Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prestigious Golf Club Dream a Step Closer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prestigious Golf Club Dream a Step Closer

Article excerpt

Byline: John Hill

SOFTWARE tycoon Graham Wylie hopes that his expanding golf club will soon become a destination for players from across the region and far beyond.

Since retiring agesd 43 in 2003, the co-founder of FTSE-100 software firm Sage has been spending time on other interests, one of which is the Close House Hotel and Golf Club at Heddonon-the-Wall, Northumberland. He donned his hard hat yesterday as work began on the second phase of the pounds 7.5m club development, which includes a pounds 2.5m clubhouse and a championship golf course.

The 49-year-old multi-millionaire said: "It's not a rich man's hobby. I see it more as a commercial venture that the North East can be proud of. It needs to be commercially viable.

"Our business model is based on people from the North East using this course.

"However, we think it will be good enough for people to want to play it from around the country. We want it to be a venue that will be talked about, and people will use the hotel as a base for visiting the area, seeing Hadrian's Wall and heading to the beaches."

Mr Wylie bought the 18th Century hotel and golf course from Newcastle University in 2004, and has since upgraded the building to offer a restaurant and 19 rooms. The original course was redesigned in 2006.

He has hired Durham-based contractors Morgan Ashurst to carry out building work on the second phase, and says the project will create 60 jobs from construction to employment at the new clubhouse and course.

Duncan Kidd, operations manager for Morgan Ashurst, which has local offices in Belmont Business Park, said: "As a local company, we are committed to spreading the benefits of our construction projects. For this reason, we will be using local suppliers and tradespeople wherever possible."

The championship course has been named the Colt Course after golf course architect Harry Colt. …

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