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As a course that meanders across three different counties, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Lindrick is so difficult to pin down in terms of character. The vast majority of this famous old course lies in south Yorkshire, but the stream at the back of the 4th green marks the boundaries between the White Rose county, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Legend has it that the land the golf course now occupies was once the scene of illicit activities, with a quick hop across the River Ryton guaranteeing immunity from any pursuing sheriff.

Even the most modest drive at the 5th, played from the far side of the water back towards the heart of the course, will realise the literal achievement of ‘hitting the ball so far it went into the next county’.

And as the course travels through wooded parkland and heathland, from holes framed by trees to wide-open expanses, from largely flat land to significant changes in elevation, you could certainly imagine yourself to be playing on a different golf course, if not in the next shire.

The venue for the 1957 Ryder Cup, one of the few matches GB&I ever won, Lindrick has the pedigree to satisfy even the most demanding of visitors. Like most courses of such quality, it is the sheer variety of holes that makes a round here such an enjoyable experience.

From the idiosyncrasies of the 4th – once memorably described by Bernard Darwin as ‘the worst hole on the course... yet it should never be altered’ – to the more subtle challenges of the 15th, where a blind tee shot over the brow of a gentle hill gives no indication of the humps and hollows that enclose the green, a fresh challenge awaits on every tee.

It is a subtle course, where often the true quality of a hole cannot be fully appreciated until surveyed after reaching the green. There are blind shots, from time to time, but nothing unfair: hit over the marker post on a blind hole and your ball will be found in the middle of the fairway.

What is immediately obvious, however, is the quality of the turf and the trueness of the greens. For the competent golfer, Lindrick is generally manageable off the tee.

There are few, if any, daunting carries and although the gorse is never far away, it rarely encroaches on to the edge of the fairways to intimidate the club golfer. Nor is the course unreasonably long, unless a strong wind is up.

The difficulties arise when approaching the greens, which are inevitably surrounded by sand.

Lindrick is nothing if not wonderfully bunkered. On hole after hole, the subtle placement of a hazard between 30 and 100 yards in front of the green totally changes the perspective of the approach.

It’s not so much that the bunkers are in play as how they affect the golfer’s perception. They generally make the green appear much closer than it really is, and it’s wise to put your faith in the yardages given in the Strokesaver, rather than trusting your own instincts.

This visual affect is particularly well-illustrated at the 17th, where the fairway tumbles down to a green that, from the elevated perspective, appears tiny and completely surrounded by five bunkers.

They are there to intimidate, so take plenty of club, be bold and, as Harvey Pennick used to say, Take Dead Aim.
The venue for the 1957 Ryder Cup, one of the few matches GB&I ever won, Lindrick has the pedigree to satisfy even the most demanding of visitors.

Opened in 1891, Lindrick was originally called The Sheffield & District Golf Club. It lies within six miles of J31 of the M1, just south of the Steel City, while the A57 to Worksop bisects the course, with most of the back nine played on the far side of the road.

Its accessibility makes it the perfect place to sneak off to on a summer’s afternoon. Just moments after crawling along one of the country’s busiest roads, you can be striding down Lindrick’s opening hole, a medium-length dog-leg played to a deceptively tight green.

Of nine dog-legs, no less than eight turn to the left; often the sign of a tough course. There is rarely any necessity to shape the ball from the tee, but a badly-sliced drive invariably leads to a longer second, which in turn brings the bunkers more into play.

A solid tee-shot on the 2nd, one of the more pronounced dog-legs, leaves just a wedge to the green. Trying to find the small target with a longer club is a much more difficult proposition.

The first of the short holes is the 3rd, where little of the green can be seen from the tee, making it appear a small target. The par-five 4th is the exception to most things at Lindrick, and, sure enough, it’s the only hole on the course to turn from left to right.

At under 500 yards, it’s not long by modern standards but it’s the sort of hole where any score between three and nine is a possibility.

The tee points dangerously in the direction of out-of-bounds down the left, and so a slight fade away from trouble is the ideal shape for the drive.

From there a smart decision must be made. The green lies beyond a patch of rough at the bottom of a steep bank – with the infamous stream running tight to the back of the putting surface.

Attacking the green from long range is therefore hardly to be recommended, unless you can hit a high, soft-landing approach.

The 5th is the first of Lindrick’s really tough par fours. Save your best drive for the blind tee-shot, which must disappear well over the brow of the hill to have any chance of finding the putting surface – obscured by bunkers just short of the green – in regulation.

Wind direction and strength are crucial at the short 6th, played to a small green surrounded by sand, but the 7th is a stern challenge under any conditions.

Ideally, the drive should be played over the large bunker on the inside of the dog-leg. Anything else will tend to run across rather than down the fairway, running out of room to the right. Some 80 yards before the green a step leading to slightly higher ground runs diagonally across the fairway, making a clear view of the green impossible from the right.

The 8th represents a change of tack. It’s the shortest par four on the course, drivable for some, but with bunkers and heavy rough awaiting anything even slightly errant, a better tactic is probably to try to advance the tee-shot around 200 yards and leave a wedge into the green.

Sandwiched as it is between two tough, long par fours, it’s not the hole to fritter away any shots, but unless due attention is paid, it’s easy to walk off with a six. The last hole of the front nine requires a long tee-shot to get a decent view of the green, which is partially obscured by a large bunker some 50 yards in front of the green.

The inward nine begins with a flat mid-length par four, followed by a par three, the dominating feature of which is a deep bunker that eats into the front, right hand side of the green.

A walk across the main road leads to some of the finest holes on the course. The 12th is not long and is one of only two holes without a single bunker on it, but it demands pin-point accuracy, particularly with the second shot.

Another of the right-to-left dog-legs, it is played into a funnel with a crop of gorse dangerously close to the long, narrow green.

If the 12th needs to be played with precision, the 13th sees Lindrick open up again. A dog-leg to the left with the green set well above the level of the fairway, distance is at more of a premium than accuracy.

There’s much more chance of making a birdie at the 12th, but the same could be said for a double bogey. At the long 14th, the big hitter can avoid having to lay-up between the four fairway bunkers with two powerful blows to a large green.

The mood changes again at the 15th. What appears to be a parkland-style hole changes character over the brow of the hill with the sunken green next to a dry stone wall with a series of small hummocks to the right.

The long 16th is also deceptive, because the quarry that lies tight to the left of the green is obscured from view until you near the green. It’s reachable in two, but the second needs to be accurate as well as long.

A strong drive down the left on the 17th is a huge advantage. Anything played more conservatively to the right leaves a second shot of around 200 yards to the small target at the bottom of the hill.

After that, it’s back across the road to play the 18th, a par three of 200 yards played to a slightly-raised green underneath the imposing clubhouse. It’s not the biggest target and with no less than six bunkers surrounding the green a closing par is no mean feat.

It represents an unusual finish, but then Lindrick itself is resistant to generalisation. Only those lucky enough to play it again and again can hope to uncover all of its eccentricities.