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ROCKLIFFE Hall are still investing heavily in their five-star golf resort, writes TIM TAYLOR.

The first part of a pounds 60m outlay on the course, hotel and spa was recouped last season with their first anniversary arriving shortly after a milestone of 10,000 visiting golfers.

Now, determined to maintain standards at a course standing on the banks of the Tees in the south Durham village of Hurworth, course manager Davy Cuthbertson has overseen a pounds 500,000 outlay on new green-keeping machinery.

A further pounds 16,000 has been spent on buggy paths around the course plus another pounds 14,000 on haulage routes around the property for maintenance vehicles.

Cuthbertson and his team made a magnificent job of preparing the course for The Journal Champion of Champions two months ago.

Rockliffe boast 11 full time green-ke epers. Then there's three seasonal workers, a mechanic in the machinery centre and three permanent gardeners for the hotel.

Said Cuthbertson, formerly in charge at Slaley Hall, "We do not need to introduce winter tees or greens. "Any excess water drains off into the wetlands on the course and gives us a great recovery rate from rainfall.

"And with five different tee positions you can play Rockliffe as one of the shortest courses in the county - or anything up to the longest in Europe.

"All the greens and tees are cut by hand mowers every day.

"The fairways are shaped to follow the contours of the landscape."

NO SURPRISE TO TIGER HE'S BEEN DETHRONED BY RIVAL WESTWOOD TIGER Woods last night admitted his poor form meant it came as no surprise to be ousted from the top of the world rankings by Lee Westwood.

The Englishman replaced Woods as world number one after Ryder Cup team-mate Martin Kaymer failed to finish in the top two at the Andalucia Masters.

Six European players now feature in the top 10, with Graeme McDowell's victory in the Andalucia Masters lifting the US Open champion from 13th to 10th. Woods admitted: "I'm not ranked number one. In order to do that you have win golf tournaments and I didn't win one this year.

"That's how I got there in the first place and that's how I maintained that position for a long time.

"Hopefully I can win some events - I'm playing three more - and get it turned around. "As I said, you have to win in order to become number one in the world and you have to win a lot to maintain it. That's just the way it goes."

Woods' last victory came in the Australian Masters in November last year, just days before revelations emerged about his private life following a car crash outside his house in Florida.

He is due to defend his title in Melbourne next week and also play in his own tournament in California at the start of December and added: "Hopefully I can end on a good note.

"I'm looking forward to the next three events, I've done some pretty good work with Sean (Foley, his coach) since the USPGA."


KEEPING A TIDY GREEN Slaley old boy Davy Cuthbertson with his green-keeping team at Rockliffe Hall
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 2, 2010
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