The Golf Club That's Driving A New Future

Issue 58

Tyneside Golf Club opens a new Par 3, six-hole course and practice ground.

When we rolled-up at Tyneside Golf Club to meet General Manager Peter Smith, storms Ciara and Dennis were still very fresh in the memory. A lot of courses around the region suffered badly and many of them were either closed altogether or operating with temporary greens and tees. Well, there was none of that at Tyneside Golf Club. It was open for business and there wasn’t a temporary green or tee in sight. The groundsman has plainly done a cracking job and made full use of the fact that Tyneside is one of the best draining golf courses in the UK. It really can offer its members all year-round playability and value for money.

It’s also one of the most picturesque, overlooking the River Tyne, with plenty of mature trees and a rolling topography. It’s also one of the longest established. The club was formed in 1879 and the current course was designed and laid out by Harry S Colt in 1911. He also designed Wentworth and Sunningdale. The course has undergone a recent 5-year refurbishment programme undertaken by Frank Pont of Infinite Variety Golf Design, the renowned European Golf Architect who specialises in Colt restorations. The original Colt classic is simply getting better every year.

It measures just over 6000 yards, is a Par 70, and every hole has its own character. In other words, it’s a great all-round course, not too long, beautifully presented all year round, but sufficiently varied to challenge a seasoned golfer as well as not demoralising those of us who’re either new to the game or having not quite got the hang of it…yet. And it is the latter group of golfers.new, young, inexperienced or simply not having sufficient time to devote to a full 18 holes…that now have another option at Tyneside Golf Club. They’ve recently opened a 6-hole, Par 3 course next to the Colt designed main course. From there it will operate an academy where players can learn the game in a safe, enjoyable environment and receive access to the all-important coaching clinics run by their PGA Professionals.

Situated on the outskirts of Ryton in the Tyne Valley…15 minutes’ drive from the centre of Newcastle…rather than turning into the main golf club, keep going along a lane and you will arrive at the new facility. A well as the Par 3 course, there’s a driving range where you hit off grass not mats. There is a distance control area where the fairway in front of you is marked out with 25 yard distance markers. Just along from there you’ll find the short game area where you can practice your chipping and putting. And then there’s the 6 hole, Par 3 course which is maintained to the same high standards as the Colt course. There is everything that you would expect from a golfing academy.

“We want to provide as many different facilities as possible for our existing members, continue to be attractive for new members to join us, whilst also taking our responsibility seriously in helping to develop the adult and junior golfers of the future,” said General Manager, Peter Smith.

Gone are the days when a golf club such as ours can rely solely on an 18-hole course to generate sufficient revenue via membership, pay-as-you-play and clubhouse events and catering. It’s the nature of the world in which we live that fewer people can devote several hours on a regular basis to play golf while also juggling their work and home life. However, they may be able to grab an hour to pop along to our 6-hole course to keep their swing in shape or brush-up on their putting or short game. We’re also aware that young or new golfers can find playing on the main course alongside seasoned members a bit intimidating. They become nervous about their ability or holding-up the better players. Consequently, honing your game or learning how to play from scratch is must easier on a shorter course where you are likely to be surrounded by players of a similar ability.

Peter is looking to the future. He wants to attract more young players; he wants more women to get involved; he’d like to cater for those players who no longer want, or are able, to play a full 18 holes, and he wants to turn junior golfers into senior players. It’s a wonderful facility. It has all of the benefits of the main Tyneside Golf Club course whilst being relaxed, easier, shorter and with a greater range of options.

Peter has also made the pricing extremely attractive. Academy membership which includes the practice ground and Par 3 course and access to weekly coaching clinics is Adults £100.00, Juniors (U16) £50.00. To become a member of the Par 3 and practice ground only it is priced at £60.00 for adults and £25.00 Juniors (U16).

If you’d rather just use the range, practice facilities and have a round of the Par 3 course on a one-off basis, prices are Adults £7.50 and Juniors (U16) £5.00.

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