AS locations for golf trips go, its little wonder why Belton Woods is one of the most popular venues in the country.

The four-star hotel has 45 holes of golf and a spa, and its central location in Grantham, Lincolnshire, just a stone’s throw from the A1, makes it the ideal place for a weekend away whether that be with friends, as a couple, or in a golf society.

Shortly after arrival, we were welcomed into the Claret Jug clubhouse, to mull things over ahead of the day’s play.

The walk to the first hole takes you past the course’s two showpiece 18th greens, before being welcomed onto the tee, beginning with a long and straight par 5.

Our visit was the day after the 2018 PGA Fourball Championship, which meant the Lakeside course was in pristine condition.

It features a nice mix of straightforward and devilishly tricky holes, with plenty of water as the name suggests.

Standout holes included the S.I. 1 sixth, which narrows to a bottleneck to get onto the green, which is guarded to the front by a pond. Every player in my fourball couldn’t help but knock a ball or two into the water on this tough hole.

The ninth, which plays 609 yards off the white tees, really allows you to open your shoulders and give it a whack. I hit my best drive of the day on this, almost reaching the 300-yard mark, before hitting what I thought what was a great 5W off the deck only to lose my ball in the unforgiving rough.

I learned a valuable lesson on the 12th - never try and play out of a pond - as I soaked myself and completely missed the ball, before having my hole of the day on the 16th, which also features an approach shot over the water.

The showpiece 18th has the added pressure of an onlooking crowd in the Claret Jug, but I managed to raise a cheer after slyly kicking my ball back in bounds after overshooting my approach.

Following our round, which was success for me as I shot under 100, we made our way to our spacious airy rooms, which are plenty big enough to practice your long putts.

We made our way down to Stantons Brasserie after for our eagerly awaited dinner.

There’s a reason why Belton Woods is so popular - it knows what its guests want. There is a set menu, and then there’s a carvery because what’s better after an afternoon on the golf course than a roast dinner with all the trimmings?

With a comfortable bar to retire to afterwards, its not uncommon for there to be a few sore heads out on the course the next morning.

The next morning, after a buffet hot and cold breakfast, we were back out on the course, this time to take on the Woodside course.

Less lauded than its Lakeside brother, the Woods presents a completely different challenge, with tight, undulating fairways, tricky greens and the constant presence of trees just begging for you to lose your ball in them.

Whereas the Lakes is a very flat course with very few hills, the Woods are a lot more taxing on the legs and are a challenge for golfers of all abilities to control the positioning of their ball.

Opening with S.I. 3, 5 and 1 in the first three holes, the Woods doesn’t ease you in, forcing you to be on target from the get go, as missing the fairway on either of these opening holes makes the start of your round a very arduous task, as I found out the hard way.

The start of the round was brightened up by families of deer walking care free across the fairway and through the trees, oblivious to the silly men and women wearing one glove waiting to tee off.

The second hole also takes you past some of Belton Woods’ timeshare cottages, which provide fantastic views across the courses and the nearby countryside, and are well out of the way of wayward tee shots.

Once those three holes are out of the way the Woods finally relents, with a nice par 3 and then a long par 5 where you can really open your shoulders and give the ball a good hit.

What follows are a collection of holes where positioning is everything to avoid trees and bunkers.

The back nine features a nice collection of straightforward par 4s and 5s to help you reel your score in, I even managed a birdie to my elation and shock of my playing partners.

The 17th is probably the showpiece hole, with a large expanse of water forcing you to hit your tee shot short to avoid the drink.

Hit it too short (which I did) and you need a great long iron to get to the green (which I somehow managed), before the 18th finishing again in front of the Claret Jug crowd.

As a golfing retreat that does exactly what it it says on the tin, and does it very well, few can match Belton Woods.

  • A two-night stay with dinner, bed-and-breakfast, and 36 holes of golf at Belton Woods costs from as little as £165 per person, based on two sharing.