There were approximately fifty ladies' golf clubs in England in the late 19th Century. In 1891 Notts Ladies' Golf Club (NLGC) was established originally playing at Bulwell Forest, Nottingham. A surviving document dated around 1895-96 showed there to be 63 members.
Notts Ladies' Golf Club relocated to a new course, known as ‘Hollinwell’ at Kirkby Forest near Mansfield in 1901. By the end of that year the ladies had their own clubroom (also used by the men from Notts Golf Club on other days).
Golf was patronised by the wealthy. Records note that the Duchess of Portland was President of NLGC from 1946 to 1961.
The tradition of ladies playing in mixed foursomes golf on Bank Holidays was given precedence in 1904, along with the ladies’ Spring and Autumn golf meetings and other special days like Captain’s day.
It was agreed to admit junior members at the AGM in 1924. Records from 1947 onwards give figures of junior members.
NLGC suspended competitions in 1939 because of war and resumed again in 1946, followed by matches in 1947.
The Club held their first Charity Day on 11 November 1950. The event is held annually to raise funds for the Captain’s charity for that year.
1954 was remembered for the crash of a Rolls Royce Lancaster aircraft on the course near the 14th fairway. Ladies out playing aided and assisted the crew. In gratitude, Rolls Royce donated the Club with a trophy, which is played for every year.
It is interesting to note a Club Committee meeting (usually held in office in Nottingham) was held for the first time at the Clubhouse premises in 1956 and the AGM was held from 1967 onwards at the Clubhouse.
The Club celebrated the centenary of their official 1891 initiation during 1992 with a luncheon event. In 2001, one hundred years at Hollinwell was celebrated with golf and a special event.
Over the years Notts Ladies have hosted many prestigious events at Hollinwell. These include County Championships, The Midlands Ladies’ Championship, the LGU Championships, the English Close Championship, the British Open Amateur Championship and the British Ladies’ Seniors.
Notts Ladies have been represented at Club, County and National, European and International level over the last 90 years. Golfing successes, to name a few, include the English Stroke play Championship, British Girls’ Open Championship, and the British Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship.
The successes of one lady, Enid Wilson, are worth mentioning. She won the British Girls’ Open Championship , became a three times winner of the British Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship and was a member of the first British Curtis Cup team in the match against the United States in 1932. She was an English International and a semi-finalist in the American Ladies’ Championship. She became Honorary Vice President of the LGU in 1978.
Our club is situated in an area which historically consisted of open acid grasslnd, woodland and heath. Hollinwell, as it is known locally, prides itself as one of the top heathland courses in the country. To maintain the characteristics of such a specialised and nationally declining habitat Notts Golf Club has devoted considerable time and effort into restoring and maintaining the heath on which the course's reputation depends. As a direct result of the work done, the area of heather across the course has more that doubled since the first scheme was started.
Notts Golf Club is involved with several environmental organisations, the primary one, the Sherwood Forest Trust, provides the Club with advice, support and funding for the long term management of the site. As part of their management plan the site is grazed just as it would have been in the past. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust provides the sheep and the operation is monitored by English Nature. The sheep are used to manage the out of play areas and are mostly Hebridean, a tough breed that can cope well with the poor vegetation found on such sites. Known as the flying flock, these animals are used across the county to maintain its heathland habitat.
The course, whilst providing a first class golfing experience, also provides a specific environment for some nationally rare and unusual fauna and flora. It is home to several red list bird species including: bullfinch, skylark, yellowhammer, grey partridge, and linnet. This habitat also provides a home for many amber list species including the barn owl, goldcrest, sand martin, woodcock, kingfisher, green woodpecker, and many more. Grass snakes and common lizards also make themselves at home across the course.
Over the years, the course has become recognised throughout the industry as a first class example of how golf and the environment can benefit each other. The combination of mixed woodland, marsh, acid grassland and Alder Carr makes it a truly unique place.