Located in the small village of Torksey, on the east bank of the River Trent, the 18-hole layout at Lincoln Golf Club first opened for play in 1904. The club had been formed seven years earlier, with Willie Park Jr. setting out a 9-hole course on land next to the Carholme Racecourse.
J. H. Taylor, who’d won three of his five Open championships at the time, was invited to lay out the new 9-hole course and he took part in an exhibition match to mark the opening of the course against James Braid, with their professional game concluding a week-long series of club competitions that had started on Monday 13th June 1904.
Archie Earl was appointed as the club professional the following year – he would remain in post until 1951 – and he was then asked to extend the layout to eighteen holes. Additional land was acquired, and a horse purchased for £18 to assist with the heavy work.
On 12th May 1909, the new course was officially opened with another exhibition match involving George Duncan, who would later win the Open in 1920.
In the modern era, the course measures 6,410 yards from the back markers, playing to a par of 71. Feature holes include short par fours at the 5th, 7th and 14th; the long, uphill 8th (rated stroke index 1) which doglegs left to the green; and the longest of the three par threes at the “signature” 188-yard 17th, where the heavily sand protected green sits behind a pond.
I cannot believe that no-one has reviewed this class part heathland/part parkland golf course just outside the village of Torksey and Brampton. Laid out over flat land but with another subtle rises and falls within the overall contouring, the course wends through mature pine and deciduous trees and is dissected by the main B road into Brampton Village and Station Road which leads to an exclusive development called The Fairways. In fact at times the course has an American feel with housing fronting the course on holes 7 and 8 and The Fairways across the lane on hole 15. In addition, access to a farm is right through the middle of the course. But all this actually adds to its magic.
The Club website says inland links, but heathland is more in keeping with gorse and heather growing on a sandy soil base, fringing the holes and on some of the carries.
Holes 1-6 are played adjacent to the excellent old fashioned clubhouse, with the 1st tee directly outside the pro shop. The 1st hole is straightforward, flat, with bunkers up the left hand side to catch an errant shot, leaving a short 2nd into a beautifully manicured green.
The greens throughout were quick, true and surprisingly undulating, with subtle turns and due to the speed of them, dangerous run off areas. There are fans fronts, hog backs, upturned sauces, MacKenzie greens - all mainly narrow and long.
The first 6 holes include 1 par 3 and 1 par 5, the latter coming on hole 3. The bunkering on the par 5 is excellent stretching across the fairway looking to catch your drive. The sand was consistent throughout the bunkers, and whilst there wasn't much of it, you didn't have to worry about inconsistency.
The pick of the par 4's in this section for me was the 5th, a short par 4 which would be drivable for the longer hitters but tight oob down the left hand side forced me more to the right and into the pine trees. This green has a false front and is raised throughout, so a ball landing on it can easily overrun and down a 10 foot drop at the rear. Short but clever, a par is a good score on this hole. The par 3 6th green had the most undulations on what was a larger than normal green. Again a par was a good score.
You then cross the lane to Brampton and embark on holes 7-9 which start with the clubhouse behind you and end back towards it. In this stretch the short 7th is followed by 2 of my favourite holes, a long testing uphill par 4 8th at 436 yards, which is SI1. Followed by what could be the best hole on the course, the 9th, at 433 yards, this dog leg left is all about position for your second shot to a large green which in fairness was relatively flat, giving chance to stop the ball on it. Tight to the left means either laying up or going over the mature trees to the sunken green. A fabulous hole.
It's at this stage, as you start the 10th, you will see a difference to the how the course is styled, more inland links, more heathland with beautifully framed holes, the pick for me in turns of design, character and pure heathland feel is the short par 3 12th, but this overall stretch 10 - 14 is magical. The par 4 11th is probably the most aesthetically pleasing hole. Tee up the left hand side, leaving a 2nd to green with clever bunkering to the sides and a run off area to a green above you. But also hole 14, another short par 4, is just as good to play in a different way. The fairway runs right to left and as you tee off over the heather and gorse and a tree 100 yards in front of you, its all about strategy. Err too much right and you are in the heather leaving a short iron over a large bunker to a green out of view, or go left into the bottom of the fairway leaving a more level lie and short iron onto a green that runs severely from back to front. Whichever way you play it's a memorable hole - reminds me of the short 14th at Ganton, and that's a glowing tribute.
The final holes see a short par 5 played down alongside the splendid houses of The Fairways, and then the 16th, a dog leg par 4 played to a green below you, with water behind it and sharp run off to the left. Keeping the ball on the green with your second is a quality shot in deed. The green has some vicious movement to it.
The last par 3 plays over the a aforementioned water and at 190 yards is all carry over the water and bunkers that protect it. Viewed as the signature hole, personally I loved the par 3 12th the best, but visually it is pretty. These last 3 holes have more of a parkland feel again to them.
The 18th tee is shared with that of the 11th as you head home. The huge conifers at about 230 yards to the left, do protect the adjacent road but do look out of place with the rest of the course. Smart play is towards the conifers however and then a straight iron shot into the green which is back in front of the clubhouse. To the right, the shorter route is a large bunker waiting to catch your drive and the large trees inevitably mean a drop shot if you wander too far right.
This is a quality course, it has hosted many county championships and in 2022 hosts the Reid Trophy for the World's Top amateur under 14's.
Having now played 5 of the Top 6 in Lincolnshire, this very friendly club deserves it's 6th place with not much between it and Forest Pines.
A thoroughly fun day out on a course I will be back too. At 4 1/2 balls, this is a very fair reflection of the quality on offer.