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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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