LUXURY Northumberland hotel and golf club Slaley Hall started the 2018 golfing tournament season with a fresh challenge for its members and visitors, which has seen the front and back nine holes on one of its championship courses be reversed.

Following in the footsteps of the professionals on The Hunting course – renowned as the ‘Augusta of the North’ – golfers now tee off on the old 10th which is now the 1st, offering a more enjoyable and smoother start. It also means that the hardest hole is saved until last.

The final four of the front nine now make up the last four of 18, giving players the chance to get points on the card early, while helping to speed up play. 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 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 you to ease your way into the course by gaining a smoother flow on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd 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 9th, 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.”

The Hunting is a 7,088-yard, par-72 with lush sweeping fairways, streams, lakes, towering trees and rhododendrons in abundance. With its taxing greens and well-placed bunkers, this USGA standard course is a real challenge for any golfer.

Meanwhile, the beautifully maintained Priestman course regularly hosts European seniors’ events and can be found on the west side of the resort. Suitable for all skill levels with panoramic views of the Tyne Valley and some stunning water features, it’s every golfers dream.

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.

In a bid to encourage more young people into golf, Slaley Hall also offers free junior golf memberships, exclusively for under 16s and not dependent on having a paying adult .

Jonny added: “Being able to offer younger players the opportunity to take on the same course that there heroes have played and giving them a taste of the action can sometimes be the difference in securing their commitment to the sport. The new course layout has been a hit with our members so far and we’re looking forward to a busy season ahead.”

Slaley Hall is perfect for an idyllic short break with its serene Northumberland countryside, two superb restaurants offering British-inspired food with a contemporary twist and locally-sourced produce, and excellent spa and health facilities.

Adult season membership prices start from £375 for a points-based membership and £680 to join the Slaley Country Club.

To find out more or to book your tee time, call 01434 676 554 or to enquire about the free junior memberships, email slaleygolfmemberships@qhotels.co.uk.