Situated close to Alfreton and the A38 and set in an idyllic setting of peace and quiet, Alfreton Golf club is a hidden gem.
We arrived at 9.15 on a sunny September Friday morning to see a couple of four balls finishing their round and nipping into the changing rooms. By the time we had a quick chat to pro Nev Hallam. they were back out all suited and booted ready for a day’s work. “That’s good enough for me too” I thought.
“Let’s get a coffee” said Brian but the clubhouse was closed until ten, so off we went. (I was a touch miffed because my idea of golf is bacon cob and coffee before the off.) However, the way I played, I’m stopping the cob and coffee lark because it must affect my game in a bad way!
I’ve been determined this year to improve my game. I talk to so many who tell me they play off 8. I know I’ll never get there but you have to have dreams. But for once in my life I would like to go round in 15 over and smash my handicap. The only other option is just to do nine holes. That should bring it under 100!
The first thing I’ve done is ditch the driver as I’m far too wayward with it. I’ve become quite attached to my three iron as it’s getting me fair distance and a little bit better accuracy on occasions. For instance on the steep uphill seventh ( or is it the 9th?) I went straight up and over the hill something I have rarely done with a driver because I get too excited and, wanting distance, I fluff it every time.
My next quest was to keep my head down. I’m sick of people keep shouting “head up”. If I hear that again I’m sure someone will have “head off”.
So into the first at Alfreton. Which is er…well as we have played over the years here generally been opposite the clubhouse main entrance. Reading the scorecard later we realised the first is now behind the clubhouse giving four par four holes in a row so please add two to every hole you read here, the first is the third, fourth sixth etc which makes the clubhouse the twenty first! If you are playing the full 18 you will go to some holes twice but play off different tees and share the fairway with someone playing the other hole. At this point deduct two from the first number you thought of and just play golf on this lovely course. Sun shining, head down and away. I went towards the trees and Brian went deep into them. “I went in the ditch last time” he said. Being a straightforward hole at off the white tee, this should be a relatively simple par but once on the green I had to contend with the downward slope. The greens were in beautiful condition and fast. That’s my excuse for gliding past the hole leaving me an uphill putt which I left short. So, teeing off good – now my puttings gone awol. Isn’t golf great? Brian had decided to relive old times and try to get in the ditch again but missed it! (Just) Bizarrely I won that hole!
Playing hole two off the elevated tee we got off well. My second shot though was a bit wild. I was connecting well but not as accurate as I would like, as my second shot sailed past the first tee and a chip over (through) the trees which by some miracle landed on the green. Brian had slightly over hit his second to the back of the green and had a tricky uphill put to win. He did.
Alfreton is a pretty tight course. You need to be accurate which makes it a good test of your game. There’s no gung-ho hold here on the front nine. You can do that on ten and eleven.
Brian was straight and true on hole 3 (276 yards) He came away with a par. On a summers day you can get a nice run down the slope if you drive a bit short, but today the dew was quite heavy and held my ball up- five for me here
Hole 4 is a tricky par 3. Get clean over the water and then ensure you are below the flag as the green has a nasty slope. The flag was pretty central so I opted for left of it. I did get there, albeit a little more left than required and carded a four. Brian fell a little short but chipped up well and finished off with a clinical putt.
Goodness knows where my ball went on hole 5. I watched it follow the line of the trees nicely and then drop but we couldn’t find it amongst the rough and leaves. “Stick to the fairway”, said Brian. Do you know I can never see the flag on hole 5. Every time I look up it’s gone! Anyway this was Brian’s hole. The greens were playing straight and true as usual which is a very strong point at Alfreton.
I went long on the downhill par 3 173 yard 6th. But I was happy because keeping my head down was working. Club choice is next job.
I got 4. Brian got par. Grrrrr.
I’ve told you about my glorious uphill shot at the dogleg 7th, my second was slightly short but a chip saved the day. Honours even here.
Again my driving was good and long on the 8th albeit a little to the right. I was happy to come off with a bogey.
Driving over the little bridge is the fun challenge for me at Alfreton, because you only need a chip on to the green and then a putt for a par. Brian got it right. I didn’t. Distance good. Accuracy slightly askew.
We had to shake hands on the 9th as duty called for Brian and we needed a bite to eat before departure. We admit to being slow players on the day but there was no one following and so we chatted and played the longest nine in history. So a re- match is planned.
The clubhouse has been run by Anje and James Gordon for nearly a year now. It’s a twofold arrangement. Anje cares for the clubhouse and James runs a street food business. His bright yellow Citroen van is often seen at the club
They have a nice skill with food although I do fear that golfers who just want pie and chips on the cheap are missing out on some very tasty food from these two foodies. You can’t have both guys. Quality food isn’t cheap. Cheap food is cheap. Get your hands in your pockets and stump up some cash. Stop ordering pots of tea with four straws!
We had a super morning of golf and would encourage you to put Alfreton on your list of places to play. Whilst you do go round 7 of the holes twice, the tees are set challengingly to ensure they give a different aspect to each hole. The top quality greens are a testament to the dedication of the small team of greens staff. They really do look after this course, as one member said “I’m sure if a leaf falls they’re out instantly sweeping it up”. You’re in for a real treat at Alfreton. Don’t miss out.
Ps. If you haven’t played here for a while get a scorecard. In that way you’ll start on the right hole !