Conveniently situated just off the M180 between Scunthorpe and Grimsby, Elsham Golf Club was founded back in 1900. Occupying a densely forested 135-acre site, the club co-hosted the English Senior Men’s Stoke Play Championship with nearby Holme Hall Golf Club in 2019.
The club acquired additional land in 1930-31, allowing the original 9-hole course to be extended to an 18-hole layout by Notts professional Tom Williamson. Modifications were made to the back nine in 1984: a short par three was removed, holes 11-13 lengthened, a new 14th was added and the 15th remodelled. Since the start of the new millennium, a number of modest modifications have been made, including new back tees at holes 1 and 2 and improvements to bunkers on several holes.
Extending to 6,453 yards from the championship tees, with par set at 71 (out in 36 and back in 35), the layout is configured with two retuning nines, featuring consecutive par fives at the 4th and 5th and a strong four-hole finishing sequence of par fours from the 15th onwards.
Highlight holes include the par three 6th (where a grass ditch in front of the green catches under-hit tee shots), the par four 8th (with a narrow drainage channel running diagonally across the fairway before the green), and the severely left doglegged 15th, rated stroke index 5.
Elsham GC is located just 5 mins off the M180 and near Brigg, but is a million miles away from the traffic on the motorway. Tucked away near Elsham village, this tight, tree lined course laid out over relatively flat land will challenge even the low handicappers.
The fairways run fast, are narrow and lined by mainly mature native silver birch and pine trees. There is broom throughout the course and this gorgeous yellow shrub provides a very heathland experience in places.
The greens were in excellent condition on my visit, running fast and very true. The green designs feature many false fronts and mckenzie style greens, making landing your ball in the right area of the green vitally important.
The 1st, 10th and 12th all start from around the clubhouse, which had a laid back feel, as golfers sat out in the sunshine with their post round drinks.
The course starts with a short par 4, but with a tight tree lined funnel to drive through, there is no place for 1st tee nerves. The green slopes back to front and is protected by a bunker to the front right, well positioned to attract any shots which come up just shy.
You then get 2 dog leg right par 4's; whilst not long on the scorecard, position is everything - and thats the thing about Elsham. Emminently scorable but you need to be in the right part of the fairway to open the greens up.
Another thing that poses constant danger to the golfer who has yet to play the course is drainage channels. They are everywhere, some across but many lining the holes, so again without knowledge, what appears a good drive can easily land in trouble!
Holes 4 and 5 are both par 5's, the 1st one called Long and at 515 yards into a stiff breeze it certainly did. Another hazard, this time a small lake next to the 4th green, cannot be seen from 200 yards back and so what I thought was a safe bail out area, cost me a penalty.
The 1st of the par 3's features at 160 yards, across heathland and a drainage ditch, before what on paper is the easiest hole, a 304 yard par 4. This green has a very steep front so your shot needs to carry all the way to the higher surface which still slopes back to front. The greens were very fast and putting on this easiest hole was not for the faint hearted.
The front 9 finishes with a strong and long par at 452 yards, before a 172 yard par 3 through tight tree lined approach.
Given the mature trees and woods fringing the holes, you do play in splendid isolation, and whilst the walk is easy, the fairways have very subtle nuances that can feed a ball not quite placed correctly into the rough, the ditches or the trees.
The back 9 starts with another par 5, bit with breeze helping, a relatively gentle start. You then play back into the breeze on another dog leg right par 4, before heading out again on a long par 3 at 193 yards, surrounded by bunkers front and to the side. The green has a ridge across the middle and the pin was placed on it!
The hardest hole follows, another gentle dog leg right. Nothing too difficult about it in terms of design, but at 431 yards it did play long. The last of the par 3's follows, another 190 yard across heathland and bunkers left and right, a straight shot will be rewarded
The 4 par 4's to finish, the 1st 3 measuring 401 - 418 yards, all offering different challenges including a gentle dog leg left and a narrow funnel to play your approach shot to the green.
The last hole is short, played to a green above you. What focuses your mind are the car parks behind the green and to your right as you take your approach shot. A birdie finish wrapped up a very pleasant round.
Tony Jacklin is a honorary member here. This is a traditional club - I would imagine the layout has not altered much in over 100 years. It's tight and challenging and the mature woodland and heathland feel make it a pleasure to play. They have quite a few Opens which make the experience even better value and I recommend trying it out of you are a fan of Lincolnshire courses.