THE Mercure George Washington Hotel has topped more than 300 UK and European golf courses for the outstanding condition of its course.

The ranking, received this summer, from ‘mystery shoppers’ belonging to the PGA-approved 59 Club, puts it above the likes of big-hitters such as Gleneagles and the Belfry.

And in the battle of American presidents, the George Washington has even trumped Donald Trump’s international golf course as far afield as Dubai.

Rankings for June from the 59 club, a PGA-approved auditing company viewed by the industry as the Gold Standard for measuring excellence in golf, gave the George Washington a huge 94 percent for course condition, putting it ahead of some major household names.

Ian Gray, general manager of the hotel, said: “Getting such a high score from an independent and prestigious body like the 59 Club is a landmark moment for us. It reflects huge credit on our head greenkeeper Mark Hornsby and his team.”

Alan Tait, the North-East and Scotland representative of the 59 Club, said: “Given the brutal winter, followed by the driest summer in about 100 years, the guys have done a great job with the course.

“For the month of June, George Washington finished 0.9% ahead of the “podium set”, which is our three top venues for that month.

“On seeing the course, I can see why. “It’s a truly fantastic score to be very proud of - congratulations to Mark and his team.”

For Mark Hornsby, the recognition vindicates a decade of hard work, lovingly improving the condition of the course.

He said: “From my first day here, almost 10 years ago, my biggest challenge was taking the greens from one inch of root with soil compacted over the years and little or no investment, to where they are now with some seven inches of root.

“Patience has been the key as Mother Nature will not be rushed and the results have been worth the hard work in all sorts of conditions to get to where we are now.”

The Northern Echo:

Kieran Buchan

IT was a family affair at the qualifying event for the American Golf Junior Championship as Newcastle brother and sister Kieran and Amy Buchan sailed through their categories to qualify for the national final.

Competing in the Gross competition, 14-year-old Amy put in a solid performance to take first place in the qualifier at Leven Links.

Amy said: “I was motivated to enter the American Golf Championships so that all my hard work gets recognised and because it will push my game forward competing against other good players.”

Not to be outdone by his younger sister on the day after his 18th birthday, Kieran put in a fantastic performance to take second spot in the Boys’ nett competition with 36 points off a handicap of 13.

Kieran narrowly missed out on first place, scoring the same points as the winner and only missing out by one less point on the back nine holes.

Kieran’s said: “I was motivated by the opportunity to feature on Sky Sports by getting to the final.

"A few years back I made it to the final and really enjoyed the experience but didn’t perform as well as I hoped. Ever since that I’ve wanted to get back to the final and now that I have I will excel under the pressure that I would have previously struggled to face.”