Review for Notts (Hollinwell)

Reviewer Score:


A trip to Hollinwell came as one of the highlights in the itinerary of a recent golf tour proving to be a serious step up from all of the other inland courses we played during that week. I’ve now played many of what would be considered as the best inland courses in the UK and without doubt, Notts Golf Club has to rank amongst the finest.

After you’ve taken the driveway that oddly leads you right through the middle of the course, the most distinctive and eye-catching feature of the course as you arrive is that it sits within a “half-bowl” landscape. Notts Golf Course - Photo by reviewer Steep heather sided valleys shape and frame many of the holes, albeit rarely coming into play. The bowl-like nature of the course means that sound carries unusually well across the first few holes.

Whilst the panorama from the clubhouse is pretty special, for most the 1st will come as something of an anti-climax although personally I’ve always been a fan of courses that allow you to get your round off to a relaxed start. It’s a flat and straight first hole and not indicative of the rest of the course because after this, the course is high in quality. The 2nd, a right to left dogleg with a green set against one of those valleys provides a taste of what’s to come, though it’s more akin to what you’ll face whilst playing the back nine. Other than the 2nd, the 6th is the other main highlight of the opening nine; a par five that naturally sweeps and dips up and over rolling terrain. Another aspect that confronts you more than most courses across this front nine is that many of the bunkers come into play off the tee. Factor this with the yardage of the course and scoring well at Hollinwell becomes a real challenge, so it’s completely understandable why so many top events have been played here.

Undoubtedly the front nine is very good, but it’s from the 11th where the world class holes really start to appear and after this they come in quick succession one after the other. A drive needs to be eased Notts Golf Course - Photo by reviewer through a steep banked valley on the 11th with a glorious amphitheatre style green then set into the hill. The 12th then tees off behind this hill and it’s the only hole that truly plays blind whilst 13 is a stunning signature downhill par-three and a true examination of your long game. At 15, you have another one of those holes where you play into a heather sided bowl whereas 16 is typical of the numerous risk and reward holes that you’re faced with throughout the course. It’s a set-square shaped dogleg of a par four where you can either take the tiger line and try and thrash one towards the green or play it safe for the centre of the directional change in the fairway. A large bunker then provides protection in front of a heavily sloping green, ready to gobble up any under-hit approach shot.

Then at 17 came my favourite hole on the course. It’s a tee shot that’s been designed to intimidate from the tee with what looks like a tiny landing area between gorse on the right and big fairway bunkers to the left. Keep your ball in play between these two hazards however and it’s quite reachable in two. The 18th is also no disappointment as this fine closing hole chicanes between bunkers that flank the fairway before an elevated green sits in front of the clubhouse backdrop.

Overall, Hollinwell is a high class layout and in my opinion better than a good handful of higher rated courses. Elevation changes are plentiful and there is real beauty across a variety of the holes. I’d go as far to say that the back nine in particular is everything you’d expect of a World Top 100 club. As excellent as that nine is, the front nine whilst good doesn’t quite hit the same heights for me and prevents it from edging the course into 6-ball rating. Having said that, I’m splitting hairs here. It’s a first-class golf club in every way and I’d return back in a flash.

Date: May 15, 2018

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