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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC New
« on: April 02, 2022, 09:56:46 AM »
Sprouting from their forest setting, the Hanging Stone Rocks of Charnwood Forest are well known Leicestershire landmarks. This area has long been quarried and has yielded slate and granite for centuries. Rather harshly, the M1 cuts through the middle of this 67 sq. mile forest whose makeup, ironically, includes large tracts of barren moorland.  A nine-hole course five miles south of Loughborough uses Charnwood Forest as its name and there are rocky outcroppings in the middle of the SSSI property. First designed in 1890, it would appear the course has gone under the knife on several occasions and now bears no resemblance to the original layout. It is thought James Braid may have had his say, but I can find no definitive proof the great man was involved with the evolution of the course. There is little doubt Charnwood’s routing around the rocks, over walls and sloping fairways displays a certain charm, but the simple greens and lack of bunkers are the dead give-away of the back-to-basics provenance of the design.   

A blind hole, the opener feeds from the right toward the stone boundary wall....quite a pleasant hello.


The wild second really is wild. At 447 yards, the hole is long as well. Trees near the tee prevent a fade which would counteract the sharp slope to the left.  Then there are trees further up the fairway which make the drive very much placement golf. We played in fairly firm conditions...I don't know how the hole is played in high summer!


The approach is a bit funky as well.  It is blind with the green tucked a bit behind trees down the left. A draw banging into the bank and kicking right is a useful shot.


A bit more conventional, the third plays over a wall and for bigger hitters over trees on the right.


However, there is a wee pond prowling up the right to catch out the overly greedy. The benched green makes for a difficult target.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 25, 2022, 03:49:27 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

James Boon

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Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-3
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2022, 11:40:01 AM »
Sean,


I've only played Charnwood Forest a couple of times, but its an enjoyable 9 for certain. I think Ben Stephens has played it quite a bit though so hopefully he will contribute to the thread.


Like you I have some doubts on the extent of input from James Braid? One only needs to look at the basic shapes around the greens to realise that Braid, would have certainly given these more character, based upon most of his other courses I've played anyway? However the routing does make interesting and sporty use of the land, so perhaps that's more where any Braid influence lies? The clubs website and the Moreton and Cummings book on Braid both mention the connection, but the later does point out that a clubhouse fire destroyed any records that would firm up the connection.


You mention that:
"...67 sq. mile forest whose makeup, ironically, includes large tracts of barren moorland."
I assume your irony comment relates to the lack of trees in favour of moorland in what is called a forest? I believe that historically forest related more to an area reserved for hunting that while often wooded in places was also open in others, rather than the more recent interpretation.


I look forward to seeing further pictures and your overall view of the course?


Cheers,


James

2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-3
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2022, 11:47:54 AM »
Funny you say that about Braid giving the greens more interest, James. I have doubts about that.


In my experience, Braid’s design detail is certainly more simplistic than - say - Colt, Simpson or MacKenzie. Those other three seemed to want to control their greens detailing whereas I have doubts Braid always did. You just need to look at a course like Irvine Bogside. For me, Braid was one to put quirky obstacles in your way whilst sometimes neglecting elegance around the green complexes. My guess (and it is a guess) is that his greens were far more dependent on the builders than with the others.

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-3
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2022, 01:02:12 PM »
Thanks Ally, you may be right regarding the extent of input Braid had on the shaping of greens and their surrounds? Maybe I've just played his courses that had good shapers!  ;D  This may be worth a new thread of its own!


Cheers,


James

2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-3
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2022, 01:09:19 PM »
I agree with Ally re input of contractor and he certainly seemed to be fond of having a small hump just short of the green. However I'm not sure I'd judge Braid on Bogside as I'm not as convinced as the authors of the Braid book that all the greens are Braid originals.


Niall

Sean_A

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Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-3
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2022, 02:38:57 PM »
CHARNWOOD FOREST TOUR CONT

The 4th heads back toward the 3rd tee and re-crosses the stone wall. In the summer this hole must feel a bit clausterphobic.


Continuing uphill, the short 5th is a bit prosaic.  The 6th features a sloping fairway similar to the 2nd's. Its another hole which makes me wonder how does one keep the ball in the fairway when conditions are keen? 


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 13, 2022, 12:58:18 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-6
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2022, 09:07:30 AM »
Charnwood Forest Tour Cont

There is a bit more to the 7th than meets the eye, but the hole isn't complex.


Another unusual hole, the 8th bends harshly left around trees, a bit like the bank of a race track.  The well sited and steeply uphill green sits across a shallow valley.  The home hole is slightly awkward. A short two-shotter playing downhill with a dogleg hitch...the green can't been seen from the tee.  The shape of the hole is nearly an L making the drive an obscured placement shot. Although, the gorse on the corner can be carried, it is a dangerous shot with OoB lurking over a stone wall.  Below is a look at the approach from just shy of the 1st fairway.


That is Charnwood Forest; quite a convenient travel day stop not far off the M1. I am not sure Charnwood Forest is in the class of many other cheap and cheerful courses I profile, but it does have a trump card 2nd hole. It is the hope of seeing holes such as this which lure me to back alleys of British golf. In that regard Charnwood Forest does not disappoint.  2022

2021-22 Winter Tour Previous Stops

Royal Porthcawl
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,45933.0.html

Seaton Carew New
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,70404.msg1693517.html#msg1693517

Cleeve Hill
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html

Minch Old
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.75.html

Notts
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html

Goswick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64104.0.html

Renaissance Club
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,58937.50.html

Scheduled Tour Stops

Muirfield

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-6
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2022, 10:02:26 AM »
Another nice tour and agree with the summary. After 3 holes I was intrigued, but the heightened anticipation dissipated a bit thereafter. I wish more of the rock had been in play.
A surprisingly thriving and welcoming little club with a nice atmosphere.








A question?  Can anyone recall seeing a similar feature to the 'chopped up' shrubs below?


These exist at one of Braids early courses Theydon Bois and local to that another early course, West Epping, has several hedgerows to play over.  Several people have told me they are a feature of his work, and the feature was copied at the new Epping Forrest GC.


I've always wondered if he lacked the budget to remove a thick hedgerow and over the years greenkeepers had chopped away, to enable balls to be recovered?


Be interesting to know if they exist elsewhere. They do look odd to my eye.







« Last Edit: April 13, 2022, 10:05:13 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2022, 12:24:20 PM »
Thanks for this tour. It looks like a fun place to stop on the way to another course.  If I do, hopefully it's in summer so I can get the full experience.

Clyde Johnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC 1-6
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2022, 08:50:22 PM »

Nice tour Sean. I got pretty excited by the time I reached the 2nd tee, and then the 3rd too. A worthwhile stop-off, and a course/club with an interesting history.


A question?  Can anyone recall seeing a similar feature to the 'chopped up' shrubs below?



Theydon Bois is the only other place I have ever seen anything like that. They're weird features, but that courses needed it!

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2022, 03:00:25 AM »
Aren't the 'chopped-up shrubs' pictures gorse bushes that have been rather recently given a severe haircut?
If so I've seen this before, eg 16th at Tadmarton. They grow back however, which I imagine those who dislike gorse on golf course won't be too keen on.
atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2022, 03:40:45 AM »
Huntercombe's 12th used to feature gorse topiary in front of the tee...not a good feature if one happens to top a ball off the tee. Last time I was at Huntercombe the topiary was cut right back.

Clyde

Yes, Charnwood is a decent course. I don't think it would take much to seriously improve it!

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2021-22 Winter Tour: Craggy CHARNWOOD FOREST GC
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2022, 02:02:25 PM »
Aren't the 'chopped-up shrubs' pictures gorse bushes that have been rather recently given a severe haircut?
If so I've seen this before, eg 16th at Tadmarton. They grow back however, which I imagine those who dislike gorse on golf course won't be too keen on.
atb


David


Agreed, looks like severely pruned gorse rather than traditional hedges. I've seen that sort of thing elsewhere but struggling to name the courses off the top of my head. Frankly, looks rubbish and if that is all a course has going for it as Clyde suggests for Theydon Bois then its not a course I'll be rushing to play.


Niall

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