with the Colt Course, the greens are less treacherous. The Filly’s two loops of nine holes return to the large and ultra-modern No19 clubhouse which, given its size, is unobtrusive and blends remarkably well into the landscape.


It’s incredible to think that the Colt Course is less than five years old, but it has already received numerous plaudits, and this is testament to its quality and design that honours distinguished golf course designer Harry Colt. There are plenty of bunkers shielding the undulating greens and a handful of water hazards that test accuracy. Each hole plays in a different direction from the last and there is a constant change in trajectory - be prepared to climb three steep hills! With such elevation, the views are incredible, especially from the 11th green and the 13th tee. Each hole also engages the natural features of the property and in fact, the world famous Hadrian’s Wall almost abuts the course itself. From one stone wall to the next, the Ha-Ha wall on the right-hand side of the fairway on the 18th hole had the last laugh on me!

I have to mention the Colt Course’s halfway house that’s located at the impressive PGA golf academy and floodlit driving range as it’s here you’ll find the largest vending machine you ave ever seen. Apparently it’s the only one in Europe and you can buy virtually anything from food, drink, sunglasses, beauty products and clothing.There’s nothing like a bit of retail therapy to boost your back nine holes!

When it comes to dining, it’s a relaxed affair in the upstairs restaurant at No19 that’s open for breakfast (the John Daly bap comes highly recommended), lunch and dinner, with a menu that features comforting dishes using local produce like sausages and mash, fish and chips or the pie of the day. In warm weather the terrace is the ideal spot to either watch golfers practising their putting or even taking aim at the mini island green across the lake. After an enjoyable round of golf, it was here that I sat and devoured the naughty but nice snack combo including homemade scotch eggs, pork crackling and chips in curry sauce, and decided that I really like the Geordie way - not just the food that had a severe impact on my waistline, but also the service with a smile!

Accommodation is comprised of twelve Courtyard suite-style rooms and four Terrace rooms and these are located just a short stroll from the clubhouse. The name Harry Colt pops up again as each suite is named after one of his golf course designs, like Sunningdale, Wentworth, Royal Porthcawl and Formby. My two-tier ‘Canterbury’ suite was exceptionally spacious and luxuriously decorated with period style furniture and all the mod cons.


This relatively young establishment really is a friendly place with a feel-good atmosphere, and while Close House welcomes golfers of all ages and abilities, I believe the facilities are best suited to couples or a small group. The tranquil setting means that you can get away from it all, but once your batteries are recharged, it’s an ideal base from which to explore the area, and you might even fancy a night on the Toon!

Until 31 March 2016, based on two people sharing, two rounds of golf (Filly and Colt), overnight accommodation and full English breakfast costs £129pp Sunday-Thursday and £149pp Friday-Saturday

To learn more about Close House visit: