Close House (Lee Westwood Colt) - Northumberland - England

Close House Hotel & Golf,
Heddon on the Wall,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE15 0HT,
England


  • +44 (0) 1661 852255

  • Jonathan Greenwood

  • Scott Macpherson

  • Jonathan Lupton


Visit Golfbreaks.com for a golf holiday at Close House (Colt)

Close House is home from home to Graham Wylie, entrepreneur and co-founder of the software company, Sage. Wylie purchased the Close House Estate from Newcastle University as a “thank you” for his education and subsequently invested a cool £25 million in the project, the centrepiece of which is an elegant 18th century mansion.

Set in stunning Northumberland countryside, close to Hadrian’s Wall and the village of Heddon-on-the-Wall – which attracts thousands of visitors to the longest unbroken section of wall – Close House is far from the madding crowd and yet less than ten miles from the centre of Newcastle.

The first golf club was founded here in 1968 for Newcastle University golfers to hone their skills and this course, now called the Filly, underwent a refurbishment in 2006 and then in 2013 was substantially altered by Scott Macpherson. The Filly is now a much improved course with USGA greens and fine River Tyne views, but the real golfing thoroughbred at Close House is the new Colt course, which Scott Macpherson routed across 170 acres of new land.

Macpherson spent eighteen months researching designs by architect, Harry Colt, and developed a plan to create a modern course for Close House that doffs the hat to the Golden Age of golf course architecture.

Opened by Lee Westwood – Close House’s ‘Attached Tour Professional’ – in May 2011 and measuring a respectable 6,850 yards from the tips (par 71), the Colt course is a thoroughly engaging layout that incorporates many of the site’s historical features in its routing, including a Roman Fort, ha-ha walls, ancient woodland and Ice Lake.

Lee Westwood commented, “I think Close House is a perfect members course that has the capability of staging a major tournament in years to come.” The Journal’s Tim Taylor was also impressed, “If Scott Macpherson is not the 21st century's re-incarnation of Harry Colt, then I don’t know who is. A drop dead gorgeous course and you can see from the way Macpherson has subtly set his jewel into the breathtaking countryside alongside Hadrian’s Wall, that he is a student of Colt’s gentle way of doing things.”

We were similarly moved when we visited in August 2011, so moved in fact that we had no hesitation in placing the Colt course at 99th in our 2012 English Top 100 rankings. The future is bright for Close House, but don’t take our word for it, check it out yourself and prepare to be impressed.

In October 2016, Lee Westwood was announced as tournament host for the 2017 British Masters, and the Englishman selected the Colt course as the stage. It was the first time a European Tour event had been held at Close House and it resulted in an Irish one-two with Paul Dunne carding a remarkable final round of 61, holding off a late charge from Rory McIlroy to win his maiden European Tour title.

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Reviews for Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)

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Description: The Colt golf course at Close House Hotel opened in the Spring of 2011 and its fairways are laid out over 160 acres of the Tyne Valley with many of the holes sympathetically fitted around existing trees and lakes. Rating: 4.8 out of 6 Reviews: 6

I recently played the colt course for the first time and I have to agree with previous reviews, the design of the course is very good considering the available land. There are some very good holes with elevation changes, supported by excellent views. The condition was also very good the greens were true and ran at a very respectable pace. Recent heavy rain resulted in a few wet area's but this did not detract from the courses playability. An enjoyable visit.

4 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
September 23, 2018


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The designer / architect has done a great job on what is tough topography and the design / flow is excellent. The understating nature of the course makes it a tough physical challenge and clubbing is difficult. There aren't enough strong holes to be considered top tier / top 100, and I don't believe it will ever breakthrough to its aspired level for that reason. There are however undeniably half a dozen very good holes, namely 7, 11, 13 and the finishing 3. In addition, No 14 is a beautiful par 3. The view from 12th tee is breathtaking.

4 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
May 27, 2018


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The design of the Lee Westwood “Colt” course, located on the Close House Estate near Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland, apparently tips its hat to the great golf course architect Harry Colt and whilst The Club note that nothing is copied directly they claim that the “rectangular tees” (eh?), the bunker forms, and the variety in par threes are all features conceived from the brilliant architect.

I’m inclined to take all this with a pinch of salt and whilst people with a far greater knowledge about the subject than myself will be better able to advise – even considering the obvious time differential - it’s certainly nothing like any of the other courses I’ve played by the man responsible for creating the likes of St Georges Hill, Sunningdale and Swinley Forest at the highest level and the plethora of second and third tier courses he also created.

The Colt course is less than ten years old - there is also the elder “Filly” on the grounds - and it is for sure a bold modern layout that for the most part offers plenty of width but punishes you significantly if you miss the generous fairways. The sea of striking bunkers, with their craggy outlines, certainly brings the course to life and dictates play to a large extent whilst the long, bronzed coloured fescue grass define each fairway gloriously.

What I particularly liked was that the sand traps were often very much on the line of play and not just simply flanking the fairways.

Scott Macpherson was the man tasked with creating the course and he has done an excellent job in routing the course over what is not prime real estate for golf (not a problem Colt often faced!) because for the most part it is laid out over a steep hillside. Indeed there must be at least a couple of hundred feet in elevation change from the low part of the property to the summit.

There are four significant and inevitable climbs that we must make during the round – and this does detract from the playing experience - but thankfully most of these come quite early in the round.

As they say, what goes up must come down and at Close House it does so in truly spectacular fashion! The eighth and 13th are both dramatic plunging holes and although one play isn’t enough to even come close to understanding their strategies, with their multiple routes, I can unequivocally say that I’m a fan!

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

4 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
April 28, 2017


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We have a regular golf society that over the years have played many golf course including the famous and renowned. Having just played Close House it has to be ranked up there. The two courses are superb providing different golfing experiences. The facilities, staff and overall experience first class.
6 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
September 15, 2014


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Hugh
September 16, 2014
A decent course no doubt, but it''s way too hilly to be considered one of the greats. Second tier for me and I''d rate it 4 balls. 6 balls is way too generous and should be reserved for world top 100 ranked courses at best and some of those world ranked course are not worthy of a 6-ball rating.
Andrew
February 11, 2015
I agree with the 6 ball reviews mentioned here. I can not understand why people say it is too hilly? If you want to play flat boring courses you should not be looking at the top 100 golf courses in the UK, and instead play your local muni. This course is fantastic, by far the best in the North East. Every hole is different, each one an individual test. There are only 2 holes that go what you would call "uphill". You know what goes up, must come down. Once you get to the top of this course the views and the holes that would be classed as more "downhill" are exceptional!
I've now played the Colt Course on three occasions and can safely say it's one of the most enjoyeable and challenging courses I've played. The course is set in a great location in the Tyne Valley with stunning views from the top of the course. On arrival, the club house and facilities are some of the most modern yet friendly I've seen with plenty of staff on hand to guide you in the right direction. The course itself is a challenge from the outset, with the first requiring a good drive to set up a tricky approach to a semi-blind green. The need for good tee-shots continues around the front nine, with a mixture of length and accuracy needed on the good variety of holes. The 8th and 9th holes provide a challenging end to the front nine, with the 8th requiring an accurate tee shot to find part of the split fairway from an elevated tee. The second shot into green protected by pot bunkers and a winding stream was one of the most challenging on the course. The 9th is a lovely long par three over water into a shallow green, with only the brave taking on the flag. The back nine continues as the front started, with good driving essential. The tee shot from the 13th is probably the highlight of the round, looking straight down into the Valley from an elevated tree tucked into the tress. The 18th is a great finishing hole- not too long, particualrly when it's playing down wind, but the second shot into a green tucked into the trees behind a little ha ha wall is a lovely way to finish. All in all, the course is great. It is long, but fair and in great condition particularly given it's age. The course has clearly been well thought out, with shots to challenge you all the way round, and no two holes being the same. If you have the opportunity, i'd definitly recomend a visit to the Colt course.
6 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
April 07, 2012


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Keith
July 30, 2012

Just played yesterday morning greens are fabulous some of the best anywhere, but you need to be a mountain goat to walk round here and the only two holes I remembered were 8&9

Another new course that needs ten years of bedding in? Not a chance, the Colt course at Close House that opened in Spring 2011 has maturity all around. Throw-in a superb collection of 18 holes, a great club-atmosphere and complementary buildings and you have a new golf venue that England can be proud of, let alone just the north-east of the country. I know the reviews here should be just about the course but just a quick note that the service throughout is really good and that everybody seems to be very proud of where they are working. Starting your round is seamless, from the bag drop, to the locker rooms and then a very pleasant walk to the 1st tee through part of the old estate – and the opening hole is a cracker…a rather tough par-4 with a semi-blind approach to the green – the early signs are good. The 6th is 400 yard par-4 from an elevated tee that is really good looking hole with a tight drive but with more fairway over the wall than it looks. I think the back nine is very strong, a couple of uphill holes start this half with a very tough drive at the 11th – trees either side of the fairway and narrowing at about 250 yards. The 14th is my choice of best par-3 on the course; the hole has trees all around, plays slightly uphill and has a small green. The tee shot at the 15th is one of the toughest; uphill, over the old lake and needing to move right to left should keep you focused! The last is a strong par-4, bunker on the left-side, Ha-Ha wall to the right and the old lake back in play to the right of the green. I will return to Close House later in the year to play again and also to have a look at the old university course called the Filly … plus this is a hotspot for some ‘recognizable’ local faces …. Keep your eye out for a famous footballer with the initials AS and also a couple of TV presenters ..’A&D’ is a little clue… Recommended…
5 / 6
Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)
February 10, 2012


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