A cluster of three classic heathland courses in and around the area of Nottingham.
Notts Golf Club, often known as Holinwell, is probably the best course in Midlands. Great holes which require a good imagination. A great test, with heather, gorse, bracken and pine in abundance. In great shape. A thorough clear out of trees and undergrowth has opened up this fine heathland.
It was soldier and poet Rupert Brooke that famously said ‘there’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.’ And while golf may have been the last thing on his mind it is here at Hollinwell, deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, that you really get a feel for the meaning of that famous quote.
Many will have heard of Notts Golf Club as a ‘nice’ traditional heathland track but have never been dissuaded from the ‘accepted’ list of the UK’s best golf courses. Big mistake. This course is right up there with the likes of Woodhall Spa as one of the very finest inland courses around. From the moment you break out of the trees on the way in and spot the white clubhouse, welcoming you with smoking chimneys and traditional English fayre such as teacakes and bacon rolls, you know you’re in for a special day. And you are not disappointed. Set in the gently rolling hills at the heart of Robin Hood country in a natural valley within Kirkby Forest that fully utilises the natural undulating terrain, Hollinwell offers heathland golf at its very best.
Right up there with fellow East Midland heathland heroes Notts, Coxmoor has plenty of pedigree too: it’s been a regular Open qualifying venue and US Tour player Greg Owen and former Ryder Cupper Oliver Wilson are both honorary members. Make no mistake, a tough par-73 to crack and being about 600ft above sea level is exposed to the winds from the north and east. This classy club recently celebrated its centenary.
Sherwood Forest gives little away to Notts in terms of test of the long game or its condition. A heathland that can get fast-running in a dry summer and which is a match for much more illustrious inland names.
Even bandits will do well to survive in the heart of Robin Hood country. Majestically plotted between rows of silver birch, pine and oak trees standing proud in Clipstone Woods within the legendary Sherwood Forest itself, this track isn’t regarded as one of England’s finest heathland layouts for nothing. Indeed it’s another slice heathland heaven at the heart of Robin Hood country and also touched by the hands of Colt and latterly Braid. The greens are quality and you’ll do well to negotiate all 94 bunkers!