The Takeaway: Perhaps the most underrated course in England, Hollinwell is a top shelf course in every way. Wonderful elevation changes, engaging hole designs, and variety galore. Notts is in the discussion among the best inland courses in the U.K. Grade A+
Designer: Willie Park Jr. 1901 (Tom Williamson 1910)
Cost: £60 - £130 Click for current rates
Phone Number: +44 1623 753225
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Hollinwell Home of Notts Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Derby Rd, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottingham NG17 7QR – UNITED KINGDOM
What to Expect: Hollinwell, often referred to as Notts since it resides in Nottinghamshire, is easily one of the most underrated courses in England. The Willie Park Jr. layout enjoys an elite level routing with a nearly perfect balance of points on the compass represented in terms of where the holes run. In a country where so many routings go out and back in similar directions, the variety at Hollinwell is a welcome feature that is enjoyed even further when the wind is up. The theme of variety continues at Knotts with holes that at times are framed by heather, at other times by trees, and occasionally running through gorse and ferns. The expansive property enjoys an ideal amount of movement in the terrain with holes that climb uphill, cascade downhill, and sweep across the sloping ground which delivers constant interest and engagement to the golfer. As good as the front nine is, the back nine is even better as it delivers one high quality hole after another that demand skill from the golfer and can't help but keep a smile on their face the entire time. One of the earmarks of success with golf design is variety, and Hollinwell delivers consistently and with merit. As is common with most courses in the UK, players will be required to walk but can rent a trolley to help tote their clubs around. There is little weakness to nit pick at Notts, and a visit to England that solely focuses just on the famous tracks in Surrey neglects one of the best Heathland courses in the country.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 460 Yard Par 4 – One of the famous views in England golf is from the 18th tee looking down the fairway with Hollinwell's iconic clubhouse creating the backdrop. The hole descends 60 feet in elevation from tee to green so it plays shorter than the scorecard suggests. Tee shots up the right side need to avoid the bunker 275 yards away, but coming in from that angle is the desired line when attacking the green considering the large bunker flanking the left side of the putting surface. The raised putting surface should be considered when making a club selection on the approach so that the last hole gets the respect it deserves. This is a strong hole and a great way to finish one of the best inland courses in the British Isles.
Best Par 3: 13th Hole – 241 Yards – A dramatic downhill one-shotter and certainly one of the most memorable holes on the property, the 13th is a unique combination of fun and intimidating. Plummeting an impressive 80 feet downhill, the final par three on the course features a half dozen bunkers surrounding the green which is set at the base of a pair of hills. The large descendant can make it difficult to keep your tee shot on line for the full flight, so trust your swing and do what you can to get off this hole with a par.
Best Par 4: 2nd Hole – 462 Yards – Notts wastes no time producing quality holes by offering this uphill dogleg left that is ready to test your merit. The shortcut to the green is over the trio of bunkers protecting the inside of the dogleg, but that will require at least 240 yards of carry up the hill. The hole climbs a total of 40 feet from tee to green so everything plays longer than the yardage suggests. The green sits back in a little hollow at the small hill on the left and at the base of the large hill to the rear. You'll want to play far enough right to see the green on the approach but not so far that the greenside bunker on that side becomes a menace. A par here means you have your game rolling early.
Best Par 5: 3rd Hole – 547 Yards – This hole is just pure fun! With a descension of 80 feet over the course of the hole, this par five becomes reachable in two for players that utilize the slope wisely. The fairway is tilted to push balls from left to right towards the bunker 260 yards from the back tee, so the more you can hug the left side the better. Two cross bunkers protect the majority of the front of the green, but a ball that draws in from the right can avoid the sand and skip onto the putting surface to yield an opportunity at going under par. With the clubhouse sitting in the background and dramatic terrain and bunkers to engage with, the 3rd hole is simply a joy.
Birdie Time: 11th Hole – 360 Yard Par 4 – Like any good short par four, this hole can turn into a bogey as quickly as a birdie, but this is your time to shine and get under par. The fairway is narrow but widens as you get closer to the green, so if you play it safe off the tee you better be deadly accurate. If you cut loose on a driver then you need to avoid the fairway bunker 300 yards away which should be easier to stay short of since it is a 40 foot climb to get there. A nice drive will leave a short wedge into the green where you can go pinseeking. This hole rewards accuracy more than any on the course, so if you display it, you'll be rewarded handsomely.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 474 Yard Par 4 – As is often the case, the easiest hole is followed up by the toughest. The 12th is a bear of a two-shotter that climbs 30 feet uphill which effectively makes the hole play over 500 yards. Reprieve is offered by a lack of fairway bunkers and a sole sand pit short and left of the green, but plenty of power is going to be required to sniff this green in regulation. If you can come in from the high side on the right you have your best chance of tumbling a ball onto the green, but there is no cheating this beast, you just have to step up and face it.