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Close House (Lee Westwood Colt)

Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
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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. The British Masters returns to Close House in July 2020.

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.

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