The Nottinghamshire is continuing to impress as it settles in as a fully fledged resort destination, the ideal 36 hole play and stay break.
Increased investment by businessman owner Alan Hardy has led to a transformation to the Signature course and the creation and opening of The Residence, 18 new onsite hotel bedrooms. That was in 2016, since then they’ve also revamped their clubhouse and pro shop facilities and added 12 more rooms. They’re on a mission here to take this place to exalted heights but success cannot be judged by investment alone, the experience when you are here and attention to society detail is the most important factor of all, they know their customer service here too.
GOLF – 36 holes of Championship length parkland
The Championship Course – (previously The Open Course) – 6,341 yards (white tees)
A superb modern designed golf course where you are thrown straight into a stern water based challenge by way of the strategic short par five first and lakeside long par three second hole. It’s a theme that doesn’t diminish a whole lot and comes to a spectacular pinnacle at the 14th. This short hole boasts the ultimate society day penalty, find the lake here and face the prospect of something akin to ‘walking the plank’ – a trip to the drop zone, situated on a plinth surrounded by water. If there was ever a pressure point for society banter, it resides right here!
The Signature Course – (previously The Masters Course) – 6,032 yards (white tees)
The Signature has enjoyed a stunning transformation to bring it in line with The Championship, focussing around an all-new 18th hole, just a short par five of 463 yards, but those going for it in two had better check their yardages and know how to stop a ball on a putting surface. This is now a full island green and has probably taken signature status away from the former short 16th , which still retains it’s reputation as a classic hole but is now the 10th. The re-route has allowed two more par threes to sit together at 16 and 17 as a prelude to the final examination, an exciting conclusion in store to any round of golf.
With an equal commitment donated to course conditioning and greens quality, The Nottinghamshire’s progress caught the attention of England Golf. As a consequence they have just hosted the English Girls U-14 to U-18 Championships on both courses to great acclaim in 2017, the first time a single venue has held all age groups, a definite feather in the cap.
19th Hole – Ultra modern facilities all centered around The Lakeview Bar and Restaurant, with one of the more imaginative bar menus around, one that only encourages a relaxing experience. The restaurant itself serves evening meals seven days a week, a very popular Sunday Carvery and for the groups, there is a good range of society menus to pick from. You can also benefit from private first floor society suites with balcony access, looking over the golf courses on a sunny day.
The large club shop sits open planned, next door to the bar and the practice facilities include a nine bay floodlit range.
The Residence – “The final piece of the jigsaw”
Officially opened in 2016, the 18 brand new Boutique styled rooms are all individually styled and furnished with LCD TV’s and complimentary WI-FI. Rooms to suit for all occasions, society breaks, family gatherings and weddings too. Play and stay at The Nottinghamshire is fully open for business and this year, as part of a clubhouse renovation, 12 further bedrooms were added.
Cavendish is thought by some to be Dr MacKenzie’s most accomplished work in the UK and quite possibly the best layout in the world under 6000 yards. It illustrates how skilfully and creatively he blended the layout of the golf course into the surrounding landscape.
Cavendish Golf Club in Buxton has a very special design tale to tell. Dr Alister MacKenzie designed the course which opened in 1925 and it is regarded as ’The inspiration for Augusta’, the course he went on to design in 1932.
The topography of the disused fruit farm in Georgia was very similar to land at Cavendish and MacKenzie adopted similar design solutions. Cavendish is regarded at the finest course in the world under 6000 yards and one of the most testing too.
Beautiful in looks throughout, it’s an exciting layout, always with a gently undulating nature and always leaving you mindful of the elements too. Naturally you have the famous Mackenzie greens to contend with, and these are beauties, unchanged in over 90 years of play and retaining a great reputation as well as a fearsome one. Tough to pick favourite holes, Cavendish has very few weaknesses, discover your own highlights, but we’d imagine one or two of the short holes will be in there somewhere, a stunning collection. The final hole, a winding par four back to the clubhouse is a picture book delight from the tee.
A warm and welcoming club to visitors and societies, with a spacious clubhouse lounge boasting panoramic course views, large dining room and spike bar. Cavendish also run The Cavendish Mackenzie Trail, a link between them and eight other Mackenzie designed courses within a 60 mile radius.
Recommended Accommodation – Lee Wood Hotel, Buxton 01298 23002
Cavendish Golf Club – Watford Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6XF
A major East Midlands player, Morley Hayes truly has it all, you can play, learn, socialise and get your head down. All ages and abilities of golfer are welcomed and share the off course charms with many non-golfing visitors, diners, hotel guests and businesses. A hive of activity.
THE MANOR COURSE
The main 18 hole course and available to all members and non members, seven days a week including societies who can happily book weekend morning rounds 12 months of the year with playability guaranteed in all but the most wintery conditions.
Designed in 1988 to appeal to all ages and abilities with wide fairways and a lack of over penal rough, The Manor also packs a punch and is very appealing to the long hitters. Some good long par fours exist, accentuated by the hilly nature of the course, demanding that little bit of extra effort for the more accomplished golfers looking to live up to their handicaps. Championship length it reaches from the back tees but there are four tee options to choose from in all.
For all players though it’s the water features that grab the attention, two lakes and a number of smaller hazards, mainly of the greenside variety to test your accuracy and club selection too. An early test as the opening hole has one, probably not much more than a nine iron in, but a watery grave could await an ill-judged early approach.
Then it’s all about the driver and those gentle undulations as a lengthy stretch follows before the water comes into sight again at the downhill seventh and especially threatens on our signature hole.
Both nines culminate right by the clubhouse so there’s a chance of a quick drink and a toilet break before embarking on a back nine that tests in equal measure, especially the stretch between 11 and 13.
It all leads you towards the scenic highlight which comes at the 14th and 15th bordering Hayes Wood. Shorter and friendlier par fours, and as long as you are mindful of the out of bounds threat they should go down as decent birdie chances. There’s always the possibility too of spotting the resident deer population who like to venture out occasionally to have a nibble on the Manor’s fairways and light rough.
Towards the end the water comes around again, greenside at the 17th which you will have discovered earlier as it also affects the 10th hole. Finally to complete a challenging closing pair, the lake that requires a 200 yard carry to find dry land at the closing hole, which with a number of trees and it’s raised green has to be one of the toughest in the East Midlands.
MG Pick – 8th hole 321 yards Par 4
The shortest par four on the course, made tougher last year by the re-shaping of the greenside lake, creating an even slimmer landing area, guaranteeing therefore that taking driver from the tee is a risky proposition. The line is left to open up a short iron approach between the two guarding oaks with nothing less than steely precision needed to avoid the watery grave on the right. You can ill afford to bail out to the left either, chipping back towards the lake across the narrow green is a scary prospect. A proper Seve touch might be requied if you put yourself in that sort of peril.
19th hole – Your first taster of the off course charms of Morley Hayes should really happen in The Pavilion. The first floor spike bar is comfy with Sky Sports on the big TV’s plus a full menu range that you can eat either indoors or Al Fresco (weather permitting) on the outdoor south facing terrace with views of practically the full golf course below.
The Pavilion also contains the well very stocked pro shop which overlooks the first tee. The first floor Pavilion Suite caters for full dinner and buffet menus and seats up to 125 with adjoining outside terrace, ideal for that special event. The Syndicate Room is for private meetings and seats up to 12 people in a business environment with telephone conferencing and Wi-Fi.
ROOSTERS BAR AND RESTAURANT
MG visited Roosters following a rather damp review round in late autumn. We ordered, sat down and had the most pleasant of surprises, heated seats! A godsend in the damp state we found ourselves in and a pleasant time was had by all as we tucked into freshly home made burgers, fries and a side salad.
Roosters serves traditional bar meals in a pub like environment with modern décor and lighting, the perfect place to enjoy a good meal or just a few drinks with children welcomed to share the dining area. As in The Pavilion, Roosters spills outdoors, this time into the courtyard, with topiary trees and countryside views.
The award winning Dovenote goes up another notch, taking you into the realms of fine dining. The AA rosette restaurant won the Derbyshire Restaurant of the Year award in 2012 and features A la carte dishes in both English and Continental cuisine. Not just that, there’s variety in abundance to suit every occasion with set lunch menus, a daily midweek dinner special and traditional Sunday lunches. Continuing that theme the Dovecote also offers a Champagne Breakfast three mornings a week and Derbyshire Afternoon Tea on Fridays.
MORLEY HAYES – THE HOTEL
With the wonderful views of the parkland golf courses amidst the Derbyshire countryside look no further than the AA 4 star luxury hotel, Morley Hayes.
One of the most luxurious hotels in Derbyshire with 32 bedrooms, all air-conditioned – from the Executive Room to the Penthouse Suite, the Family Room to the Honeymoon Suite you will be spoilt for choice. The aforementioned superb Champagne breakfast served in the Dovecote restaurant is a further reason why Morley Hayes is also a great choice for weekend getaways for couples.
Available facilities include Luxury Bathrooms, Private Balconies or Terraces, Flat Screen Satellite TV, WIFI and High-speed Internet access in all rooms and suites. Two of the bedrooms are available with disabled facilities in the bathrooms including access for a wheelchair and walk-in shower.
Societies and travelling play and stay golfers can rest assured too that it’s a very short taxi ride to the bright lights of Derby centre should they fancy venturing out for the evening.
ACADEMY, TUITION, GAME IMPROVEMENT
The Tower Course – Developed to provide an ideal venue for starter golf, short game improvement and as an extra addition/warm up course for group golf occasions. The Tower is a nine hole, Par 30 layout, the dog leg second is the longest test as 308 yards. With occasion water features, trees and gentle undulations it does present a good test with the putting surfaces more than living up to the quality of their neighbours on The Manor. In a recent innovation Morley Hayes became one of the first golf courses in the area to add 15 inch diameter holes to the Tower greens in addtion to the traditional ones, in order to promote a faster game and also to make the game a little easier for juniors and beginners.
The East Midlands Golf Academy – The EMGA make good use of The Tower Course and during their 8 year history have transformed many junior and beginner golfers into accomplished players. James Whately has played a major role in the success of the EMGA, in the beginning he was the lone pro, now as Academy Director he has watched it grow into a major concern which now employs four full time professionals. At their disposal, in addition to The Tower Course is the 17 bay, all-weather floodlit range with power tees and additional canopy covered open bays.
Tuition is naturally widely available for all ages and abilities, the coaches can call on the use of both the Flightscope X2 launch monitor and now the all new SAM putting system which shows 27 characteristics of your putting stroke.
The EMGA staff offer lessons for Beginners, Juniors, Ladies, Schools, Disability, County and England teams as well as other professionals. They have an online diary which gives clients a 24/7 chance to book, available to view at www.emga.co.uk
Morley Hayes also plays host to the pioneering Derby Performance Golf Academy. The innovative programme, set up in 2007 provides a two year education and golf training course for 16-19 year olds in further education at the nearby Derby College. Students there, who all benefit from specialised performance coaching at Morley Hayes have enjoyed huge success in recent times in national and regional events, many are also going on to forge burgeoning careers in the golf industry.
LIFESTYLE MEMBERSHIP AT MORLEY HAYES
Unlike traditional golf club membership, this will take the form of a flexible points-based system where for an affordable initial joining fee, golf enthusiasts will become a lifestyle golf member.
This initial fee will entitle members to a set number of points to get them started. Points will be deducted for each round of golf played and the number of points used will depend on what day and time of day they play.
Once a member has used up all their points, they will be able to top-up throughout the year with the purchase of bundles of new points, allowing them to spread the cost and budget for their year’s golf. It will also give them the opportunity to get an official CONGU golf handicap and play in official competitions.
Commenting on the launch of the new lifestyle golf membership, Daniel Delaney – Golf Manager at Morley Hayes said:
“The introduction of our new lifestyle golf membership is very exciting. It’s something we’ve never done before and will allow us to offer an official CONGU handicap and run official competitions for our new members, which will be a great addition to the services already available at Morley Hayes Golf.
“Five and seven day memberships will be on offer and online booking for tee times will also be available, giving our members even more flexibility.”