Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Golf: Pilgrim's Progress

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Golf: Pilgrim's Progress

Article excerpt

Byline: By ALLAN BOUGHEY

IT'S all systems go at Teesside Golf Club.

The course, situated on the old Stockton race course at Thornaby, has been undergoing a series of changes in recent years and is now unrecognisable from the flat and tree-less lay-out that was the norm two decades ago.

These days, the course is regarded as one of the finest in the Tees Valley - and to prove it, is one of the very few clubs in the area with a waiting list for membership.

It's this popularity of course, that has enabled the club to instigate a fairly ambitious improvement plan over the last decade or so.

First came the contemporary clubhouse redesign, which has resulted in one of the most modern-looking, even Modernist, facilities in the region.

The lockers are first class and the restaurant boasts the sort of reputation that specialist eateries up and down the region would crave for.

With new club professional Stuart Pilgrim beginning to make his mark, things are going from strength to strength for the club.

Stuart has even been advising on the latest batch of improvements to the course, which have all been designed and carried out in-house by the greens committee, chaired by Kevin Clarke, and the greens staff, led by course manager Terry Smith.

In fact, the course has been steadily updated and enhanced in recent years.

Last winter, the emphasis was on introducing several new water features, including a large pond in front of the first tee and 18th green, which has proved an enormous cosmetic and playing improvement, as well as smaller pools on the 12th and 13th holes.

This winter, another large body of water has been created in front of the 10th green, which has again made an enormous difference to both the aesthetics and difficulty of the course.

The emphasis has also been on toughening up the course for all category of player, especially the low handicappers and bigger hitters.

To this end, three new fairway bunkers have been introduced on the 5th with others on the 11th and 16th holes, while there's a new greenside trap on the 15th.

Stuart said: "The whole idea has been to make the course a bit tougher while also improving the general look and feel and the whole playing experience. …

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