3 reviews of Sutton Coldfield Golf Club
8 friends and I played the Sutton Coldfield Golf Course this weekend (11/12 June 2011).
I had organised the get together and had chosed the SCGC at random through my Open Fairways discount card and so I was slightly anxious how good the course would be.
In summary, the course was excellent. Every single green was like a carpet and extremely fast even during Sundays rain! I have played home and abroad, La Manga, Algarve, Forest of Arden and I do not believe any of the greens were as good.
This should not distract from the rest of the course which was also in fantastic order; some the fairways were very narrow and there are a couple of holes where you need to carry the gorse it made for a very challenging round.The bunkers, fairways etc were all excellent on a course that had a links feel to it.
I would happily play this course every week (though that may have something to do with an eagle on the first day and my first hole in one on the second day (the 17th))!!!!
The only thing I would point out is that the SCGC has a very traditional club house and strict rules regarding dress code need to be adhered to. This wasnt a big issue for us as we all enjoyed the golf but to some casual visitors this may be seen as a negative, but in no way should this put you off playing this gem.
As good a course as you will ever play. Stunning holes, nice condition and very testing. Fairways are tight and lined with gorse and heather. Greens can be a little hard, but are very fast and true to put on. The course is not excessively long but even the best golfers will find it very challenging. The high handicapper may struggle
PS - The wires round the greens are to keep the cows that graze the park in the summer away from the greens
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and as a BUNGS member I have in the last 18 months been lucky to visit a number of courses whose style and type have left me either accepting of my lack of ability (very few) or inspired me to go and practice harder and more often. Sutton Coldfield definitely falls into the latter category.
To call Sutton Coldfield well established is an understatement. Although initially founded in 1889, none other than Dr Alistair McKenzie, who later helped to design Augusta National and Royal Melbourne, designed its present layout in 1924. This gives the course a fine pedigree, which the passage of time has not dulled. Laid out within the bounds of Sutton Park it is a course of the Heath land variety, which since it drains extremely well meant that despite the previous night's heavy rainfall it was in perfect condition for our visit for the Enterprise Cup in early April. This was also the first time this year I'd been able to tee up on anything but mats, which was a pleasure in itself.
Having arrived at the Clubhouse and partaken of coffee and biscuits (but no bacon rolls!) players had to cross the busy Chester Road (with the aid of a Pelican Crossing) to the area of the first tee and practice green. A nice touch was that an official starter started each group - obviously to keep an eye out for any real "Hackers!" (This jovial Scotsman later commented on the good standard within the Society, so we may be ok for a return visit!)
All holes are named, with the first (Icknield, par 4, 297yds) having a "generous" fairway, typical of most of the course. Also typical was the green: like most of the others it sloped, was pretty fast and had many subtle "borrows," whilst it also (again typically) unfortunately still showed the effects of hollow tining.
Slightly less typical (of other courses) are "Rowton" (476yds), "Long" (490yds) and "Road" (455yds), a run of three par 5's that together form the 5th, 6th and 7th holes. After the slog of these three, the 9th, "Avenue" is an uphill 140-yard par 3, and even at this time of year, with few leaves on the trees, it is very pretty. As it has an opening between its four protecting Oak trees of only 50 feet, and is also surrounded by five bunkers, accuracy is essential here.
The back nine is, we were informed, tighter than the front, and a real card wrecker amongst these is the 12th ("Beacon" 416yds, par 4, Index 3). With a ditch and stream 100yds from the green for longer hitters to be aware of, the green is elevated enough from the fairway to require at least one extra club to reach.
The 15th ("Fox Earth," 175yds, par 3) is another demanding hole. Again uphill from the tee, you are faced by the deepest bunker on the course (12ft) on the front left, with another huge bunker caressing the right side of the green. The green also slopes back to front, with the slope being more severe the nearer the front you are.
The 18th ("Thornhill", 390yds, par 4) is fine hole. A long carry off the tee is required over ditches, gorse and heather to a fairway that is always rising - over 40ft from tee to green. Another twisted piece of manicured grass forms a green with virtually no straight putts on it.
On many holes around here your view of the drive is obscured by large Gorse bushes and other encroaching foliage, and less than a few of your drives also need to carry the heather that is much in evidence around here. I got the feeling that had we been visiting in mid-summer, with Mother Nature in all her glory, we would have found this course a still stiffer test. A final diosyncrasy here is that all greens are ¾ surrounded by a single wire fence, with a small hoop for the purposes of entrance and exit (presumably by pygmies!) to the green.
Back across the road we enjoyed the benefits of the comfortable Clubhouse, offering a spacious changing area and comfortable Bar and Lounge. Whilst the after-match meal was not perhaps up to the standard of some we have enjoyed, I can recommend the Sultana & Lemon Cheesecake - lovely!
Despite the fact I'd left most of what golf game I possess at home, I really enjoyed our visit to Sutton Coldfield, and would relish a return in the future -perhaps at a time when the trees, gorse and heather are in full bloom. What is an already very pretty (and tough) course would then be seen, I think, at it's very best.
Report supplied by Graham Adams on behalf of the Barton under Needwood Golf Society.
Date of Visit: April 2004
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