The Rushcliffe Golf Club Feature Review
Review by Golfshake Ambassador Richard Moore
The Rushcliffe Golf Club (formed in 1909) is situated just 10 minutes from Jn 24 of the M1 and is set on a hillside with beautiful views overlooking south Nottinghamshire and boasts 18 uniquely individual golf holes. It has a nice traditional clubhouse perched on top of the hill providing panoramic views.
The Rushcliffe was designed by Tom Williamson who created another 60 courses in the region, including Notts Hollinwell. Rushcliffe is not the longest (Slope Rating of 121 on yellow tees), but certainly can’t be over-powered as you must manage your way around. OK, it may be shorter than some but its small greens and undulating slopes make it a fair but tough test of golf. The number of holes built with steep run offs and thick grass waiting any misdirected approaches provides a wonderful examination test of your short game skills. What I liked was there are no two holes alike and the course meanders through lovely countryside with stunning views across Nottinghamshire. And the greens are truly magnificent - the best I can recall, ever!
It is situated very conveniently with Derby 20 minutes away, Loughborough 10 minutes and Nottingham City Centre 20 minutes away. Many visiting golfers stay in the city - though there is plenty of accommodation in local area of East and West Leake. In terms of other courses, if making a Nottingham trip, The Nottinghamshire Golf Club is just 15 minutes away.
As I drove through the countryside from the M1, I got a few glimpses of the course (the 17th and 18th holes) and the first thing that sprung to mind was ‘manicured fairways’ - totally unblemished. Then as I parked up, I saw some stunning cars in the car park and learned that the course is popular with several Premier League footballers in their spare time. Knowing these guys can play literally anywhere my excitement only heightened. I was met by a very friendly Chris Hall who has been the club’s professional almost 30 years (which says a lot to me about the course!) who explained there have been few major changes in its 120 years. Even though built on clay the course is well drained so playable all year round. Quite uniquely the course has some historical points of interest too: a signature hole built around an Anglo-Saxon settlement and a site commemorating a 100+ year old red brick barn on the left of the 4th fairway.
Prior to your round there are practice nets, a putting green and bunkers, but I’d make the time to enjoy the large grass practice area 300 yards away down the steps from the clubhouse adjacent to the 12th tee where Chris also does his lessons.
Front 9 Overview
1. 381 yards uphill dogleg right. You can just see the flag on top of the hill through the trees on your right so best keep your drive centre or left, but beware OOB down left of the hole. As you approach the green you will see it is guarded by two bunkers. First thing you’ll notice is the stunning condition of the greens - the firmest I’ve ever known - and all carefully hand mown!
2. Short par 4. Some will try to drive it but beware going too long and left with OOB on left. The fairway slopes off on right with nest of bunkers as a major defence to this short hole. The bunkers contain beautiful smooth sand. Which I found out personally. Don’t mess it up like I did, swallow up any macho thoughts and pop an iron into the middle of the fairway to leave a simple wedge in! Here I noticed the superb cart paths made out of artificial all-weather turf so ideal for all year round golf.
3. 144 yards par 3 is all uphill. There are established trees on right hand side which will block any shot missing on right. So, aim centre but also beware bunkers on the left.
4. Par 4, 445 yard SI 3 dogleg left. There are no fairway bunkers but beware a coppice on left at 250 yards (here is the site of the old barn with an information board worthy of a 60 second pause in the round). So, keep your drive centre or right. The approach provides a view of the beautifully framed green with attractive trees all behind.
5. The course provides a wonderful, elevated tee on this par 3 of 224 yards. It’s an exhilarating tee shot. On the day it was on a forward tee and played 180 yards. Aim left as the contours will feed your ball down to the hole and beware the obvious bunker on right and especially the OOB through the green. A great fun hole with terrific views.
6. This is a gorgeous par 4 with fairway sloping right to left encouraging balls to be blocked out by a coppice on the left impinging on the fairway for the longer hitters. It is called ‘Hillside’ which when you approach the green is reminiscent of the 14th green at ‘West Lancashire Golf Club’ on Merseyside - and this is not the last comparison you will see to some famous links courses on your round. It has trees guarding the right and surrounding the green round the back. A lovely hole. The green is built up with run-off to the left and long. So don’t miss left and beware bunker on right. Tricky approach shot.
7. Par 3 174 yards, again downhill with two bunkers guarding on either side (unlike the course planner which shows four). There are two big mounds short of the green which will collect any duffed tee shots.
8. 429 yard par 4 with a wide-open fairway with trees lining the right which need to be avoided. The fairway rises, providing a blind look from the tee of the hole, and the fairway slips sharply from right to left - so your ball will most likely gather down the left side of the fairway/first cut - so be sure to aim your tee shot right. Then you are going uphill to an elevated green guarded by two bunkers on the right and one on the left along this challenging hole. The green again, has steep run-off over the back so careful with your approach.
9. Par 4 dogleg right (named Gibraltar) with some fairway bunkers guarding the right-hand corner starting at 200 yards. There’s a lovely four-tiered tee for the different coloured tees with nice gorse bushes behind and a garden seat for anyone wanting a break. Very attractive hole, and the green is protected by a bunker on the right-hand side. A great hole!
Back 9 Overview
10. There’s a wonderful, elevated tee to this beautiful par 4 of 375 yards providing great views. Fairway bunkers on top of the dogleg on the left. OOB further to left - so it’s time to step up the concentration on this one.
One of the charming features of the back nine is how the course is crossed, on several holes, by a stream and the golfers cross it on their own ‘Swilken-type bridges’ (reminiscent of the 18th on The Old Course). There are a number of these and the first one you see is on the 10th fairway - great for a team photo. Then there’s one pot bunker (another hallmark of The Old Course!) cunningly placed short right of the green to concentrate the mind on your approach.
11. Short par 3 at 126 yards with four bunkers around. Some would call this a connecting hole. But it was a welcome relief with the green nicely positioned below the clubhouse some 200 yards up the hill to the left.
12. First of the par 5s measuring 481 yards off yellow tees. The initial view is the crown on the fairway, which from a marker post heads downhill rewarding any well struck tee shot down the middle catching the run of the fairway. Second shot needs to be well judged with two huge trees in the middle of the fairway just one hundred yards from the green. Furthermore, there is a stream running between these trees. So, this provides a very challenging second shot for the club golfer. Then your third approach is steep uphill to an elevated green. A cracking hole!
13. Attractive risk reward par 4 at 328 yards going uphill to a raised green. Three fairway bunkers await any greedy tee shots. A coppice awaits to the right to collect any pushed tee shot. It is a tough approach shot with a raised green, with huge, sloped run-offs to the front (so don’t be short!) and a bunker short right. A short hole but a demanding approach - like many holes at Rushcliffe.
14. After a steep climb up 40 steps to an elevated green you are faced by a downhill blind par 3. How can that be blind I hear you ask? The green is guarded by huge trees. The ideal shot is 165 yards to the right edge of the green as the ball will feed down into the green. Again, there are steep run-offs on the left-hand side for anything missing there. This is the signature hole and is built on the historic Anglo-Saxon site.
15. Crossing back over another ‘Swilken-type’ bridge to the 15th tee for a par-5 at 505 yards which heads you back towards the clubhouse. This provides a wonderful undulating fairway typical of a links course. But beware a small pond/penalty area behind the tree coppice 150 yards from the green. Then there is a brilliant blind approach shot to the punchbowl green. Miss right not left as a missed shot right should feed nicely back into the green from the steep sides. No surprises why this is called punchbowl.
16. Par 4 336 yards with an elevated tee over the aforementioned punchbowl green. The hole doglegs to the left with a fairway bunker in the middle of the fairway to negotiate. This is a tricky tee shot because anything too long and straight will find the penalty area which contains a long ditch. Then there’s a demanding approach with a lovely green set downhill so be careful with your approach because the green slopes away from you so holding the green is a challenge. Plus, there is a run-off to the back taking any long shot into the hedge which is the boundary of the course. Tricky stuff!
17. A short par 5 at 450 yards with another blind tee shot. The fairway rises in front of you which slopes from right to left, encouraging you to hit the right side of the fairway. The longer hitters need to beware the bunker that lies at 250 yards in the middle of the fairway at the crest of the hill. For most it will be a blind second before reaching a green which is also in a semi punchbowl, so again aim right for shots to gather towards the green. Just one bunker guards, the left-hand side. This is a great hole too!
18. A short par 4 of 250 yards to finish. All uphill. Many will go for it but beware the bunker right 20 yards short of the green to catch any wayward strike. You’ll finish right next to the car park by the clubhouse for a well-earned refreshment.
Rushcliffe is extremely good value golf at £30 during the week and only £35 at weekends and a great variety of well-priced food: £6.55 for a pint of San Miguel, £3 for ‘huge’ cobs and £2.50 for the chef’s own home-made sausage rolls which were hard to resist!
Rushcliffe is definitely one I will return to and would certainly recommend adding it to your itinerary if on a golf break to Nottinghamshire. Some of the most famous courses will charge round £100 whereas a fantastic round here will be £30. What’s not to love about a challenging, fun, picturesque game of golf for that price? Just make sure you clean the grooves to those wedges before you come as you are set for a short game examination. I hope you pass the test!
Overall Rating - 9
Course (Conditions) - 10
Course (Hole Variety/Layout) - 10
Course (Green Condition) - 10
Course (Challenge/Difficulty) - 9
Club Facilities & Clubhouse - 10
Practice Facilities - 9
Friendliness/Hospitality - 10
Pace of Play - 10
Value For Money - 10
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|Rushcliffe Golf Club
from 66 reviews