Geoff Moore, handicap 21, from Brancepeth Castle Golf Club, reviews Rockliffe Hall Hotel and Golf Club in County Durham.
Arrive in your car at Rockliffe Hall Golf club and you will be greeted with a warm welcome, your clubs will be taken from you and cleaned before you set off to play.
This is where the pampering ends because what awaits is a challenging and enjoyable test of golf.
The course, set in a magnificently restored 18th century estate in Hurworth, near Darlington, is world class.
One of the longest in Europe
At a mere 7879 yards from the Gold tees, this Marc Westonbury designed course was one of the longest in Europe when it first opened.
If the Gold tees seem to present an impossible challenge, fear not – there is a total of 5 tee positions, and it’s only 6455 yards from the Yellow tees!
- Northern Star: Rockliffe Hall Hotel and Golf Club
The course hugs the banks of the river Tees which winds its way through the estate, and water hazards come cunningly into play on many of the holes.
You will be amazed at the number and design of the bunkers.
The feature hole is the par 3 5th, a 162 yard shot from the white tees over water to an island green.
If you have a bad golf day, don’t worry, you can always admire the abundant bird life, fascinated by swans taking off and landing with noisily beating wings, or watch at a distance the trains passing by on the London to Edinburgh mainline.
Visit the comfortable clubhouse afterwards where the food is excellent,and the service first class, but if you can, arrange your visit to include a night’s stay in the hotel.
This five star hotel – winner of The North East tourism “Large Hotel of the Year” 2011” – is sheer luxury.
On departure you’ll find yourself ticking all the “excellent” boxes on the review sheet – for the state-of-the-art spa, the service, the bedrooms, but give yourself a real treat: visit the Victorian glass-roofed Orangery restaurant and sample the fine dishes created by Michelin-starred chef, Kenny Atkinson.
Don’t believe me – try it yourself.