Set above the Tyne at Ryton a few miles west of Newcastle, Tyneside Golf Club, with its beautiful Harry Colt course, is one of the oldest clubs in the north-east of England having started out in 1879. Today’s course was laid out by Colt in 1911, and much of the front nine plays over the higher ground a little further from the river before you drop down closer to the valley floor early on the back nine, then climb steeply away again on 14 and loop back round the wonderful old pavilion clubhouse for the final flourish.
The opener may be relatively gentle, but the 2nd is anything but, a brute of a long par 4 where the fairway pinches in around a pond in the driving zone for longer hitters or those playing off the yellows.
The 4th is then a great hole playing over a crest and then down quite steeply to the green. You’ll get an extra 20 yards of run here if you can also get your drive over the smaller second crest, leaving yourself a very short iron in. The 4th green is set very close to the green of the par-5 7th coming back the other way. Standing in the fairways of both holes gazing down at their greens is quite an exhilarating experience in the right light. There’s something about playing down to a green, isn’t there?
The 8th takes you downhill, while the excellent par-3 9th across a sideslope also sees you regain the elevation lost on your way down the 8th as you climb to its small green. The 10th is then an absolute cracker of a par 5, plunging down precipitously from a hugely elevated tee and taking you over a stream before climbing steeply to the green. From the 10th green take a moment to soak up the views – you can even see Close House from here – before heading back down and over that same stream to a green set perilously close to a ravine on the right.
Things get a little fiddly for a moment as you climb to the extraordinary 12th tee complex before playing back over the 11th green and that ravine to a heavily bunkered green 177 yards away. The run for home then starts with by far the narrowest hole on the course, which pinches in further in the driving zone before playing up to a long, yet extremely slender shelf green cut into the slope.
The 14th climbs sharply back up. It’s the first of two short par 4s, with the 15th then playing to a green the other side of the clubhouse. This hole represents a great chance to get one back on the card before the final trio, which starts with a classic, short Colt par 3 behind the clubhouse. Miss the green anywhere here and you'll almost certainly end up in sand.
The 17th and 18th aren’t particularly long holes, but will perhaps play harder than their yardage as you seek to put the finishing touches to your round before retiring to the classic old-school clubhouse, which evokes welcome memories of a bygone era.