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Stars play at new Colt Course
May 20, 2011

"To welcome world number one golfer Lee Westwood and Alan Shearer on the new championship 'Colt' course at Close House Hotel is just about as good as it gets" quoted North East entrepreneur & Sage developer Graham Wylie after Lee Westwood flew in by helicopter today.  Alan Shearer, Graham Wylie & captain David Fulton were waiting on the lawn to welcome Westwood to the venue for the opening of Wylie's championship 'Colt Course' and spectacular 'No 19' state-of-the-art glass club house in Northumberland today.  

Also flying in from around the UK were celebrities including BBC Sportsman of the Year Tony McCoy, Ant & Dec, Steve Harper, Joey Barton and Ben Shephard who teed off with 22 celebrity teams in the 'Have a Heart' celebrity charity tournament - raising over £135,000 for the Children's Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.  The dedicated and highly experienced pioneering 'heart' team performed open heart surgery on Graham and Andrea Wylie's young twin daughter Kiera when she was just two days old, and they continue to monitor and support her.

With over £12 million invested into the course, clubhouse and golf academy, along with a further 12 individually designed suites in the stable block; the facilities are widely believed to be on a par with Gleneagles and Wentworth.  The course is both challenging and beautiful with each hole carefully crafted and thought out by renowned International golf course designer Scott McPherson. Scott took great care to construct the course around the existing landscape, 100 year old trees and vegetation giving the course a feeling that it has always been there.  The proximity to Newcastle International airport and the views across the Tyne Valley to the Angel of the North on a clear day make this a very special venue indeed. Accomplished chef Simon Walsh is the new head chef at no 19 and he will bring a return to traditional values with a modern twist. Every single detail has been carefully thought out and visitors to the new venue will be will have their taste buds tantalised as well as their game tested. However this is without doubt a stand alone eating destination in it's own right.

With over £40,000 raised from the event for the Childrens Heart Unit Fund even before the first swing of a club, it was hoped that the day would raise in excess of £60,000.  However with auction prizes in the evening including owning a horse in the Grand National and a cut of the winnings, this figure was far exceeded at an incredible £135,000 ! 

Lee Westwood, world number one golfer quoted "when I play there I shall see if I can get a picture of myself playing golf with Alan Shearer, I love my football and Alan is one of my all time heroes". Westwood has already bagged 2 victories in 2011, the Indonesian Masters and the Ballantine's Championship. He was also runner up in the Open Championship last season and played a major role in Europe's Ryder Cup Victory over America at Celtic Manor.  Westwood continued "there are some favourable comments floating around the European Tour about this new course at Close House. Some of the guys know those Senior Tour pros who were asked to look over it last year and I'm looking forward to playing it and seeing what it is like for myself ".

Alan Shearer quoted "after football golf is my favourite sport, so to have the opportunity to play with Lee Westwood, one of the world's number 1 golfer is a privilege.  There is a lot of anticipation about the second course at Close House and I can't wait to play it for the first time with Lee".  Golf Manager John Glendinning who has worked with Graham Wylie since he purchased the venue from Newcastle University said "what makes the new course so special is that it has been designed as an 'old English' course, which fits in with the style of the property.  Rather than looking like a new course, it looks like it has always been here and it is only eight miles from the city centre". He continued ""It's fantastic to get the world number 1 here, you don't see him in Newcastle very often. But I have to say, put me in front of 100,000 taking a penalty, no problem at all. Put me on the first tee, there will be a lot of nerves there". The North East is firmly on the world golfing map.

Westwood and the other celebrities enjoyed a light hearted hole in one challenge before the tournament, teeing into the middle of a lake located next to the glass clubhouse no 19.  The only way to the hole was by boat - a true test of their skills!

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