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Sean_A

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CLEVELAND GC Rocks...Sort of New
« on: August 12, 2019, 05:00:42 AM »
1896 Plan of Cleveland.


Better resolution!




The title of the tour of course refers to the song written by Ian Hunter, who was the front man for Mott the Hoople before embarking on a solo career which has been going for some 45 years to date!  Incredibly, Mott has been earning rave reviews on its 2019 tour. However, Ian Hunter, while undoubtedly great, is not the subject of this tour.  Highly industrialized Cleveland, Yorkshire, more specifically Cleveland GC in Redcar is the topic.  Just to the northeast of Middlesbrough, famous for iron production in the 19th century, beside a beach and the River Tees, lies Yorkshire’s sole links.  Formed in 1887, during the boom years of the area, the original 18 hole course has seen revisions (according to the club) by Old Tom Morris, HS Colt and Donald Steel. In addition, I believe that FW Hawtree (son of FG and father of MG) made considerable alterations to the course in the 1960s.

At first glance the course isn’t dissimilar to Seaton Carew; a fine links among factories on the far side of the Teesmouth Nature Reserve and the abandoned steel works. While my playing partner found the setting so ugly to be charming, I was quickly reminded of Detroit’s Zug Island! Cleveland may seem a strange place to choose for a game of golf, but the course does come highly recommended by the Editor of National Club Golfer, Dan Murphy.  Dan has a keen eye for architecture and isn’t put off by less than salubrious settings. 

The road name for the club's location is promising!


So too is the view from the first tee...if we ignore the obvious.


I find short holes to be difficult openers. Cleveland's first is a fine example. 


The second, a par 5, is not without merit.




More OOB is featured for the 3rd, a longish par 4. The greenside bunkers and well placed low lying series of mounds cutting diagonally across the fairway discourage a bailout right.   


The rather listless 4th takes us to the far end of the property.  The 5th comes back toward the house and it too is not a hole to ponder over.  However, the 6th, like all the short holes, is a cracker.  Its difficult to discern, but the left half of the green falls away. 


The nature of the property dictates there will be little play toward or away from the beach nor will there be much play over dunes.  Most of the course is routed between low lying dunes which means there are several similar looking drives.  The issue is exacerbated by holes which leg left.  Off-hand, I can't think of a single hole which moves right.  Regardless, much of the course runs over true links and is a pleasure to walk.  The 7th.


The pancake flat 8th is another hole which isn't in any way special, but once again, the architects found a great green site for the short 9th.


The green is set deceptively far back on the plateau. The kick in option is high risk due to the rumbling terrain shy of the green.


While not a bad front nine, it is the par threes which carried most of the water.  The back nine is the better half of the course not least in part due to better 4s and 5s.  The 10th, is a modest length two-shotter, but the green is an interesting shape with good fallaways.


Split by a large ridge in the fairway, the more robust 11th piqued my interest.


A very clever hole with its use of sand, the 12th is one of Cleveland's best.  It isn't at all obvious, but there is a gap between the two right bunkers which the fairway runs through.  Water lurks left for those with a mind to cut the corner.


The green is very odd.  It seems as though a berm was built to the rear to block the view to a wonderfully set practice area.  It is hard to fathom the club would sacrifice this fantastic green site for a chipping area.  As can be seen, the course is actually in good nick once away from the from the boundary line along #s 1-4. 


Another good hole, the 13th requires some precision with the approach.




Upping the ante, Steel's 14th is a wonderful hole.  From the tee, what little definition there is suggests right is the better bet.


Upon closer inspection, there is OBB right and absolutely no angle to the green. Left offers all the potential glory, but the firm plateau green has the final say.






Taking us to the far point of the back nine, the 15th (I suspect is Steel's) plays over a low hazard area which probably fills sometimes in winter.  On this day, the area was completely dry.  This par three is the only hole which plays remotely across the property and it makes for tough going.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 04:20:22 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

John Mayhugh

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of...1-15
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 08:29:23 AM »
Interesting looking course. The setting is a bit of a turn off but also kind of interesting. I think definitely more attractive than a Zug Island backdrop.

Colt involved and good par 3s. Who could have imagined?

Mark Pearce

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of...1-15
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 03:41:52 PM »
I've been meaning to get to Cleveland for a while.  This looks like it is somewhere I should get to soon.  It does appear to make the backdrop at Seaton Carew quite attractive, though!
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of...1-15
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 04:47:23 PM »
An intriguing looking course and worth a play, but I don't think I could ignore the dreadful backdrop. I hate to say it, but the views on a course make a difference. That is one of the reasons I do seek out courses in communities.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

BHoover

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of...1-15
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 08:30:38 PM »
I think the industrial backdrop looks kind of cool. I actually like it.

Sean_A

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of...1-15
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 04:27:57 AM »
The setting provides a remarkable number of aiming points!  The much more attractive Christchurch does a decent job guiding tee shots as well. 

Cleveland Tour Cont

It seemed as though we had walked miles away from the house and therefore the last three holes would be a slog....not so.  16 & 17 are less than 400 yards each.  In fact, I reckon 16 (I think a Steel hole) is reachable in the right conditions.  The tee shot is odd as I suspect the two bunkers on the left were added in later years to tighten things down.  The land is often flat which means there will be few natural pockets for bunkers.  Consequently, and this isn't limited to Cleveland, there is limited opportunity for bunker placement to look as if it belongs.  Perhaps other features such as humps and hollows would be more appropriate in these situations.  Other than good turf, an aspect of Cleveland which impresses is bleeding of fairways into rough.  This hole (on the right anyway) is a stark example of the opposite.  Even so, the cut line isn't dead straight. This photo is from a position well in front of the tee.


Another legger left, the 17th is a fine driving hole. 


The approach is somewhat predictable, flatish and between bunkers.  I am not a fan of rakes outside of bunkers, especially when at attention.


An excellent finisher, the three shot 18th was created from two holes and rolls over rumbling terrain to a green set in a bit of a dell near the relatively new house.






I am not going to claim Cleveland is something special, but the course does have a sense of place which is proudly on display.  Being the only links in Yorkshire, and one that can be stretched to nearly 7000 yards at that, I expect the course holds a good reputation in the area and is well used for county and local professional events.  There is no question the course has short comings, but on the flip side of the coin it doesn't cost the earth for a game.  In the world of golf, cheap and cheerful is becoming more and more rare, yet that is exactly what Cleveland is. My partner and I played a game, had a sandwich and a drink for less than £30 each.  To complain loudly about the quality of a links at these rates is rather pointless.  The next time you are driving along the A1 in Yorkshire, consider stopping in at Cleveland.  2019

Seaton Carew
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64112.0.html

Ciao
« Last Edit: September 03, 2021, 02:17:38 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Thomas Dai

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 05:53:12 AM »
Thank you Sean. "I bet you leave with a smile on your face." A recommendation in itself.
The photos remind me a bit of the flatter inland holes at Wallasey, but that's maybe more due to the surroundings.


Is the big fence visible in some of the photos to keep golf balls in or is it something to do with what's outside the course boundary?

atb



Bernie Bell

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 08:18:00 AM »
I agree with BHoover.  Very cool setting.  How do Seaton Carew and Cleveland compare as clubs and as courses?  Did/do they have artisans clubs?  The steel works and related services must have employed many thousands at one time.

Sean_A

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 04:53:59 AM »
Thank you Sean. "I bet you leave with a smile on your face." A recommendation in itself.
The photos remind me a bit of the flatter inland holes at Wallasey, but that's maybe more due to the surroundings.

Is the big fence visible in some of the photos to keep golf balls in or is it something to do with what's outside the course boundary?

atb

ATB

I think there is a golf practice area over the big fence. 

Bernie

I think Seaton Carew is a touch more sophisticated with bunkering and greens.  The clubs are similar, quite local, simple and no frills.  Seaton Carew also has working factories nearby which spill smoke over the links.  Both are the sort of clubs/courses that at present in the US, with all the push toward cheap and cheerful & good use of land, would be heralded instagram/twitter gems. In the UK, they are largely unknown.  Seaton Carew has some of the truest greens I have ever seen and Cleveland's were very good as well! 

I don't know if the clubs have artisans, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do or did.  Some artisan clubs don't share the name of the parent club.  They may take the name of the local village, part of town etc.  There is an artisan site which lists most if not all artisan clubs in England...forget its name.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 04:33:14 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Adam Lawrence

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 05:36:28 AM »
Interesting history. I didn't know much about Cleveland; the only Colt document I have in relation to the course is from 1922 and says that they are looking to relocate because the links is not what it was before the war, and Colt had reported on the new site. There is also a report of MacKenzie providing renovation advice in 1920, but the club deciding to defer because of the works. Then in 1925, we find they have received over a thousand pounds in compensation from the War Office for wartime disturbance, and they are updating their existing course (which is where they still are to this day). No mention in the newspapers of who is advising on the 1925 work (we might hypothesise that it is Colt but as of now can't prove it).


Either way it's another example of Colt and MacKenzie advising the same club separately when they were officially partners. It becomes ever more clear that it was an odd sort of partnership!
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 05:43:22 AM by Adam Lawrence »
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Sean_A

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 02:44:21 PM »
Adam

Do you know which holes Steel created?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Adam Lawrence

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2019, 02:49:31 PM »
No idea, sorry
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Bernie Bell

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Clyde Johnson

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2019, 05:19:17 PM »
Thanks for putting this together Sean. I'd been meaning to get to Cleveland for a while...it might still be a while yet, but i'm sure it will be some day!

Ben Stephens

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2019, 12:29:34 PM »
Sean,


Did you notice the old clubhouse, 1st and 18th location across the road behind the current clubhouse which looks like a prison or police HQ!!


The first seemed to have been the original 2nd and the 18th as the original 17th - were there reasons for doing this?


Cleveland as a course reminds me a bit of Sandilands (which is closed)


Cheers
Ben
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 12:31:05 PM by Ben Stephens »

Sean_A

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2019, 04:05:56 PM »
Sean,

Did you notice the old clubhouse, 1st and 18th location across the road behind the current clubhouse which looks like a prison or police HQ!!

The first seemed to have been the original 2nd and the 18th as the original 17th - were there reasons for doing this?

Cleveland as a course reminds me a bit of Sandilands (which is closed)

Cheers
Ben

Ben

My guess is 14-16 are Steel holes because of how the 15th plays over a hazard, presumably in winter or during hard rain times, but I am not sure.  I suspect Steel combined two holes to create the 18th. At least two holes would have been over the road, presumably the first and 18th.  I wonder if the 18th tee wasn't somewhere in the current parking lot, closer to the sea. 

I don't think the club owns the land over Majuba Rd and a lease may have not been renewed...hence the reason for the changes.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 27, 2020, 04:36:25 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

JJShanley

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Re: CLEVELAND Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2021, 01:04:53 PM »
I played Cleveland in the Mayor's Cup during the recent bank holiday weekend. It turns out that my two playing partners (both members) each finished in the top 4 and contested the matchplay final. That was lovely news to read when I checked the final results.


I enjoyed my morning at Cleveland. Some notes from earlier questions based on conversations I had that morning with a few members while having breakfast:
  • 14-16 are the new holes. (14-15 in particular reminded me of Strandhill for reasons I can't figure out.)
  • The land east of the current clubhouse was indeed 1 and 18. Apparently the club sold the land to the council, who planned on building houses. Apparently that terrain resembled that found on the current 1 and 18 (eg. very good.)
I didn't do much other than play my medal round and eat, but I did notice a sharp contrast between the duneland between the course and coast, to the extent that I wonder whether the land on hole 3-5 and 7-8 was deliberately flattened. World War Two agricultural use, perhaps? Or perhaps deliberately, given some of the rough appears to have more movement than the fairways. I've no idea about the extent of which the club owns land away from the current holes. Apparently there is a SSSI to the northwest of the course.


12 and 17 are quite similar in that they turn left and have bunkers inside the dogleg. But those bunkers, especially on 12 where it deceives your eye in terms of placement, are done well. If there was room to orientate some of the existing par 4s and par 5s on the west of the property then you might have more interest off the tee. 18 is an example of just needing the one fairway bunker to cause havoc. I wouldn't touch the greens, given that they played very well.


Re-orientating a few tees to encourage a fade, given the points about so many tee shots requiring a draw, might improve the course.  That said, I was delighted to play it, would return, and suggest it as an option should you be driving north to Scotland.

Sean_A

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Re: CLEVELAND GC Rocks...Sort of
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2021, 01:05:19 PM »
JJ


Thanks for confirming my suspicions RE 14-16. These holes are welcome additions for Cleveland.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

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