‘Few perhaps realise how difficult it is to arrange for the natural features to provide to the fullest possible extent the necessary excitement for the course, and to supplement these features without destroying the natural beauty of the site.’
H. S. Colt, 1920
The design of The Lee Westwood Colt tips its hat to the great English golf architect Harry Colt (who designed Wentworth, St Georges Hill, Sunningdale and Swinley Forest among others) While nothing is copied directly, the rectangular tees, the bunker forms, and the variety in Par threes are all features conceived from the distilled themes of this most brilliant architect.
Within the first year of the new Lee Westwood Colt course opening it was voted one of the top 100 courses in England.
‘The land on which you play is unique in many ways. Close to Newcastle, this Northumberland valley on the banks of the River Tyne is a property blessed with thousands of years of history. While Close House itself may date back only 250 years, prior to this the Roman Army roamed this land. In fact, the world famous ‘Hadrians Wall’ almost abuts the course itself. Don’t let that put you off, though. This golf course aims to produce the most exciting range of thrills for every level of golfer, and it requires your utmost attention.’
‘Design work on the course began in late 2004. From that moment the team quickly went to work finalising the theme of the design. It was agreed that the best style for this course would be ‘Old English’. We wanted your experience of the golf course to be in tune with the history of the property. To this end, much attention was given to the routing of the course. Apart from finding a way to give you the most pleasurable journey around the property, each hole has been constructed with the a gentle footprint and aims to engage the natural features of the property.’
‘You will find numerous little wonders as you move around the course. The highlights may be the Ancient Forest to the left of the first hole, the Old Roman Fort to the left of the 11th hole, the lake by the 15th tees, or the Ha-Ha wall and Ice-Lake on the 18th Hole. Each has a story, and each is for you to enjoy.’
‘There are three other layers to The Lee Westwood Colt routing also. Firstly you may notice that as you move through the course, every subsequent hole plays in a different direction of the previous hole. You are constantly moving around the compass. Therefore on every shot, each golfer must recalculate the wind direction and strength. Secondly, the holes constantly change in trajectory. There are holes that play uphill, downhill and some that are reasonably level here, but almost without exception, the trajectory of one hole is different to the next. Thirdly, there is also a changing rhythm to the width of the holes. For example, the opening tee shot on the first hole between the Ancient Forest and the Ha-ha may seem confined, but the tee shot on the second hole is to a fairway of twice the width. Variety is the very foundation of golf architecture, so having achieved such a high level of diversity, it is with a degree of satisfaction that we present this routing to you.’
It would be fair to say that this course has been deliberately designed so that it will not give up its secrets easily. Indeed, the first time player will be at a disadvantage to the most seasoned practitioner by perhaps several shots. So The Lee Westwood Colt shall reward you for your powers of observation and willingness to return.