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. Herbert Fowler made further modifications to the course in 1925.
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.
“Is this your ball?”, queried our playing partner as he fished the guilty Callaway from his ripped bag.
Five minutes earlier, carried away by the excitement of a birdie two on the previous hole, I had carved the ball from The Hallamshire’s tenth tee.
But instead of a glorious hit down the middle, I had hooked a worm-killer at the lads who were standing little more than 20 yards in front of me.
Fortunately, it missed them and hit the bag and, I believed, was deflected into nearby rough never to be seen again.
Only on the next hole, when the chap saw his bag’s tear did we realise where it was.
This was just one of the memorable moments we took away from the over-55s’ open at one of Yorkshire’s top courses.
Yep, this was the day I downed THREE birdie twos – in the only open I have played in which there was no twos competition!
One of the par-threes even yielded a nearest the pin hopeful but it transpired I was outdone by just 50 centimetres.
And should I mention the ghost on the 16th tee? Maybe later.
The welcome at the Hallamshire is super. From the email before our arrival to the pleasantries in the club shop, service in the clubhouse and even the complimentary water and chocolate on the first tee.
But what I should have remembered from Master White’s student days in Sheffield is how cold the city is, especially on its higher ground.
Thus, it was freezing and the wind was blowing as we embarked upon the toughest opening stretch of holes I can recall.
Put simply, if your driver isn’t working then the first and third will be write-offs even before the pace of the greens bamboozles.
I was hitting the ball pretty well but it took me until the 6th before I felt that I had sussed out the putting surfaces.
The 5th is where the fun/drama starts – on the face of it, the 479-yard par-five should be a relief but a cavernous bunker needs to be negotiated before finding an elevated green.
This is the beginning of the course’s most memorable section – with dips, rises and beautiful views over the Yorkshire countryside.
The 7th fairway is on such a steep incline that my tee shot flew over an intimidating valley and footbridge only to roll 40 yards back down the hill.
The aforementioned 10th is a cracking hole over a brow before descending down towards a brook and then up to the green.
Other favourites included the 13th – a 401-yard par four which ascends over water, between bunkers with trees to the right. Another very tough hole.
Hole 14 is simply known as Long (as if the previous holes hadn’t been!). At 584 yards, with the wind blowing, I have rarely played a sterner par-five.
On the 16th we were greeted by an old-timer who told us he was known as “The Snowman” and asked: “What have you done with the weather?”.
It transpired he was using the hole as his own driving range in between folk teeing off.
Or was he? One of our playing partners was convinced he was a ghost.
Anyway, something heavenly nearly happened on 17, a superb par-three known as quarry because of the rocks which surround it. My nine-iron approach kissed the hole before ending 140cm from the cup. Sadly, I was just edged in the nearest the pin comp.
Then there is the final hole – a 487-yard par-four which must be the world’s most difficult stroke index 14. My pal hammered two of the best shots I have ever seen him play with the wind behind and still couldn’t reach it.
The Hallamshire offered up one of my most eventful golf experiences of the year. It is a curious place – combining traditional and modern in its clubhouse and a mixture of beautiful, intriguing and plain brutal holes.
Its condition is certainly up there with some of those in top100golfcourses’s best in England list. I note that it is included by National Club Golfer.
I can understand why.
Neil, the 16th is part of the practice facilities members can use, albeit they have to stand aside to let those playing a round through, and tbh it's been positively balmy here in Sheffield these last few days, although Hallamshire on the edge of the Peak District, with no surbubia surrounding it to warm it up can be a pretty cold, windy and bleak experience at times!
Great course. There are a few bland holes, but the majority of the course is a joy to play. The up and down nature of the terrain give the course some great character holes. Well maintained with good greens. Well worth a visit.
The quality of this course was unreal, fabulous condition and testing layout with holes undulating and interesting with the condition sublime. Don't think there was a weak hole on this layout, it has a heathland, moorland, woodland feel without being any, and the fact I can not decide which 10 photos to choose is a real testament to our day. Starting with a tough 464 yard par 4 into the wind through to the tricky par 5 18th the course needs to be treated with respect, with many of the apparent shorter holes playing much longer than the yardage due to undulating ground. For me this would rank only just slightly behind the renowned inland courses of Alwoodley and Ganton in rank of Yorkshire courses, having played all others supposedly above it in the rankings. A true classy golf club.
Greg, I've just read some of your reviews with interest and to rank Hallamshire (5 balls) above Alwoodley (4 and a half) and Ganton (4 balls) is either a million miles off the mark, or a typo error. I don't know when you played the course, but it has been struggling recently (members own admissions), particularly the greens and whilst it is rated the best course in Sheffield, that's not a high bar. I noticed in your Ganton review that the 4 star 'good' rating is at odds with your review itself. Similarly with Alwoodley, your words are not mirrored by the ball ratings given. Hallamshire is heathland, nestled on the edge of the Peak District. It's a good course, with some really good holes, but a few too many weak ones (holes 7 -10 are particularly below par) but it sits in the second division of Yorkshire golf courses alongside Fixby, Sand Moor and Fulford, a good course but not that good.
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.