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Norwood Park Golf Club

Location: Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England
Web Site: http://www.norwoodpark.co.uk/
Opened: First 9 holes: June, 1999; second 9 holes: June, 2002
Notes: Designed around a 17th century mansion and a 13th century historic "Deer Park", this course meanders thru allees of English Oaks and fields of wheat and strawberries.

For some 800 years Norwood Park was owned by the Archbishop of York as part of the Manor of Southwell which was given to him in 956 by the Saxon King. In early mediaeval times a Deer Park was created in a tract of woodland pasture, notable for its fine specimen oak trees and fish ponds, by enclosing it within an earthwork that still exists.

Edward Cludd, the estate Manager at the time of the Civil War, used his friendship with Oliver Cromwell to acquire the Park. He built the first 'pretty little brick house'. Too small for John Sutton who later took over the lease of the Park it was replaced by the present handsome Georgian mansion in the 1760's. At the same time the Park was landscaped with the addition of the Temple, two more fish ponds and the Lime Avenue.

Since 1881 when Lewis Starkey moved his family from Yorkshire, Norwood has been home to five generation. John Ralph Starkey planted the first Bramley orchard in 1910 when MP for Newark. William and now John have kept the fruit growing tradition alive which also includes a substantial strawberry enterprise.

The late Georgian Stables and Coach House block, which were converted to fruit stores in the 1950's, have recently been refurbished as a suite of Palladian Style reception rooms with splendid views over the cricket ground. The Stables Gallery seats 120 for Conferences or Dinners and is ideal for Wedding Receptions, Dances or special events. Numbers can be increased to 250 by using the Courtyard and Marquee. Civil marriages may be held in the house and product launches and Corporate Activity days are a specialty.

The idea to incorporate and develop a superb golf course within the grounds was first explored in the late 1980's, but it took until 1999 to open the first nine holes. These are set within 100 acres which comprise part of the original Deer Park and the site of the original Bramley Apple orchard. The second nine holes, set in a further 75 acres on the western side of the estate, opened for play in June 2002. The American course designer, Clyde B. Johnston of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has succeeded in creating a magnificent layout which blends sympathetically with the historic setting of the Park and highlights its natural features and views. The course and Practice Area appeal to the experienced and intermediate golfer who appreciate the well shaped fairways, large undulating greens, challenging surroundings and panoramic views.

The course measures over 6,800 yards from the back tees and all eighteen holes have their own particular characteristics. Particularly demanding are the four par fives where, with the greens being out of range in two shots for all but the most talented of golfers, pars are difficult to come by and birdies even more so. The numerous water features on the course lie in wait for the wayward shot and on the ninth, the back tee is only used for special occasions because of the challenging tee shot over the water hazard in front of the fairway. To maintain the natural beauty of the original Deer Park there are no bunkers on the four holes that lie within it but this in no way detracts from the challenge as the natural features and hazards have been used to full effect. 

The Practice Area, opened in the summer of 1998, is a special feature of Norwood Park Golf Course. It incorporates a 350 yard plus driving area, practice putting, chipping and pitching greens and a large practice bunker. Playing off grass all year round, weather permitting, these facilities have proved a popular attraction for experienced golfers and beginners to practice both their long and short games.

With future provision for an academy course, there is little doubt that, with its superb surroundings and challenging course, Norwood Park is rapidly becoming one of the top venues in the area.