Spotlight on… Derbyshire
Derbyshire is renowned for being a hugely diverse county, with towns and cities nestled in breathtaking countryside – the perfect setting for golf. The county’s premier city is Derby – one of Britain’s youngest cities, being awarded its Charter by Her Majesty the Queen in 1977.
With its glorious Peak District National Park, Derbyshire is a fantastic place to visit – and play golf! Here are some great courses to check out …
Derbyshire is known as the “Gateway to the Peak District,” and there are few golf courses in the region that allow you to see this better than Cavendish Golf Club.
In 1923, Dr Alister MacKenzie, one of the finest landscape architects of the twentieth century, was commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire to design a new eighteen-hole golf course on his expansive estate. The result was the magnificent Cavendish course, which is as splendid today as it was in the 1920s.
A par 65, it is designed upon undulating woodland and dense copses, making it a challenge for golfers of all abilities. Its feature hole is probably the par-three fifth; you need to hit the green from your elevated tee shot or risk being caught in any of the green’s many surrounding traps. Accuracy, concentration and awareness of wind speed and direction are especially critical on this hole.
From its origins way back in 1886 (formerly as Ashbourne and Dove Valley Golf Club), the game of golf has been enjoyed in the ancient market town of Ashbourne for over a hundred years. Best of all, visitors are welcome to take on the challenges throughout the year. The legendary Frank Pennink designed the superb course at Ashbourne Golf Club which originally opened in 1886, giving it a strong claim to be one of the oldest courses in the region if not in all of England.
It is remarkable to think that it has been enjoyed by golfers for almost 120 years, and in that time has been looked after and developed so that it stays at the forefront of changes in the golfing world. Indeed, it underwent some alteration work in 1999 that many will argue has turned it into the finest course in the Derbyshire region.
Breadsall Priory Golf and Country Club is home to two superb courses – the Priory Course and the Moorland Course. The championship Priory Course is the longer and more challenging of the two. It was originally designed in 1977 and gently winds its way through the parkland that surrounds the 13th century Priory building. The course features tight, tree-lined fairways that require some accuracy in your long game.
The Moorland course is an entirely different character; set on a heathland hillside, it is less demanding than the Priory but affords great views of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside and the Peak District.
Another top course worth looking out for on your trip to Derbyshire is Broughton Heath Golf Club, which, interestingly, is home to the longest par-three golf course in the Midlands.
First established in 1998, Broughton Heath is a demanding course set over 42 acres of land incorporating lakes, trees, ditches and many other hazards. At 3,125 yards off the back tees, the Standard Scratch Score (SSS) becomes a testing 57, with holes ranging from 120 yds to 235 yds. The general play tees (yellow) have a SSS of 53 and will test the golfing abilities of both amateur and professional golfers.
Peter McEvoy—statistically speaking the most successful English amateur golfer of all time—lent his experience and wealth of knowledge to the design of the fine course at Horsley Lodge Golf Club. Set deep in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside, Horsley Lodge Golf Club offers 18 holes that span a total of 6400 yards from the first tee to the eighteenth pin and are laid out on some top quality springy parkland turf.
Although still relatively young, having only opened its doors to golfers in 1990, it has matured quickly and blossomed into one of the finest venues for a round anywhere in the Derbyshire region. Its eighteen holes create a real treat to play no matter how good a golfer you are.