Almost 2,000 trees have already been axed, playing corridors are being widened and heather regeneration is in full force. Bunkers are also being re-shaped and re-positioned to accommodate golf in the 21st Century whilst a number of green extensions are also planned.
Coxmoor is already a very good golf course but the signs are that is it is going to get even better over the next decade or so as the scheme, overseen by Ken Brown and Ken Moodie, continues at pace.
One thing for certain is the work that has already been carried out is hugely impressive with the 8th and 9th transforming the course into something you are more likely to find on the Surrey Sandbelt than in rural Nottinghamshire. The 14th and 17th have also been improved with recent changes.
In addition to the work on the course a new clubhouse is in the pipeline, a 9-hole short course is planned as well as a 6-hole synthetic layout to help introduce juniors and the disabled to the game. And, that’s not to mention a new driving range for members use to the left of the 13th hole!
Anyway, onto the course I played in early May of 2017. The first six holes are located on the south side of the course and welcome you warmly to the fast-running fairways, slick sloping greens and well located fairway bunkers. Stray offline and you will also be acquainted with heather and a variety of trees that frame most of the holes.
The opening tee-shot is one of several inviting drives throughout the round where you plummet down the fairway before rising back up to the green, it’s one of my favourite holes here but there are many more good ones to follow. Indeed the drives at the first, fifth, sixth, eighth, 11th and 13th are all played from elevated positions and really give you the sense of being allowed to open your shoulders. That’s not to say there is no danger because the fairway traps are very well positioned; Coxmoor plays really well off the tee.
The trio of holes that take us to the turn are exceptional and showcase the best of Coxmoor, they certainly benefit from superior terrain which can be wild at times but ideal for this type of golf.
The short but dramatic dropping par-three seventh, played to a wicked green, is a joy whilst the next can only be described as epic; arguably the best hole on the course. The recent changes have made it visually appealing but the playing characteristics on this demanding par-four are also out of the top drawer; the hole curves to the right with a cluster of bunkers to avoid on the corner whilst the green complex cunningly slides away to the right on the approach with what is most likely to be a long-ish iron. Anyone familiar with and who loves Broadstone in Dorset will appreciate this hole.
Meanwhile, the ninth is pure eye-candy but has substance too. Another lofty drive to a fairway that funnels through a valley before rising up a green nestled into the hillside. Fairway bunkers must be avoided from the tee but the real danger here is leaving your ball above the hole with your approach shot.
The 8th and 9th wouldn’t be out of place on any of the famed heathland layouts to the South-West of London and hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Coxmoor as the restoration advances.
There are many more highlights on the back-nine too; the secluded green at the 11th, the subtle but brilliant green complex at the next, the majesty of the drive at the 13th, the risk-reward nature of the tempting 15th, the slinging fairway found at the 16th and quite simply the length of the green at the last!
A quick note for anybody playing from the championship tees; the 3rd and 18th now play as long par fours as opposed to short par fives as they did previously. This has reduced par to 71 (6,722 yards / SSS 73), however, par remains at 73 from the white (6625) and yellow (6217) markers.
The condition of the course was impressive too; the fairways played firm and the greens were extremely true and nicely paced. The Greens Chair believes that the many tonnes of kiln dried sand which has been applied to them recently is to thank for this.
Coxmoor has got the terrain and now it has got a team of people that know what to do with it to restore the course back to not just to its former glories but well beyond those.
In this neck of the woods Notts and Sherwood Forest will take some shaking from the top of the tree but Coxmoor is a clear third when it comes to discussing the best courses in the region, indeed there are not many better inland courses across the Midlands and North of England.
Copt Heath is a very fine parkland golf course that requires precision, plotting and a deft touch around the slick greens.
The Blue is a mix of American-style design and traditional English parkland. It's an unusual combination which makes the most of the terrain available. It was designed by Simon Gidman and opened in 1994.