Tom Doak is one of golf's most critically acclaimed designers, with 35 courses to his credit, including Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and The Renaissance Club in Scotland
” Notts. Hollinwell is a splendid and thoroughly challenging course, the turf is springy and fine and the heather and ferns enclosing the holes give the course a rich texture.”
Back in 1988 a young up and coming golf course architect named Tom Doak wrote a
book, detailing his thoughts regarding the various golf courses he had seen on his
travels. It was a limited run of 40 written exclusively for his friends. But
interest began to grow due to the book highlighting the virtues of many hidden gems
as well as having the occasional controversial opinion on more well known courses.
In 1996 it was published by Sleeping Bear press for a mainstream audience. The book
was called The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses.
Since then Tom has gone on to become one of golf’s most critically acclaimed
designers, with 35 courses to his credit, including Pacific Dunes in Oregon, Cape
Kidnappers in New Zealand and The Renaissance Club in Scotland. He has also written
The Anatomy of a Golf Course detailing the art and science of golf course
architecture and co-authored The Life and Works of Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the
legendary designer of Alwoodley, Royal Melbourne and Augusta National. But after
going out of print it was The Confidential Guide that continued to create interest,
selling for hundreds of pounds after going out of print.
Tom’s review at the time of Hollinwell was to give a rating of 7 out of 10 and to
say “A splendid and thoroughly challenging course, the turf is springy and fine and
the heather and ferns enclosing the holes give the course a rich texture.”
The task of self publishing a revised edition of The Confidential Guide was never
going to be an easy one, and Tom called in a few well respected friends to help out.
One was Ran Morrissett, co founder of the GolfClubAtlas.com website, one of the best
resources for golf course architecture on the internet.
When it came to choosing 18 courses to be included within the “Gourmet’s Choice”,
described as being the courses Tom “would take a good friend to see” Ran encouraged
him to include Notts GC Hollinwell within the list. An honour the club is very proud
to have received! Ran also provided the extended entry that the course has in the
new revised edition of The Confidential Guide in which he opens with “As developers
of the past decade needlessly pursued building 7,500 plus yard “championship”
courses, a counterculture sprang up that embraced shorter courses. Golf is supposed
to be about fun, they roared! Yet, length in itself isn’t evil; it is just more
difficult to provide variety in a gaggle of long holes, unless the terrain is
naturally blessed. At 7,250 yards from the back tees, the course at Notts Golf Club
is nearly 1,000 yards longer than many of this books favoured heathland courses.
Yet, it’s just as much fun to play – a very neat trick indeed.” Ran closes by
stating “the land movement – and the manner in which the architects exploited it -
sets Hollinwell apart.”
Copies of the new revised edition of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses can be
purchased directly from Tom Doak’s website at