The course at Hallamshire Golf Club was once part of the Duke of Norfolk’s estate and it was laid out in 1897 when 100 acres of land was leased for golfing purposes. The club converted to a limited company in 1912, making the astute decision to purchase the course outright then hire Harry Colt to remodel the layout.
Tree-lined fairways are routed in an out-and-back fashion over rather hilly terrain with plenty of pleasant elevation changes occurring throughout the round.
The five par threes on the card are all fine short holes and two deserve special mention: The 195-yard 6th, called “Saucer”, is perhaps the club’s signature hole, where the tee shot must carry across a deep valley cloaked in heather. “Quarry”, the short 136-yard 17th, plays across a former quarry and was described by Peter Alliss on a visit during the club’s centenary year as “one that could be included on any course in the world”.
Not overly long at just under 6,400 yards from the medal tees, Hallamshire has four par fives on the cards of the white and red tees and two of these – “Bunkerdom” and “Long” – arrive back-to-back at a critical point midway through the inward half at holes 14 and 15. However, two par fives, at 14 and 18, disappear from the yellow card and are replaced by two long par fours, which turn this scorecard into a tough par 69.
Alison Nicholas, US Women’s Open Champion in 1997 and Captain of the Solheim Cup team in 2009, is a member at Hallamshire, and her continued association with the club is something the members are extremely proud of.
I played Hallamshire last week, on a hot, dry, sunny and windless late afternoon. The weather could not have been better. Usually I play Hallamshire in the wind and rain. It therefore gave me the opportunity to reevaluate the course in a totally different light, enabling a more objective view.
The course did not disappoint. The conditioning was excellent, the greens true, the rough penal and for the 1st time I got to appreciate the 14th -16th stretch so much better.
The course offers a lot of variety - the par 4 4th is lined by small pines and on this sunny hot afternoon, had the look of courses seen in Portugal and Spain (until you see the trees all bend heavily due to the prevailing wind!). The stretch 7 - 11 crosses and re crosses a valley through the course and the 15th and 16th have a real links feel with the low sun casting long shadows across the sandy based turf.
The 7th is one of the less strong holes, playing downhill, short and better to have played before, as placement is key but even then the ball can run onto trouble. The same can be said for the 10th as too well a hot drive will leave your ball running out of fairway and into the heather!
The par 3’s are all good, all different with the 17th in the quarry remaining the best.
There are some unfortunate lies and slopes despite good drives - the sloping fairway on the par 5 5th can be really cruel, but overall this is an excellent course and worthy of it’s ranking within Yorkshire lists.
Hallamshire Golf Club in my hometown of Sheffield sits proudly on the edge of the City, almost 1000 feet up and with the Peak District on it’s doorstep. So when the wind blows in from the West, as it invariably does, this is a tough course as the 1st 8 holes (apart from the Par 5 5th) are played out into the wind. The 1st is a tough start in these conditions and the par 3 2nd equally so. To keep your card intact by the turn is somewhat of an achievement.
Looking at other reviews I would describe Hallamshire as heathland/moorland - has the gorse and some linksy elements on some holes.
The 6th is a class par 3 and the 17th a stunningly set short par 3, which can still be a card wrecker. Hole 7 is a quirky short downhiller and the 8th back across the valley can play very hard on a windy day.
The 10th is good and they have just extended the 11th with some guidance I believe from Matt Fitzpatrick, who is a member here.
If I was being critical of the course I find the stretch from 14 to 16 a bit samey with 2 par 5’s and a long into the wind par 4 16th. I find this part of the course a bit bland. But that is being critical and then the 17th makes up for that feeling and the 18th off the whites is a nice gently curving to the left par 5 with the green right in front of the clubhouse
A quality track and deservedly best in Sheffield, though it;s not quite as good as the Hallamshire members would have you believe. Play it on a still day, if you are lucky!
Hallamshire Golf Club lies on a narrow strip of land at the edge of the city of Sheffield, overlooking the Derbyshire Peak District National Park and Pennines.
Golfers outside the White Rose county may not be too familiar with this course but it's certainly one they should familiarise themselves with as soon as possible.
Hallamshire is a difficult course to categorise. It's obviously not a links (although there are some linkesque elements to be found here), it features plenty of heather but I wouldn't class it as a heathland course (some do though including the Sports Turf Research Institute), it's high on the edge of the Peak District moors but it's not what I would call moorland, it's parkland to a certain extent but not in your typical sense and there are plenty of trees but it isn't a woodland course!
So what is it then? Well, my answer to that is... does it have to be anything? Why should a course be classed as any particular type, what does it matter? Hallamshire basically takes some the best properties of the above mentioned categories and creates quite a unique experience. The Hallamshire Experience.
Its elevation of almost 900 feet above sea level provides glorious views but also means that it is exposed to the elements (hail showers at the end of May on one visit). It also means that wind is a big factor up here.
Harry Colt has designed and influenced many great courses. This one might not fall into the top echelon of those but the 'Hallamshire Experience' is a very enjoyable, testing and rewarding one.
I dislike the phrase 'hidden gem' but for many that's what this course will be until they play it for the first time.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.