Sherwood Forest is part of a very good triumvirate of courses to the north of Nottingham, the others being Notts GC (Hollinwell) and Coxmoor, while Lindrick is also a little further north. I’ve played the others now on many occasions but this was my first trip to Sherwood Forest, and I have to say I was very impressed.
The club was formed in 1895, playing golf over farmers fields at Ravensdale, but by 1910 with over 100 members, the club started to look for a new home. Land owned by the 6th Duke of Portland was offered for lease and the offer was accepted, with the club adopting the name of Sherwood Forest. Harry Colt designed the original course, but by 1925 with the land now in the clubs ownership, they decided to appoint James Braid to redesign the layout, including the building of 11 new holes. Today’s course is pretty much as it was after Braid’s redesign apart from some tweaking of bunkers and the addition of (only) 54 yards. Also, the course was mainly heathland at its outset, but is now a mix of heathland and woodland. Interestingly, the history in the clubs course guide refers to “Mr H S Colt of Sunningdale” in the manner of someone relatively unknown, but then mentions “the renowned James Braid”. We really need to do more to educate people in this country of the history of golf course design!
Sherwood Forest’s main points of interest are that, along with Notts, Coxmoor and Lindrick, they take it in turns to host the Regional Qualifying for the Open Championship. Also, the clubs professional, Ken Hall has acted as both the professional and the clubs secretary for most of his time at the club, dating back to 1985.
Here’s the photos I took when I played back at the end of September, and again yardages are from the yellow tees most likely to be played by visitors. Hole 1
Its an innocuous looking start, but your drive does have to clear a valley of gorse so no room for a topped one here. The hole feels like it plays slightly uphill.
Anyone trying to hit a drive up close to the green from the tee, will have to beware of bunkers 50 and 30 yards short of the green, while the green itself is protected by bunkers short right and on the left hand side. The green is also 37 yards deep which for a short iron approach is pretty big, so distance control on your approach is important to avoid 3 putt territory. Hole 2
A slight dog leg from left to right and plenty of bunkers in the landing area
Again there are bunkers right and left, and a the boundary fence lined with silver birch is up the right hand sideHole 3
A blind drive over the hill, to a fairway that slopesd away from you down to cross bunkers running diagonally across the fairway between 50 and 100 yards from the green. With the hole being blind, a long iron off the tee should keep you from running too far down the hill to the cross bunkers but still leave a short iron approach. Here’s the blind drive
This is the approach, still a down hill shot to a green that slopes from left to rightHole 4
This par 3 returns you to the clubhouse, to a green sitting across the valley crossed off the first tee. The green is angled front right to back left, so you need a little more club to a back left hole, but there is plenty of room over the back, even if its not the easiest chip from there.
Here’s the view looking back from the next tee, with the next fairway off to the leftHole 5
The tee on the 5th is again in front of the clubhouse. The drive is again over a heather filled valley, to a plateau fairway, unless you can rip one 250 plus to get down into the next valley, where there are bunkers left and right, the right one is just visible from the tee.
A layup is fairly straightforward, but there are a nest of bunkers 30 to 60 yards short of the green to catch out anyone going for the green in two.
Here’s the green as seen from just past the 3 bunkersHole 6
The bunkers at Sherwood Forest are virtually all being renovated at the moment and they have used this as an opportunity to move some (which probably explains the deal on the course guides in the proshop). There are now two bunkers up the right hand side here on the 6th, which very slightly plays from right to left. From the back tee which makes the hole 425 yards they are approx 280 yards away, but from the forward tee, they may only be about 210 or so yards out but they do funnel your drive somewhat.
Here’s the new bunkers
And this is the approach to the green, across a service road, with a ring of mounds to the rear and bunkers to the left to stop you running onto the 15th green to the left.Hole 7
A short hole that also plays slightly downhill, but to a very narrow green that’s almost 40 yards long and with bunkers left and right. The green slopes from front to back. As it’s a small target there is a relief green off to the left which you can see.
A closer look at the greenHole 8
This can be stretched to 550 yards off the back tee, but plays as a short par 5 from the yellows. The drive is level and to a narrow fairway guarded by a lone bunker up the right. A lay up is down into a valley, with the green sitting up high on the far side
Looking back from behind the greenHole 9
A tough test to finish the front nine. The drive is blind to a downhill sloping fairway, but the fairway also runs at a slight angle from left to right, so anything too far left of the marker post will run into trouble
The second is over a strip of rough and bunkers about 50 yards short that rises up slightly. This causes the green beyond to seem closer than it really is and when you get there the green slopes away from you
A closer look at the green from short left
So the front nine has played as 3,102 yards, par 36. Hopefully you have a decent card going, or are maybe a couple of holes up, because it only gets harder from here!
Back nine to follow...