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Situated a few miles north of Calverton, a former mining village that lies between Mansfield and Nottingham, Oakmere Park Golf Club has been operating since the early 1970s, when architect Frank Pennink – former English Amateur Champion and ex-President of the English Golf Union – laid out 27 holes across a wonderfully rolling heathland landscape.
The Admirals course is named in honour of Rear Admiral Robert St Vincent Sherbrooke – a naval man from the nearby village of Oxton who received the Victoria Cross for his actions whilst commanding destroyers in the Barents Sea during the Second World War – and it’s the main 18-hole layout at the club, complemented by the 9-hole Commanders course.
Extending to 6,859 yards from the back tees and playing to a par of 73, the Admirals course makes full use of the undulating terrain, with the Dover Beck and several other water hazards incorporated into the design. The free-draining quality of the turf in this part of the county is such that the all-weather Oakmere Park tracks are always open for play.
Standout holes on the Admirals include short par fours at the 333-yard 6th and the 284-yard 9th. The first of these holes features what the club describes on its website as an intimidating “volcano bunker” down the left side of the fairway whilst the second hole plays uphill and veers left to a small, cunningly contoured putting surface.
On the inward half, there’s a pair of tough par fives to contend with at the 14th and 15th, and the second of these long holes, though shorter in length, is considerably more difficult than the other one, largely due to the brook crossing the fairway and a sizeable pond that lies right in front of the green, severely threatening the approach shot.
A round on the Admirals course ends in fine style at the 453-yard 18th, where the hole doglegs left around a large, well-appointed practice area located next to the clubhouse. Depending on how brave the player feels on the tee, they might be tempted to cut the corner to shorten the next shot to the home green but it’s a risky thing to try so late in the game.
Architect Tom Mackenzie from the respected design firm of Mackenzie & Ebert has been working at the club on course improvements in recent years and this is what he told us in September 2018 about what was done on the Admirals course:
"We have rebuilt all of the bunkers, relocating many at the same time. The sandy, heathy character of the site lent itself to using a lacy-edged style of bunker which is intended to give the course a more mature feel and a distinctiveness to set it apart from other courses in the area.
We have also eliminated two blind uphill par threes, the 8th and the 16th, replacing them with attractive new holes and re-aligned the 7th hole to create a stronger par five at the same time. A new 14th green is under construction and that will complete the programme of work."