Chevin – Up up up and away!

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.


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.

Matlock – Just Below The Mist

County Golfer has for the past couple of years been trying to review Matlock Golf Course, but kept getting told “No, we are not ready for you yet!” In the words of Christian, the Club Pro, “We are on a two year project to return the course back to having a moorland feel about it.”

They have done this by lowering the cut of the whole course from the rough to the greens, and encouraging the moorland heather and the gorse bushes to return. So when we got the call to say that they were ready for us and that the course is the best it’s been for years, the golf bags were in the boot quicker than the boss could say “is it not your day to cover the office?” Matlock Golf Course is positioned on the east side edge of the Peak District; high on the hills looking across the historical Derwent Valley with the Bentley Brook meandering through the course.

Newby and Stav were down to review the course but after Newby retired with his dodgy hips yours truly Lefty was parachuted in to take over. Newby had very kindly got a par for me on the 2nd par 3  before he retired, so it would only be fair if I carried on in the same vein. I got to warm up on the 3rd  479 yard par 5, I watched a couple of members tee off and both of them went up the right of the fairway, and I could see why as the fairway slopes right to left. If you don’t push it up the right far enough your ball will roll down into the rough, both Stav and I followed their lead. Now, if you are a big hitter you could go for the green in two, but as I’m not, I got myself within a wedge of the green which was the right option as I got a par. Well Newby did set the standard.

Standing on the 4th par 3,165yard, both Stav and I were having a right moan, because looking down to the green off the tee you could see that it sloped left to right giving no chance of the ball sticking on the green. “Why make a green like this we said?” Surely you have to give golfers a chance if they play a good shot and  not make it so that if you hit the green your ball rolls off! Both Stav and I hit the green, and as you can guess, the balls both rolled off. I was having a right chunter on the way to the green, and then I realised the green is actually flat; it was an optical illusion caused by sloping hills making it look like the green sloped. So actually it was just my bad tee shot; no excuses!

It does take you about 3 holes to get your eye in and get used to the terrain. This is evident especially on the 5th. Christians own words are, “A tough hole that has been the ruin of many a promising score card.” What makes this hole a potential card wrecker is first, you must clear about 150 yards of rough that drops into a deep gully. Clearing this still leaves a long uphill approach. Reaching the green can very easily lead to the ‘3 putt walk of shame’ both Stav and I walked off with a 7! Don’t worry though, that’s only the stroke index 3!   Hole 6 is the stroke index 1. You do find that on most of the holes you need a good tee shot to avoid the rough. So if you are starting out in this game, I would suggest you visit their new driving range before you hit the course. The 6th is a good example of what I’m talking about; only a good tee shot will do here. There is a lot of heavy rough off the front of the tee. Then you must navigate from an undulating fairway to a narrow elevated green. If you walk away with a bogey you have played it well.


Now you might at this point be thinking “blinking heck! This course sounds tough.” It’s not if you stay on the fairway; this is a thinkers course. Sometimes the driver is not the right option. This course makes you think hard about how you’re going to play each hole before you tee off. Stav and I had many an in depth conversation , standing on the tee discussing the best way to play and which club to use; it makes you focus on the golf. Don’t get me wrong, you do have some holes you should be parring. The14th is one of these. It’s a short par 4 only 255 yards; it’s a blind tee shot to the green but you can drive it. If you have never had an eagle before then this hole will give you your best chance.

Matlock makes good use of the hills. A good example of this is a cracking par 3, hole 10; you could say it’s their signature hole, certainly a strong contender. You stand on a high, elevated tee with a shot across a ravine of ferns, heather and gorse to a green that’s cut into the hillside with bunkers front right and side left. It’s a cracking hole and if played right will become one of your favourites. I must mention that Stav went off the back of the green but chipped in for a birdie; funnily enough it’s Stavs favourite hole on the course! The back 9 uses the hills well, giving you some cracking views off the tee, especially when the cloud came down leaving whisps of it in the valley.

Overall Matlock Golf Course is somewhere special. The work carried out has vastly improved the playing conditions and it is well on its way to becoming a moorland course that will have you using your full arsenal of clubs. If you have not played Matlcok GC before then I would advise you to get a four ball together, hire a buggy and enjoy this corner of Derbyshire. It will give your golf a fair challenge and leave you wanting to come back to see if you could better your score. Card Wrecker the 5th at 403yards (Sally Gunnell will not help you here). Signature hole 10th par 3 (clouds kissing the hill behind the green, elevated tee looking down on the green, picture perfect). Cracking driving hole 17th par 4 (it’s all down hill from this tee to the green).

The Brabazon @ The Belfry

Back in May 2014 yours truly Lefty, Newby and Spence were invited to the relaunch of The Belfry and when I say relaunch I mean 22 million pounds of investment to turn this once tired hotel and course back to the prestigious place it used to be, in fact the paint on the walls was still drying and the smell of fresh carpets filled the air.

Did this investment pay off? Have the businessmen returned to impress their clients? Have the golfers returned to once again do battle with the Brabazon? Well we decided it was time to return to see for ourselves, if these questions had been answered.

As you would expect from this huge investment the hotel interior looks stunning, in fact they have gone for a ‘Great Gatsby’ feel in the lobby; sweeping into the breakfast lounge, which was full of business people  on sofas with laptops on tables, creating a buzz in the air. The pro shop has also benefited from the investment. The changing rooms feel that you have arrived somewhere special. It beats the time we came here  7 years ago when myself, Newby and two putt Plant were literally the only 3 people staying in the 200 plus room hotel!

We though were here today for the golf.  The Belfry has three courses, the PGA, The Derby and the one we all want to play – The Brabazon. This too has benefited from the revamp, a course that was, back in 2010, looking tired and to be honest scruffy, has been brought back to its former glory befitting a course that held the Ryder Cup more than any other venue in the world.

The welcome we got on the first tee from the starter put us all at ease. The first is a relatively easy hole with an open fairway to forgive a wayward shot. Both Spence and I got away clean, Newby on the other hand decide he would take the pictures as he had pulled his back the night before at his Zumba class! The one thing you cannot stop thinking about is the golfing legends who have walked these fairways. You start to think about Seve’s drive onto the 10th green, Sam Torrance’s famous putt that won the 1985 Ryder cup match or Christy O’Connor Jnr with the most brilliant shot on the 18th hole using his trusty 2 iron.

This does heighten your playing experience, the course itself despite the very damp winter we have had, played well and the greens were playing true. I played steady golf on the first 5 holes and even got a couple of pars but then came the 6th and 7th – on these holes you will find the large expanse of water comes into play. Basically you are teeing over it. I must have lost 6 balls and  at one point I had taken a drop then managed to hit it straight back in the water only 3 feet away!

But my moment of glory followed shortly after these two holes, strangely enough on a stroke index 1.

The 8th is 409 yards par 4 with the water running down the left side of the fairway. What makes this hole tough is that the fairway is narrow and the front of the green is protected by a water filled ditch. I managed to avoid all of these hazards and got on the green for 3, but I was still 26 feet from the hole and NOW my moment had arrived as I sank the putt!! Where are all the cameras when you need them? It would have made great television.

One hole on the course that people love is the 10th as you can attack with your driver or lay up short for the shot over the water. Walking onto this green can send shivers down your spine, so take your time and enjoy it. Even though the course is primarily flat you really appreciate the different undulations you get on the greens. It was an enjoyable change not to do the 3 putt walk of shame! We must mention the par 3’s on the course. There are three of them,  one on the front nine the other two on the back. These are a real challenge and my favourite was the 12th.

The green keepers were working on the yellow and white tees so we had to play off the blues. Now we were playing Ryder Cup style which took the hole from a respectable 179 yards to a “which club do I use?” 226 yards. Just to make it extra hard the whole front of the green is protected by a large pond. I shouted over to the green staff “You really don’t like us do you” to which they replied “You will be fine, Seve always hit the green from there!” Thanks for that!

Newby risking his dodgy back went first with a wood, and came up short straight into the water, Spence did the same, I don’t have a wood in my bag so I opted for my driver which turned out to be the right choice as it sailed over the water and landed about 6 foot from the hole! A clap from the green staff, a bow from me, and some mumbled words from Spence and Newby which we can’t print here. I got a solid par.

Spence was still waiting for his ‘moment’. He waited, I would say, until one of the greatest finishing holes you can play – the 418 yard par 4 18th. ‘A daunting drive followed by a daunting approach,’ is how this hole has been described and I would agree with that. As you stand on the tee you are looking at a dogleg left over water. Once you have negotiated this you have another long shot over more water to an elevated green that slopes towards you. If you don’t get a tee shot with just the right amount of draw and distance, your second shot will have to be the shot of your life as you will still be miles away from the green with  the water coming very much in play. In fact you will have to re-enact  the brilliant shot from Christy O’Connor Jnr,  on the 18th hole.

Spence played this like a pro – a great tee shot with just the right amount of draw and a second that landed on the green, he missed the birdie but got a respectable par on this potential card wrecker. That hole really made his day. That’s the beauty of the Brabazon, when you sink a par or even a birdie you almost find yourself waving at an invisible crowd pretending that you are playing in the Ryder Cup. The investment that has been made to the hotel and course has brought back the glamour and prestige it once held.  The Belfry is  once again living up to its name and the expectation you would associate with a place that calls itself the ‘spiritual home of the Ryder Cup’.

Cavendish Golf Club – Buxton

If I met Dr Alister MacKenzie…

…which is unlikely, since he sadly died in 1934, I would buy him a pint of beer and tell him that I played golf like him! MacKenzie was self-described as a “good putter, but a mediocre ball striker”, the latter bit I know my golfing partners will argue with because on a bad day I can be rubbish. On the greens however I’m happy just like MacKenzie.

Now, following in the footsteps of MacKenzie at the only original MacKenzie course left untouched in the world, Cavendish Golf Club Buxton, I would go as far as to say I would add a wee dram or two to the aforementioned beer.

As we set out for Buxton the sun shone brilliantly on a March day. The temperature dropped slowly as we approached Buxton and then rose steadily to be the most glorious day with blue sky, moving white clouds and a brisk wind gusting at times. A perfect golfing day for us.

We were greeted, and given our scorecards, by Rachel a very chirpy person indeed who bemoaned the fact she hadn’t had her hair done for us coming. Fortunately as it was a windy day ours didn’t look great! So she beat us hands down.

I have to say that the all round welcome we received was an improvement from my last visit more than ten years ago. That may sound a bit critical but attitudes have had to change in the world of golf due to economic pressure and the rise in people who play on a more ad hoc basis. Clubs have to be more open to visitors and view them as a lifeline to financial stability. Membership at Buxton though still provides great value for money for the weekly golfer.

Secretary Mike Watson  and club Professional Simon Townend were the perfect hosts and we sat together enjoying breakfast, discussing the course which they are rightly proud of.

Cavendish Golf Club have got together with nine other  imaginatively designed MacKenzie courses all within easy reach of Buxton to form an ‘alliance’, so that you are encouraged to play them all.  The first to play is naturally Buxton as it is the most authentic MacKenzie course to survive and MacKenzie’s inspiration for Augusta, which, among other courses, has altered beyond recognition to accommodate the modern game and TV thereby losing it’s complete authenticity, I would be so bold to say. When Ford stopped producing the Cortina and introduced the Sierra to keep up with modern demands the Cortina was dead and buried. If you change a golf course to accommodate current trends the ‘Old Course’ has sadly gone. I can now put the soap box back in the cupboard!

We smiled as Mike showed us a book that he had been reading about a MacKenzie golf course in Ireland, which I will not name here, whose members thought the MacKenzie course wasn’t hard enough so changed it all round. So much for history Eh?

I read with interest the Cavendish Golf Club’s web page before we arrived. It states “Cavendish is thought by some to be Dr MacKenzie’s most accomplished work in the UK and quite possibly the best layout in the world under 6000 yards. It illustrates how skilfully and creatively he blended the layout of the golf course into the surrounding landscape. Nothing jars the eye, nor distracts from the beauty of the natural setting. Those outstanding course design skills, which brought Alister MacKenzie international acclaim when he created the magnificent Augusta National course, in association with Bobby Jones, were developed and honed during his formative years in Great Britain. Cavendish exemplifies MacKenzie’s belief that “length has nothing to do with the quality of a hole”. I couldn’t beat that description so I won’t try because I agreed with it all even on a March day.

With all this rattling in my brain Simon, Lefty and myself headed out onto the course. We were a man down as Newby hurt his back chopping a tree down on Sunday and then attempted  to play the Brabazon two days later and did more damage, so I decided to play along with Simon and Lefty, whilst I took photographs and wrote about my experience. Not the ideal way  to concentrate on your next shot  but nothing could take away the classy style of this course. I think MacKenzie was a typical Yorkshire man (we could be invaded soon!)  “give nowt away” and this course doesn’t. Bunkers are placed to deceive the eye. You think they protect the green only to find the green another fifty yards or so further on. I considered withdrawing my offer of the wee dram at times… but it still stands.

The Clubhouse is light and airy but Mike said that a revamp is long overdue, so it is due for a complete overhaul. The plans are on display as you walk into the Mackintosh style entrance.  Budgets have been set and work was due to commence two days after our departure. From what we saw it will be a great improvement.

I read one report recently on Cavendish which said it was a bit wet underfoot! It’s Buxton we are talking about here, you get what you get. I lived in Buxton fifty years ago and you accept that it has it’ own climate. Even a Derbyshire Cricket Club match was abandoned here in 1975 due to a heavy snow storm. Some say it was only hail but I was putting a tent up in a friend’s garden in Fairfield that day and I say it was snow as the pictures taken can prove!

Time for golf

At 5721 yards off the yellows this isn’t the longest course you will play but then MacKenzie didn’t worry about that as his idea was to give the golfer a challenge and Cavendish certainly does. He used the natural contours of the land, no earth-movers, just hard hand labour to make a course that blends in and weaves through the  countryside. Nothing is forced it’s just natural, but really tricky to play.

We all got away nicely on the first hole including me! Simon, who has been the Professional here for 18 years went a bit to the left which surprised me! Not really, he was a great sport showing me and Lefty the way and having lots of banter all the way round. The first is a nice par four that slopes a little right to left. Avoiding the trees to the right is important.

It was great to go round with the professional pointing out the features of the course and advising on shots. He got us chipping onto the green at the 15th to see if any of us, including himself, could get near the hole from the back of the green. Even on a green that was a bit wet we couldn’t stop the ball rolling away. He was pointing out the importance of getting the tee shot right on this hole to give you a chance of a decent score. MacKenzie was sadistic!

Take the 122 yard par 3 4th for instance. The pin looks miles away, somewhere  down there over the small stream. Simon, annoyingly,  hit the green, Lefty went right into a bush and I completely over-hit and went across the road into a ditch. On the plus side I missed the stream, lake, bunkers and bush! 122 yards, that’s putting distance nearly.

The sloping third green is great, especially if you end up topside of the hole.  I went into the bunker – great! If you put the ball to the right of the green –  that’s so wrong. Stay left and the putt will be easy on the very quick level green. I think this was my best hole, I went a bit downhill from there!

I loved the 8th. We rounded the corner from the 7th and the sun shone down beautifully as the wind just hit us in the face. Simon’s tee shot held up in the air and dropped nicely on the fairway. A big hit but the wind affected distance. My tee shot went off left down the slope leaving a very tricky ‘back up the hill’ shot. The rewards of approaching the green are the most amazing views of the Derbyshire countryside and you become master of all you survey. I do have to admit that one of the attractions of golf for me is the chance to be in the countryside. Perhaps that is why I don’t play too well as I am easily distracted by a beautiful view.  I just can’t help admiring what I see. While some rush to the next shot I want to take in where I am. On the 10th it is vital to get the first shot right, making the second over the plateau below and small stream, and up to the green a massive chance of getting a par. This should be the signature hole I feel.

During the winter some of the self planted trees have been cleared, opening up views to the clubhouse and allowing the wind and sun to dry out the course naturally. The 14th is the only par 5 shot on the course and being stroke index 7 is quite a challenge, in contrast the 5th is stroke index one. But then again that’s an uphill haul and presents a real challenge not just in hitting the ball but getting your breath!

Playing the 18th through the tunnel of trees provided the final challenge of getting across the ravine onto the plateau beyond after which it’s a good run to the green. Lefty and I both failed and so Simon said “try that again”. I told you he was fun at the start of this article didn’t I? We did as we were told and hit our shots high and long landing on the fairway, perfectly positioned for  our second shot. (If you believe that twaddle you’ve had far too many pints of Thwaites bitter). My balls are still down there. I’ll be pleased if you find them because it means you’re down there too. Two can play this sadistic game.

Simon has been the `professional at Buxton for eighteen years and despite other job offers from this country and Europe, has stayed put, and I can see why. Lets face it, he’s quite unique being  one in seventy two worldwide as there are only seventy two MacKenzie clubs left and Buxton is an original. As he went off happily to give a lesson to someone he said “anytime you fancy teeing off early this summer lads, give me a call and I’d love to play another round with you”. That’s an offer we will definitely take up as long as he plays off yellows this time!

Sinfin Golf Course

On Thursday the 2nd June, Fame Tate travelled to Sinfin/Derby Golf Course to carry out a course report. Here is her thoughts.

I had never played the course before so I was really keen to see what it was like, particularly as it is no longer council run and has been managed by Seven Hills Leisure Trust since July 2015.

I was informed that since that time, many improvements have been made to the course by the grounds maintenance team. They have worked relentlessly in order to improve the playability of the course with new maintenance equipment, a revised cutting regime and enhanced fine turf.  The playing season has been lengthened with improved winter tee mats, in order to make the course playable for longer periods throughout the winter months.  A “no close policy” has also been introduced, keeping the course open whatever the weather.

Our day didn’t get off to a perfect start due to an accident and closure of the A38 so we were running extremely late for our booked tee time.par-5-3rd-hole

However, on entering the professionals shop, we were made to feel very welcome and at ease by Andy Foulds, the head professional and Mike Johnson, the shop assistant, who were very helpful. The clubhouse had a very nice to feel to it and seems very popular for lunch.  It was lovely to see a group of seniors enjoying the home cooked roast dinners and curries.  Steve, the steward was friendly  and made us two lovely sandwiches to take out onto the course as we were late.

Needless to say we didn’t get off to the best start however, after three holes we had both started to settle down.  The third hole is a 366 yard par 5 which is a slight dog leg to the left, followed by a 165 yard par 3, where we were greeted by a very friendly member of the greens staff.  The front nine was very nice with some lovely yet testing holes.  One of my favourites on the front nine was the 368 yard, par 4 eighth hole.  The ninth hole was a testing dog legged par 5, stroke index 1 off the red tees, which brought you back to the clubhouse.

Chatting to some of the members in the clubhouse before our round, they were keen to tell me that the front nine is one of the toughest in Derbyshire.

Off the red tees, the back nine starts with a fairly straight forward 366 yard par 4 followed by two nice consecutive par 3’s, which is quite unusual, but a refreshing change.

Mum found the par 5, 497 yard, 13th hole one of the hardest as she found the right hand rough off the tee and then continued to play down the right hand side.  It did seem quite a long slog for the average lady golfer.

I found the 17th hole particularly pleasant, despite losing my ball off the tee in the right hand rough.

The short 18th hole was a nice way to finish despite it being quite difficult to negotiate our tee shots through the small gap of over hanging trees down either side of the fairway.

For me it was a nice change to play off the red tees however, we both certainly found some of the holes quite tough.

There has clearly been the removal of some trees, which was quite noticeable on some of the holes as the marked stumps were visible.  This has without a doubt increased the playability of the course and helped the overall aesthetics.

There are still plans for 2016.Fame-approach-to-the-8th-green

Green Renovation: A powerful aeration process and 90 tons of kiln dried sand will enhance root growth and drainage, allowing the course to remain drier for longer.

Course Maintenance: Once recovered, the greens will be cut shorter and scarified regularly to improve speed and promote a smoother roll.  As well as improving the greens, their chemical and fertiliser programmes will also increase the durability of the tees and approaches.

Increased Participation: The Seven Hills Leisure Trust aim to work jointly with Derby Golf Club to develop new initiatives encouraging participation from the local community, sharing their passion for golf with local schools and organisations.

There are a number of fantastic membership packages available, catering for everyone’s needs, which include Golfit, Junior, Under 25’s, ‘Play Later’ and a 20 round ‘week day’ pass.

All of the packages give you additional access to Beauchief, Birley Wood and Tinsley Park which are located in Sheffield and Tapton Park which is located in Chesterfield.

For more information visit or call 01332 766462

All in all, we both had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and the course was an absolute pleasure to play.  It is a fair and good test of golf for any golfer of any ability, with beautiful and mature tree lined fairways.  It was also a lovely change to play somewhere flat but testing.  I would most definitely look forward to playing it again and recommend it to anyone.approach-shot-to-8th-green

Chevin Golf Course

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.


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.


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.

Chevin-CR-5-Jun16THE COURSE

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.

Chevin-CR-4-Jun16THE 19TH HOLE!

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.

Southwell Golf Club

Not many courses can boast 9 holes that are situated in the middle of a racecourse but that’s exactly what you get at Southwell GC.

Upon arrival, you will find a modern clubhouse that serves food all day and has a well stocked bar as well as a well stocked professional shop. Chris the club pro gave us a warm welcome and after a quick coffee and a bacon cob we made our way onto the course, which by the way is accessed by walking across the race track. You do have to take your time crossing because those horses can’t half run fast!!

When you get to the first you soon realise that the front 9 are going to be tight and you also soon notice that there are a lot of water hazards that cut across fairways, for example, on the 7th you will find yourself hitting over a large lake onto an almost island green.

The first is quite a nice simple opener to get you warmed up, no real hazards and a well struck iron will get you onto a rather generous green where there is a real chance of a birdie.

The second becomes more challenging as down the right is the race course which is all out of bounds. This marked a first for me, never before have I had to chip over a ‘Steeple Jump’ to get back onto the fairway, however I only had myself to blame as hitting the wide open fairway shouldn’t have been a problem. Lefty seemed to be enjoying himself and got a solid par, in fact he parred the last one as well – something was wrong!

The 4th marks the first par 5 on the course, at over 500 yards it takes some hitting. A pulled drive by both of us found us on a little hill which gave us a great vantage point of the green, however there was still over 200 yards to go and both of us laid up short with a relatively easy chance of a par or birdie.


The sixth hole even though 28 yards longer than the par 5 fifth, is a par 4 stroke index 1.  This is an outstanding hole to play as the racetrack runs all the way down the right hand side of the fairway, behind which sits the grandstand.

The seventh is the course’s signature hole and this is first time the water really comes into play.  A short 131 yd par 3 which gives no room for error.  Water guards the front, left and back of the green making it Southwell’s version of the famous 17th at Sawgrass.  The fact that the next tee is right next to the green means that you have an audience, and that adds to the pressure.

The ninth tee shot plays directly over the water again, however a 150 yard carry easily clears this hazard, so it shouldn’t be in play.  After finishing the ninth you leave the racetrack part of the golf course.  After dodging the horses you find your way onto the tenth, which again is a relatively short par 4 but only 309 yards long but, be aware that the river cuts straight through the fairway 200 yards in front of you, and because of modern day flood defences the banks are built up very high making a further hazard.

We watched the people teeing off before us, laying up short of the River Greet. As you know by now, this is not how we play golf.  We imagine we are much better than we really are and decided to drive over the river.  Lefty was up first and hit an absolute screamer just at the same time as Chris the pro walked past and he shouted ‘that’s over, you’re on the fairway’.  Newby on the other hand drove his tee shot straight at a tree but got a member’s bounce and landed just short of the river.  After crossing a beautiful new modern bridge that’s just been built, Lefty found himself needing just a chip onto the green which he duly did and sunk it for a birdie.  This is definitely a risk or reward hole.  If you get over the river it is definitely a birdie chance.

The course really opens up now – gone are the tight fairways of the front nine, now you feel that you can really let rip with your driver.  The eleventh which is a par 4 391 yard hole has a slight dog leg to the left.  For Lefty however, he had to be careful as all down the left side of the fairway is the river so a slice shot which is his usual way would find him in the drink.  He was very aware of this so over compensated and managed to hit the straightest drive of the day into the trees on the right of the fairway instead.

I left him to find his ball and moved on and didn’t see him again until I stood on the 12th tee.  I said ‘where have you been?’ his reply ‘don’t ask’ and judging by the twigs in his hair and the dejected look on his face, I knew that he didn’t find his ball and lost the battle with the trees.

Let’s move onto the 12th – a par 3 131 yards long.  You need to try and find the top tier of this challenging par 3, anything short will leave you with an uphill putt.  Anything long off the tee and you will find yourself in the neighbouring farmer’s field, who doesn’t take too kindly to you retrieving your ball, as Newby found out.  It’s amazing how fast he can run when the farmer’s dog is chasing him.

Weave your way up the tree lined fairway and you’re on the sixteenth.  The 4-ball in front of us tee’d off.  Now as visitors to this course, we tend to watch the people in front and learn from them how the hole needs to be played, however in this instance we thought they’d miss hit it on to the wrong fairway as we watched them wander off onto what we thought was nothing but rough.  How wrong we were? As fairways go this must be the most extreme example of a dog leg in the county! We both cut the corner as much as we dare but still found this to be nowhere near enough as the fairway feels like it’s coming back on itself.   We would play this hole very differently next time we have the opportunity.      


Card Recker Alert!! Hole seventeen.  This is a relatively short par 4 at only 434 yards long – don’t be fooled!  The fun awaits you at the raised green with the river Greet right at the back giving you no room for error.  By a raised green I mean a 20 ft raised green so the question is ‘can you get your ball onto the green and stop it rolling into the river behind? Or do you lay up short and go for a tap on.  Lefty used all his luck on this one.  He attacked the green which he hit but the ball rolled and stopped just short of the river, the fun part for me was watching him stand precariously on the edge of the river bank trying to get his ball back to the green without falling into the river.  Unfortunately, he didn’t fall into the river and managed his shot.

You finish with a gentle par 3.  We did notice a new tee being built which will make this hole a bit more challenging as you’ll have to play over the river Greet, but for now, the tee is the other side of the river so after crossing the bridge, you play this simple par 3.


  Overall the course is a great challenge for all level of golfers.  The racecourse makes it a real unique experience.  It’s refreshing to visit such a forward thinking club that have plans for the future of this great course.  It is worth noting that if you’re a junior or a female golfer, Southwell offers some great introductory packages rather than just throwing you into a full 18 hole course.  You are integrated gradually which is a great help and far less daunting for newcomers to the game.  It’s well worth a word with Chris White, their pro about these options.  They also have great raceday packages on offer – check their website for details.


Worksop Golf Club

When you think about joining a golf club there are a lot of variables that are thrown into the equation and a big one for me is the people that you are surrounded by. Are they friendly? And then for all of us the course must be good, and has its pedigree stood the test of time? Are they still working at it and trying to make it better and not resting on their laurels? The catering facilities are vital too. If any of the above is what you require then look no further than Worksop Golf Club.

Secretary Manager Alan Mansbridge, a very professional man, invited us along to look at the latest developments at Worksop. Coming from a business background he understands the importance of maintaining the club at a high level and pushing it forward to cope with the pressures and demands of the 21st century.Having said all that, he is a very genial man with a cracking sense of humour and friendly demeanour, and that’s something we found true of everyone at the club. If they wanted a reason to feel aloof they’ve got one, home of some of golfs greats including Lee Westwood (whose mum I bumped into) but they are n’ like that at all. As we sat around the Captains table (you don’t get that everyday!) with Alan and 2015 Captain Roy Dexter and Rob Acheson  the new head greenkeeper appointed in summer 2014, we enjoyed plates of sandwiches and chips all served by pleasant staff. I sat there thinking that I could join here. Would you believe that a course of this calibre would only cost you £1000 per year, equating to £20.00 a week. As you would expect, there aren’t too many membership places available but there are just a few 7 day memberships left. I suggest getting in early if you fancy it.


The club was  established in 1914 and is regarded as one of the Counties outstanding courses being set right on the edge of Sherwood Forest. It prides itself on both difficulty (6628 yards par 72 for men and 5928yards par 74 for ladies) and the quality of each hole. County Golfer has had the opportunity of playing the course a couple of times in the past I0 years and found it an exacting challenge. You always get the feel that if you play well you’ll be chosen for the Ryder Cup! And why not – others have! Worksop GC has a long tradition of providing the base for world class golfers including Lee Westwood,  Mark Foster,  Maurice Bembridge and David Snell. I felt that Lefty and Newby would feel at home at Worksop, being a couple of bandits(!), so it was up to them to play the course and relay their thoughts to me. Having played the course myself and knowing a little of its difficulty, plus a good read through the course plan and Worksops own thoughts on the holes, I set them a challenge beforehand whilst I looked on and took the photographs. (More of that later)


Head greenkeeper Rob, a keen golfer himself,  is only 29 years of age and comes to Worksop with great ambition which is good and as we know that always needs to be tempered with experience and he is surrounded by it. I’m sure the team will flourish together and push forward to make improvements to an already great course. He will also bring the latest techniques to the club and obviously things to make the course unique.

Worksop will be the County Course in 2017 so work is afoot in preparation for this.

As a for instance, Rob has redesigned the bunkers on hole 11, and changed two bunkers into three pot bunkers on hole 14. White sand from Scotland has been introduced and is starting to settle in nicely on the two bunkers already completed, generally this can take up to a year to settle.

Competition tees have been introduced especially noticeable on the 12th. Holes 9,16 and 17 will be lengthened too. This year they are hosting the Northern Road Classic sponsored by Soper BMW. There are still a few places available for this so be quick and visit Worksop Golf Clubs website to book.

Like a lot of golf clubs the trees have been thinned out to let more light onto the course creating better air circulation too. New tress have been planted in strategic areas to enhance the course.

There’s no sitting back here after a great Centenary year last year, it’s onto the next 100 years for Worksop for which Alan still expects to be in charge!

After chatting and waiting for the horizontal rain to stop and the flags to return to a normal position it was time for golf. I set Lefty and Newby a challenge which failed immediately as Newby hurt his back on Monday night so our newest recruit to the game of golf , Rob Jones (quiffy) was drafted in. I felt sorry for him as this is a monster of a course for a beginner, but to his credit he gave it a go. Lefty played with Head greenkeeper Rob.


Garrys Challenge;

Hole 3 lay up, chip on and one putt:

Now this hole is arguably the toughest par 3 in the county, but saying that, last time I played it I nearly got a hole in one, so not going for the green was going against the grain, but I still did anyway. I hit a screamer straight at the green only to watch it fall short and land in a bunker to which Garry shouted “you’re suppose to lay up not go in a bunker”, I did however managed to chip on but as for the one putt? No chance, I had to sink a 13 footer, I came close but no medal I’m afraid.

Hole 4

Newby- Go for it and cut the corner. Lefty-get it to the dogleg corner for a straight shot in.

Well since Newby was a no show (pulled his back samba dancing), it was up to me to fulfil my part, I watched Rob the head green keeper take a 3 iron off the tee and land his ball perfectly in the corner of the dog leg, so I thought I might as well do Newbys bit so I got the driver out and scuffed it 50 yards into the trees, luckily for me upon reaching the  ball it favoured a Lefty and from that point I got it into the corner of the dog leg giving me a 3 wood shot onto the green. Big hitters can go for the corner but you need a big carry.

Hole 10 – No drivers just irons. Play seniors golf! Nice and straight down the middle.

I thought I played seniors golf any way! I would just like to point out this hole is a par 5 so to tee off with an iron was going against the grain, I hit my 3 iron off the tee then proceeded to play my next two shots from the 9th fairway, so I think I get disqualified on that one. In fact this hole found all 3 of us at some point attacking the hole from the 9th fairway so disqualification all round, but it did give Rob the opportunity to see which trees need felling.

Hole 13 – He is being nasty here. It’s a stroke Index 1 and only 412 yards! “Should be an easy par” he says! Standing on the tee the fairway slopes up and disappears over a ridge, Rob told us “on a day like this (56-60MPH winds and a tree did get blown over on the course while we were there!) we are going to be lucky just to get past the women’s tee”. We did managed that at least, but a well struck tee shot just saw my ball hang in the air and only go about 160yards, in fact I’m sure it started coming back towards me. As far a par No chance! On a day like we played it should have been a par 12.

19th buy a beer. According to Garry we haven’t managed that before!

I’m afraid we failed this one, what can you do? When putting out on the 18th the Secretary comes out from the club house and says “what do you fancy Larger or Ale?”  to refuse would just be rude .

How would we sum up our day? Despite the strange weather – rain, bright sunshine, wind blowing a tree over on the 16th  and Garry’s weird challenge, we had a great time. The course is outstanding and top of the tree (not the one that fell over) in our books. The blind tees shots make it a thinking game, the quick and sometimes very sloping greens present a most mind blowing, frustrating challenge and even when it rains the course dries quickly. I think you may guess, we had a great day all round and  so we are returning on a sunny summers day at Alan’s invite.

Once in the warm clubhouse we recalled our victories and losses (where was Quiffy,  last seen under a tree?).

The panoramic view from the clubhouse takes in the first tee and the 18th green plus a few more holes too making it a great place to sit and enjoy your food and drink. It’s also available for private functions and as the catering is very reasonable priced and tasty, it’s well worth a look if you’re planning an event, or society day.

Our thanks to all at Worksop Golf Club for a cracking day. The County Golfer lads.


Horsley Lodge Golf Course

When news comes into the office that Horsley Lodge would like a course report, a fight for the right to play usually unfolds, why? Because it’s a great golfing experience from the club house (full English Breakfast) to the course.

Newby and myself won the fight (the usual putt off in the office) to go down and write the course report, we were met in the club house by Richard Salt, one ½ of the Salt team the other being his brother Malcolm.

Richard took us on a little tour of the hotel to show us the investment that has been made especially on the wedding side of things, which I must say is very impressive. With a large function room with its own bar and an outside atrium, they employed an interior designer so as you can imagine everything looks pleasing to the eye. I must admit I got a bit worried when Richard invited us into the ladies bathroom but this was to show us that no expense has been spared, it was fitted with gilded  mirrors and a deep plush tartan carpet . It must have looked a bit strange when 3 blokes walked back out but fortunately for us no one saw us and no one knows!!

Horsley Lodge is a club that is constantly developing, the work that has been going on over the winter on the course, come summer, will push it forward again, for example a new pond and ladies tee have been constructed on the 6th which comes into play (but not according to Newby! More on that later). The soil that was dug out for the pond has been used to build new medal tees on the 2nd making it 25yrds longer. They have reshaped the 2nd green, levelled the 4, 7 and 13 tees, the 3rd green has been reshaped. One of the biggest changes you will see is on the 15th where the water is now diverted around the front of the green creating a island green with the trees at the back of the green being removed.

So now we know the changes, let’s get onto the course. The 1st is a par 5 459yrds long,  a good drive will give you chance of a birdie if not a solid par, just make sure you aim at the church spire from the tee. My driving has managed to sort its self out over the winter, my slice had gone and I was diving long and straight but it’s amazing what 2 months of not picking up a club can do!  This did however cause a bit of an upset as my ball thumped on the fairway just as one or two seniors had taken their second shot, but it did help move them along.

On the second, a par4 308 yards you can see the green in the distance below you again as it’s not the longest par 4,  a good drive should get you within a 7 or 8 iron of the green where you can see the work they have put in over the winter with its new shape.

Finally the 3rd a par 3 147 uphill shot was the scene of my first par, for me it was a well struck 6 iron, this hole always plays further than you think and both Newby and myself hit the green. I should have birdie the hole but rattled the rim instead. Newby had a more difficult putt as the green is two tiered and he ended up on the top putting down to the hole and unfortunately for him ended up with a 4.

As you stand on the 4th you cannot help to be impressed, the hole on the day we played looked enticing as the sun was shining on the green and I was full of confidence as I stepped up to the tee and hit a beauty down the fairway, you know the kind of shot where you can stand and watch it as it sails majestically through the air! Well that’s what happened in my head, the reality is that it sailed majestically across the floor skipping up and down the fairway. Fortunately as the fairway slopes away from you it did go quite far, but it left me with a dilemma as there’s a dyke that cuts across the fairway that was now in play. As you know by now, I think I’m a better golfer than I am so I went for it, I got the distance right but just not in the direction of the green, a double bogey ensued.

Let’s move onto the 6th; this is the hole where they have introduced a large pond (fountain to follow later in the year) in front of the tee, I said to Newby “this looks a bit daunting” but he said “no, it’s not in play, you will go straight over that” As I teed off for the 3rd time I wanted to disagree with him.

Newby was playing good golf, his hit just landed another par on the 6th and he was letting me know how well he was playing! But the 7th a par 412 downhill hole was the scene of my comeback. My tee shot went straight and long but it was my second shot that I was more happy about, it was a blind shot to the green and I struck a solid 6 iron and watched as my ball disappeared off the brow of the fairway. As we approached the green we could see something white about 6 feet from the green, Newby was adamant that it was a goose feather shining in the sun, but he had to eat his words as it was my ball in fact, pitched about a foot from the hole. If only I could learn to put spin on the ball, never mind I’ll get Fame Tate to teach me for next time.


Newby was not impressed and wanted to seek revenge on the next hole the 8th  a par  4 291yrds. Now you might think 291 yard par 4, easy! Well you’re wrong the tee has been move back as far as the course allows with a rather large brook running all the way down the left side of the fairways making the landing area very narrow. The green is cut back as close as possible to the water making the approach shot a hairy experience.

As usual after playing two great shots I went back to scuffing my tee shot, but it was in the direction of the fairway. Newby on the other hand hit the water twice almost followed by his driver. We both made a real pig’s ear of this hole, but it gave me an opportunity to see how well the banks are cut, in fact the condition of the complete course was excellent. What sets a great course apart from a good course is the detail ie. how well the paths are maintained, the tidiness of the bunkers, how well the grass is cut around the water hazards and the bridges that go over them, and I really cannot fault  Horsley Lodge on this.

You follow this hole with a cracking par 3 shooting over a dyke toward the club house where on a sunny day you could have 30-40 people watching you tee off.  I always thought this would make an excellent finishing hole. (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, Richard!)

You now cross the road to reach the 10th where it’s worth pointing out that they have a stone built half-way house selling coffee, sausage rolls etc.  But one thing we did know was that you need something called money to buy these things, where did all that loose change go in my golf bag? Oh I remember ,“Gleneagles” sausage roll and coffee £13!!

You now sweep up to the furthest points of Horsley, the highlight being a great little par 313 yards where the front of the green is protected by water. I missed the green and water but a nice little chip shot rescued a par, this was followed by the 13th, a straight with an elevated tee and the option of going for the corner on this dog leg left or playing it safe and driving over a diagonal wall into the knuckle of the fairway. One thing we did notice on this hole was that a lot of trees have been removed  making the hole better looking in my opinion . I hit my best drive of the day taking on the corner and getting over it, even Newby said “good drive”. We were by this point looking at each other and saying “this is why we play golf” we had picked the best day of the year so far and Horsley was complementing it.

The next hole to grab your attention is the par 3  165yrd long 16,  a ‘front cover’ shot hole. If you could you would hit a few off the tee just because it’s such a pleasure to play. All this is soon hit out of you when you play probably one of the toughest par 4s in Derbyshire, at 417 yards long. To try and hit the green in two for us mere mortals could be suicide, most people would adopt a 3 stroke strategy, the green is almost an island with water protecting the front of the green. I would say this is their signature hole, whichever way you choose to play it you will enjoy it.

After you have been humbled by the 17th you find yourself up against a tough drive off the 18th tee where you have to negotiate trees and get over water. Even for the big hitters there are some bunkers to catch you out, if you manage to negotiate this off the tee you have a ridged fairway so you could end up with the ball below or above your feet.  Looking at the green you think –  hit it too hard and you’ll go over it and onto the road behind, but trust me you will not, the green is plenty big enough to go for and the club house in the back ground is a welcomed sight. With the sun on our backs we both agreed that Horsley Lodge has everything for the modern golfer, the course has been recently ranked No1 course to play on Golfshakes website and out of a survey among Midland golf professionals it currently ranks 3rd behind Cavendish and Kedleston as one of Derbyshire’s best courses. In my opinion though the way they keep improving they could soon climb higher.

We would like to thank the Salts and all at Horsley for making our visit a pleasant one Lefty