Sickleholme Golf Club

I played Sickleholme about 5 years ago and I must be honest I have been pining to come back, why? Well, because I don’t think it can be rivalled for the views, when, back in 1898 they decided to build a golf course here in the Peak district. It was a decision well made.

The course itself is 6,064 yards (ladies 5,399 yards) they have a large club house with very nice modern locker rooms. Hot showers and enough complementary towels to dry off the water even from Newbys hairy back!

The first tee is reached just across the road from the pro-shop where you pay your green fees and then just get in the queue to tee off.

The Course its self seems to be built on a plateau, you go up to reach it on the first and then come back down to ground level on the 18th, which leads to a ‘leaving the world behind’ experience.

As stated, the first is a 274 yrd par 4, uphill shot. Just keep your ball up the right and you should land a par.

After you have got your breath back from the climb up the first. Just take a look around at the view.

The second tee is cut back into the trees, leaving you a nervy shot. The gentlemen before us managed to land their drives just a few feet off the first green we were standing on. So I am afraid a duff tee will be punished.

The 3rd allows you to open up the shoulders, its 451 yard par 4, downhill tee shot. There are trees down the left and right side of the fairway, but they should not really trouble you unless you are me! You all know by now I like playing shots from behind trees! I would say the main hazard here is keeping the ball on the green.


This leads on to a delightful par 3 165 yard, it’s well protected by 4 well placed bunkers around the front of the green, waiting to catch a short tee shot. Eventually I got to play my shot as Newby had turned into ‘David Bailey’, inspired by the views at every turn, he kept having me stand on the tee while he took photos from different angles to try and capitulate the ‘spirit of the golf course amongst the rolling hills’. He does worry me sometimes!!

Finally I got around to tee off and landed in a bunker to the right of the green which I can tee you were in good condition for this time of the year it was actually sand not concrete. This allowed me to put my ball about 1 foot from the green and land a par! He didn’t take a photo of that.

This followed by another par on the 4th I was on a roll that was until I got to the 8th, we could not have got the hole more wrong.  It’s a dog leg left, with a stone building half way up in the middle of the fairway. So we thought we would keep the ball down the left and go from the corner. This is not the shot, as we both did this, and realised there is no sight of the green, as you have a group of well placed trees which stand about 50 feet tall. The line is straight at the stone building, this gives you clear sight of the green.

We were starting to get the feel for the course and how to play it. Each hole will punish you for wrong club choice, sometimes the driver off the tee was not the right club. Except on the 9th, in Newbys words “stunning drive down hill”. He is right you would quite happily drive off the tee a few times. The difficulty on this hole is again, keeping your ball on the green you have to drop it like a ‘bomb’.

The back 9 use the lay of the land well. This is highlighted by their signature hole, 13th. You play from an elevated tee, shooting over a gorge onto a green that just invites you in, what also adds to making this 9th their stand out hole is, yes you have guessed it, the view, as you are looking down the vale of Edale.


Both Newby and myself were really enjoying ourselves. Some of the holes were a pleasure to tee off, it seemed the fairway just invited you in. This is evident on the 17th par 5 491 yards, a wide open fairway sloping downhill, a well struck drive would give you a serious chance of a birdie.

We now found ourselves standing on the 18th tee, a par 3 210 yards. It was now time to come off the plateau and drop back down to ground level. You stand on the tee looking down onto the green, which has plenty of space around it, even for a hooked or sliced shot. Again the view from the tee forces you to stand there and take it in before you tee up.

Newby used his driver on this, as it plays long, especially if the wind is up, he dinked it down, but came up short. He learned from this and decided to get more behind the drive, unfortunately for me it was going well until my ball hit a bank on the bunker, sending my ball flying up in the air to the left, landing about 6 foot from the putting green, much to the amusement of Newby. I must admit it was a bit embarrassing walking over to my ball especially as the golfers on the putting green decided they would stand and watch ‘Lefty’ try and rescue the hole. Well you know me I don’t like to disappoint the fans so I walked up and put the ball about a foot from the hole and landed a par, much to the amazement of Newby and myself.

Words like ‘gem’ , ‘stunning’ and ‘beautiful’  are over used to describe golf courses, well I think we should make a rule that only by describing  Sickleholme golf course are you allowed  to use them. It is the gem in Derbyshire’s crown, it has stunning views, it is a beautiful course.


Renishaw Golf Course

Back in 1911 Renishaw Hall owner Sir George Sitwell decided that he would create a golf course on his estate. His plan; 9 holes played within the parkland of the hall, and 9 holes running alongside the River Roth. The 16th century hostelry would be converted into a clubhouse and later extended with the addition of a new wing. Wind the clocks forward to today and the well-established course and beautifully characteristic clubhouse have really come into their own and stand out as one of the areas classic courses. The member’s certainly have a lot to thank Sir Richard Sitwell for.

It’s not always been easy sailing for the club though, in recent years they’ve had a lot to contend with. In fact the last time County Golfer visited the club it was starting to recover from a major flood, that had left the whole of the back 9 under water. Now though, fully recovered, myself and Lefty would be playing Renishaw at its best and with the sun shining on us, we set out on the perilous navigation across the A6135 (you have to be quick and have nerves of steel!) with Spence in tow, to see what Renishaw had to offer.

The old cliché of a game of two halves is never more relevant than here, the front 9 is hilly and tight, a driver requires real accuracy (not my current strength), especially this time of year too. As with most courses in the autumn, if you land in the trees there’s a blanket of leaves on the ground waiting to conceal your ball. Irons were definitely the order of the day, for the opening 9 at least.

The opening hole has been used for the front cover of the clubs officially brochure, and it is easy to see why. It feels as though it’s the only golf hole for miles around, with mature trees to either side and below the elevated tee. “I could drive this” was my initial thought, but club secretary Andy Smith convinced me otherwise, “yes it’s drivable, if you’re very accurate with your drive, if you miss the fairway though you are in trouble”, simply put, he was right. An iron down the fairway and a simple chip onto the green for a par/birdie builds your confidence nicely.


Being a fair weather golfer; when the sky is a brilliant deep blue, I’m down to a t-shirt and playing a course as mature and beautiful as Renishaw, then I’m in my element. The gold autumnal trees only add to the picturesque nature of the course. I love to see big mature trees on the golf course, though I’d rather it be from a reasonable distance, close up is not so good, which is where I kept finding myself. The greens staff have done a fantastic job of maintaining the course, so when you’re off line it makes your life tough, but not impossible. A yard off the fairway and you’ll be fine, then if you are under a tree you can still find your ball with ease, and it will still be playable. No one likes missing the fairway by two yards and never seeing their ball again, it takes the fun out of the game for anyone that’s not playing scratch. It’s a fine balance that’s needed and I think Renishaw have hit it perfectly, it’s an example of how rough should be.

The 9th hole is the course’s signature hole, and it’s a sight to behold, as with the majority of the front my driver stayed firmly in my bag, even though it was a straight 304 yard up hill par 4. You just can’t afford to be left or right, or even short for that matter. Left and you’ll vanish into infinity with a 0% chance of finding your ball. Right is a little better, it’s a big wooded area that’s virtually unplayable. The only thing to do is to land on the right hand side of a narrow fairway that slopes to the left. Now I’m fully aware that my description of this hole makes it sound like torture to play, but it’s really not. It’s an absolute cracker, you just have to wind down the power and hit 2 accurate iron shots. It’s a beautiful challenge! (Unless you get it wrong of course, in which case it might be a nightmare!).


One final comment on the back 9, there is a vicious rumour that there are no bunkers on the front 9, this is not correct! Spence will vouch for the fact that there are at least 3, and that’s how many he ended up in!

The back 9 couldn’t be any different if it tried, the front 9 is open and has 6 par 4s and 3 par 3s, where as the back 9 is open and has 4 par 5s. This makes it a good all round test of your game.

For me one of the outstanding features of the course are the greens, they are immaculate, smooth, true and fast, the sort of conditions that you’d expect to find on tour courses. They’re an absolute pleasure to putt on, and with very little variation between each green, once you’ve tuned in to them, you can really putt with confidence.

Once back in the 16th century clubhouse, reflecting on our round, we we’re caught up in the banter of the members that had just finished playing a fiddle. The camaraderie and the atmosphere amongst the members really goes to show why they have such a strong membership.

All in all, it’s a great all round course, great challenge of golf, great clubhouse and great members. Give it a visit; you’ll be glad you did.