Coxmoor Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Kevin Heggie
Located just north of Nottingham and a few miles from the M1, Coxmoor Golf Club (established 1913) is a mature heathland course close to some highly regarded neighbours in Hollinwell and Sherwood Forest. However, it has a quality pedigree in its own right, gaining Championship Venue status recently by England Golf and hosting many prestigious events, including Open Qualifiers and both British and English Senior Championships.
I personally rate heathland courses as my favourite due to the quality of the turf as well as the visuals associated with tall pines and heather, so I was really looking forward to playing, and this anticipation was boosted as soon as I drove onto the property to be met with sweeping vistas of the course.
Prior to the round I had the chance to catch up with the club manager, Colin Bee, on the balcony of the stunning new clubhouse which provides amazing views over a number of the holes on the course. During our discussion he highlighted the progress being made to improve the course, and that they are partway through a multi-year renovation programme to remove trees (5,000 to date) as well as improving bunkering and installing drainage to ensure the course condition continues to improve.
We also spoke about the new clubhouse, opened at the back end of 2018, which was erected and opened in under a year (and having watched many Grand Design episodes, is something I still can’t get my head around!). These new facilitates replaced the old clubhouse which were seen as dated, with hints of school changing rooms. The new design is a striking build, which is visible from a number of holes on the course, and provides everything you could want from a clubhouse - modern changing facilities, meeting rooms for events, a large open plan lounge with a modern bar and kitchen area, and a balcony providing outdoor eating and socialising options, which is surely the envy of almost every other club house in the land.
In place of the old clubhouse is now a new putting green, adjacent to the 1st tee to give you that final chance to warm up before your tee time.
Front 9 Overview
The first four holes provide a great mix of what Coxmoor offers and eases you into the round. Whilst on the card the 1st hole looks relatively long, it plays considerably shorter as the fairway dips down and banks left to right, leaving around 150 yards from the fairway bunkers back up to an elevated green.
The 2nd is a real gem of a par 3 in terms of both its visuals and playability. From the tee, it appears to be surrounded by bunkers front, left, and right, but in reality, the front bunkers shouldn’t be in play, sitting a safe distance in front of the green which slopes back to front. A relatively straight forward par 5 follows (the first of five on the course), followed by a short dog-legged par 4 which can be played a number of ways. Longer hitters may be tempted to try to drive the green but will need to navigate trees as well as bunkers to succeed. For those laying up a couple of fairway bunkers require some navigation, meaning the hole is no push over.
The difficulty steps up a notch on the 5th, the hardest hole on the front 9 according to the scorecard. From the tee box you need to navigate well placed bunkers on the left, and a strip of heather running the length of the hole on the right, waiting to swallow your ball up. The green is then perched at the top of the hill, with bunkers waiting left and right to catch out anything which comes up short.
Another par 5 follows, taking you back up towards the clubhouse and the elevated tee box for the 7th. This again is another great par 3. Already playing short, the green is well below the teeing ground, with an extremely thin landing area at the front requiring a precise iron. Anything left, and you’ll be in the bunker with little chance of an up and down as the green slopes away from you, and right of the green will also leave you facing a tricky chip from below the level of the green.
A couple of enjoyable par 4s close out the front nine. The 8th fairway requires decent carry over a valley to leave yourself with a shortish shot to the green, and then the 9th takes you back towards the clubhouse via a funnelled fairway, up towards a tricky punchbowl green.
Back 9 Overview
The back nine kicks off with another shortish par 3 to a wide green, with the potential for added pressure coming from the watching gallery on the clubhouse balcony. The 11th takes you back out towards the countryside and is littered with new bunkering from the elevated tee box to catch out anything wayward. The green on the 11th is also a tricky proposition, especially if the pin is in the front section, where the ball can easily run off front and right (as I found to my cost!)
The par 12th, the hardest hole on the course, plays long as it’s all uphill, taking you to one of the high points of the course. You then have an opportunity to open your shoulders on the 13th, a long straight par 5 playing significantly downhill, and presenting a good birdie opportunity. A couple of short and enjoyable par 4s follow, both which will tempt long hitters into going for the green, but also having enough protection which will see a few large numbers racked up.
The final stretch of holes runs par 5, 3, with a par 5 finish, and the 16th and 17th provide a stern test. The 16th doglegs left, with out of bounds in play throughout the hole, and the green complex is again well protected with run offs and bunkers. The 17th plays significantly uphill and requires a long iron or fairway wood to navigate the swathes of heather which makes this hole so memorable. The last hole provides a final good opportunity for a birdie or better, although the two-tiered green will have a big say in your score, stretching 50 yards front to back.
I really enjoyed my round at Coxmoor and can fully understand why its membership is full and there’s a waiting list to join, as well as why the Golfshake Community give it such stellar scores. As my playing partner and I sat on the balcony after the round watching groups tee off from the 10th, we both agreed it’s the type of course which would make a nomadic golfer seriously consider signing up. The layout provides a good mix of holes, and is fair and generous from the tee allowing golfers of all abilities to get around the course (with a number of holes very scorable), although when you fail to concentrate or commit to the shot you’ll find yourself quickly in trouble.
On top of the course you can also access great practice facilities, and of course you cannot fail to be impressed by the exceptional clubhouse, which provides an extensive menu and space to relax which I’m sure will see many more golf visitors and societies take a trip to the course.
With autumn and winter on the horizon, you’re guaranteed good golfing conditions underfoot with greens playing well all year round, and the winter package offers exceptional value for money all things considered. For those planning a longer break, Golfbreaks can sort the logistics to incorporate a visit to Coxmoor as well as nearby Hollinwell and Sherwood Forest, which should satisfy those seeking out some of the best heathland courses north of the Surrey sandbelt.
Overall Rating - 9
Course (Conditions) - 9
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 9
Course (Green Condition) - 9
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & 19th/Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 10
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 9
Value for Money - 9
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|Coxmoor Golf Club
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