Any course that bears the names of first Harry Colt and then James Braid among its designers is to be respected and that is certainly the case with Northamptonshire County, more popularly known as Northants County. The course dates back to the early 20th century and is found close to the village of Church Brampton, just to the north of Northampton. If the absence, by and large, of heather precludes us from describing Northants County as a heathland, it remains a fact that the fairways are delightfully firm and often lined by gorse.
The fact that these bouncy fairways frequently slope from one side to the other makes driving particularly challenging; and at over 6,700 yards it is not the kind of course where you can leave your driver in the bag with any degree of comfort.
That said, you will struggle to find more appealing turf to strike long irons and fairways from.
Beginning with a long par 4 and a substantial par 5, there is little opportunity to ease yourself into the round. In fact, there are seven par 4s that stretch to over 400 yards, and in many cases they are threatening 450 yards.
Northants County is notable for its closing stretch, its very own Green Mile. The last three holes measure 451, 460 and 504 yards respectively, all heading in the same direction back towards the handsome clubhouse.
They are a fitting way to decide any match. Northants County is a frequent host of Open qualifying, as well as being a go-to venue for regional events. The course also features three additional holes, designed by Cameron Sinclair in 2004, which offer the chance to play a nine-hole loop.