When I meet people who live a long way from the Midlands and I say “I’m from Derbyshire” they all respond in mostly the same way, “Ah, what a lovely part of England”, and they are right as a whole, although that all depends on what part of Derbyshire they are thinking about.
They’re clearly not thinking of Derby city centre or Alfreton Industrial estate! (with the greatest respect to them both). When you say ‘Derbyshire’ people instantly think of rolling green hills, beautiful lush greenery, meandering streams and fantastic views. What they imagine is the view you get on the 13th tee at Chevin; green trees, fantastic scenery with rolling hills, it’s just stunning! Having only played there once many, many moons ago, my memory was a little hazy to say the least. I remember enjoying it, but other than that, it was pretty much like I was playing for the first time.
A LITTLE HISTORY
Like many courses, it was originally a 9 hole course when it was first opened back in 1894, designed by William Lowe a professional from Buxton. Clearly a man who was used to hills then! The clubs existing course of 18 holes covers both parkland and moorland terrain with magnificent views over 5 counties from the Chevin Ridge. The history surrounding the site includes, Paleolithic to Bronze and Iron Age people and later Roman Legionnaires. The course was first conceived at the ‘Court House Farm’ where the Old Court (now a private residence) houses a lock-up where prisoners were kept until their demise, this is close to the 13 hole which is aptly named The Gibbet.
A COURSE THAT PRODUCES TALENT
Back in 1951 Chevin could pride themselves on producing the best talent in the country. Joan Gee member of and production of Chevin Golf Course became the champion of England. In 2007, another member Melisa Reid turned professional, later playing for Team Europe in the 2011 Solheim Cup and at the point of going to press is ranked no.3 in England.
Pride and attention to detail is what clearly drives those involved with the club.
The pro shop and clubhouse sit either side of the putting green, and along with the first tee and the 18th green, create a grassy quadrangle of golf.
When you see 4 people attending to the flowers around the putting green and the perfect condition of the area, you know the course is going to be well manicured.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to play, blue skies and blazing sunshine, the kind of day that was designed for golf.
The first 2 holes are pretty flat par 4’s, not without their challenges but they give you the opportunity go get swinging before the real challenge begins. Then comes the 3rd! Par 4, 407 yards, up hill, stroke index 1. No mater how good your tee shot is the second is always still tough. The dogleg isn’t ‘cut-able’ because of trees to the left.
Then the climb starts and doesn’t stop until the 11th. It makes for some really challenging golf.
The back to back par 3s at the 6th and the 7th holes are a beautiful little area, the blind tee shot on the 6th is a little hit and hope, especially if you haven’t played the hole in the past. At 288 yards it’s a big par 3, and being uphill requires a wood, accuracy and a slice of luck. I thought I’d hit it pretty well, but found myself in the green moat around the hole.
The 7th is only 124 yards, comparatively short compared to the 6th, but this time over a wall, a big bunker and dangers all behind the green. Two par 3s that are as different as chalk and cheese!
Most golfers have heard this name, regarded as one of the hardest hole I’s in the County. A big uphill par 4 that needs some decent striking to reach the green in 2. The size is one thing, the gradient another, but add both of these to a fairway which is arched so that it runs off both sides into dangerous rough unless you hit right down the middle. Not the sort of hole Lefty and I were really looking forward to, as our accuracy so far in the round left a little to be desired! We both needless to say ended up in the rough.
The views all the way back down the hill from the 12th to the 17th are nothing short of spectacular. The green keepers have a real challenge on their hands as a course with such a spectacular setting and layout require a condition that matches. They don’t disappoint. The greens ran true and the fairways were in spectacular condition. The heavy rain we’d had leading up to the round hadn’t had any effect on the course, partly down to the green keepers hard work and partly down to natural drainage.
The 17th is a mixed bag of a hole, personally I liked it and judging from visitors reviews of the course they seem to as well, although the members seem to be divided. The fact that it’s a spectacular tee is not in any doubt. You play down a huge hill to a brook, then uphill to the green. It’s the newest hole on the course and you can tell. Not that that’s a bad thing. Personally I liked it…. maybe the birdie helped.
The clubhouse’s large conservatory has recently been refurbished and is a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a post round pint and food. Looking out over the 18th green and beautifully manicured putting green, you can watch those walking off the course. If they’ve had a good round it’s nothing but smiles. If you’ve had a bit of an off day though the course has the ability to destroy you. Those golfers are easy to spot, they’ll be the ones looking like they’d had a beating!
I can highly recommend the new chefs food, in particular the rhubarb and custard which finished the day of really well.