The luxurious Rockliffe Hall is home to one of the best new courses in the country and offers a great deal more besides. Rob Smith takes a look…

Rockliffe Hall Course Review

The final port of call on my week-long January jaunt was a stopover at the very smart and extremely well-appointed Rockliffe Hall. This member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World is on the banks of the River Tees and offers a great deal including its challenging course which stretches to a whopping 7,879 yards from the back tees.

Watch all the Tour action from the comfort of your own... bath!

Watch all the Tour action from the comfort of your own… bath!

In the 61-bedroom hotel, you can follow all the televised tour action from the comfort of your own bath. I then enjoyed an excellent dinner in the Brasserie followed by a quite unnecessary but entertaining visit to the Cocktail Bar which proved to be the ideal recipe for a perfect night’s sleep.

Breakfast in the delightful Orangery was just the job before setting out from the yellow tees; 6,455 yards on a cold, wintery morning is plenty long enough, thank you!

The approach at the long third demands nerve

The approach at the long third demands nerve

Water whispers to you from the right of the opening two holes, but it positively shouts at the exciting par-5 3rd where the approach needs to carry the lake. Having gained your attention, it accompanies you throughout the next two holes and reappears at regular intervals.

Looking back from behind the fourth green

Looking back from behind the fourth green

The 4th is a very tough par 4 where anything right is wet…

The island green at five

The island green at five

…whilst the pretty 5th is the shortest hole on the course, played to what is effectively an island green.

The longest hole on the course

The longest hole on the course

By way of complete contrast, the 7th is the longest hole on the course, a massive 664 yards from the back. Two strong par 4s take you to the turn and the friendly, well-stocked halfway house.

The back nine opens with two more challenging but very interesting two-shotters, both of which I was delighted to par, and there are plenty of other fine holes with two of the final four being my personal favourites.

The demanding par-3 fifteenth

The demanding par-3 fifteenth

Fifteen is an excellent short hole; and when I say short, I don’t really mean short as it’s a scary knock with water in attendance all the way down the right.

Seventeen - protected by water, sand... and moorhens

Seventeen – protected by water, sand… and moorhens

Seventeen is a jewel; a very attractive par 4 with a marshy wetland on the left and jagged bunkers waiting to swallow up anything offline.

The closing hole dogs its way to the left round some specimen trees to a green below the clubhouse, and you leave the course knowing that you have undergone a thorough golfing examination.

The course has already hosted two English Senior Opens, and with its 5-star accommodation, spa, superb cuisine, and its shooting, fishing and other activities, Rockliffe Hall is a complete resort. On top of this, it offers a serious test of golf that is kept in great condition with green fees that deliver excellent value.