Coxmoor Golf Club was founded in 1913 and the course is sited in the heart of England on a high heathland plateau close to Sutton in Ashfield, to the south of the colliery town of Mansfield. Tom Williamson (the professional at Notts Golf Club) and Len White (the Coxmoor professional), laid out the current course in the 1930s after new land was acquired, allowing 18 holes to be sited around the clubhouse. This is largely the rather appealing course that is in play today.
Perched proudly upon one of the highest points in Nottinghamshire, Coxmoor commands panoramic views across the Leicestershire Wolds and the Vale of Belvoir. On a clear day from the 13th tee you can see as far as Lincoln Minster.
The course stretches out beyond 6,700 yards with par set at 73, and with five par fives, there are birdie opportunities available for the taking. There are also some very testing holes and probably the toughest include the 5th and the 12th. If the prevailing wind is up, both these par fours are virtually out of reach in regulation.
Coxmoor is a hugely popular venue for visiting societies and many make repeat bookings year after year. Comments from visitors are always complimentary about the excellent course condition and the welcome received from this well-established club.
Alec Shepperson is the current club president and had the great honour of representing Great Britain in two Walker Cups. In his second appearance in 1959 he played against Jack Nicklaus in the singles event. The club pros seem to enjoy their time here too, in fact, there have only ever been four. When Leonard White retired in 1948, his son Bill picked up the job for 37 years and then David Ridley held the post for more than 20 years until Craig White took over the reins in 2007.
Coxmoor has also staged Regional Qualifying for the Open Championship as well as the British Seniors Amateur Open Championship.
Nottinghamshire boasts four fantastic courses and Coxmoor sits comfortably alongside Notts, Worksop and Sherwood Forest. We certainly think that this is a great golfing county, which is well worth visiting.
Coxmoor starts pleasantly enough, with an undulating opener, the 2nd a long downhill well bunkered par 3 and the third a birdeable but nice looking par 5. The 4th was my favourite hole on the course, a short dog-leg par 4 requiring an accurate tee shot. Thereafter I'm not sure the course built on a promising start and I'm not sure why but perhaps my expectations after reading reviews was too high. Undoubtedly there were good holes such as the short downhill par 3 7th, the par 4 dog-leg 8th and the 15th another short dog-leg par 4. The 11th had a really nice looking second shot requiring a fade between the trees to the raised green, however the tee shot was generous; generally I thought tee shots were not too testing, which does differ from other reviews so I suspect the lack of run in October contributed to this. Conversely the downhill tee shot on the par 5 14th was nice looking but thereafter the hole bland. Infact I thought the par 5's (and there are five of them) were fairly bland, the 6th for example just seemed to be an uphill slog into the wind. A feature of the course is it's undulating nature and there are quite a few uphill shots to blind greens, but also downhill shots to greens. Due to it's proximity to Notts Hollinwell one is bound to make comparisons (perhaps unfairly) and for me Notts is superior, more enjoyable and deserves to be higher in the rankings. Coxmoor is less secluded (with some road noise) and doesn't have the same flow; to be honest I'm not sure if I personally would replace any of the holes at Notts with one from Coxmoor. Welcome and catering was very good, as was course condition and judging the slopes on the greens was not easy on a first visit. Undoubtedly a good course and it would be interesting to visit in a few years time to see how the heathland regeneration pans out as at the moment it seems to be a mixture of woodland, heathland and even parkland in places
Coxmoor Golf Club is currently three years into a 10-15 year project to restore their course back to its true heathland characteristic.
Almost 2,000 trees have already been axed, playing corridors are being widened and heather regeneration is in full force. Bunkers are also being re-shaped and re-positioned to accommodate golf in the 21st Century whilst a number of green extensions are also planned.
Coxmoor is already a very good golf course but the signs are that is it is going to get even better over the next decade or so as the scheme, overseen by Ken Brown and Ken Moodie, continues at pace.
One thing for certain is the work that has already been carried out is hugely impressive with the 8th and 9th transforming the course into something you are more likely to find on the Surrey Sandbelt than in rural Nottinghamshire. The 14th and 17th have also been improved with recent changes.
In addition to the work on the course a new clubhouse is in the pipeline, a 9-hole short course is planned as well as a 6-hole synthetic layout to help introduce juniors and the disabled to the game. And, that’s not to mention a new driving range for members use to the left of the 13th hole!
Anyway, onto the course I played in early May of 2017. The first six holes are located on the south side of the course and welcome you warmly to the fast-running fairways, slick sloping greens and well located fairway bunkers. Stray offline and you will also be acquainted with heather and a variety of trees that frame most of the holes.
The opening tee-shot is one of several inviting drives throughout the round where you plummet down the fairway before rising back up to the green, it’s one of my favourite holes here but there are many more good ones to follow. Indeed the drives at the first, fifth, sixth, eighth, 11th and 13th are all played from elevated positions and really give you the sense of being allowed to open your shoulders. That’s not to say there is no danger because the fairway traps are very well positioned; Coxmoor plays really well off the tee.
In this neck of the woods Notts and Sherwood Forest will take some shaking from the top of the tree but Coxmoor is a clear third when it comes to discussing the best courses in the region, indeed there are not many better inland courses across the Midlands and North of England.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.