I would say that Chevin Golf club is one of our better courses in the area, and certainly one of the most picturesque, as the course winds its way up and down with cracking views towards Derby and beyond. If you talk to some local golfers this puts them off playing here because it is quite a walk, I always thought that this is the reason they play golf, not because of the golf, trust me I have seen them play! This now is not a problem, because the club has invested heavily in brand new golf buggies,which is a game changer for them. I’m sure a lot of you reading this will now take advantage of this new investment as we did, and I can assure you we reviewed this course on one of the hottest days of the year but came off the course not shattered like the last time we played here.

Along with the addition of golf buggies, Chevin has also invested in new mowing equipment. This has made the biggest change of all in our eyes, the definition between rough, edge of green and the greens themselves is to be applauded. Also they have employed a new golf manager, Andy Mellor from St Austel, who we met in the club house after the round, we were impressed with his driving ambition and passion for the club.

So all in all Chevin have all the right pegs in the right places, so the only thing to do now is get onto the course to play. Newby was my playing partner today and we took full advantage of  having buggies and stocked up on golf balls and water from the very well stocked pro shop. The first is a steady hole to get you warmed up, a 349 par 4. The fairway is forgiving, so for your first tee shot of the day there is not much to worry about even with my slice!

From this point you will start working your way very quickly up the hill creating some tough up hill shots, but also some cracking holes. One of these holes you ‘will or will not enjoy’ is the stroke index 1, hole number 3 simply called “The Hill”. From the tee it looks quite a straight forward shot but what you don’t realise is that the second is an uphill shot onto a blind green. To hit the green in two would require a lot of skill and a bit of luck. I walked away with double bogie and was happy with that as it is a potential card wrecker.

The bonus I think, of having a course built on a hill is that it creates some cracking par 3’s, so after being humbled by the 3rd you get relief on the next hole. “The Spinney” is a par 3 at 124 yards long. Basically on this hole hit the green first time, as anything to the right of it will roll off into the trees.  Anything short will more than likely go into the bunkers guarding the front. Both Newby and I hit the green and walked away with pars. Even though I was a good way from the hole I did rattle it for a par, this is the beauty of investing in new cutting equipment as the greens were stunning, the ball ran fast and true the way I like them.

On the front 9 you get two par 3’s that follow each other, the 6th being a long 228yards while the 7th is 124yards, the 6th is a trick shot especially if you have not played it before as it’s a blind tee and the fairway slopes up away in front of you. It’s really deceiving but not that far. I wrongly used a driver and managed to hit the back of the green and out of bounds.  A well struck wood will see you get near if not on the green. I learned a lesson there. The green itself has a green moat around the front and a steep bank at the back so you do have a good chance of hitting short and rolling onto the green which Newby did.

Let’s move onto one of the most talked about holes amongst Derbyshire Professionals. Why you might ask, especially as this hole has no bunkers on it, easy!!

It’s called “Tribulation” for a reason. If you are playing in a competition this hole is always at the back of your mind, it will not forgive a wayward drive. OOB down the right and left on this tight fairway that slopes away left and right, you have to hit the middle. After doing this, it’s all up hill. A difficult uphill 2nd shot to a green that has OOBs on the right, and over the wall at the back of the green is challenging too. Both Newby and I found the OOB and nearly took a woman out walking her dog, who got revenge on us by popping the said golf ball in it’s mouth and  running off with it…The dog not the woman! If you come off hole with a par, pat yourself on the back as you managed something that most pros cannot do.

You really are now starting to climb. The 9th is called “The Beacon” you will see why when you stand on the green, the views are stunning. I will now hand over to Newby who will carry on the story as it’s my turn to drive the buggy, Lefty.

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I can’t remember any of that happening Lefty! Especially the birdie!! 😉

And on with the round as we continued to climb on the 10th hole, an interesting driving hole, where you have to circumnavigate three fairway bunkers with your drive. Laying up short is an option, but one that leaves you a 175yd  minimum approach shot, as a higher handicapper I’d go for this all day long. A 5 on your card here is not a bad result at all.

The 11th hole really starts messing with your mind, not so much the golf, but more the fact that you’re going up hill still! Surly an 18 hole golf course going up and down a hill will have 9 holes going up and 9 down. How are we still climbing on the 11th? What’s about to happen? Does the club provide oxygen or should I have brought my own? How steep are the remaining 8 holes? Spoiler alert! The answer comes at the 17th. But for now the par 3 11th is a lovely little hole, with a massive 2 tier green, hit the wrong one and a 3 is a very good score.

And so the descent begins!

Starting with a drive, with a little slice I sent one flying over the two bunkers on the left and round into the middle of the fairway of the 12th, my best drive of the day by far. The additional distance due to a good tail wind, playing down hill and a thin altitude (Maybe the last one is an exaggeration, but it is high!). The green is surrounded by bunkers, with just a small opening to play through if you land short, which unless you approach from the right is incredibly tough. Then comes the views, and what views they are too. I’ve yet to play a course that can match Chevin for the incredible sights from some of their tees. Words cannot describe how good they are, fortunately the camera can! The view from the Ladies on the 13th cannot be beaten, take a look even if you are not going to play it.

The sweeping holes back down the course continue, with the par 3 14th  being a stand out hole, where precision is key. It’s less than 150 yards, but miss left and you have nothing to do but hope it either sticks above the bunker or, if you’re longer hope it rolls down, go right and… well yeah, you’re in trouble. You’ll finish at least 20 feet below the green and a 4 is a good score.

Earlier I mentioned the 17th as being the hole where you eventually end up back playing on the flat. It’s a hole that seems to have divided opinion with some of the members really not liking it. Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth. It’s a good hole! Standing so elevated above on the tee, you have to drive down the hill, but not so far as to reach the brook or rough. Then the approach to the green is a big uphill iron over the brook. If your drive is left or right of the fairway, the bottom of the hill determines how big your approach will be, varying by at least 50 yards. It’s a real challenge, yes it still looks a little open and new, but it will mature, the trees will grow, when you have a buggy it’s not that tough to walk down. I like it!

But then again I like the whole course, it is mature, well laid out, a real challenge. Add all that to the improvements they have made to the condition of the course with the new equipment, it’s now a genuinely top course. With the buggies you no longer have to be Edmund Hillary to get the most out of the course as well. All in all, over the past year, the club have taken another big step forward.

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