What a winter we have had it just does not want to go away, never mind using a golf buggy on the course, a boat would have been more appropriate to get around! There is only a hand full of local courses that can take such a battering from the awful weather we’ve had, and one of these is Bulwell Forest, built on sand stone this course drains really well and thank goodness for that because at the time of writing this I still had not swung a club in 2018!
Let’s get to the point, this course is a lot better than you may first imagine, on first impressions you might think it’s not in the best position against a ring road and a large housing-estate, but you would be wrong to think that because this is the original Nottingham Club and I just love the layout. You have some majestic tee shots and some cracking par 3s to test the very best golfer, theses vary from 93yards to 200 yards.
The Club house benefitted from a refurbishment a few years ago, and they serve a good breakfast and nice pint too. The pro shop will keep you stocked up on balls, chocolate bars and water. This is a very friendly club and relaxed, just the type of course to invite your mates to, especially those that haven’t played in a while. So instead of a hole by hole review, I’ll introduce you to some that I think you’ll enjoy.
You will find there is no par 5 on the front for men and just one for the ladies. The first few holes 1-3, are the ones to help you get warmed up, they’re quite forgiving and you stand a good chance of getting a par on at least one of these. Hole 4 is 255 yards and a par 4. Even though it’s stoke index 16, if you have a slight slice or draw from your tee shot it will leave you a lot to do. Why? Because down the right is out of bounds and down the left are dense trees. To make this a little bit more difficult there are a couple of trees in about 100 yards blocking your straight shot to the green, forcing you to go left.
Put it this way – I walked off with a 7 and Newby a 5 – it could have been a lot worse. Moving on to hole 7, this is a very short par 3, 93 yards uphill. Directly behind the back of the green is a large netting to stop you hitting it onto the road. I always struggle with really short holes, I’m either hitting it way too far or way too short! Newby opted for a 9 iron and a gentle swing which looked like it hit the green. I opted for the same and it looked like mine did also. When we got up there Newby had managed to find a hole in the net! I managed just to cling on and a gentle tap with the sand wedge left me an easy putt for a par. Basically a pitching wedge would suffice. This is the start of 2 of my favourite holes, the 8th a 325 par 4, this is what I call a driving hole. An elevated tee looking down onto a sweeping fairway which goes to the right. For you right handers it should be an easy shot, but for us ‘lefty’s’ with a bit of a slice it could end up on the next fairway. In true Lefty style this is exactly what I did. I had to play my second shot from the 12th fairway. The green on the eighth is massive, so fortunately for me my second shot landed on the green but still left me a 40-foot putt. Now we start to climb back up – the 9th, 311 yards par 4 / index 2. Don’t get caught out on this hole like I did, it’s all about your second shot. It looks, from standing on the fairway, that the green is closer than it is, when in fact it is a lot further back, on a hill. So, do not under club! If I had known this I probably would have got a par.
The back 9 really vary from hole to hole. A good example of this is the 10th, which is a blind uphill tee shot with your second shot having to go over a big dip and hit an elevated green. You have to be accurate and hit it with a lot of power. Not many will walk away with a par on this one. As you get to the 15th the course opens up again giving you the opportunity to hit big long drives which are very enjoyable to play.
The 17th is another cracking par 3, it’s a good old way at 200 yards again so you need to crank up the power. The course finishes with a gentle par 4 winding its way back to the club house.
Over all I like Bulwell Forest, it’s a course I could quite happily play every week, the green keepers do a cracking job of keeping it in great condition despite the locals (some of whom don’t seem to appreciate what a lovely oasis of green this is!) in fact when you play here you get the sense that this is like the start of Hollinwell in some places. If you were looking to become a member of a club then you’re going to be hard set to find a friendlier place and this course offers real value for money.