Members of Rotherham Golf Club enjoy both a wonderful rolling parkland setting for their golf course and a magnificent old neo gothic building as their clubhouse. The Thrybergh estate is ancient - it was mentioned in the Domesday Book - and the clubhouse dates back to 1814, when it was built by the Fullerton family, who owned the property at that time.
The golf club was established in 1903 and Sandy Herd, the previous year’s Open Champion, was invited to set out a 9-hole course for the founding members. It’s not known when the layout was doubled in size but a match in 1920 involving Herd, J.H. Taylor, James Braid and Abe Mitchell may well have marked the opening of the extended course.
According to the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton and Iain Cumming, Braid, James Braid revisited the property soon after: “five years later, it was Braid who found himself reconstructing the course, lengthening it to 5,817 yards, bunkering and no doubt constructing alternative or new tees and improving greens.”Today, the course measures a modest 6,350 yards from the back tees, playing to a par of 70. Feature holes include those around the turn: the bunkerless par four 8th, the signature par three 9th and the first of “the triangle holes,” the par five 10th. Par fours at the 5th and 15th holes attract the lowest stroke index rating on each nine but the toughest hole is kept until last, at the 456-yard 18th, where the fairway doglegs left to the home green.
This is a nice enough parkland track set against the backdrop of Thrybergh Hall but there is nothing here to get my pulses racing. The backdrop of the Hall is probably the best part as I find the course relatively uninteresting, albeit it is over rolling parkland with some drives (the 12th) across the ravine. That is a good hole with a dog left right. In fact 10th -12th is probably the best stretch after a rather bland start.
After the 12th you tee down the side of the driveway in and then you follow this with a short par 3 across the drive obscured by trees rather close to the tee. It’s followed by a par 4 14th which is a difficult drive through a narrow opening back across the driveway where you need to make sure your tee shot is straight! I like the par 3 15th after that, but overall this isn’t a course I would rush back to, as there are significantly better courses to play within the area.
Rotherham is a really enjoyable parkland golf course located in the heart of South Yorkshire.
The layout of the holes is very interesting and the changes in elevation, on this established tree-lined property, are negotiated nicely.
The magnificently appointed gothic clubhouse, with practice putting green in front, is a grand spot to be on a hot summer's day and whenever I've played here in the Lee Westwood Trophy there has always been a good vibe around the place.
The course is not without its faults but the 18 holes at Rotherham rise and fall beautifully over springy turf and the greens ensure that the challenge is significant throughout. The putting surfaces on my most recent visit were quick, true and if you got above the hole it led to all kinds of trouble. Being able to play from the fairway is crucial because trying to hold the greens from the lush semi-rough is twice as difficult.
There are a number of short to medium-length par fours throughout the round but each requires you to shape the ball differently from the tee and into the greens.
The greens can be terrifying when quick as they slope quite a lot. They complement the relatively short nature of the course nicely and will often dictate your final score.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.