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golf courses to play after lockdown

The five courses I’m going to play when lockdown is over

We've all had plenty of time to dream about where we're going to tee up when we can safely get back out on the course. Here are Steve Carroll's five
 

There are more important things going on in the world than hitting a little ball around a field, and it’s important to keep a sense of perspective. But as I’ve daydreamed about a brighter future, I’ve kept my mind occupied by putting together a list of golf courses to play after lockdown.

I wanted to share that with you. Some of these I’ve played before, some I’ve not even stepped foot in the car park. If I have the chance, though, I’ll visit them all when the golf bag finally comes out of the garage…

Golf courses to play after lockdown: Swinley Forest

golf courses to play after lockdown

Swinley Forest is my happy place. There’s something about the combination of pine trees and glorious heathland that I find instantly calming. Add in some exceptional holes and the mix is just intoxicating.

The 4th, a slightly uphill par 3 with a Redan green and a steep drop off both in front and to the left, would be the first on my list of best 18 holes.

This kind of brilliance is found all over the course. I love the par 5 15th – if you hit and hold that green you’ve got a memory to the treasure – and the final hole, winding its way back to the memorable clubhouse, is the archetypal perfect closer.

Once upon a time, Swinley Forest was private with a capital ‘P’ – a tiny sign the only encouragement without sat-nav. Now the club, who have always been full of friendly souls, offer limited visitor opportunities on most weekdays throughout the year.

If you haven’t been, you must go. Not least for the lunch, which is one of the seven wonders of the golfing world.

Where’s Steve going next? Turn the page to find out…

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Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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