Mapperley Golf Club

I was quite intrigued by the course badge – a cow! However, it soon became clear why this was chosen because the clubs history records that cattle used to graze on the course.  Fences were immediately erected to protect the 9 greens.  The club badge now proudly sits on all Mapperley’s correspondence as a reminder of its humble and most fascinating  beginnings.

Wind forward to1983 and a new 18 hole Golf Course was opened by Neil MacFarlane MP, Minister for Sport. The design of the rolling parkland course, with stunning views from the clubhouse of Gedling Country Park and all the way across to the Vale of Belvoir, was by golf pro’ John Mason.

Since that time, there has been a continual investment programme, involving improvements to both the Clubhouse and the Golf Course.


I last played this course in 2006, and other than remembering that I liked the course, I couldn’t actually remember much about it, but then again I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast today, so there’s no real surprise there then! This meant that I was effectively playing, for me, a new course.

My first thoughts on arriving were “why on earth is the car parked packed at 10am on a Wednesday?” Simple answer, its seniors morning, and they get an increasable amount of support for it. The added advantage this made, was that the if we got our act together, got out there quickly and kept up with the last group, the half way house would be open when we got there. Now that’s motivation for you! Of course keeping up with a group of seniors is practically impossible, as its a known fact that a senior player can complete 18 holes on any golf course in under 2 and a half hour with considerable ease! But we would give it our best shot all the same.


The round didn’t start all that well, the tee shots blind over a hill and down to the green, with the fairway sloping left to right, and the ideal tee shot would have been a high line, then letting it run down to the right. The conditions were wet when we played which slowed the ball down on the fairways, but on a dry summers day you’d easily get an extra 40+ yards on your drive on this hole.

With the hilly nature of the course, this is the case for a lot of the holes. A dry hot summers and you could easily knock a handful of shots off your score. Today was not however one of those days, as I managed to add handfuls of shot through bad driving and poor irons.

This was heavily confounded by my 2 playing partners, Spencer and his wife Heidi, who had both made steady starts, being members at Sickleholme had hardened then to the conditions. What felt like hills to me were just small undulations to them and the driving rain that hit us on the last few holes was just a bit of moister!


John’s back to back birdies on the 3rd and 4th put him a good mood for the round and was playing some great golf that 3 birdies for the round. Whilst Heidi was hitting straight and steady and was racking up a decent round for herself.

At 5719yards the course isn’t the longest around, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in character. Its a tight course, with most fairways lined with mature tall trees, If you missed the fairway by a little bit you’re in trouble but you’ll find it. If you miss it by quite a way, its gone!

I do love a course that undulates and rolls, it makes tee shots far more interesting, the views better and adds a whole new element to playing. This course gives you all that. Despite being close to the centre of Nottingham most of the time you had no idea, the thick mature trees cut out the sight and sounds of the city really well.

Back at the club house there’s a real homely feel to it, the staff  at the bar are really welcoming, the food is good and really reasonably priced. Seb took care of us really well when we were there (Hope you eventually got your cup of tea matey 🙂  I’d recommend the chilli!

Thanks to John Newman in the Pro shop for looking after us as 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.