Tag: Visit England

Hallamshire Golf Club, Sheffield

An incredibly understated and uninviting piece about golf in the local Sheffield Star reads:

“Hallamshire Golf Club is nestled between the Peak District and the City, on Redmires Road.  The club is home to one of the best and most challenging courses in the North of England”

Well thats true, but …

Recent winner of the US Open, 2022, Matt Fitzpatrick is a member here, not only that but other greats such as Alison Nicholas, the winner of the US Women’s Open 1997 and Solheim Cup Captain in 2009 and 2011, lesser known Mary Everard, (recently deceased), was a four time player in the Curtis Cup- all have links to the Hallamshire – in short this course produces winners, quality winners at that.

It is true, Sheffield isn’t known as a tourist trap, its deep rooted industrial heritage in steel surpassed only by the friendly (and sometimes not so friendly) rivalry of the two home grown football teams; the Owls and the Blades. The natural friendliness of Yorkshire people and their, usually deserved, status of ‘no flies on us’ approach puts this city on the map for many reasons – but golf isn’t one of them.

Fitzpatrick admits that his home course is very similar to Brookline, Massachusetts where two historic wins US Open as an Amateur in 2013 and the more recent one of the US Open Champion 2022 puts him as only the second person (behind Jack Nicklaus) to win both these titles at the same course.  Matt says of his home course; the Hallamshire is shorter (than Brookline) but the greens can be tour standard and are the best around.

The pro shop, albeit welcoming, is just like any other, the clubhouse doesn’t scream at you despite its commanding elevated position overlooking the course. Truth is, unless you knew it was there, you could easily drive past the club.   But what it lacks in showy appearance it more than makes up for as a challenging, well designed course for all.

A fairly intimidating first hole appears narrower than it actually is off the tee, but the clubhouse popping up into full view once you’ve driven the ball is enough to put anyone off – especially if you’ve hit a poor drive.  Add the OOB on the right and the in your face wind, you’d be happy to survive hole one with a decent score and scurry onto the second tee as you become engulfed in the course.

The 4th, par 4 SI7/1 (460/378 yards) is quite a straight hole called Bilberry Dimpling.  The name bought back fond memories of me sitting atop the Moors picking bilberries for Mum to make jam.  Whilst hole 4 didn’t bring back those comfort memories of home cooking, it is a fairly open yet lovely hole.  From the 4th, over the 8th, you can see the aptly named Snake Pass as it winds its way along the hillside carrying people to endless opportunities in their little square boxes on wheels.

Redesigned in the1930’s by Harry Colt, Hallamshire golf course embraces the natural terrain of hillocks, sways, heather, gorse and of course bilberries. Add the odd bunker – whose level of consistency with their sand and depth of sand was as good as any top course I’ve played, and you’re on to something special.

The 6th intrigued me with its far reaching views of Hallam Gorse Moor with its WWI training camp.  Even to this day overhead images show the outline of the trenches dug – weird to think that another great golf course designer, Alister MacKenzie was instrumental in the design of the trenches during WWI!   Hidden behind the trees on this par 3 193/127 yard (SI15/17) hole you can just about see Rivelin Dams.  

The (member) legendary 9th, with it’s hard to stop the ball on the green challenges any such notions of making a birdie on this par 3!  Such is he slope of this green that any downhill putt is met with trepidation. This is not a hole you’d give a gimme in a match!

As the back nine is 220/360 yards longer than the front, bagging a decent front nine score could help you with your overall score.

The 10th is a par 5 from the front, par 4 from the back tees.  It is literally laid out in front of you.  A slightly elevated tee off area before it drops down to a water course crossing the fairway.  The green is cleverly positioned to be slightly off centre with a bunker left.  A brave shot over or work you way around into the mouth of the green. Its name  Perfection is one you’d strive to live up to on this hole.

The course continues to work its way around the natural landscape throwing in many challenges, especially for those who haven’t played it before!  Large sways of gorse are in play as they hug the ravines transcending downwards or pop up in places you’d rather they didn’t.  

Hole 15 is called Long.  This par 5 is a test for those who may no hit so far or have left their ‘A game’ in the car park.  Measuring 584/506 SI10/4 this is one hole which you could be punished or rewarded on.

Slightly different in outlook and design is the 17th, a par three over a shallow gorse ravine to a slightly elevated green.  The imposing rock face sits immediately to the right of the hole and green.  A clean hit is required to make it over the gorse and over the multiple bunkers protecting this 134/123 yard par 3.

A sloping fairway right to left closing hole par 5 487/452 yard SI 14/5 is one where you could walk away with pride or hang your head in shame as the clubhouse and any patio loungers overlook the final green.

In summary; the Hallamshire greens were superb, the bunkers were consistent and the fairways offered so many different thought provoking opportunities – from all the tees.  It is a must play for any golfer.  Enjoy the hospitality which is sure to be extended to any visitor.

Sarah Forrest

Golf Guru Group

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H – Hankley Common

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order.  Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

Hankley Common

The Clubhouse, Tilford Rd, Farnham

It has to be said the time I played Hankley Common it was absolutely tipping it down.  Known for being one of the best courses in that area that can stand that level of water, it was a bit of a non-brainer that we play Hankley Common on such a wet weekend.  To this day, I am sure the pro was completely bemused at our request to play.  Non of the members were daft enough to venture out that day!

The wonderful free draining turf on this pretty heathland course was a god send that day.  We were, despite the wet stuff from the sky, able to continue play without too many hinderances.

The original nine holes

Date back to 1897.  In 1922 James Braid added a further nine holes, encompassing the layout and natural beauty of the terrain.  10 years later Harry Colt was bought in to add length.

Bobby Locke described this heathland course as a ‘closest resemblance to playing a links’ with other such accolades as ‘one of the best inland layouts in Britain’

Playing Hankey Common

Was not always an open expanse experience, in so far as the fairways are often tree lined.  The greens were a decent size and nicely and receptive too.  The fairways seem to sway their way around the course, like chiffon in the wind, only broken up by the bunkering and heather.  Some of the bunkers were of such a depth that required thinking about!  The odd large establish tree came into play as the course criss crossed around the common with ease.  To be honest everything a good golf course can offer is here at Hankley Common.  But the rough of heather and pretty much everything else was incredibly punishing!

Whilst playing Hankley Common I didn’t feel as though I was in a mass expanse of nothingness at any time.  It was very neat and tidy as one navigated around he course with ease.  Dog legs and the colour contrasts were just beautiful to feast your eyes upon.  And just as you think you’re on the home ward stretch, hole 18 throws up a tough finish.  With its dip in front of the green- maybe it was because I was soaked by then, I just remember looking at the clubhouse thinking – Lumumba!

Hankley Common

Is owned by the Ministry of Defence. Set in 1400 acres, the surrounding area is designated as an area of special scientific interest.  The common has been the site for some classic films such as James Bond’s, the World is Not Enough and Die Another Day.  Michael Fassbender starred in Macbeth here and Michael Vaughan’s The Kings Man was another to be filmed here.  In fact many a movie star has trodden the soil of Hankley Common over the years.  Wildlife, flora and fauna are common place here with the Golf Club adopting the common fox as their logo.  The golf course occupies the West side of this Surrey heathland location.

I for Isle of Purbeck

I – Isle of Purbeck

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order.  Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com. For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

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Isle of Purbeck

Corfe Rd, Studland, Swanage, BH19 3AB

When you’ve got a great course and some interesting history, you know you’re onto a winner for a good day out.

Founded in 1892

And originally opening as a nine hole course on Dene Hill in 1893 with 40 members, whose membership was just a guinea.  In todays money that is one pound and five pence, pre decimalisation it was 21 shillings (a shilling being 5p).

Fast forward to relative recent history and its new owners being Mr and Mrs Darrell-Waters.  Mrs Darrell-Waters, better known as Enid Blyton, the prolific children’s novelist maybe better known for characters such as Noddy and Big Ears.  Taking inspiration from local characters ‘PC Plod’ was based on a cheerful, well known local policeman in the 1950’s.

Enid Blyton

was good golfer and was elected Lady Captain in 1951.  During the Darrell-Waters ownership the course was extended to the 18 holes.  Enid Blyton’s putter is still at the club awaiting its new display cabinet.

Next in line of ownership was another punchy name, Mr H B Randolph a recent retiree from his ownership of the Wilkinson Sword Company.  A keen hobby golfer himself, he seized the opportunity to create an impressive clubhouse and bought out the land lease plus additional land.  The 27 holes of today and the elevated clubhouse overlooking Poole Harbour are testimony to his desire to showcase the spectacular views.  Uniquely the building material of the clubhouse is Purbeck Stone inset with giant fossils.

The Sword Bar

Was created in memory of his first wife.  Randolph gave many swords away. There is a replica of the Golf Flaming Sword as presented to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie, the “Lion of Judah’, Emperor of Ethiopia.  In another room is the Sword of Stalingrad, the original being presented to the people of Stalingrad during WWII.  Many more swords decorate the clubhouse.

But what of the course itself?

I played 18 holes.  Hole number 1 and 2 go away and back to the clubhouse.  Crossing back in front of the club house is when the fun really starts.  From hole 3 you are walking away with the club behind you.  This heathland course is pretty in its own right, but once you get to the fifth, those views over towards Poole gives the game away as to what a special place you are in.

Holes 5 and 6 are the furthest away from the clubhouse on the front nine.  I remember them being so peaceful.  I was playing towards the end of the day, by myself just carrying my bag and enjoying the peace and quiet.  It suddenly struck me that I was completely alone, just listening to the world go by as I hit my golf ball towards the dip to the 5th green.

As you play around the course

You cross around the back of the club house after hole 7.  The golf course plays a little like a links course, but is probably best described as heathland, with a links feel.  The course splays out returning to wrap its arms loving around the clubhouse and embrace the vista view once more for the post round drinks. 

Maximising the space, the holes play in different directions, thereby offering a complete challenge in golf.

The late Peter Allis said

“I’ve always felt the Club is certainly one of the most spectacular in the whole of the UK and the general ambience of the Club and course is absolutely delightful.”

I guess he was in good company with his thoughts as the late King Edward also declared the view from the fifth tee as one of the finest in British golf.

Purbeck is a peninsular of land bordered by water on three sides.  The English Channel  are to the South and East.  The Dorset Coast, the Jurassic Coast with its high imposing cliff tops adds drama to this wonderful location.

J for John O’Gaunt

J – John O’Gaunt

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order.  Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses in this series, and please do comment, like or share if you want to start planing ahead. For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

Instagram @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer

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John O’Gaunt Golf Club

Sutton Park, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2LY

The imposing Mansion House enjoys panoramic views as it presides over the golf courses and grounds of the John O’Gaunt Golf Club.

Dating back to 1859, rebuilt after a fire in 1825, the mansion house is the clubhouse serving the two 18 hole golf courses and practice facilities. 

Originally the golf course was a 9 hole in a different location.  The War Office took over the nine hole, ploughing up 3 of the holes for crops.  The remaining six had ditches dug into them to hinder aircraft from landing.

In 1948 a new location was sought for the then known Mid Bedfordshire Golf Club.  The 300 acre Sutton Park was found to be the perfect location with its picturesque countryside views and established lime trees, some still standing to this day.

The front nine

Of the John O’Gaunt course were designed by W G Groves, a scratch golfer, with the back nine being designed by Fred Hawtree.  Hawtree went on to design the second course, Carthagena, but our focus for today is the main course, John O’Gaunt.

With the purchase of Sutton Park came the somewhat dilapidated mansion house and established gardens designed by one of Capability Browns contemporaries, Humphry Repton.

As I haven’t played John O’Gaunt, my guest writer for letter J is Phil Millington:

As I arrived at the club

Ready to represent my club in a Seniors Scratch Team match, I was greeted by the clubhouse which has the air of an old country hall, with its grounds now converted into two golf courses, the John O’Gaunt main course and the Carthagena course. As you walk in you get the impression of history at this club.

My match was played on the John O’Gaunt course and it was the first and only time I’ve played at the club; in Mar 2020 (before Covid truly arrived on the scene). The course itself is a gently undulating mature parkland layout with many tall old imposing trees lining the fairways. Positioning of your shots in the right part of the fairway is key to producing a good score on many of the holes, otherwise your course management skills will be tested for sure. For the time of year the course was in really good condition and well presented, with the greens being suitably paced and true. 

To sum it up for me

Almost a year further on, I find I can clearly remember all but maybe one or two holes; dog legs both ways, raised greens, some holes slightly uphill, some downhill. The John O’Gaunt course is recognised as the No.1 course in Bedfordshire and for me the fact I remember the course so well is truly the sign of an interesting course. One that I look forward to playing again in the future.

K for Kington

K – Kington

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

I am showcasing one golf club a day across GB & I over 26 days – in reverse alphabetical order.  Full write up and more images can be found on http://golfgurugroup.blogspot.com

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses in this series, and please do comment, like or share if you want to start planing ahead.For more innovative, fun unique golf content, please subscribe to my social media channels 

Instagram @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer Twitter and Facebook @golfgurugroup

Kington Golf Club

Bradnor Hill, Kington, Herefordshire, HR5 3RE

Another great golf course which sits on the English Welsh borders.  Kington is the highest 18 hole golf course in England at 1284 feet above sea level, at its highest point.  The beauty of Kington is most of the climbing is done by car as you snake your way up the the clubhouse in the sky.

That said as you stand on the first tee with its gradual uphill laid out in front of you, you might not think so.  Especially when you see the green clinging onto the side of a hill to the left.  But once you’re up there, there isn’t much more climbing to do.   The wind can come into play.  My playing partner was playing a driver on a par 3 to turn around and play the next hole, a par 4, with a rescue with it almost landing on the green says it all I think.  But on one of those beautiful sunny days its the best place to see over towards the Brecon Beacons, The Black Mountains, The Malvern Hills and the Shropshire and Clee Hills.

Construction started in 1925

Under the watchful eye of golf course designer Major Cecil Hutchinson.  Building a reputation in his own right after working with Braid at Gleneagles and Carnoustie.  He later went on to work with Stafford Vere Hotchkin to redesign Woodhall Spa.  At Kington he had the choice of two locations and opted for Bradnor Hill to work within its natural beauty and terrain.  There have been very few changes to the original design, testimony to the strength of its original design.

There are some holes when you look at them and think, I should do OK here.  Hole number five is that one for me.  It is a par 3 only 126/150 yards with a menacing looking wall on the right and a lone tree in the distance to the right of the green.  It is a relatively small green which is easily missed if too long and probably more forgiving if too short. It isn’t unusual to see the sheep, who wander around the course, taking shelter behind the wall.  Watching with curious interest as they cheerfully much on the lush grass. 

It has to be said, it is stunning at the top.

The golf course is a haven of manicured pasture with far reaching views, sometimes above the clouds, and I’ve heard sometimes above the military planes which train in the valley below.  The heathland course has all the elements for fantastic play, all the hazards one might expect of its location, plus some.  Yet despite it being so high, there is space all around. The fairways are often wide enough and the greens large enough for a good game.  That doesn’t mean a good score though!!  If a good score isn’t forthcoming take solace in the vista views of seven counties across England and Wales being Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Breconshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.

It isn’t unusual

To see humps dotted around, some protect the greens as per the 12th.  They not only add to the dramatic landscape but are in play too.  There are no bunkers or water hazards at Kington, it doesn’t need them. The fairways are great to play from.  Slightly spongy but not too much give that you end up popping the ball in the sky! I am always amazed by the condition of the greens, despite the wildlife and the relatively harsh climate, they remain great.

The elevation changes, the dramatic grass bunkers and the rough are enough to keep you on your toes on this course.

The closing hole has the clubhouse in sight.  With an almost impossible looking green, a slither of short cut grass next to the clubhouse from an elevated tee.  I guess it is achievable for a big hitter at 238/279 yards (SI18), to be on in one.  But it is fraught with danger if you’re slightly off kilter.  Go right and you’re down the hill, maybe even out of play.  Go too long and you’re pretty much in the clubhouse.  That green looks remarkably small and narrow front to back!  And of course you have the spectators in the clubhouse watching your every move! 

L for Llanymynech

O – The Oxfordshire

GB&I Golf Course Reviews – Z to A

I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I for the whole of the alphabet.  It is my ode to some great golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab. 

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I and subscribe to my social media channels @sarah_thetravellingladygolfer on Instagram @golfgurugroup on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray


Or strictly speaking The Oxfordshire, Rycote Lane, Milton Common, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 2PU

It’s strange how golf courses keep popping in your golfing life.  I’d never heard of the Oxfordshire until it hosted a ladies golf event there and I went along as a spectator as fairly new person into golf.  Little did I know at that stage that I’d be working to help promote the resort in my tour operating days or running successful ladies events there either.  It’s certainly one that pops up every now and again and always in a positive way.  Now I can just enjoy the course for what it is, a place I can return to time and again.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray

The Oxfordshire

Is not an old course in fact it was only built in 1993.  A unique blend of English countryside meeting it’s then Japanese owners requests designed by an American, Rees Jones.  Rees Jones of Torres Pines and Pinehurst fame.

It has been built to stage championship golf, and has done so since it conception.  With its natural spectator vantage points and views over the, what can only be described as an inland links views.

It is true many a great course has claimed to be an inland links but I think the Oxfordshire is one that can say that with conviction, despite it being based in the middle of the Chilterns.  This Rees Jones design beguiles from the first glance with its softly lined fairways.  Its wispy grass flirting in the wind beckoning you in.

Photo credit – Kevin Murray

Once you start to play the Oxfordshire

You’re in a different world, only being bought back to the reality by an exceptional half way house at the far end of the course.  It isn’t the 9 out, 9 in design of some, you are literally at the furthest point from the 5th tee.  The half way house comes into play on a few holes.

I always liked playing the par 4, 8th hole with the water on the right and the green tantalising you in the distance with its solitary tree teasing you to think big  Almost like an island green, the brave can take on the water with their second shot, the sensible follow the fairway round the mouth of the green.

Weirdly I also liked the 10th hole

Its not partially any more spectacular than any ofter hole on the course, I just liked its simplicity.  I was in one of the fairway greens with still a long way to go to the green.  To everyones amazement, I used a rescue club and clean hit it out and onto the green.  I still don’t remember who was more surprised by that shot, me or my playing partner!

There is one hole that most people do talk about when playing The Oxfordshire, the 17th.  A long par 5 with an open tee box to hit into oblivion.  Placement is key here as it determines the next shot.  Over the lake at almost the widest point or go around and play the whole of the par 5.  I’ve played both ways, but only had the guts to take on the green one time as my drive was quite far left!  The green is tucked all the way the other side of the lake.  Shallow in it approach back to front with bunkers in play.  It is definitely one of those risk and reward shots!!

The onsite contemporary Hotel sits with the best views over the course, so a few days staying here is always a little luxury with good food and a spa on tap too.

P for Porthmadog

W – Wallasey

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland.  Full write up’s and more images can be found on golfgurugroup.blogspot or www.golfgurugroup.com Travelling Lady Golfer tab.  So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information, if needed. Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I.  Feel free to share them to help others.
Wallasey Golf Club
Baywater Road, Wallasey, Wirral, CH45 8LA Founded in 1891 by members from nearby Hoylake, with a sterling layout from Old Tom Morris it was immediately heralded for its great greens.  There were a few tweaks to the course in 1901 by Alex Herd and 1913 by Harold Hilton.  But it was in 1917 when the drifting sand from nearby beaches, coupled with lease issues threatened Wallasey’s future.  Issues resolved, in steps James Braid in 1929 who consulted in the alterations of the course.  It obviously worked as in 1930 Wallasey was selected as an Open qualifier course for Royal Liverpool. An Open qualifying course again in 1936, with reduced yardage, Hawtree and J H Taylor were drafted in with James Braid once again adding his two penneth to its tweaked design. Post war; a couple of lost holes were reinstated giving us a full 18 hole links once again.  Continued improvements were being made with the last ones by Donald Steel who re-desgined 3 new holes for play in 2004. Little of the original 1981 course remains intact.  Gales, blown sand, war office requirements and the desire for extra length have led to several reconstructions.  Only holes 2, 7, 8 and 12 have the original greens, such as evolution dictates.
I honestly cannot remember the first time I played Wallasey Golf Club, it must have been over 10 years ago but have been back 3 or 4 times since.  The first time, I was a reasonably high handicapper with the ability to hit the odd good shot, but nothing too reliable.  Wallasey was the first golf course to have the Bagger Vance effect on me; just see the path ahead, everything else just blurs into the background and it is easy to see how on this course. Wallasey rarely has dunes that you have to play over or through.   But the fairways are lined with Marram grass and gorse so you can literally see your chosen path ahead, snaking around in a tantalising fashion. I guess it is only fitting that in the movie the Legend of Bagger Vance that Junuh was playing against Bobby Jones.  Bobby Jones played his qualifying round at Wallasey for the 1930 Open at Royal Liverpool.  Wallasey must have had a lasting effect on Bobby Jones too, as he sat for a portrait painted by one of the members.  This portrait ‘Bobby’ still hangs proudly in the lounge to this day.
As you start to play Wallasey, it lures you into a false sense of security with a fairly innocuous straight par 4 hole running alongside the road.  Then as you turn towards hole two, you may see the resident fox sitting on the tee box waiting for a snack without getting too close and certainly not menacing. The second hole is famous for a totally different reason.  A par 4, almost 90 degree dog leg right, wide enough to take on the corner or keep left and get on in regulation for your second shot. Doctor Frank Stableford a member at Wallasey Golf Club at the time came up with the Stableford scoring system on this hole.  I wonder if he had a nightmare on hole 1?  Either way, the scoring system we all know and love today is from this very course.  If you do take on the corner, over the dunes, and you miss, give a little nod to Dr Stableford for inventing such a forgiving system.  Your worst score on that hole is nil points, or blob as we loving like to call it in the UK.
Other holes of note.
In fact you won’t even know about this hole until you clamber over the dunes to the 4th hole and the world appears to just open up ahead of you.  Out of the dunes and into a wide open expanse overlooking the sea.  On the horizon a multitude of majestic wind turbines quietly going about their business glinting in the sunshine as they sparkle off the sea gently lapping around them.  The forth hole is a par 5, and the hardest hole on the course playing 438 to 571 yards.  With it elevated tee, it does give you a sense of whack ability but be aware of the shallow banks and burrows that are in play on this hole too! Hole number 16 is worth a mention, in so far as the first time I played Wallasey I thought, blimey!!  It is a relatively long par 3, 180 to 227 yards, SI14 over a ravine of unsavoury stuff up back to the green which seems to cling onto the edge of the bank.  In fact it is set into the bank on the right hand side, with a drop off on the left. A little path connects the dots after your tee shot.  There is little option than to try and hit the green in one, I remember the green being quite big, if that helps? Navigating yourself around the course, enjoying the fairways set out inviting in front of you is no more present than on the 18th.   You stand on the tee, and there is only fairway spread out in front of you.  A beautifully inviting cut fairway leading its way in ten pin ball fashion to the pin at the end.  With marram grass and the odd bit of gorse in the rough, it is less tempting, so stick with your inner Bagger Vance and see the field. You can guarantee that if you don’t, your golfing buddies sat on the patio deck area will notice any errant shots and give a sympathetic sigh.  Knowing too well how difficult it is not only find your ball but then play for glory to the 18th green with all and sundry overlooking your every move. Wallasey remains one of my all time favourite golf courses to play in the world and I hope to return one day soon.
X for eXminster Golf Centre

X – eXminster

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf in the UK and Ireland  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab too, so there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information I can’t fit here on social media

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I, and feel free to share them to help others.

Today we look at the letter X for eXminster Golf Centre

Exminster Hill, Exeter, EX6 8GA

Ok, it has to be said I had to use a little creative license with this one, as I cannot find a golf club in GB&I starting with the letter X, so I have worked on the phonetic sound, with the E being silent in (English) speech.

I’ve also pushed the boundaries a little here as this facility isn’t strictly a golf course, more a practice facility with 9 holes attached.  But with great views over towards Devon and only 5 minuets from Exeter you can really enjoy your golf here.   With a 16 bay floodlit facility, it’s an opportunity to sneak away for a few hours, even whilst holidaying with the family in this beautiful part of England

The clubhouse at Exminster is large enough for private functions and must be great when you’ve got the family in tow to have somewhere to take stock before heading back out to the range or golf course.

I myself started at a similar facility before moving on to a more challenging 18 hole golf course; if Exminster is like my starter course, it was fantastic to get me going in golf.

Here’s what one local had to say about Exminster Golf Centre:

A 9 hole very friendly club,  the course is quite tight with small greens.  There are 4 par 3’s which are tough!  The course is quite undulating in places which make shots challenging, but is forgiven for the beautiful views of the Exe Estuary from the second and third holes.  More country side views over adjacent farmland are also on offer for the enjoyment when playing Exminster Golf course.  There is an excellent driving range with indoor and outdoor mats plus a small but well stocked pro shop.  The large clubhouse serves a variety of good food.  Known in the area as a starter course for new golfers to gain confidence on before moving to bigger clubs in the area.

Exminster is a village close to the southern edge of the City of Exeter, in South Devon.  An ancient village with religious roots in the Saxon minster dating back to King Alfred the Great of the 8th Century.  Exminster has ties back in history to William Courtenay who was the Archbishop of Canterbury 1381 to 1396


Y of Yelverton Golf Club

Y – Yelverton

GB&I Golf Course Review – Z to A

Over the next 26 days, I am going to showcase one golf club a day in GB & I.  It is my ode to some great golf.  Full write up’s can be found on golfgurugroup blogspot or on golfgurugroup website under the Travelling Lady Golfer tab too. So there is no missing out on that extra little bit of information I can’t get here on social media

Look out for the daily influx of unique, quirky, amazing golf courses across the GB & I on offer.

Today we look at the letter Y for Yelverton Golf Club

Golf links Rd, Yelverton PL20 6BN

In the beautiful Devonshire moorland countryside is this 18 hole William Herbert Fowler golf course design.  Cleverly utilising the naturally occurring tin mines of old as unsuspecting hollows and mounds to catch out even the best of golfers. With vista views over Dartmoor and Cornwall playing Yelverton in Summer 2019 was a delight.

Herbert Fowler

Best known as a cricketer, playing no less than 26 first class cricket matches in 1880.  In 1879 he was bitten by the golf bug when playing Westward Ho! By 1904 he was a prominent golf course designer with such greats under his belt such as Walton Heath and The Berkshire (Red and Blue).

In good company such as Harry Colt, James Braid and Alistair MacKenzie he also got involved in Burnham and Berrow, Cruden Bay (Champs), Royal North Devon and a whole lot more.

In 1904 he turned his hand to Yelverton, looking through his history of golf course conquers, Yelverton sits well with his growing portfolio of an untamed heathland area, ripe for development – but not too much!

At 600 feet above sea level

Yelverton Golf Club is situated on Roborough Common, land once owned by Sir Francis Drake, on the edge of Dartmoor.  With unique features such as the man made Devonport Leat built in 1793 to bring water into Plymouth.  Now playing as a water hazard on the course.  Couple this with the former tin mines scars dating back to Elizabethan times, makes for some interesting golf shots that for sure!

Wandering around the course are the Dartmoor ponies, which to this day bring controversial thoughts from a pristine golf course verses the British love of the Dartmoor pony who’s inevitable hoof prints churn up the course.

The solution

Parts of the golf courses are protected with wires sectioning off areas to keep the ponies and sheep off.  Other than that the wildlife wander around as they wish.

On the day I played, despite it being mid summer, the Great British weather didn’t disappoint and we ended up playing in the cold and wet.  Not that it dampened our spirits  or the joy of the golf course, being able to play such a relatively unknown little beauty was a joy.

Even on a grey day the colours of Dartmoor shine through as you leave the clubhouse and approach the first tee ready to do battle.  I love the way heathland courses play, their short grass being not too hard to enable the club to sweep under and give some bounce to the ball as you take your shot.

Standing on a few of the tees at Yelverton

I was blown away by the design of each hole stretched out ahead of me.  Different in design and undulation, some had trees, others sheep or horses, all had bushes and dips and hillocks.  All retained the interest.  The fairway grass was great to play, but the rough as pretty difficult to manage.  I honestly can’t remember going in a bunker but I do recall going into the Leat, a wide yet open gully which wasn’t too bad to play from as it didn’t have any water in that day, thank goodness!

The greens played well too, even the practice green in front of the club house was inviting.

After our game we sat in the clubhouse chatting to the members and staff, enjoying a sandwich as I pondered the only if’s, the great shots and the diary so I can figure out when I can go back again?

See previous letter Z

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