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Slaley Hall (Hunting)

Hexham, England
ArchitectBadgeDave Thomas
Hexham, England
Rankings
  • AddressCoal Rd, Hexham NE47 0BX, UK
  • Championships hosted

Critics have described Slaley Hall as the "Gleneagles of the North East", the "Woburn of the North" the "Augusta of the North" and the "Gleneagles of the South", but Golf World described Slaley Hall as the “Manchester of the North East – every time a tournament goes there, such is the deluge.” Regardless of the weather, the Hunting course at Slaley Hall is a challenging layout, located in a county that is still a relative golfing backwater.

Developer Seamus O’Carroll bought the 340-acre Slaley Hall property in 1984 for £1m and he commissioned Dave Thomas to design a course with tournament play in mind. In 1989, nine holes opened for play and the second nine opened the following year. In 1991 the receivers stepped in when debts reportedly peaked at £27m. Remarkably, the financial storm was weathered and the resort (formerly part of the De Vere Group) is now a flagship property within the QHotels portfolio.

The Hunting course is a big layout measuring in excess of 7,000 yards from the tips, with holes carved through a dense pine forest and others routed through more open moorland. Rhododendrons and cherry trees provide welcome seasonal colour, but it’s the pines that will punish the wayward shot, for they (and some water features) are the predominant hazards throughout the round.

Bunkering is relatively light, but the earth certainly moved for the former Ryder Cupper with the mounding in the style of its era. However, Thomas skilfully used nature’s strategic features, especially the streams on the front nine. The course plays across varied ground, and although the majority of holes being park-like in nature, there are some that have distinct moorland characteristics.

Immortalised by the now defunct Great North Open (formerly known as the European Grand Prix and the Slaley Hall Northumberland Challenge), the Hunting course has seen its fair share of big-named champions during its European Tour tenure between 1996 and 2002, including Retief Goosen, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood. The Hunting is certainly not Augusta, or even Gleneagles, but it is one of England's better modern layouts.

Critics have described Slaley Hall as the "Gleneagles of the North East", the "Woburn of the North" the "Augusta of the North" and the "Gleneagles of the South", but Golf World described Slaley Hall as the “Manchester of the North East – every time a tournament goes there, such is the deluge.” Regardless of the weather, the Hunting course at Slaley Hall is a challenging layout, located in a county that is still a relative golfing backwater.

Developer Seamus O’Carroll bought the 340-acre Slaley Hall property in 1984 for £1m and he commissioned Dave Thomas to design a course with tournament play in mind. In 1989, nine holes opened for play and the second nine opened the following year. In 1991 the receivers stepped in when debts reportedly peaked at £27m. Remarkably, the financial storm was weathered and the resort (formerly part of the De Vere Group) is now a flagship property within the QHotels portfolio.

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Course Architect

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Dave Thomas

During a design career that stretched from the early 1970s into the new millennium, Dave Thomas delivered dozens of courses for a wide variety of clients. The Belfry is considered his crowning glory.

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