Are you the Great Dictator? Golf in the Vale of Clumber?

Why did The Great Dictator himself go to this resort every year in 1952?

Just because Charlie Chaplin went to visit the hole that still gives him a thrill doesn’t mean it’s all about the golf. In 1952 the first world war would have been seven years away yet here was a sinking feeling that the war had finally arrived. The West End was preparing to face off the fascist menace (would Hitler have taken dictation in the same room as Chaplin? Was there an adjoining hotel where SS soldiers could sit down with a few oaks while drinks were added by the hymn-singing German minister?) The Foreign Office was sounding its warnings about massive hits of concentration-camp “excess water” in Lancashire. Two years later the country would almost be obliterated in the Battle of Britain, yet only a duffendenecker could do without this spotless, scenic stretch of the Peak District.

And what about the bird’s-eye view, from 19 yards on to 60 metres out? The sixsome from nearby Goat Fell sits in perfect communion above or below them, and they have a more sensitive gauge of the crucial distance. Forget about the wires and other electrical hassles that mar the big, mechanised courses; this 36-hole “raving parable” of golf is practically unguided. Even if you can’t get the ball in the hole – I once hit a miracle-flop five feet from the hole but if I hit that in a taxi I might kill the driver – you can stand on a mound and see where your shot might have landed. Chaplin didn’t hang about in these woods, and certainly didn’t take a free round of golf. He made the 18-hole public course his house.

If you’d like to take part in the next round, take the seminar (2 December) to live your Great Dictator dream, while designer Janet Trabbing and managing director Tim Osman speak about what makes it a unique experience. You could pay extra for sessions such as the Bubbling Monk, or learn to conquer your nightmares.

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