Go Hunting like the pros on Slaley Hall’s new layout

It’s all change on Slaley Hall’s renowned Hunting Course with front and back nines being swapped over so members and visitors get to play it in the same order as the professionals during championships.

The former 10th hole now provides the start of the round which means the potentially card-wrecking ninth hole is now the last, in order to provide golfers with a more enjoyable and smoother start.

The new order also means the pressure of a rocky section mid-round is eased and instead players build up to a tough but rewarding finish.

Slaley Hall’s head of golf, Jonny Mould, said: “As golf fever takes over with a captivating summer of Open championships, more beginner and amateur golfers take to the fairways – and we knew the Hunting start can be daunting for some.

“The new layout allows golfers to ease their way into the course by gaining a smoother flow on the first, second and third holes, with many more opportunities to make birdies. It’s something we have done for championships in the past, so now everyone can follow the professionals.

“Players finish on the old ninth, considered the toughest hole on the course, where they will be greeted with one of the most picturesque views in northern golf. It’s also overlooking the Claret Jug so a well-deserved drink will be in sight.”

Managed by RBH, the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, Slaley Hall was voted ‘best golf hotel/resort in the north of England’ for the fourth successive year in the 2018 Today’s Golfer Travel Awards.

It is set in 1,000 acres of Northumberland moorland and forest. It is a magnificent four-star hotel in an elegant Edwardian mansion, with two challenging championship courses – the Hunting and the Priestman – which have played host to no fewer than 18 European Tour and European Senior Tour events.

The 7,000-yard, par-72 Hunting, designed by Dave Thomas, has lush sweeping fairways, streams, lakes, towering trees and banks of rhododendrons – but, aesthetics aside, it will catch out the unwary. Well-placed bunkers and tricky greens make this USGA standard course a real challenge. The quality of Slaley Hall’s elder layout is illustrated by the fact the course is often dubbed ‘The Augusta of the North’.

The Priestman course was designed by Neil Coles and opened in 1999. Beautifully maintained, the course has matured magnificently. It sits on the west side of the estate, with panoramic views of the Tyne Valley and some daunting water features, and wind can be a factor on a course which hosts regularly European seniors’ events.

As the largest golf resort operator in the UK, RBH manages nine championship and tournament golf courses across the UK, hosting events from the European Tour, European Seniors Tour, Ladies European Tour and the PGA.