Travel west from Gateshead and located close to the borders with Durham and Northumberland, Garesfield Golf Course has to rank as one of the most picturesque courses in the North East.
Designed by Harry Fernie in 1922, this lovely parkland course has matured into something very special and offers players of all abilities an experience to be savoured. The flora and fauna are everywhere and at certain times of the year, the course is awash with colour - Garesfield is a photographer's dream, so don't forget to take a camera with you.
But don't let the views detract you from the job in hand; the course is one of the better tests of golf in the region. Fernie certainly did his homework and has produced a lay-out which is fair if you play the course sensibly and punishing should you have an off day from the tees. Yes, there are a number of very strong par 4's where some golfers will struggle to get home in two but these are balanced out with shortish par 5's and a few short but tricky four-shotters, all good birdie chances.
But what impressed me the most on compiling this report was the quality and presentation of the course - it was immaculate. The greens were good, fairways neatly striped, rough trimmed, bunkers raked and too be honest, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that they had prepared for a major European PGA tournament - the green keepers and supporting members have done a fantastic job in preparing the course for the 2009 season.
And away from the course, the magnificent modern two-storey clubhouse offers superb views over the course and surrounding countryside. Visitors are more than welcome at Garesfield and their present special offer of £12 a round on Mondays and Wednesdays or £40 a fourball is real bargain.
Many golfers in the region forget about Garesfield and that's a big mistake. If I had to list my top five courses in the region, this one would definitely feature - it is picture perfect.