A fine heathland routing with sometimes breath-taking changes in elevation and a host of exceptional holes - easy to see why the course is riding so high

Hollinwell the Home of Notts Golf Club Course Review

Top 100 Ranking 2021/22 – 37

Previous Rankings
2019/20 – 36
2017/18 – 40
2015/16 – 48
2013/14 – 48
2011/12 – 56
2009/10 – 62

Summer Green Fees

Round: £110, £130 Sun pm; Day: £130wd

Visitor Times: Welcome year-round but not on Saturdays, Bank Holidays or Friday and Sunday mornings

Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,914 Yards

Website: www.hollinwell.co.uk

Changes since previous ranking

The club has engaged the services of renowned course architect, Martin Ebert, and plans to implement his recommendations over the next five to 10 years. The first change has been to introduce a bare sand scrape on the 5th hole.

Hollinwell the Home of Notts Golf Club Course Review

The long entrance road at Notts – or Hollinwell as it has now officially rebranded itself – builds a real sense of anticipation as you make your way down to the clubhouse. A genuine away-from-it-all feel is one of Hollinwell’s key attractions.

Notts Golf Club

Hollinwell plays over a vast heathland landscape (Photo: Getty Images)

Add in a fine routing with sometimes breath-taking changes in elevation – the long downhill par-3 13th stands out in this regard – plus a host of exceptional holes and it’s easy to see why this course ranks so highly, especially when you factor in improvement works in recent years.

Notts Golf Club

The final hole plays back down to the clubhouse (Photo: Getty Images)

Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland

Master Greenkeeper, Gordon Irvine, initiated a programme to restore the course to its full heathland glory via tree clearing and a return to a more natural style of bunkering.

Now Martin Ebert has been brought in to oversee the next developments, with a bare sand scrape already in place on the 5th hole.

Although we have seen a fair bit of this kind of thing in recent links upgrades, it is a rarer commodity inland, but early photos showed a number of such areas around the course in its early days.

Peaceful and secluded

Few would dispute that this delightful yet challenging heathland course, set in a secluded natural valley near Kirkby in Ashfield, is the finest test of golf in the East Midlands.

The club dates back to 1887, but the course we essentially know today was originally crafted by Willie Park Junior in 1901, with J.H. Taylor tweaking the bunkering the following year.

Notts Golf Club

The long par-4 2nd is a tough test early on (Photo: Geoff Ellis, golfworking.co.uk)

But it is the less-heralded Tom Williamson who is really responsible for the Hollinwell we have come to love, having been drafted in in 1912 to make the course slightly less challenging physically, though the back nine will still get the heart racing in places.

Hollinwell presents a fittingly grand stage for our great game, playing over a vast majestic landscape via a wonderfully diverse collection of holes.

Among them are the fiercely demanding long par-4 2nd, which doglegs round to a green set at the foot of a pine-clad hill, and that stunning par-3 13th, which cascades back down from the higher ground via a heather-lined valley to a green encircled by sand.

Notts Golf Club

The downhill par-3 13th is one of Hollinwell’s most memorable holes (Photo: Kevin Murray)

Assessor Feedback

Thoroughly enjoyable course in a peaceful location, full of colour and making great use of elevation changes and contours.

The course was in superb condition and stunningly presented, with the springy fairways lined by heather and links-like wispy rough. The best inland course I’ve ever played and one of the most enjoyable.

GM Verdict

A fine heathland routing with sometimes breath-taking changes in elevation and a host of exceptional holes – easy to see why the course is riding so high.