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Congratulations are due to Shirland Golf Club in Derbyshire who have ushered in a new dawn this Spring by becoming a member run establishment for the first time. The idea was first muted last Autumn by General Manager/Professional and Midlands Tour regular, Ian Walley. Feeling that change was necessary to keep up with the modern march of golf club progress, he approached the committee and following weeks of research and financial planning a lease offer was put to the owners of the club. A further twist came when a third party, Speeds Ltd arrived on the scene, purchased the club on February 21st and on the very same day handed over the running of the club to its new leaseholders, the members. Ian and the committee have wasted no time in getting to work on what are ambitious plans for Shirland. “Our aim as a member’s golf club is to provide the best golfing facility within Derbyshire at an affordable price” stated Ian. “Considerable investment is planned with over £100k being spent on greenkeeping equipment in year 1 which we are sure is going to have an immediate effect on the golf course.” New junior golfing organiser Graham Naylor is also driving the club forward with a Golf Mark bid in place and a sharp rise in junior coaching participants. He plans a club funded outreach programme to take into local schools for golf taster sessions. Shirland are intending to recruit 100 new members as well as continuing to extend a warm welcome to all visitors and societies for what is sure to be an exciting 2011 at the club.

Last issue’s Future’s Bright included a feature on young Charley Hull, from Burton Latimer in Northants. Charley’s precocious talents have already seen her achieve major successes in ladies golf, often in age groups way above her 14 years. In the latest World Amateur golf rankings, published at the start of March she stood in 26th place, the highest ranked English woman in the world. Charley achieved her amazing position largely thanks to a highly successful tour of Florida in January. Playing in the ladies Orange Blossom amateur tour she recorded a 12th placed finish on her first outing, followed that up with a runners up spot in the South Atlantic amateur Championship and then the next week went one better with a victory in the Jones Docherty Matchplay Championship in Fort Lauderdale. Quite a start to a golfing year for a Midlands teenager, and while we don’t want to make too many bold predictions lets just say we’ll be following Charley’s 2011 season with great interest here at PlayGolf Midlands.


The European Senior Tour will return to Stapleford Park in Leicestershire from June 3-5 for the second edition of the ISPS Handa Senior Masters presented by the Stapleford Forum.

“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Stapleford Park”, said Bill Longmuir. “I love staying at the Stapleford Park Country House and the course is fantastic. I can’t wait to get back there.

Last year’s inaugural event, the first ever Senior’s Tour Championship to be held in the East Midlands attracted some of the leading players in 2010 including Sam Torrance, a former club captain at Stapleford Park, and 1991 Masters Tournament winner Ian Woosnam, both former Ryder Cup Captains.

Shuif Hussain, Managing Director of Stapleford Park, said: “We are very pleased to be hosting the Senior Tour at Stapleford Park once again in 2011. The Senior Tour created a real buzz in and around Melton Mowbray and Rutland last year and we look forward to welcoming the likes of Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam and last year’s champion Bill Longmuir back to Leicestershire”.

The Senior Masters field is also likely to include the 2010 Order of Merit Winner from Thailand, Boonchu Ruangkit as well as defending champion, Scotland’s Bill Longmuir, who finished a dominant seven strokes clear of Ruangkit and Englishman Roger Chapman last year. Major winners such as Sandy Lyle and Australia’s Wayne Grady are likely to attend too.

Volunteers are being requested on tournament week for scoring, marshalling and caddying duties, to register your interest please contact Head Pro Richard Alderson by e-mailing or call 01572 787044.


Would-be golfers in Warwickshire will soon be offered the ideal chance to start playing - in just five easy steps. Clubs throughout the county are backing a new campaign aimed at helping more beginners take up the game. Novice2golfer is a project that offers high quality coaching for newcomers to the sport at a bargain price and without the need to make an immediate investment in golf equipment. The scheme - which is aimed at the 16 plus age bracket - is being organised by the Warwickshire Golf Partnership and offers • FIVE one-hour group coaching lessons. These will cover all aspects of the game from basic swing, pitching, putting and bunker play as well as the chance to take the final lesson out on the course. • A discounted cost of just £25 for the five lessons – which will be held in five consecutive weeks with a PGA professional. • All equipment will be provided • Venues across Warwickshire, which means no-one should have far to travel to take advantage of the scheme. Julia Burton, the Warwickshire partnership’s County Development Officer, said: “This is an ideal opportunity for anyone interested in playing golf to take the plunge.

“The lessons will provide a fun and structured introduction to the game, so no matter what age you are it is never too late to take up golf.

“As well as the sporting challenge of playing the game, it is a great way of meeting new people, enjoying a healthy lifestyle out in the fresh air and a thriving social scene, especially if you go on to become a member of a golf club.” Clubs all over Warwickshire will be offering these group lessons and details will be available on the website in April. The scheme is also targeting local businesses who may want to offer their staff golf lessons as part of their company’s sports and social scene. Novice2golfer is one of a number of projects aimed at increasing participation in golf run under the umbrella of the Warwickshire Golf Partnership. This is a collaboration of a number of stakeholders in the sport including the English Golf Union, The English Women’s Golf Association, the PGA, the Golf Foundation and Sport England. For more details of the activities in Warwickshire visit For more information on the work of the Warwickshire Golf Partnership contact Julia Burton, County Development Officer, Warwickshire County Golf Partnership. Mobile: 07917 131001. Email:

THE LADIES OF LEAMINGTON Leamington & County Golf Club in Warwickshire came up with a unique way of attracting new female members to the club in a scheme started back in 2006. Chair of golf development Angela Eaden takes up the story.

Ashbourne wins Runner Up in UK Club of the Year Award

of ladies each on to the course playing probably a maximum of 3 holes at the start building up to 9 holes. Things were progressing well with increasing numbers of ladies coming forward for coaching as we contemplated the big jump for anyone wishing to join the club. We came up with the idea of an Apprentice membership. For a fraction of the normal subscription and no joining fee ladies can play at very restricted times. There are 2 time plans to allow working people to access it. The membership can run for two years but then it is decision time.

Many women imagine that golf and golf clubs are quite difficult places for them to go. We at Leamington, set out to break down this myth and make a sustainable pathway for women to get into golf. Via contacting existing members, and utilising the local press and our web site we set about finding our first group of ladies. The initial idea was to sign up for a group lesson for 6 weeks, one hour a week for £36. We provided all the equipment. The maximum number in the group is 8. That was 5 years ago. The lessons now run on Mondays and Saturdays to make sure women that work can join in. The groups are now arranged by experience, we found that the ladies prefer working together as they gain confidence when they are surrounded by people in the same position as themselves, plus giving them all readymade playing partners. Working with our professional, we built playing one hole into the lesson plans. As the ladies progressed, existing lady members would accompany a couple

Some club members were sceptical as they were fearful of an influx of what they thought would be slow beginners. In reality as the Apprentices had come through the system, their etiquette on the course was excellent allowing faster players to progress through

Ashbourne Golf Club have been awarded the runners up prize in the GolfMark UK Golf Club of the Year Award ceremony.

In the first year we had 16 Apprentices. We worked out handicaps starting as high as 54 so they would be able to see progress, the last Thursday of each month became 9 hole competitions in differing formats, everything designed towards installing confidence and integrating the ladies into club life overcoming the fears of the existing members resistant to change.

Club Captain, Ken Bainbridge and Junior Development Officer, Sally Benn received the award at the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa, the Derbyshire club were narrowly edged out by winners Bramshaw Golf Club from Hampshire.

At this time 250 ladies have participated in the course, of which 39 have become full members. With many still at the apprentice stage plus new subscribers starting the course this year, the flow looks set to continue at a good rate. We have also had success with junior girl coaching along similar lines, now 22% of the clubs youngsters are girls, we do have boys too on the same junior courses.

This national title reflects the effort the club have made to attract new members, teaching them how to play golf and providing a safe and welcoming environment for beginners of all ages. The club was assessed in Coaching Standards, Child Welfare and Duty of Care, plus equal opportunities for all junior players and beginners.

Leamington&County Golf Club: 01926 425961,

SHROPSHIRE AND HEREFORDSHIRE COUNTY GOLF PARTNERSHIP GOLF-MAD youngsters in Shropshire and Herefordshire are to be given the chance to follow in the footsteps of the Lee Westwoods of the golfing world – by playing on a Tour all of their own.

Tuesday, August 2 – Sapey Golf Club (11am) Monday, August 8 – Shrewsbury Golf Club (11am) Monday, August 15 – Shifnal Golf Club (11am)

The county’s 2011 Peewee Tour is aimed at young golfers in age groups up to the age of 13. As part of a county-wide drive to encourage children to take up the sport, competitors on the Tour do not need to be members of a club or even have an official handicap.

The entry fee is £15 for all five events, or £4 per individual competition.

Competitions take place over both nine and 18 holes. The youngsters will be split into three age categories – boys under 11, girls under 13 and boys under 13 with a handicap of 29 and above. The age limit qualifying date is January 1, 2011.

Mark Taylor, Shropshire and Herefordshire County Development Officer, said: “The Peewee Tour provides young boys and girls with the opportunity to play a variety of excellent golf courses and interact with other children.

The Tour, which is being run by the Shropshire and Herefordshire County Union, has proved a stepping stone towards club membership and county teams.

“Each venue provides an enjoyable, well-organised day with a competition and seasonal order of merit. Having visited several events, I was delighted to observe how successful they are.

The five qualifying events are: Sunday, July 10 – Oswestry Golf Club (11am) Monday, July 25 – The Shropshire Golf Club (11am)

“We are very grateful to the volunteers who run these competitions with the Peewee Tour continually allowing new players to be identified and recruited into the County performance pathways.”


 The picture shows Sally Benn and Ken Bainbridge receiving the award from Mr Bill Bryce, Chairman of the English Golf Partnership

Registration forms and further details are available at

The award will be proudly displayed at the club and provides parents with the reassurance that the needs and safety of children have been thoroughly considered. Ashbourne Golf Club offers free coaching to local school children. The Junior Section also has its own junior committee and plays junior matches against other clubs as well as entering teams in many Derbyshire County events. Club Captain Ken Bainbridge said “We help new players by offering coaching clinics for Juniors, Ladies and Seniors, plus Novice schemes for beginners of all ages, and special low cost schemes for infrequent players.” Junior Development Coordinator, Sally Benn added “GolfMark accreditation is proof of a club which offers a friendly and supportive environment for beginners of all ages. We are very proud to be known as the oldest and friendliest club in Derbyshire”




RYDER CUP star and European Tour player Paul Broadhurst will officially unveil the latest improvements at a West Midlands golf course. He will be the first to tee off on the revamped 16th hole at Robin Hood Golf Club in Solihull at the end of this month. The 186 yard par three now boasts a greenside lake which must be negotiated safely to find the new putting surface. The 16th is bound to become the signature hole at the club and is the crowning glory to more than £1.5 million worth of investment over the past three and a half years, which has included changes to the course, new maintenance machinery and a major refurbishment to the clubhouse, including the locker rooms, bar and dining areas. Walsall-born Broadhurst, a singles winner in the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island with six European Tour victories to his name, will be visiting the club on April 30 to play the new hole. General Manager, Martin Ward, said: “With the major changes we have made to the 16th hole, together with improvements on the 14th and 15th, we believe we have the toughest stretch of finishing holes in the county. Course Manager, Andy Wood and his team have done a tremendous job improving the quality of our greens, backed by a substantial investment in new machinery for the greenstaff.” The club is also celebrating its GolfMark High Achiever award, the culmination of months of hard work by club members; Robin Hood is the first club in Warwickshire to receive High Achiever status. Ward added: “We have worked hard to create the right kind of atmosphere for people of all ages to enjoy their golf – both on and off the course. We have seen a net increase of around 60 members in the past 12 months – against a national trend of falling numbers.”


Forest of Arden, a Marriott Hotel and Country Club, was rewarded at the inaugural 59Club Awards, winning two accolades for its prominent golf resort.

Marriott Golf Hotels and Resorts, with Forest of Arden flying the flag for the long-established benchmark of luxury golf breaks.

A fruitful evening was capped by winning the Best Conditioned and Presented Golf Course, as well as Best Golf Retail Service Experience. The European Tour venue, situated just four miles from Birmingham NEC, also finished second in the Best Greens category, Best Food and Beverage Experience and Most Memorable Golf Hole for the 18th on the Arden, capping off an impressive night.

The awards represent a successful night for the resort at the PGA recognised 59Club, who undertake six yearly unannounced service related visits and golf enquiry calls to over 50 of the top golf courses in the UK, to establish and reward the best golf resorts.

The overwhelming success at the awards, which were held on the same night as the Oscars, is another clear indication of the continued excellence provided by

Iain Burns, Director of Golf at Marriott Forest of Arden, said: “This is a great achievement for what is a long-established and fantastically maintained resort. To win the Best Conditioned and Presented Golf Course is a real credit to our staff, and the way we run our club.”

WHITTINGTON HEATH – AN APPEAL One of Staffordshire’s oldest and finest golf clubs is facing the biggest challenge of its 125 year existence, one which could potentially change the historic layout almost beyond recognition. The proposed route for the new high speed rail link (HS2), intended to be constructed to link London to the North sees it cut a path right through the middle of Whittington Heath Golf Club, resulting in 5 holes becoming unusable, changing three others and completely demolishing the distinctive clubhouse. The scheme naturally is attracting much opposition and may not ever come to fruition, but it does have the backing of the three main political parties and the club are preparing themselves for a long fight. They’ve set up a HS2 Committee and are currently garnering support from local MPs and business leaders. Plans are being drawn up to oppose the

plan and to also find an alternative route to the present one. PlayGolf Midlands are fully behind the club in their battle and hope that our readers feel the same way. There are many ways to help the Whittington Heath cause, start by signing the online petition at, and/or contact the club direct, the committee are keen to hear from anyone with ideas or are affected by the scheme. Follow the latest developments either on the website, or by joining their new facebook page, set up to link the club directly to other anti HS2 groups. We will also post updates on the situation on our facebook and twitter pages. This superb heathland challenge needs to remain unspoilt for years to come.




135 yards

129 yards

LITTLE LAKES, 15th hole

EVESHAM, 6th hole



142 yards

170 yards

CLEOBURY MORTIMER, 6th hole (Badger’s Sett)



Gordon COX

142 yards

148 yards

SHROPSHIRE GOLF CENTRE, 7th hole (Silver Course)

CLEOBURY MORTIMER, 5th hole (Foxes Run)



153 yards

184 yards

THE MANOR, 2nd hole




113 yards

174 yards


The Midlands’ newest golf course is now fully open to all. ASTBURY HALL near Bridgnorth in Shropshire is the brainchild of KK Downing, a founding member and guitarist with legendary Midlands based heavy rock band Judas Priest. An avid golfer, KK took it on himself to design his own course and Astbury Hall was born. Now a part of the Troon Golf portfolio, the club are enjoying ushering in their first generation of members and visitors sampling the new layout set in the heart of the Severn Valley. Early indications are that KK’s done quite a job and we’re looking forward to finding out for ourselves in time for the next issue, out in June. Director of Golf Philip Henderson stated “We’re looking forward to welcoming golfers for the first time this summer; Astbury Hall will give inspiration to players of all abilities.”

The page for the average Midlands golfer out there, and PlayGolf Midlands reader of course. Whether you are member, visitor, society participant, gent, lady, boy or girl golfer, let us know all about your playing achievements, highlights and funny moments during your time spent on the hallowed turf of the regions many fine golf clubs. We’ll also post snippets of club news too, such as the open days listed below, trophies won, just about anything really that gives your golfing home a bit of publicity, one way or another we want to name every single club in The Midlands on the Noticeboard in 2011. Plus keep those aces coming in; we’ll be producing a league table of them from the next issue onwards, finding out which Midlands course gets the most holes-in-ones this year. GREETHAM VALLEY – After seven round robin matches, quarters and semi finals played in cold, foggy and icy conditions at times, the remaining two pairs left standing in the clubs winter league came head to head for the final in late March. Played on The Lakes Course the evenly handicapped match up between father and son duo Ron and Alex Carter against Carl Causbrook and Ray Hughes proved to be a fitting conclusion to a long cold season. Carl and Ray

shone early doors taking a three hole lead on the front nine with three birdies, but a determined fightback ensued as the family team came back to level and take it into extra holes. With the momentum on their side team Carter finished the job off at the 19th to become only the second father and son combo to take the title in the past 20 years. Congratulations to the pair, (pictured here) and thanks to Fred Aspin from the club for providing the information.


GAINSBOROUGH GOLF CLUB is holding free junior taster days to attract youngsters along to try the game out for the first time. From 9am to 12 noon on Sunday, May 15th and Tuesday May 31st kids of all ages are welcome along, (with equipment provided) to the clubs Ping Junior Academy with head professional Steve Cooper and his team. The junior players will also have the chance to put their new found skills to the test on the course with Monday evening sessions from 5pm at just £2 a time. Call PGA Professional Ed James on 07935 925748 for more details.

SPALDING GOLF CLUB has a membership recruitment open day on Sunday May 8th; contact the club for further details.

Three Midlands Clubs celebrate 100 years of existence in 2011, Staffordshire’s Beau Desert, Rothley Park in Leics and Luffenham Heath, which the county of Lincolnshire loves to claim as its own but is really in Rutland make up a highly regarded trio of centenarians. Beau Desert is marking their year by hosting a series of special golf days throughout the season, culminating with a Gala Ball on September 17th. Luffenham Heath is organising a week of celebrations from July 2nd-9th featuring many centenary based golfing tournaments for all of the members and guests, juniors, ladies through to the veterans, finishing with their Gala Dinner on Saturday July 9th. Details of all of these events at both clubs are available via their websites. Rothley Park’s celebrations are a little lower key, but they do have a centenary Pro-am to look forward to on June 17th as does Luffenham Heath on 2nd September.



The Future’s Bright With all the new features about this issue we’ve ran out of room for the full length Future’s Bright, rest assured it’ll be back to its two page slot in June. Until then we feature a teenager from the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds and re-visit two very talented sisters from Warwickshire.

ASHTON TURNER One of Lincolnshire’s finest young talents had a medical reason for picking up his first ever golf club. As a toddler Ashton Turner had problems balancing and walking and as part of a successful physiotherapy regime was given a plastic club to help him along. Out of adversity came a burgeoning golfing career he hopes will take him all the way towards the top of the game. The plastic soon became steel as Ashton caught the bug and just three years later at the age of 6 was winning his first big trophy, the Junior Bush and Mould Cup at Woodhall Spa. Ashton has now just turned 15 years old and plays his golf at local club Kenwick Park near Louth; he is also an away member at Woodthorpe Park. Coached by Paul Spence from Kenwick, Ashton’s progress has been consistently impressive, so too are his growing list of honours. Among them, two Lincolnshire County Boys Championships at U14 and U16 levels in 2010 when he also became the

county’s U18 Matchplay Champion. He holds the amateur course records at both his member clubs and occupies many slots on Kenwick Park’s honours board, 5 junior titles and now the club Championship itself, secured last year. Ashton, who was voted the BBC Lincolnshire Young Sportsperson of the year in 2008 and was runner up last year has lowered his handicap right down to scratch and intends to reach plus 2 in 2011. County honours have come his way at all age groups plus he also represents The Midlands at U16 level. The next step up naturally is his country, another major ambition for Ashton to achieve this year, so too is success in the Lincolnshire Boys Championship. If he continues to show the same determination that marked his early golfing beginnings the highly competitive road to the world of professional golf is an achievable target for one of Lincolnshire’s finest talents.

FUTURE’S BRIGHT - A RECAP We’ve built up such a dazzling talent school of Future’s Brighters over the past 18 months, we thought it would be fun to catch up with a few of them to see how their careers have advanced since their first appearances in our popular column, starting with Lauren and Charlotte Taylor, the siblings from Rugby Golf Club, who were featured in January 2010. In brief, both have made steady and impressive progress. Charlotte (14) became the Warwickshire U18 Champion then finished third in the Subsequent Champion of Champions event. She has made promising debuts in her first national tournaments, at the British Girls and the English U15 Championships, her progress has seen her recognized by the EWGA and promoted to the Midlands Select Squad. Last season ended with more success as Charlotte lifted the Ladies title at her home club.


Lauren is now 16 and heading towards the top 200 in the newly established Ladies World Amateur Golf rankings. She now plays off plus 3, shone for her country in the Home Internationals, and has been mixing it with some success against Europe’s top amateur girls and ladies. A top 10 finish in the British Strokeplay was a particular highlight; Lauren’s overall success has seen her gain a call up to the English Ladies Performance Squad. This season has begun well with a last 32 appearance at the prestigious Sunningdale Foursomes. We’re looking forward to including more news and successes concerning the Taylor sisters in 2011. Not just Charlotte and Lauren either, let us know your junior achievements during the season ahead by posting on our facebook page (playgolfmidlands) or e-mailing us at news@

Back in our Jan 2010 issue APRIL/MAY • 2011



The Winter Series It’s been like the 2010 summer season never ended as all three main protagonists have been at it again, battling it out for the winter Order of Merit title over six events at some of the top Midlands lay outs. Mat Morris, Cameron Clark and Paul Streeter have renewed their rivalry in impressive style and once again occupied the leading positions in the table, along with the evergreen Paul Wesselingh, and late starter Simon Lilly who’s produced some great form of late including a stunning 63 to take the fourth event in style at Little Aston. However Clark, who was pipped by one shot at the same venue wasn’t to be denied a second time and at The Marriott Forest of Arden late last month he blew the field away with a 65 for a two shot win, enough to clinch the overall winter title with one event still to play. Clark’s delight at winning was more than justified: “I’m really pleased to win the Series this time round, as I was second overall in last year’s.

The summer season is not far away now at last, a record prize fund is on offer for the competitors on tour, both from the growing list of Pro-ams and the five Order of Merit events. It all kicks off on the 13th May with the Mark Group Birstall Pro-am, with the first ‘Major’ taking place at South Staffordshire on June 8-10 (The PTS Invitational). Yet the pros don’t hibernate during the winter and early spring, far from it, in this issue we look back on the cold season’s main tournaments with the top guys from last summer providing a case of deja-vu in The Winter Series of events. There’s a new captain to meet plus a brief look at a couple of the regional winter tours too.

New skipper Dan

Captain Dan. At the Midlands PGA annual general meeting in early March the captaincy reins were passed over as is tradition with outgoing skipper Cameron Clark handing over the reins to Daniel Greenwood. The Forest Pines professional is looking forward to his stint in office and carrying on the standards set by his predecessor. Not too mention trying to emulate Clark’s recent form!

Northants PGA. A busy county when it comes to winter competitions, Northants has no less than 15 Pro-ams that make up their Order of Merit, however a similar tale is emerging as the busy Simon Lilly (yes, him again!) holds the lead in the standings after three wins so far. However, Brampton Heath pro Carl Sainsbury is hot on his heels after a good recent run of form and with 5 events left to play is still very much in the running for the title. Lincolnshire PGA. A week before his blistering round at Little Aston, Simon Lilly shone too during the Greetham Valley Winter Pro-am. The man from Wellingborough GC started birdie/eagle on a chilly and blustery day at The Lakes Course and went on to shoot seven under, a round that would have been a course record had it been played in the summer. However, being a foreigner to the county, Lilly’s exploits don’t count towards the Lincs winter Order of Merit, leaving that as a two man battle between regular county rivals Greetham’s Neil Evans and new regional captain Dan Greenwood (Forest Pines). Events at Seacroft, Holme Hall, Stoke Rochford, Greetham and Forest Pines had seen them fight it out in all manner of wintery conditions, as it stands Greenwood holds a slender lead in the standings with two left to play. Coming next issue: We’ll round up all the featured above final winter series titles, 2010 Midlands Champion Mat Morris will be heading for Wentworth and the PGA Championship, plus Steve Carter, The Midlands busiest competitor will be contributing again offering his thoughts all about life on the Midlands Tour.

“In the five events this year I’ve made just the two bogeys and one double – all at The Belfry PGA National! – so while I’m playing really solid golf, it’s the consistency that’s making the difference.” With just one more event at Q Hotels Forest Pines, Clark has accumulated 60.5 points and an unassailable lead over second-placed Matt Morris on 38.18 points and Lilly in third with 32.43.

Unstoppable…Cameron Clark

2011’s main events The five Midlands Order of Merit events for 2011 and The British Par 3 are to be held on these dates OOM 1

The PTS Invitational

The South Staffordshire Club


Glazerite Trophy

Wellingborough GC

June 8-10


Midland Open


Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship

Nailcote Hall

August 10-11


Fineturf Midland Pro Champs

DeVere Belton Woods

August 24-25


The Tour Championship

Cold Ashby

July 7th August 4-5

September 22nd



With Membership options becoming more flexible up and down the country some of the best venues are becoming even more accessible. So we went to the legendary Belfry to see how their season ticket offer works and we went straight to the course to see what the golfers think!


The members of the ‘Crack of Dawn’ golf society converge religiously 7.00AM each Saturday morning, rain or shine outside the best known clubhouse doors in The Midlands. The Belfry’s faithful green mini bus takes its familiar early morning passengers down to the first at the Derby course for the 7.15 tee off. It’s the same each week, plus more often than not at the same time on a Sunday too, but just what makes these four gentlemen, three from Sutton Coldfield and one from Tamworth so devoted to their regular weekend ritual, one they’ve each been following for many years? During a walk around the layout with them one chilly early morning in March we posed that question to Nick Gilbert first. Aged 62





weekend dates at The Derby they feel no need to take on the joint membership option of The Derby and The PGA National although many do. Nevertheless they don’t miss out either, treating themselves to their quota of subsidised rounds on the other courses; Andy uses his to woo corporate clients of his printing business with the ultimate test of The Brabazon Course. Yet wherever ‘The Crack of Dawn’ golf society tread they are always impressed by the welcome they receive from The Belfry staff and its team of professionals. Eddie Gambrell, a season ticket holder for 17 years appreciates that, “They’re all like old friends now to us and the pros are always available and keen to know how our games are doing, happy to offer a

Just the Ticket Nick has been a season ticket holder at The Belfry for 25 years and knows every nook and cranny of The Derby, which may be the unsung hero of The Spiritual home of The Ryder Cup’s collection but for Nick and his playing partners this is their golfing haven. “I think the main thing for us is that we know we’re guaranteed great playability every time we play, no matter what the season, The Derby is always in good nick” he stated. Playing partner and youngest member of the group, Andy Perks concurred “I can wake up in the morning, see a good layer of frost on the garden yet still know we’ll get play here if we feel like it” They often do feel like it too, rarely missing a tee off time. The

four friends who met through playing competition golf on The Derby, who always have a little money on their inter society competitions each week and record every score they ever post talked further about the fringe benefits of a season ticket here. Colin Boswell is 62 and a mid handicapper similar to the others, he especially enjoys the off course charms too. “I take advantage of the discounted membership at the leisure club, doing that helps get me round this golf course twice a week!” Colin joked, adding that he and the others also treat their golf widows to regular discounted dinner dates in the award winning Atrium Restaurant, another perk of the season ticket. The guys so enjoy their

tip or two along the way.” With that, this very normal and impressively loyal fourball moved on, the brisk pace of their weekend round wasn’t about to be compromised by a couple of nosy magazine hacks, plus we got the impression the widows may have all had something to say should they have returned home a little late. N.B Unfair of us it would be to report on our 45 minute chat with the guys without mentioning that during our visit Nick drained a whopping 50 foot putt at the Par 4 8th hole, by the look on his face and the ones on his playing partners, he doesn’t do that too often, well done Nick!

Season Ticket Membership Support your passion for golf with a season ticket membership at The Belfry. With a choice of three fantastic golf courses to suit all abilities, we welcome all levels of golfer. Our state of the art facilities will ensure you have a successful and enjoyable season!

Membership Benefits: • • • • • • •


No joining fee Runs annually from 1st April Membership can commence at any time during the year at a pro rata fee* Regular competitions throughout the year Discounts in the PGA National Academy, Leisure Club and The Shop Membership to the Belfry’s Dine Club Prices start from just £529. Junior membership starts at £99.

For more information on our range of membership packages, see our brochure or please call 0300 500 0401. APRIL/MAY • 2011 *Please call for more details


Due to high demand PlayGolf Midlands are extending our tour coverage yet further from now on by including the regional men’s amateur scene too. We will cover all the major events and tournaments taking place, seek out the promising newcomers on the scene, and update the news and results from what is certain to be a very busy summer ahead.

Levi won’t be available to defend his title this year, aged just 18 he’s taken the plunge and joined the Pro ranks attributing his decision largely due to the success he enjoyed on the Mids Tour last year “I joined the Order of Merit late, with 5 events left but played really consistently, won twice and ended up topping the table, doing so well in the big tournaments when it mattered convinced me to turn pro” he stated. Now Levi is heading for the Jamega Tour and will soon enter qualifying for the Europro as well, where he hopes to make big early strides in his first season as a professional.

Midlands Golf Union - A brief history: First formed in 1895 as The Midlands Counties Competition and a separate body known as The East Midland Union of Golf Clubs. The Midlands Counties Golf Association was formed in 1921 to bring all counties together; it finally became The Midlands Golf Union as we know it today in 1984. There are ten member counties with both Leicestershire & Rutland and Shropshire & Herefordshire as one body. Cambridgeshire also forms part of the union. There are approximately 150,000 male playing members of all ages affiliated to the member counties currently. The Competitions: Some of the best known and longest running amateur golf championships reside right here in The Midlands. The big one is the Midland Open Amateur Championship hosted this year on August 19-20 by North Lincolnshire clubs Holme Hall and Forest Pines. The event has been won in the past two years by Nuneaton’s Andy Sullivan, also the Order of Merit winner in 2009 and currently the biggest name in the region’s amateur scene, but for how long? Thanks to being called up to the GB&Ireland Walker Cup squad for this years match up against the USA at Royal Aberdeen, the answer is at least one more year. Andy was recently as high as number 14 in the official men’s world amateur rankings meaning that currently both of the top English golfers in the gents and ladies (Charley Hull) lists, hail from The Midlands. Andy is looking forward to playing the Midlands Closed in May before defending his Midlands Open title later on in the summer.

Levi Desmond

of the game. Many of the cups fought for have rich histories as well as unmistakable names. The Kedleston Goose, the Sherwood ‘Forester’, and the Lincolnshire Poacher are among a collection of events we’ll be reporting on as the guys on tour will all be striving to take the title won last year by Levi Desmond from Belton Woods. With many other county and national commitments, not too mention earning a living elsewhere for the time being, the amateur scene tends to feature far more variety in its entry lists in comparison with the pro ranks. 2010 was typical of the trend, featuring no less than 10 different winners in the Order of Merit events, with only the champion, Desmond triumphing twice.

News: At a recent meeting of the MGU Executive it was decided to award Midland Order of Merit points to players in County League Matches within the ten Midland Counties. Secretary of the Midlands Union Terry Arnold feels it is an important regional development “ We need to help each county and their golfers, this should give them extra incentives to compete at county level as well as in the full Midlands, the view of each counties union was that this was the best way to go forward in 2011” Coming next issue: We’ll post the results from The Midlands Closed and the Trentham Punchbowl, plus other events such as the famous Beau Desert Stag as the 2011 season gets into full swing.

Order of Merit: Starting with the MGU Closed Open at the start of May at the Vale in Worcestershire the amateur season is made up of 11 events from all over the region that make up the prestigious Order of Merit. When you consider that past winners of the series include European Tour winners like David Lynn (x2), Steve Webster and Ryder Cup star Oliver Wilson; our amateur tour is a rich breeding ground for the future stars

2011 Midland Order of Merit Events

Andy Sullivan







7 May



MoM 1

THE VALE (Double OOM points at this event)

15 May


Trentham Punch Bowl

MoM 2


4 Jun


Shifnal Ox

MoM 3


11 Jun


Kings Norton Oak

MoM 4

Kings Norton

26 Jun


Finham Park Bowl

MoM 5

Coventry Finham

2 Jul


Gogs Trophy

MoM 6

Gog Magog (Cambs)

9 Jul


Sherwood 'Forester'

MoM 7

Sherwood Forest

16 Jul


Lincolnshire Poacher

MoM 8


30 Jul


Northants County Cup

MoM 9

Northants County

14 Aug


Leicestershire Fox

MoM 10

Willesley Park

21 Aug


Kedleston Goose

MoM 11

Kedleston Park


Tour Life David Lynn

The PGA European Tour may sadly not make a stopover for a tournament hosted in our region these days but spearheaded by World number 2 Lee Westwood there are a good number of Midlands based professionals plying their trade on the biggest tour of all. PlayGolf Midlands will highlight all of the finest achievements of our army of talented stars, gents and ladies, and picks out one each issue for special attention starting with a chat with Staffordshire’s David Lynn, one of the most consistent players on tour in the last decade. David was originally from Wigan, his first memories of golf were as an 8 year old, in a local field with just a single club and a couple of balls. Shortly after moving to the Midlands, Barlaston Golf Club near Stone became his first club, joining alongside his brother Simon (now head pro at Trentham Park) as a 13 year old. “Barlaston was a great club to start a golfing career as a junior, it’s the sort of course where you need to learn all about course management quickly, plus very welcoming too, we just turned up and played, day after day without any problems.” Yet once his talents developed he needed to step up the competitive side to his game “I went on to join Trentham Golf Club when I was 15, mainly to compete in more junior medals and tournaments and test myself against the other top juniors in Staffs.” From his steady beginnings in the Potteries David went on to forge a successful amateur career in the Midlands, winning our Order of Merit twice and representing England before turning pro in 1995. The Challenge Tour beckoned at first, a win in the 1997 Danish Open enabled him to join the European Tour for the first time in 1998. After an unlucky first year he finally secured his card again in 1999 and since then has kept it without too many dramas, David’s consistency has always ensured him a safe spot within the elite. “I don’t miss too many cuts, having a solid all round game and a good temperament has been the key to staying on tour all these years.”

David’s career highlight came in 2004, one week after losing a lucky ball marker he’d kept throughout his career he won The KLM Dutch Open at Hilversum and celebrated in fine style. “I’d always promised myself a treat for my first win, so I visited a showroom and bought a brand new Ferrari 360 Maranello!” David was as understated saying that as he was everything else during our chat, his relaxed attitude serves him well in his career, not fond of the endless travelling that plays such a major role in touring life, he prefers to miss some of the longer haul events in the Far East, Africa and Australia, backing himself to score well in other events. “Its a big tour these days, we all have to manage our schedules well to avoid burn out, I tend to trust my game to deliver best when I’ve got more time to relax off course.”

2011 has started well despite some early misgivings. “I had a longer than normal break over the new year and didn’t feel too good about my game, which isn’t unusual for me in Jan and Feb” However he then went on to record an impressive 5th place finish in his first tournament of the year, The HSBC Championships in Abu Dhabi, meaning a hefty cheque and a lofty place in the rankings, pressure off. “It’s always nice to kick off a season with a result like that, despite the fact I don’t worry too much about rankings in the spring it’s good to be up there at this stage.”

David has a love of fast cars, moving on from the Ferrari to a current Aston Martin Vanquish, also indulging in fine foods and wines, although we quickly hasten to add he also enjoys keeping fit too, and looks it!

As we go to press David currently stands 40th in the Race to Dubai standings, and is world ranked 168th, no sign yet of that card of his coming under threat, and long may that continue.

The current 2011 season tour standings as they apply to our Midland based golfers. As of March 25th. Name Lee Westwood

World Ranking

Race to Dubai

Best finish



15th (Dubai Desert Classic)

Oliver Wilson



12th (Qatar Masters)*

Robert Rock



5th (South African Open)

Steve Webster



26th (Sicilian Open)

Paul Broadhurst



46th (Abu Dhabi HSBC Champs)



57th (Avantha Masters)



34th (Sicilian Open)

Simon Wakefield John Bickerton

*Oliver Wilson’s best placed finish doesn’t include the Tavistock Cup. The two day event in Florida features four teams of the world’s top players in Ryder Cup style matches. There’s also a single winner, and thanks to an amazing birdie-eagle-birdie finish Wilson, (who has recorded no less than 9 runners up finishes on the European Tour without ever entering the winners circle) shot a 65 to take the honours for himself and for his team Lake Nona. Hopefully a springboard to a successful season for the Nottinghamshire (Coxmoor) based player.

THE LADIES Name Melissa Reid

WR 41

Order of Merit 1

Best finish 2nd Australian Open

Felicity Johnson



20th New Zealand Open

Sophie Walker



53rd ANZ RACV Ladies Masters

Worth pointing out that where the ladies are concerned just three events have been completed so far, all in Australasia meaning that two other Midlanders, Kym Larratt and Rachel Jennings haven’t started their campaigns yet.


APRIL/MAY • 2011




Tel: 01952 811699

Tel: 01694 722281

Address: Stafford Road, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 9DB

Address: Hunters Moon, Trevor Hill, Church Stretton, Shropshire, SY6 6JH

Parkland (9 holes, 18 tees) 5,659 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £15 weekday; £18 weekend

ARSCOTT Tel: 01743 860114


A scenic gem of a county at the very west of the Midlands, bordering North Wales. Rolling hills, market towns, the River Severn and many an ancient landmark make Shropshire a must visit location, golfing and otherwise. Play and stay venues are as popular here as any in the land locked Midlands. Among the many tourist hot spots, Ironbridge Gorge (A world heritage site) close to Shropshire’s biggest town, Telford is probably the best known. The Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county, mainly to the south with The Wrekin being one of the region’s most well known natural landmarks, although the


highest points are to be found among the Clee Hills. Elsewhere, re-visit the past at Ludlow Castle and enjoy the winding medieval cobbled streets of county town Shrewsbury. Our region’s largest county contains a captivating collection of lay outs to suit all styles and standards. From the clifftop drama of Europe’s only dual nationality golf course at Llanymynech, through classic tree lined parkland lay outs such as Shifnal and Bridgnorth, all the way to the modern designed masterpieces at Cleobury Mortimer and Hawkstone Park, Shropshire shines brightly as a Midlands golfing destination.

Address: Pontesbury, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY5 0XP

Hilltop Heathland 5,030 yards Par 66 Green Fees: Ring for details

CLEOBURY MORTIMER Tel: 01299 271112

Tree-lined Parkland 6,158 yards Par 70

Address: Wyre Common, Cleobury Mortimer, Kidderminster, Shropshire, DY14 8HQ

Green Fees: Ring for details

Maturing Parkland (3x9 holes):


Foxes Run 2,980 yards Par 34

Tel: 01746 763315

Deer Park 3,167 yards Par 35

Address: Stanley Lane, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 4SF

Badger’s Sett 3,271 yards Par 36

Riverside Parkland 6,582 yards Par 73

Green Fees: (18 holes) £24 weekday; £32 weekend

Green Fees: £25 weekday

CHESTERTON VALLEY Tel: 01746 783682 Address: Chesterton, Nr Worfield, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV15 5NY Parkland 5,205 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £16.50 weekday; £18 weekend

HAWKSTONE PARK Tel: 01939 200365 Address: Weston under Redcastle, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 5UY Parkland/Lakeside (2x18 holes): Championship Course 6,472 yards Par 72 Hawkstone Course 6,497 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details

APRIL/MAY • 2011



Tel: 01691 670680

Tel: 01691 622628

Address: Gobowen, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 7AX Rolling Parkland 6,025 yards Par 72

Address: Welsh Frankton, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 9HW

Green Fees: £25 weekday; £30 weekend

Rolling Woodland (9 holes) 4,220 yards Par 66 (18)


Green Fees: £14 weekday; £15 weekend (both all day rates)

Tel: 0844 879 9049


Address: Tarporley Road, Whitchurch, Shropshire, SY13 4JH Undulating Parkland (2x18 holes): Emerald Course 6,714 yards Par 73



Sapphire Course 4,801 yards Par 66

Tel: 01630 652266

Tel: 01902 700100

Address: Sutton, Market Drayton, Shropshire, TF9 2HX

Address: Patshull Road, Pattingham, Shropshire, WV6 7HR

Mature Parkland 6,295 yards Par 71

Mature Parkland 6,345 yards Par 72

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £40



Tel: 01743 364050

Tel: 01746 862212

Address: Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6QQ

Address: Highley, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV16 6HZ

Parkland (12 holes) 3,356 yards Par 43(12), 5,830 yards Par 68 (18)

Rolling Parkland 6,357 yards Par 72

Green Fees: From 7.75 (12 holes)

Green Fees: £15 weekday; £20 weekend

Green Fees: Emerald £25 weekday £30 weekend; Sapphire £12.50 w/d £17.50 w/e

HORSEHAY VILLAGE Tel: 01952 382640 Address: Wellington Road, Horsehay, Telford, Shropshire, TTF4 3BT Parkland/Inland Links 5,974 yards Par 70 Green Fees: Ring for details


Tel: 01952 677800 Address: Granville Park, Muxton, Telford, Shropshire, TF2 8PQ Rolling Parkland (3x9 holes): Gold Course 3,334 yards Par 36 Silver Course 3,303 yards Par 36 Blue Course 3,285 yards Par 35 Green Fees: (18 holes) £24 weekday; £28 weekend

TELFORD HOTEL & GOLF RESORT Tel: 01952 429977 Address: Great Hay Drive, Sutton Heights, Telford, Shropshire, TF7 4DT Tree-lined Parkland 6,741 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 01952 604776


Address: Lilyhurst Road, Lilleshall, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 9AS

Tel: 01746 716372

Tree-lined Parkland 5,813 yards Par 68

Address: Roughton, Nr Bridgnorth, Shropshire, WV15 5HE

Green Fees: £32 weekday; £42 weekend

Rolling Parkland 6,660 yards Par 73




Tel: 01691 830983

Tel: 01691 671246

Tel: 01952 460330

Address: Pant, Nr Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8LB

Address: Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 4JE

Address: Decker Hill, Shifnal, Shropshire, TF11 8QL

Undulating Hill-top Parkland 6,083 yards Par 70

Maturing Parkland 6,194 yards Par 71

Mature Parkland 6,468 yards Par 71

Green Fees: Mon £30, Tues-Fri £35, weekend £45

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £40



Tel: 01584 856285

Tel: 01691 610535

Address: Bromfield, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 2BT

Address: Aston Park, Queen’s Head, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 4JJ

Mature Heathland 6,277 yards Par 70

Tree-lined Parkland 6,051 yards Par 70

Green Fees: £30 weekday; £35 weekend

Green Fees: £36 Sun-Fri; £42 Sat

Green Fees: £30



Tel: 01743 872977

Tel: 01952 244032

Address: Grange Road, Condover, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY5 7BL

Address: Ercall Woods, Golf Links Lane, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF6 5BX

Undulating Parkland 6,307 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £28 weekday; £32 weekend

Undulating Parkland 5,570 yards Par 66 Green Fees: £27 weekday; £35 weekend




Hawkstone Park

Two contrasting 18 hole challenges, great facilities and a 65 bedroom hotel all set on a vast 400 acre site steeped in history, Hawkstone Park is one busy North Shropshire gol�ing hotspot. The Hawkstone Course:

A mid length layout designed in 1920 that winds its way around the more dramatic aspects of Hawkstone Park’s landscape. Many of the fairways are lined by mature Oaks and Birches; the fairly friendly width is balanced out by ingeniously placed bunkers. Fairly flat to start with but the lie of the land gets increasingly undulating making club selections trickier propositions. The opening half presents a fine challenge highlighted by two short holes and an exciting 4th named Ravine where a dangerous fate awaits a mishit approach.

Nothing can quite compare though to the start of the back nine with its stretch of three holes that thanks to their

The Windmill Course: The Championship Windmill Course was designed in 1995 to offer contrast to its neighbour with many American style features, fairways lined with uniform mounds and larger greens with gentle undulations. The bunkers increase in size too notably on a Par 4 13th hole named Sahara which won’t need much of an explanation. Despite the hilly tree lined parkland style beginning, the middle part of the course set around the large sprawling lake, is the memorable part. The water is in play for the majority of these holes with the wide-open nature of the terrain likely to add some wind to your cocktail of hazards. Three Par 5’s exist here designed to tease you into

Location/Directions At Weston-under-Redcastle, equally in between the towns of Whitchurch, Market Drayton and Shrewsbury and reached via either the A49 or A53 roads, well signposted from both.


stunning setting are amongst the most photographed in Britain. The route takes you in between the sheer rock faces and cliff tops of the Hawkstone Follies, the historical park up above has walkways, hidden caves and monuments, birds of prey glide the currents and walking up the 11th fairway your voices will echo, an inspiring setting for golf. PlayGolf Pick: 12th hole, 133 Yards, Par 3 (Yellow Tees)

It’s named ‘The Moat’ which tells you all you need to know about the hazard around the green, just a simply delightful looking downhill short hole under the shadow of The Follies.

bold strategies, plus a couple of tight short holes with little room for errors. Keep your ball dry during this loop of exciting challenges, then similar to the Hawkstone Course there are a few shorter and drier holes to finish that offer good opportunities for a closing flourish. PlayGolf Pick: 10th, 530 Yards, Par 5 (White Tees) A tempter for the long hitters, the lake a permanent feature to the right of this long dogleg, which can be played safely by bailing out via the roomy left hand side, the more adventurous however can attack the green by carrying the corner of the lake and flying over the giant greenside bunker.

Facilities Extensive practice facilities exist including a 6 hole academy course, driving range, short game area, and an indoor teaching academy. The golf centre has a large shop, restaurant with balcony and lots of society space. The hotel, a listed historical building, is fully modernised, and acts as the ideal base not just for golfing breaks but to explore the follies and further afield the surrounding Shropshire towns and countryside. APRIL/MAY • 2011



SHERWOOD FOREST Deep into traditional Robin Hood country is Sherwood Forest Golf Club, a Championship heathland gem with a good test in store and an initial impression to seriously whet a golfer’s appetite. As far as first glances go, there are few that can better this in the whole of Midlands golf. Location/Directions: Leave the M1 at Junction 27; follow signs for Mansfield, then proceed via Southwell Road and Oak Tree Lane. Club is located one mile east on Eakring Road. Designed by Colt and Braid, Sherwood Forest has changed little since the early 20th century in a playing sense. Fast running rolling fairways and gentle dog legs, flanked by ancient woodland, patches of heather, gorse and broom. The putting surfaces are outstanding, true running and fast, reading up to 12 or 13 on the stimp in midsummer. Sherwood Forest has no less than 97 bunkers to negotiate


around, their clever positioning, especially from the tee demand that accuracy as well as length is crucially important. So too is making a score early doors, the back nine contains a series of long par fours and equally demanding short holes offering one of the stiffest tests in Midlands golf. Lengthy, tighter and almost always playing into the prevailing wind, the Par of 34 is formidably challenging. Yet resentment is unlikely to be an issue, the glorious pine and heather clad surroundings should soothe any playing stresses and it all comes to a close with a fittingly special 18th hole, a little shorter but its undulating nature keeps it as a tricky proposition.

PlayGolf Pick: 8th hole 475 yards Par 5 (Yellows) If there is an excess of generosity when it comes to scoring opportunities here, it comes at the Par 5’s, this one offers up just that, plus it’s a delightful gently undulating and extremely attractive challenge too. Heather to carry from the tee, silver birches and bracken flank the fairway and the ever present sand lies in wait. Keep it straight though and a short pitch to a small raised green should set up a good birdie chance. Sherwood Forest Golf Club has been designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest as it

contains the largest area of low lying heathland in the Midlands. Now in conjunction with Natural England the club are undertaking a programme of on course development, cutting down many of the less mature trees that have grown over the years thus promoting the return of the natural heathland habitat. Facilities: A distinctive looking and large clubhouse has a number of bars and lounges and a first floor 80 seater restaurant complete with stunning views of the course. Sherwood Forest compliments its enviable charms with a permanently friendly atmosphere at the club.





Tel: 0121 5807800 Address: Blake Street, Little Aston, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B74 4EU

Tel: 02476 713470 Address: 33 Beechwood Avenue, Coventry, CV5 6DF

Maturing Parkland 6,496 yards Par 71


Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £35 weekday; £40 weekend



Tel: 01922 476593 Address: Stafford Road, Bloxwich, Walsall, West Mids, WS3 3PQ

Tel: 0121 5885746 Address: West Bromwich, West Mids, B71 4DW

Mature Parkland 6,269 yards Par 71

Parkland, 9 holes 18 tees 6,036 yards Par 71

Green Fees: £30

Green Fees: £15 weekday; £18 weekend



Tel: 0121 3543379 Address: Monmouth Drive, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B73 6JL

housing estates and business parks. Situated within them are a collection of golf courses, championship challenges, open qualifying venues and some of our regions finest and historic parkland tracks. Birmingham Council is also the largest provider of municipal golf in the UK, managing seven parkland layouts within its borders, all are listed here and provide excellent pay and play facilities for beginners and the casual player. Golf in abundance in The West Midlands, which may seem little too hustle and bustle for many but scratch the surface and there’s more than enough golfing reasons to hang around.

Tree-lined Parkland 6,665 yards Par 72

Green Fees: £16

Green Fees: £40



Tel: 01922 632243 Address: Aldridge Road, Walsall, West Mids, WS4 2JS Mature Parkland 6,509 yards Par 73 Green Fees: £23.50 weekday; £30 weekend

COCKS MOOR WOODS Tel: 0121 4643584 Address: Alcester Road South, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 6ER Undulating Woodland 5,769 yards Par 69 Green Fees: Ring for details

COPT HEATH Tel: 01564 731620 Address: 1220 Warwick Road, Knowle, Solihull, West Mids, B93 9LN

Tel: 01384 233877 Address: Turners Hill, Rowley Regis, West Mids, B65 9DP Mature Parkland 5,730 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £18 weekday; £22 weekend

ENVILLE Tel: 01384 872074 Address: Highgate Common, Enville, Stourbridge, West Mids, DY7 5BN 2x18 holes, Heathland/Woodland: Highgate Course 6,574 yards Par 72 The Lodge Course 6,288 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £45

GAY HILL Tel: 0121 4308544 Address: Hollywood Lane, Hollywood, Birmingham, B47 5PP

Heathland/Parkland 6,528 yards Par 71

Tree-lined Parkland 6,406 yards Par 72

Green Fees: £45

Green Fees: £36.50 weekday; £40.50 weekend

COVENTRY Tel: 02476 414152 Address: St Martins Road, Finham Park, Coventry, CV3 6RJ Scenic Parkland 6,590 yards Par 73 Green Fees: Ring for details


Tel: 01922 455595 Address: Stonnall Road, Aldridge, Walsall, West Mids, WS9 8JZ

Lakeside Parkland 4,474 yards Par 63


The West Midlands County itself is a new one, formed in 1974 with parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The very centre of our region easily contains its biggest population, dominated by the second city and its surrounding urban sprawl. The addition of both Wolverhampton and the surrounding Black Country plus Coventry who many still consider to be part of Warwickshire give many the impression that’s there’s precious little in the way of open space around. Yet it’s surprising just how many pockets of countryside calm appear around the corner from the

Tree-lined Parkland 6,001 yards Par 70

GREAT BARR Tel: 0121 3584376 Address: Chapel Lane, Great Barr, Birmingham, B43 7BA Mature Woodland 6,459 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £32

APRIL/MAY • 2011




Tel: 01564 742264

Tel: 0121 3511014

Address: Wassell Grove Lane, Hagley, West Mids, DY9 9JW

Address: Poolhead Lane, Tanworthin-Arden, Solihull, West Mids, B94 5ED

Address: Eachelhurst Road, Walmley, West Mids, B76 8EP

Rolling Parkland 6,376 yards Par 72

Scenic Parkland 6,502 yards Par 71

Green Fees: £34

Green Fees: £40

GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Tel: 01562 883701



Tel: 01902 326682

Tel: 0121 3532942

Address: Kartar Fm New Road, Swindon, Dudley, West Mids, DY3 4PP

Address: Roman Road, Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B74 3AN

Parkland 9 holes 2,507 yards Par 34

Mature Parkland 6,704 yards Par 72

Green Fees: £11 (18 holes) weekday; £12 weekend

HANDSWORTH Tel: 0121 5543387 Address: Sunningdale Close, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, B20 1NP

Green Fees: £80

MOOR HALL Tel: 0121 3086130 Address: Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B75 6LN Undulating Parkland 6,293 yards Par 70

Mature Parkland 6,325 yards Par 70

Green Fees: £45

Green Fees: £50



Tel: 0121 4444957

Parkland 5,662 yards Par 70

Parkland 9 holes 2,473 yards Par 34


Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 0121 7060061


Address: Off St Bernards Road, Solihull, West Mids, B92 7DG Tree-lined Parkland 6,506 yards Par 72

Mature Parkland 6,603 yards Par 72


Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 0121 5534637


Address: Birmingham Road, West Mids, B71 4JJ Undulating Parkland 6,468 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £35

SHIRLEY Tel: 0121 7446001

Green Fees: 9 holes £8.70 w/d; £9.25 w/e; 18 holes £12.80 w/d; £14.35 w/e

Green Fees: £38 weekday; £40 weekend



Tel: 0121 4751047

Tel: 01384 395566

Address: Frankley Beeches Road, Northfield, Birmingham, B31 5LP

Address: Worcester Lane, Pedmore, Stourbridge, West Mids, DY8 2RB

Mature Parkland 5,950 yards Par 69

Mature Parkland 6,231 yards Par 71

Green Fees: £40

HATCHFORD BROOK Tel: 0121 7439821 Address: Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, B26 3PY Parkland 5,743 yards Par 68

OLTON Tel: 0121 7041936 Address: Mirfield Road, Solihull, West Mids, B91 1JH Scenic Parkland 6,230 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £40

Green Fees: Ring for details

HILLTOP Tel: 0121 5544463

PENN Tel: 01902 341142

Address: Park Lane, Handsworth , Birmingham, B21 8LJ

Address: Penn Common, Penn, Wolverhampton, West Mids, WV4 5JN

Undulating Parkland 6,209 yards Par 71

Mature Heathland 6,453 yards Par 70

Green Fees: £10 weekday; £12 weekend

Green Fees: Ring for details


Undulating Parkland 9 holes 2,646 yards Par 34

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £30

Green Fees: £46

Tree-lined Parkland 6,524 yards Par 72

Rolling Parkland 210 yards Par 70

Green Fees: Ring for details

Scenic Parkland 6,259 yards Par 70

Tel: 0121 4292440 Address: The Pavilion, Lightwood Hill, Warley, West Mids, B67 5ED

Tree-lined Parkland 6,292 yards Par 70

Parkland, 9 holes 18 tees 4,882 yards Par 64

Tel: 01922 613512 Address: The Broadway, Walsall, West Mids, WS1 3EY

Address: Stratford Road, Monkspath, Solihull, West Mids, B90 4EW

Address: 40 Tennal Road, Birmingham, B32 2JE

Address: Vicarage Road, Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0SN

Tel: 0121 3730029 Address: Brooks Road, Wylde Green, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B72 1HR

Green Fees: £35

Address: Springfield Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 7DX

Tel: 0121 4271204

Tel: 01564 824460 Address: Tilehouse Lane, Shirley, Solihull, West Mids, B90 1PT

Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 0121 4260040



Green Fees: Ring for details

SUTTON COLDFIELD Tel: 0121 3539633 Address: 110 Thornhill Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B74 3ER Woodland/Heathland 6,549 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £35 weekday; £45 weekend

SWINDON Tel: 01902 897031 Address: Bridgnorth Road, Swindon, Dudley, West Mids, DY3 4PU


Tel: 01675 444890 Address: Barston, Solihull, West Mids, B92 0LB Lakeside Parkland 6,288 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £25 weekday; £30 weekend


Tel: 0121 7040704 Address: Saintbury Drive, Solihull, West Mids, B91 3SZ Parkland 5,654 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £12.50

WISHAW Tel: 0121 3132110 Address: Bulls Lane, Wishaw, Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, B76 9PW

Woodland 6,121 yards Par 71

Mature Parkland 6,069 yards Par 70

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £18 weekday; £25 weekend



Bloxwich GOLF CLUB

On the edge of The Black Country bordering Staffordshire stands Bloxwich Golf Club, a well established members club where this spring, change is in the air, the club set to unveil major course changes that this close knit establishment’s officials hope will give it fresh impetus in difficult times.

Location/Directions: Situated on Stafford Road, the A34 on the outskirts of the town, just ten minutes from Junction 12 of the M6.

PlayGolf Pick: 18th hole (New Card) 448 yards Par 4 (Yellows) The new climax to a round at Bloxwich is now a fittingly formidable challenge. Water in front of the tee, then it steadily travels uphill to a well protected green in front of the clubhouse patio. To reach it in two is quite an ask, you may need to rely on a tip top short game to finish with a par here.


APRIL/MAY • 2010


e took a trip around Bloxwich originally 18 months ago, the return visit was all about getting a sneak preview of how the new layout would benefit the club and it’s playing challenge. This mature parkland layout is set in attractive wooded surroundings, regular water hazards and well placed bunkering dismiss the comparative lack of length as no guarantee of an easy time. The course is far more tranquil and peaceful in nature than would appear possible on arrival, back into the heart of the rural Staffs countryside without too much of a hint of the neighbouring urban sprawl. Save for an increase of 75 yards in length, attributed to some brand new back tees constructed in places it’s the same 18 holes, just in a different order. The short holes have always been stars at Bloxwich, five in total, all on the lengthy side, each one very much in mid iron

range with the 6th ( soon to be the 15th ) a particular highlight. This one is set in a secluded tree lined corner and can be deceptive, the raised green with steep banking all around is open to any swirling breezes around, little pot bunkers are dotted about to catch out any less than spot on club selections. The new layout: The changes were possible thanks to a mere half acre of land at the courses western border. The acquisition of the land made it possible for the designers and groundstaff to construct a new path that would lead to creating two definitive loops of nine, an inward and an outward half. All of Bloxwich’s members voted on the new plans, a vast majority were in favour; all of the work in conjunction with their normal course duties was undertaken in house by a dedicated green keeping team.

Of the new tees constructed perhaps the biggest change comes at the short Par 4 14th, soon to become the 5th hole. This has always been a feature hole at Bloxwich, it’s twin sided water hazards have posed many an issue over the years and still will, perhaps though the extra length will now deter all but the very longest hitters in trying to drive the green. The second hole too, is now the beneficiary of a very attractive looking new raised back tee. Our Opinion: Bloxwich has always had a very teasing collection of holes, variety in abundance with a big emphasis on course management. Now, one small patch of land has provided new twists, and a better balance. The change around has produced a stronger closing stretch with two exciting short holes in the

final four, including an 18th in a more spectator friendly spot than previously, late summer evenings should be that little bit more special now. Facilities: The club has a fine array of pre and post round facilities. Within its traditional setting lie top class modern amenities, a well stocked pro shop, large locker rooms and a spacious bar and restaurant with enough seating for the largest of visiting groups. Society and Corporate Day Packages are available, groups of more than 20 players can take advantage of discounted green fees, many different packages are available all year round with some optional extras, nice touches to make the occasion a little bit more special.

Next issue: A pictorial guide on the new Bloxwich, plus we’ll see how the members and visitors have fared having taken on the new challenge for their first times.



Stonebridge To West Midlands central and Stonebridge Golf Club, in amongst a highly populated golfing region, with something a little different, three loops of nine Parkland/Inland Links holes plus some high standard teaching facilities.


APRIL/MAY • 2011

WEST MIDLANDS Location/Directions Couldn’t be much better placed, M42, junction 6, then a short trip down the A45 before taking the A452 Leamington Road, turn left onto the B4102, Stonebridge is on the left hand side. The Courses: Originally an 18 holer circa 1990, extra land was purchased enabling 9 extra and very different holes to be opened in 2007, they were cleverly integrated into the layout so there’s now an exciting mix to appease all golfing tastes. Somers Course: The longest loop at Stonebridge stretches out to 3,316 yards from the Championship Tees. Starting with a test around the driving ranges unique lake, 9 holes of undulating parkland where the early accent is on accuracy on narrow fairways and well defended greens. Then subsequently it becomes a long hitters haven, with a series of lengthy holes, culminating with the ninth, an annoyingly well placed water hazard sits right in the middle of the fairway. Hampton Course: The varied theme at Stonebridge continues during this tight loop of holes where accuracy and good course management are must haves. Parkland gradually turns to inland links, from the 4th hole onwards long wispy grasses appear, the fairways get bumpy and increasingly hilly, the greens noticeably become slicker and the open aspect attracts stiff breezes. Never easy but always interesting, The Hampton will charm your senses yet could potentially ruin a card.

Blythe Course: The shortest of the three and fairly similar to the Hampton in the way it is set out. Once again the newer links challenges are the stars but the change in style is seamless and interest is kept high, especially at the very end with a trio of great holes that sum up all that is good about Stonebridge. Look out for a final water hazard at the ninth that claims many a weary victim playing their 27th hole of the day. PlayGolf Pick: 7th hole Blythe Course 301 yards Par 4 (Yellows) A deliciously undulating challenge where accuracy is of paramount importance to avoid tons of trouble off the tee, and to find the right spot to play a wedged approach from the top of the bank to a putting surface tucked away in the corner with trees and bushes all around. Nice. There are a couple of common themes present at all 27 holes, the greens are superb quality from start to finish, so too is the all year round playability, drainage work recently completed on the newer 9 holes has improved that yet further.

FACILITIES One of the regions finer teaching academies, lots going on for all ages, and plenty of junior involvement. A 21 bay floodlit driving range, short game area, putting and a practice bunker. Inside, a large restaurant, spike bar and meeting rooms. The well stocked club shop now custom fits and repairs clubs.



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STAFFORDSHIRE Location/Directions: This one will need the use of a Sat-Nav, 3 miles outside Uttoxeter, from The A518 Stafford Road the club is situated along winding country lanes.

The Manor presents a gently undulating rollercoaster ride of a golf round, not too tough to walk, the higher points offer outstanding views of the surrounding Staffordshire countryside, the lowest levels attractively bring the winding River Blythe into play. There is variety in abundance, two monster Par 5’s, generous in width will appease the long hitters, two tiny Par 3’s on the back nine will require a more subtle touch. Since its inception in 1991 The Manor has been a steadily improving work in progress, new USGA standard greens have been introduced with new and larger tee boxes settling in for this season. This setting is also a haven for an abundance of wildlife too, both water based and others. The water is first encountered at ‘Ivor’s Island’, a Par Four with its reed strewn pool presenting a

redoubtable hazard in front of the tricky putting surface. Merely a prelude though for the challenges ahead, once the Blythe appears to the right hand side of a difficult long 7th, its meandering ways will affect many shot selections, to keep your ball dry here is no mean feat. A delightful 8th hole follows, where you turn the corner around the river only to be confronted by a stubborn old oak tree in front of a raised putting surface. The Blythe takes a break around the turn, before returning with a vengeance on two particularly memorable short twoshotters, risk and reward teasers par excellence.

where it is ill advised to go big when the pin is at the front. The 3rd and 17th are not likely to be forgotten in a hurry, even on a fast running summers day, quite unique in their similarities, 10 shots for the pair is more than welcome.

Monster’s Inc: From the yellow tees both stretch to 570 yards in length, both have raised tees and wide fairways, great driving holes. Each also has a gently undulating run up to particularly difficult putting surfaces

Play Golf Pick: 14th hole 290 yards Par 4 (Yellows) ‘Enigma’ presents a fitting conclusion to the riverside stretch, from a raised tee, a dart at the green may prove irresistible, a good draw is the shot to per-

The Manor climaxes with a delicious looking finishing hole, one short Par 4 that doesn’t contain a water hazard, just 270 yards in length, giving you the licence to fire at the green for a closing flourish. All uphill though so it’s quite an ask, and the captain’s bunker and its neighbours await for the shots that just come up short.

form which might take the water out of play a little, but considering that the Blythe also runs around the back of the putting surface, it’s always in your thoughts. Absolutely any score is possible on this lovely hole. Facilities: The clubhouse is set at The Manor’s highest point looking down on the whole layout and beyond, the heated balcony makes an enticing spot for after round refreshments, especially on a summer’s eve. The club has a very warm welcome in store, one of Staffordshire’s friendliest venues, with an award winning chef providing quality meals and bar snacks. Visitors are welcome all through the week and the club accepts most two-for-one vouchers. It may be a little tricky to find but once here The Manor will comfortably prove to be worth the effort and demand a regular spot in golfing diaries for years to come.



South Staffordshire Golf Club


No golf course suits the spring and early summer better than the South Staffordshire Club. The Vardon, Braid and Colt inspired layout (situated just 5 miles from Wolverhampton City Centre) with its English Country Park good looks and immaculate conditioning is gearing up for the season and the Midlands Tour Pros arriving once again for the PTS Invitational to be held in early June at the club. Club officials including head pro Peter Baker have been busy during the winter and spring months, constructing four new back tees making an already notably difficult course just that little bit tougher still for the top players. South Staffs is well known for its testing nature, tight and tree lined with a series of long par fours around the turn to examine anyone’s game. Yet it’s the slightly more generous opening stretch Peter and the team are targeting with the 3rd and the 4th being lengthened. The 4th in particular, has always been a potentially driveable Par 4 for the big hitters, the new tee, designed to take that possibility out of play making it a more strategic challenge by bringing the fairway cross bunkers

more into play as well. The 8th is stretched also, demanding a longer tee shot to cut the corner of the dog leg, then there’s a final new tee box to lengthen the 12th, quite an eye opener too, this stroke index two challenge already reaches 444 yards from the back tees as it stands presently. Next issue we’ll return to see South Staffordshire in its fully finished, pro toughened glory in advance of the PTS Invitational. Defending champion Mat Morris will be giving us his thoughts on how the changes will affect his and fellow Midlands competitors thinking ahead of the tournament, covered as always by Sky television. As far as us amateurs go, it’s the same old wonderful challenge it’s always been, and especially lovely at this time of year. South Staffordshire defends its honour well, no score is easily made, yet it never fails to provide true golfing enjoyment and inspire your finest efforts. See you on the fairways.



NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Known as the ‘Rose of the Shires’ Northamptonshire sits at the southernmost tip of our region. Best known for being the home of British Motorsport at Silverstone, this largely rural county has many quiet spots as well to enjoy discovering. There are miles of walks, country parks, waterways and ancient woodland just waiting to be explored. Miles of cycle paths follow the landscape of the Brampton Valley Way. Rockingham Castle perches high on a hilltop with views stretching as far as Rutland Water. A mixed bag of ancient and modern makes Northants an

attractive tourist destination, for golfers it’s a similar story. 22 courses and a variable collection they are too, the long standing charms of Kingsthorpe and Oundle contrast with the newer layouts at the resort venues like Hellidon Lakes and Staverton Park. Championship challenges exist at Collingtree Park, an ex home to the British Masters and the Open Qualifier track at Northants County. This unassuming region has plenty of hidden gems too, the ‘Rose of the Shires’ is well worth a 2011 golfing trip.



Tel: 01604 843939

Address: Windingbrook Lane, Northampton, NN4 0XN

Address: Sandy Lane, Church Brampton, Northampton, NN6 8AX Undulating Heathland 6,566 yards Par 72 (+ 9 hole short course)

Tel: 01604 700000

Lakeside Parkland 6,776 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £21 weekday; £26 weekend (Short Course £5 w/d; £5.50 w/e)

CHERWELL EDGE Tel: 01295 711591 Address: Chacombe, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 2EN


Tree-lined Parkland 6,095 yards Par 70

Tel: 01327 702829

Green Fees: Ring for details

COLD ASHBY Tel: 01604 740548 Address: Stanford Road, Cold Ashby, Northampton, NN6 6EP Undulating Parkland (3x9 hole loops):

Mature Parkland 5,808 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £15 weekday; £20 weekend

DELAPRE GOLF CENTRE Tel: 01604 764036

Winwick Course 2,825 yards Par 34

Address: Eagle Drive, Nene Valley Way, Northampton, NN4 7DU

Ashby Course 2,893 yards Par 36

Mature Parkland; Oaks Course 5,764 yards Par 70 (+ 9 hole Hardingstone Course & 2x9 hole Par 3 layouts)

Elkington Course 3,053 yards Par 36 Green Fees: £21 weekday; £28 weekend


Address: Norton Road, Daventry, Northants, NN11 2LS

Green Fees: Oaks Course £13.50/£15 weekday; £17.50 weekend

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Tel: 01536 511104

Tel: 01604 647666

Address: Headlands, Kettering, Northants, NN15 6XA

Address: Billing Lane, Overstone, Northants, NN6 0AS

Mature Woodland/Parkland 6,057 yards Par 69

Maturing Parkland 6,478 yards par 72

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: Ring for details

DEVERE STAVERTON PARK Tel: 0844 980 2317 Address: Daventry Road, Staverton, Daventry, Northants, NN11 6JT Undulating Parkland 6,583 yards Par 71


Green Fees: £35 weekday; £40 weekend

Tel: 01327 361291 Address: Farthingstone, Nr Towcester, Northants, NN12 8HA


Mature Woodland 6,299 yards Par 70

Tel: 01933 677234


Lakeside/Valley 3x9 holes, (Yellow tees):


Tel: 01604 845167

Tel: 01536 260756

Address: Harlestone, Northampton, NN7 4EF

Address: Stamford Road, Nr Weldon, Corby, Northants, NN17 3JH

Mature Parkland 6,515 yards Par 72

Address: Hellidon, Daventry, Northants, NN11 6GG

Parkland/Woodland 6,234 yards Par 72

Tel: 01604 710610

Green Fees: £30

Tel: 01327 262550

Address: Silverstone Road, Stowe, Buckingham, Bucks, MK18 5LH

Green Fees: Ring for details

Undulating Parkland 5,918 yards par 69


Tel: 01280 850005

KINGSTHORPE Address: Kingsley Road, Northampton, NN2 7BU

Green Fees: £20/£22 weekday; £35 weekend


Green Fees: £17 weekday; £21 weekend



Tel: 01604 843025

Address: Kettering Road, Pytchley, Kettering, Northants, NN14 1EY

Mature Heathland 6,700 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £75

Rolling Parkland 6,711 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £36

Rolling Parkland 6,631 yards Par 72

Green Fees: £40

Address: Golf Lane, Church Brampton, Northants, NN6 8AZ

Address: Harrowden Hall, Great Harrowden, Wellingborough, Northants, NN9 5AD

Tel: 01536 511527

WHITTLEBURY PARK Tel: 01327 850000

Parkland (9 holes) 2,761 yards Par 34

Address: Nr Towcester, Northants, NN12 8WP

Green Fees: £7 weekday; £9 weekend (9 holes) £13 w/d; £17 w/e (18 holes)

Parkland/Woodland 4x9 hole courses: 1905 Course 3,256 yards Par 36

Hellidon Course 2,888 yards Par 36

Royal Whittlewood 3,323 yards Par 36

Lakes Course 2,752 yards Par 35

Grand Prix 3,339 yards Par 36

Valley Course 2,582 yards Par 35

Wedgewood 1,877 yards Par 31

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: Ring for details

JOHN WHITE Tel: 01933 411140 Address: Bedford Road, Rushden , Northants, NN10 0SA Parkland 9 hole Par 3 course 1,475 yards Par 27 Green Fees: £10



Tel: 01832 273267

Tel: 01933 418511

Address: Benefield Road, Oundle, Peterborough, PE8 4EZ

Address: Kimbolton Road, Chelveston, Wellingborough, Northants, NN9 6AN

Mature Parkland 6,265 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £27 weekday; £31 weekend

Tree-lined Parkland 6,249 yards Par 71 Green Fees: Ring for details




Collingtree Park Remember the days when the PGA European Tour used to visit England regularly and the Midlands in particular? Seems a long time ago now when The Belfry and The Forest of Arden played host to many of the world’s top golfers in strokeplay tournaments. However, there’s another venue that holds the very same distinction, in 1995 Sam Torrance, then a year later Robert Allenby were both winners of The British Masters, held here at Northamptonshire’s Collingtree Park.

Designed by former Open Champion Johnny Miller in 1990, Collingtree Park makes good use of its lovely natural surroundings; open to start with, then a scenic woodland stretch before becoming raw and almost links like in places before returning to a parkland setting with a memorable closing hole. Water hazards are never far away and feature on over half of the holes. Mature trees garnish the layout and together with some well placed bunkering, can make this a very tight challenge at times. The greens can be large, almost epic in size on certain holes and are suitably for a Championship course speedy and full of obvious contours, and not so obvious ones. Four tee lengths make it an acceptable test for all abilities, the successful out there will be the clever course managers, knowing when to go for it and when is best to be strategic. Miller’s clever design gives golfers a bit of everything and keeps interest high, before the crowning glory arrives on the horizon.

PlayGolf Pick 18th hole 507 yards Par 5 (Yellows) No matter how you’ve fared so far, a five here feels mighty fine. It’s not the length that’s the challenge, more a case of avoiding the water on the left and the trouble on the right from the tee then its decision time. Reminiscent of Sawgrass in Florida this closing hole has an island green, sat right in front of the clubhouse, to reach it in two and hold it on there should you succeed is a big ask. Most will be sensible and lay up leaving just a likely wedge in, but don’t think your challenge is over once you find that dance floor, as it also happens to be a rather undulating one as well, maybe the toughest putting surface at Collingtree Park, a truly spectacular finish.

Facilities: The club has fine practice amenities including its range and large putting green. The large and very modern clubhouse has a members bar with its veranda overlooking that island green, and on the first floor you can indulge yourselves in Greens restaurant. An all purpose facility that serves bar snacks, A la Carte menus and even a cocktail bar all set in contemporary chic surroundings.

Location/Directions: Just 15 minutes from Northampton centre, about as far south as it’s possible to get in The Midlands but as easy to find as anywhere, Junction 15 of the M1 and you’re there.





Leicestershire is another Midlands county totally land locked by neighbours hailing from our region, predominantly rural with a busy cosmopolitan city in its heartland. Leicester itself has the National Space Centre as its major tourist attraction, and is quite a sporting hotbed with Rugby team the Tigers outdoing the footballers in terms of success. Out of town, discover The National Forest, go back in time at Belvoir and Kirby Muxloe castles, plus there are many quiet market towns and villages worth seeking out. Melton Mowbray, one of the busiest market towns in England is home to both its world famous pork pies and Stilton cheese, in conjunction with the renowned curry houses of the capital city, Leicestershire is something of a food haven. So it’s a good job there’s a decent amount of quality golf about for its participants to burn

Tel: 01162 864759 Address: Chapel Lane, Off Broughton Road, Cosby, Leics, LE9 1RG

Address: 170 Broome Lane, East Coscote, Leicester, LE7 3WQ

Scenic Parkland 6,438 yards Par 71

Riverside Parkland 6,641 yards Par 72

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £16 weekday; £22 weekend



FOREST HILL Tel: 01455 824800


Address: Markfield Lane, Botcheston, Leicester, LE9 9FH

Tel: 01162 674322

Maturing Parkland 6,221 yards Par 73 (plus 9 hole Par 3 starter course)

Address: Station Road, Birstall, Leicester, LE4 3BB Tree lined Parkland 6,239 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £30 weekday; £40 weekend

those calories off. Birstall, on the outskirts of the city, hosts The Midlands PGA Open each year, Rothley Park celebrates a centenary this year, and out in the sticks sample the opulent charms of Stapleford Park.


Rutland, historically is England’s smallest county, almost totally a farming and woodland region with Europe’s largest mad made lake in its centre. Rutland Water provides the water supply to the East Midlands, naturally a popular tourist spot, a walker or cyclist would take a good while to traverse its 25 mile circular track. Considering its modest size, golfers are royally treated in Rutland, many consider the beautiful Luffenham Heath (another 2011 centenary club) as part of Lincolnshire, but it sits proudly in Rutland along with 4 notable neighbours, pound for pound there may be no better golfing location in the Midlands.

Parkland 9 hole short course 1,879 yards Par 30

Tel: 01536 403119 Address: Corby Road, Nr Cottingham, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 8XJ

Green Fees: Ring for details

BREEDON PRIORY Tel: 01332 863081 Address: Green Lane, Wilson, Nr Derby, DE73 8LG Maturing Parkland 5,948 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £20 weekday; £22.50 weekend

Green Fees: Ring for details

GLEN GORSE Tel: 01162 714159 Address: Glen Road, Oadby, Leicestershire, LE2 4RF Mature Parkland 6,648 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £30 weekday

HINCKLEY Tel: 01455 615124 Address: Leicester Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 3DR Scenic Parkland 6,218 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £35

HUMBERSTONE HEIGHTS Tel: 01162 995570 Address: Gypsy Lane, Humberstone, Leicester, LE5 0TB Municipal Parkland 6,216 yards Par 70 Green Fees: Ring for details

KIBWORTH Tel: 01162 792301 Address: Weir Road, Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, LE8 0LP Picturesque Parkland 6,354 yards Par 71

CHARNWOOD FOREST Tel: 01509 890259 Address: Breakback Road, Woodhouse Eaves, Loughborough, Leics, LE12 8TA Heathland : 9 holes-18 tees, 5,972 yards Par 69 Green Fees: Ring for details


Green Fees: £32 weekday; £40 weekend

KILWORTH SPRINGS Tel: 01858 575082 Address: South Kilworth Road, North Kilworth, Leics, LE17 6HJ Inland Links 6,543 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £24 weekday; £27 weekend

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Tel: 01162 393457

Tel: 01162 703828

Tel: 01572 787000

Address: Station Road, Kirby Muxloe, Leics, LE9 2EP

Address: Leicester Road, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 4AJ

Address: Stapleford, Nr Melton Mowbray, Leics, LE14 2EF

Scenic Parkland 6,275 yards Par 71

Municipal Parkland 6,311 yards Par 72

Championship Parkland 6,944 yards Par 73

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £50



Tel: 01509 815454

Tel: 01858 535208

Address: Park Hill, Seagrave, Leics, LE12 7NG

Address: Ashley Road, Stoke Albany, Nr Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 8PL


Maturing Parkland 6,175 yards Par 71


Green Fees: £35 weekday

Maturing Parkland 6,716 yards Par 73 Green Fees: Ring for details



Green Fees: £20 weekday; £25 weekend

WILLESLEY PARK Tel: 01530 414596 Address: Measham Road, Ashbyde-la-Zouch, Leics, LE65 2PF Parkland/Heathland 6,314 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £37 weekday; £45 weekend

Tel: 01780 460444 Address: Wood Lane, Greetham, Oakland, Rutland, LE15 7SN

Tel: 01162 302809

Lakes Course: 6,764 yards Par 72

Address: Joe Moore’s Lane, Woodhouse Eaves, Leics, LE12 8TF

Address: Westfield Lane, Rothley, Leics, LE7 7LH

Valley Course: 5,595 yards Par 68 (+ 9 hole academy course)

Tree-lined Parkland 6,545 yards Par 71

Tree-lined Parkland 6,501 yards Par 71

Green Fees: £30 weekday; £37.50 weekend

Green Fees: £50 weekday; £60 weekend

Green Fees: (both courses) £20 weekday, £25 weekend, £15 twilight (after 3pm)



Tel: 01509 890703

Tel: 01509 239129


Tel: 01509 852959

Tel: 01162 738825

Address: Snells Nook Lane, Nanpantan, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 3YA

Address: Stocking Lane, East Leake, Nr Loughborough, Leics, LE12 5RL

Address: Evington Lane, Leicester, LE5 6DG

Scenic Woodland 6,625 yards Par 73

Mature Woodland 6,193 yards Par 70

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £25 weekday, £32 weekend

LUTTERWORTH Tel: 01455 552532

SCRAPTOFT Tel: 01162 419000

Tree Lined Parkland 6,329 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £35 weekday; £40 weekend


Address: Rugby Road, Lutterworth, Leics, LE17 4HN

Address: Beeby Road, Scraptoft, Leicester, LE7 9SJ

Rolling Parkland 6,243 yards Par 70

Address: Frolesworth Road, Ullesthorpe, Leics, LE17 5BZ

Scenic Parkland 6,162 yards Par 70

Green Fees: £30 weekday

Scenic Parkland 6,662 yards Par 72

Green Fees: £35

Green Fees: Ring for details




Tel: 01509 881225

Tel: 01162 875211

Address: Six Hills, Melton Mowbray, Leics, LE14 3PR

Address: Scudamore Road, Leicester, LE3 1UQ

Rolling Parkland 5,758 yards Par 71

Mature Parkland 6,486 yards Par 72

Tel: 01858 463684 Address: Great Oxendon Road, Market Harborough, Leics, LE16 8NB Rolling Parkland 6,086 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £30

Green Fees: Ring for detai

Green Fees: Ring for details



Tel: 01664 562118

Tel: 01162 861424

Address: Thorpe Arnold, Melton Mowbray, Leics, LE14 4SD

Address: Cambridge Road, Cosby, Leicester, LE9 1SJ

Scenic Parkland 6,279 yards Par 70

Scenic Parkland 6,182 yards Par 70

Green Fees: £29 weekday; £34 weekend

Green Fees: £16 weekday; £18 weekend

LUFFENHAM HEATH Tel: 01780 720205 Address: Ketton, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 3UU Heathland/Woodland; 6,418 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £50

NORTH LUFFENHAM Tel: 01780 721960 Address: St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8RL Parkland 5,961 yards Par 70 Green Fees: Ring for details

RUTLAND COUNTY Tel: 01780 460330 Address: Great Casterton, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 4AQ Inland links 6,422 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £20 weekday; £25 weekend

RUTLAND WATER Tel: 01572 737525 Address: Lodge Farm, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 8HB Normanton Course, New Parkland 6,816 yards Par 72 Hambleton Course, Par 3 9 holes Green Fees: Normanton, £20 weekday; £25 weekend; Hambleton, £7w/d; £8w/e





A bit of old and new combined to great effect at Leicestershire’s Stapleford Park. A Luxury Georgian Country house in a historic setting which also houses a very new golf course, one which has already reached Championship status. Location/Directions: 3 miles outside Melton Mowbray, M1 junction 24 from the North, then the A6 and the A6006 through Melton. From the south it’s Junction 21, A46 then the A607. From the east it’s just 9 miles from the A1. Designed to compliment its classical English Country Park looks, the golf course is very open and exposed in nature; the wind swirls around menacingly and plays a hefty role in your fortunes. In addition there’s a mixture of well placed bunkers, undulating fast running ground and clingy patches of rough giving it links like playability especially at the beginning and end. Yet there’s variety too, the meandering River Eye provides that as all of the holes here make good use of the natural hazards already in place. Long hitters should enjoy a challenge that stretches to over 6,500 from the yellows and plays every yard on a breezy day. The highlight though has to be the greens, large and sometimes epic in proportions, a superb test of your putting skills. A suitably excellent finishing hole lies in wait in front of the clubhouse, shortish yet full of watery graves from its raised tee.


PlayGolf Pick: 8th hole 285 yards Par 4 (Yellows) A real head scratcher of a challenge, the winding river dominates your thoughts with no less than three tee shot options, designed either to avoid or take on the water. Yet whether bold or conservative, it’s highly enjoyable and despite its modest length you’ll settle for a par, without a doubt.

ALSAGER Golf & Country Club Amidst the rolling hills and countryside delight of the Cheshire/Staffs border sits Alsager Golf Club, established in 1992, yet looking and playing like a much older golf course. Location/Directions: Easily accessed from Junction 16 of the M6, just outside Alsager town on Audley Road.

Facilities: The thatched style and modern golf pavilion serves light refreshments post round. For the bigger society and corporate occasion the impressive hotel has a number of rooms and suites and offers play and stay golfing breaks, there are also full spa and fitness facilities onsite. In June Stapleford Park plays host to the European Seniors Tour, as it hosts the Handa Senior Masters for a second time.

Pretty much a course of two halves, to start with. Keep it nice and straight from the tees, play the early par 3’s well and there should be some birdie chances out there on fairly level terrain. Holes 5, 6 and 7 the locals enjoy describing as their own ‘Amen Corner’, all are long Par 4’s with a noticeable increase in hazardous spots, the 6th especially is one place you’ll take great delight in walking off with a par. Around the turn is a particularly attractive stretch, and then Alsager really does come into its own. From the 13th green, the panoramic views span across six counties and show Jodrell Bank

clearly in the distance on the Cheshire plains. The finishing holes live up to their lovely setting, truly saving the best for last. The recent addition of carefully planned ponds and water features are a natural home to wildlife and each hole on the newly improved course offers golfers a welcome combination of beauty and challenges to test golfing skills. PlayGolf Pick: 14th 357 yards Par 4 (Yellows): There’s nothing more inspiring in golf than sending a well struck driver into orbit to an inviting fairway situated a couple of hundred feet below you. This hole does exactly that, open the shoulders, avoid the trees on the left and it should be a short iron left to a green that slopes away from front to back. Facilities: Reasonably priced on and off course, Alsager has a large clubhouse containing lounge, restaurant and a banqueting hall accommodating 140 guests. Society packages are good value for money and full of choice.

APRIL/MAY • 2011


WORCESTERSHIRE ABBEY HOTEL Tel: 01527 406600 Address: Hither Green Lane, Dagnall End Road, Redditch, Worcs, B98 9BE Mature Parkland 6,405 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details



Rolling Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 4,147 yards Par 66 Green Fees: £7 weekday £9 weekend (9 holes); £12 w/d £16 w/e (18 holes)

CHURCHILL&BLAKEDOWN Tel: 01562 700018 Address: Churchill Lane, Blakedown, Worcs, DY10 3NB Parkland/Woodland (9 holes 18 tees) 6,488 yards Par 72

Address: Habberley Road, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 1LY

Green Fees: £25

Mature Parkland 5,799 yards Par 69


Green Fees: £20 weekday; £25 weekend

Tel: 01905 774344 Address: Westford House, Ford Lane, Droitwich, Worcs, WR9 0BQ


Tree-lined Parkland 5,990 yards Par 70

Tel: 0121 4451994

Green Fees: Ring for details

Address: Agmore Road, Blackwell, Bromsgrove, Worcs, B60 1PY


Green Fees: Ring for details

clustered around churches, quaint old pubs and market squares. Amongst this seemingly endless stretch of countryside idyll, from the southern tip of Birmingham all the way westwards to the Welsh border at Kington, (England’s highest course) there’s a collection of golfing venues to test your game and charm your senses in equal measures. Hospitality wise there is no friendlier place to be, a warm welcome awaits the travelling golfer taking a trip to one of our regions most attractive destinations.

Tel: 01584 810044 Address: St Michaels, Tenbury Wells, Worcs, WR15 8TQ

Tel: 01299 409098

Mature Parkland 6,260 yards Par 70

Combining two counties into one, travel to the west of our region and discover countryside charm, rolling farmland and the unmistakable aroma of fresh, locally produced foods and beverages from all over the area. The River Severn flows through the Worcestershire heartland and the Wye proves an attractive feature in Herefordshire. Enjoy the Malvern Hills in Worcs and the beautiful Wye Valley near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, a magnet for fishermen, walkers and canoeists. In both counties the countryside is punctuated by quiet villages, hamlets and farms



(BANK HOUSE HOTEL) Tel: 01886 833621 Address: Bransford, Nr Worcester, Worcs, WR6 5JD Lakeside Parkland 6,204 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 01386 860395 Address: Craycombe Links, Evesham Road, Fladbury, Pershore, Worcs, WR10 2QS Scenic Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 6,357 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £25

FULFORD HEATH Tel: 01564 824758 Address: Tanners Green Lane, Wythall, Birmingham, Worcs, B47 6BH Mature Parkland 6,263 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £30

BROADWAY Tel: 01386 853683 Address: Willersley Hill, Broadway, Worcs, WR12 7LG Undulating Parkland 6,228 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £35 weekday; £42 weekend

GAUDET LUCE Tel: 01905 798641 Address: Middle Lane, Hadzor, Droitwich, Worcs, WR9 7JR Maturing Parkland (Phoenix Course) 6,040 yards Par 70, + (Hadzor Course), 9 hole Par 3 Green Fees: Ring for details

BROMSGROVE Tel: 01527 575886 Address: Stratford Road, Bromsgrove, Worcs, B60 1LD Undulating Parkland 5,969 yards Par 68 Green Fees: £21.70 weekday; £28.90 weekend


HABBERLEY Tel: 01562 745756 Address: Low Habberley, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 5RF Rolling Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 5,401 yards Par 69 Green Fees: £15

APRIL/MAY • 2011



Tel: 0121 5013606

Tel: 01527 541054

Address: The Leasowes, Halesowen, Worcs, B62 8QF

Address: Plymouth Road, Redditch, Worcs, B97 4PB

Undulating Parkland 5,746 yards Par 69

Tree-lined Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 4,561 yards Par 65

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £10.80 (9 holes); £13.90 (18 holes)


WORCESTER GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Tel: 01905 422555 Address: Boughton Park, Worcester, WR2 4EZ Mature Parkland 6,251 yards Par 70

Rolling Woodland (Deer Run 9 holes, 18 tees) 6,153 yards Par 71 (Badgers 9 holes) 2,010 yards Par 30 Green Fees: Deer Run £15 weekday, £18 weekend; Badgers £9 w/d, £10 w/e

Green Fees: £40




Address: The Club House, Russell Road, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY10 3HT

Tel: 01905 757525

Tel: 01684 575992

Address: Hindlip Lane, Claines, Worcester, WR3 8SA

Address: Wood Farm, Malvern Wells, Worcs, WR14 4PP

Tree-lined Parkland 6,441 yards Par 72

Maturing Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 5,362 yards Par 68

Undulating Parkland 6,500 yards Par 71

Green Fees: £36

Green Fees: £10 weekday, £12.50 weekend (9 holes); £15 w/d, £20 w/e (18 holes)

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £30 weekday; £40 weekend



WYRE FOREST Tel: 01299 822682 Address: Zortech Avenue, Kidderminster, Worcs, DY11 7EX

Tel: 01544 230340 Address: Bradnor Hill, Kington, Herefordshire, HR5 3RE

Inland Links 6,071 yards Par 71

Hilltop Heathland 5,961 yards Par 70

Tel: 01562 822303

KINGS NORTON Tel: 01564 826706 Address: Weatheroak Hall, Brockhill Lane, Alvechurch, Birmingham, B48 7ED 27 holes Mature Parkland: Weatheroak (Blue/Red) 6,748 yards Par 72 Wythall (Red/Yellow) 6,612 yards Par 72 Brockhill (Blue/Yellow) 6,648 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £35 (18 holes)


Tel: 01527 543079 Address: Lower Grinsty, Green Lane, Callow Hill, Redditch, Worcs, B97 5PJ Parkland/Woodland 6,494 yards par 72 Green Fees: £35

SAPEY Tel: 01886 853506 Address: Upper Sapey, Nr Worcester, Worcs, WR6 6XT

Tel: 01299 266385

Rolling Parkland (Rowan Course) 5,939 yards Par 69

Address: Lye Head, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2UZ

(Oaks Course) 1,203 yards Par 27

Undulating Parkland 6,298 yards Par 71 Green Fees: Ring for details

OMBERSLEY Tel: 01905 620747 Address: Bishopswood Road, Ombersley, Droitwich, Worcs, WR9 0LE Maturing Parkland 6,139 yards Par 72 Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: (Rowan Course) £27 weekday; £32 weekend

THE VALE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Tel: 01386 462781 Address: Bishampton Fields, Hill Furze Road, Pershore, Worcs, WR10 2LZ Rolling Parkland (International Course) 7,154 yards Par 74 (Lenches Course) 2,759 yards Par 35

Green Fees: £15 weekday; £20 weekend

HEREFORDSHIRE BELMONT LODGE Tel: 01432 352666 Address: Belmont, Herefordshire, HR2 9SA Undulating/Riverside Parkland 6,369 yards Par 72 Green Fees: £20 weekday; £30 weekend

BROCKINGTON HALL Tel: 01568 797877 Address: Bodenham, Herefordshire, HR1 3HX

Tel: 01432 830219 Address: Wormsley, Hereford, HR4 8LY Rolling Parkland 6,031 yards Par 70

Green Fees: Ring for details

LEOMINSTER Tel: 01568 610055 Address: Ford Bridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0LE Mature Parkland 6,026 yards Par 70 Green Fees: Ring for details

ROSS-ON-WYE Tel: 01989 720267 Address: Gorsley, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 7UT Tree-lined Parkland 6,210 yards Par 70 Green Fees: £42

Undulating Parkland 9 holes 2,344 yards Par 33


Green Fees: £8 (9 holes), £13 (18 holes)

Tel: 01989 780535


Green Fees: Ring for details

Tel: 01432 760456 Address: Tillington Road, Burghill, Hereford, HR4 7RW



Scenic Parkland 6,204 yards Par 70

Tel: 01905 754668

Tel: 01299 405222

Address: Bilford Road, Worcester, WR3 8DX

Address: Longbank, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2QW

Municipal Parkland 5,297 yards Par 68

Scenic Parkland 6,435 yards Par 72

Green Fees: Ring for details

Green Fees: £20 weekday; £25 weekend

Green Fees: £30 weekday; £40 weekend

THE GROVE Tel: 01586 610602 Address: Ford Bridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0LE

Address: Twin Lakes, Ross-onWye, Herefordshire, HR9 7UA Rolling Parkland 6,672 yards Par 71 Green Fees: £20 weekday; £25 weekend

SUMMERHILL Tel: 01497 820451 Address: Clifford, Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR3 5EW Maturing Parkland (9 holes 18 tees) 5,858 yards Par 70 Green Fees: Ring for details




To the busy harbour town of Porthmadog, a tourist hot spot with many attractions including its golf club, a James Braid 1906 design that makes good use of its very enviable location.


APRIL/MAY • 2011



Situated 2 miles south of the town, the beachside part boasts amazing views of Cardigan Bay and inland towards Snowdon. On a clear day both Criccieth and Harlech castles can be witnessed. The club is reached via the A487 that links many a links location in North Wales.

The ultimate course of two halves, a golfing examination where the difficulty rating grows in tandem with Porthmadog’s dramatic setting. The opening nine is a straight ahead heathland type challenge with water hazards featuring on five holes. The back nine couldn’t be of greater contrast, tough and bumpy seaside links at its finest, a natural and exciting stretch of holes to test your skills to their fullest, all set around the spectacular rocky headland known as Black Rock

moving back towards dry land, encounter “The Himalayas”, the 14th hole, a Par 4 of 378 yards with a huge natural bunker that hides the fairway from the tee, the marker post is your only guide, and as you’ll find out it doesn’t mark a particularly wide target. Back towards the clubhouse the closing holes ease in difficulty a little, finishing with a generous 18th, a nice wide fast running fairway to set up a potential birdie finish. After what’s gone before, you’ll be glad of it.

Sands. The natural terrain, with land reclaimed from the sea in years past, guarantees year long play plus fine conditioning too, the putting surfaces are typically fast and consistently high quality throughout.

PlayGolf Pick, 12th Hole. 358 yards Par 4 (back tees) Naturally our favourite has to be the one that runs alongside the sands. From the exposed back tee it’s an inspiring spot to drive a golf ball, yet you face a formidable task to find a safe landing spot with a fair bit of beach to carry too. Even if that’s achieved total precision is required to find an undulating punchbowl green carved out of the mounds, with a little pot bunker cruelly placed to punish anything underhit. The ultimate seaside golfing hole and a great challenge.

The likely key for success here is to gather a good score together early doors and hang onto it later when the elements will in all likelihood play a major role in your fortunes. The opening stretch will give birdie opportunities notably at 3 shortish Par 5’s, all reachable in two for long hitters. Yet there’s a bit of danger too especially narrow fairways with out of bounds and water on the 4th and 5th. The Par 3, 6th’s green is almost an island, then closing the front nine is another short hole, its raised tee will give a good indication of the breezes that are about as you head towards the coast.

Tel: 01766 512037 Club House, Morfa Bychan, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9UU

The second half certainly lives up to expectations for true links affectionados. The holes by the coastline are true classics, towering dunes and thick seaside grasses gather ominously to provide stiff defences as well as demanding a bit of typical links hit and hope shots to blind targets. A stretch of holes to favourably compare with any of the classic coastal layouts the North Wales coast is blessed with. On a windy day Par 3’s like the long 11th and the 13th with its beach edge raised tee may just prove too tough, club selection a lottery, yet the stunning setting makes it a rewarding experience even if the scorecard suffers a little. Following that in quick succession and

Facilities Porthmadog has a decent sized roomy and homely clubhouse, space to accommodate large societies with ease. The club also has two large practice areas and a very nicely situated putting green that’s well worth a visit.

Around and about A lot to do in the area, Porthmadog has a proud maritime history, its centrepiece being its lovely harbour. Blackrock Sands, the star of the latter stages of the golf course is one of the finest in Wales, a haven for beachcombers and seaside explorers. Added attractions nearby are the Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog Railways, taking passengers deep into the Snowdonia National Park. The unique charms of Portmeirion, the Italian style village and hotel, famous for being the host to a number of tv and film locations are situated just two miles from the town.




Rhuddlan Location/Directions: In Denbighshire, just three miles from junction 27 of the A55, Rhuddlan Golf Club is situated on the outskirts of the town on the A547. The layout benefits two fold from its setting in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd. Fine views are guaranteed plus it has a sheltered climate screened by the Clwydian range of mountains. Lush fairways, trees of different ages and meandering water features make pleasant highlights of a walk around Rhuddlan’s 6,260 yards. The gently undulating land has a rich variety of holes set around mature trees, bushes and meandering water features.

Rhuddlan begins with some long holes yet fairly generously, a bit of width to ease you in. Then during the attractive heart of the course, good course management comes into play, keeping the ball in the right spots is key, the light rough proves tougher than it looks to escape from, overhanging tree branches can get in the way and you’ll always need to be aware where the water is. The greens are consistent running throughout and are good tests with some teasing contours in places. Keep something in the locker for a tricky and long closing stretch before you head for the clubhouse.

Play Golf Pick – 16th hole – 441 yards, Par 4(yellows) Beginning the trio of holes that provide a very challenging finish to the layout is this long dog leg hole, it’ll take a lengthy and straight drive to negotiate the tree clad corner and find an unblocked route to the putting surface, a tight target for a likely long iron, flanked by more trees and bushes. Facilities Rhuddlan has a large and relaxing clubhouse with private function and society rooms for up to 100 guests. The menus serve some fine home cooked Welsh fare and a warm wel-

come is guaranteed at one of North Wales more friendly locations. The practice putting green with its Himalaya type slopes is quite addictive and well worth 15 minute of your time before tee off. From June 21st23rd Rhuddlan is hosting the Welsh Senior’s Open Championships. Around and About Rhuddlan has a 13th century Edwardian castle built around the same time as more illustrious neighbours at Conwy and Caernarfon and is a popular tourist spot. The seaside resorts of Rhyl and Prestatyn are just a short drive away, no shortage of hotels and guest houses for a play and stay visit.

In an area best known for its fine array of links layouts, travel just a short distance from the coast to discover a scenic parkland alternative.

Tel: 01745 590217 Address: Meliden Road, Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, North Wales, LL18 6LB




NORTH WALES It’s a good old trek to find Royal St Davids, the crown jewel of all links courses in North Wales. Harlech is set among the most dramatic of landscapes, mist covered peaks on one side, huge towering sand dunes on the other, all gazed upon by the imperious Castle that dominates the scene. In between all that is a modest looking patch of land that contains a golf course like no other. Batten down the hatches and prepare to be blown away, literally and spiritually by this ultimate test of your golfing prowess.

Royal St Davids Location/Directions: From the North Midlands it’s via the A494 via Bala, from the south, the A458. Both roads join the A470 then it’s the A496 into Harlech. Royal St Davids greets you with a long Par 4, played through a cross wind, thick rough and plentiful sand traps await, don’t expect any comfortable early pickings, it’s pretty typical of what is to follow. Controlling the ball through the wind has always been the key to success on links courses; here it’s no different, more demanding still as no hole here runs in the same direction as its neighbour. Accuracy is paramount to success, fast running bumpy fairways are major allies, slip away from them a touch and the little pot bunkers dotted around plus thick grasses and patches of heather and gorse certainly are not. Good putters will relish confirming their skills on flat and consistent surfaces on typically links like greens that come in all shapes and sizes. Five short holes here contain rich variety and don’t give anything away either, their greens often tucked away

behind long grasses and high banks with evil little pot bunkers hidden from view. During the first 13 holes you should become accustomed to this awe inspiring place, yet what follows in a closing loop of holes that takes you straight through the dunes is the real defining Royal St Davids experience. Fairways disappear among a vast succession of hump, bumps and dunes garnished with wild untamed grasses, flagsticks flutter in distant sand hill surrounded corners, sometimes bent almost double in fierce breezes. Your fortunes need to be almost outrageously favourable to survive; just one par in this stretch feels like a whole point should be lowered off your handicap. Yet in all its raw brutality and unyielding nature Royal St Davids remains fantastic fun, no matter what it might do to your scorecard. Plus it’s possible too that you might find a calm day to take this on, then it may present an entirely more comfortable test, can’t say that with any certainty though, ask the locals, we’ve never experienced one!

PlayGolf Pick: 16th hole 346 yards Par 4 (Yellows) From its raised tee this is actually the only spot on the course from where you can view the sea. Breathtaking and exposed, perhaps the tee shot is a touch easier than the previous two holes, the approach shot though needs pinpoint precision to a green guarded by 7 traps, with the wind likely to be right behind you. Facilities: Typically understated for such a hallowed venue, a comfortable lounge, bar and dining areas with menus packed with home cooked Welsh fare. A 5 bedroom dormy bungalow sits onsite for play and stay breaks. The stunning Cambrian Coast railway line runs alongside the club for a travel alternative, linking Royal St Davids to many other fine seaside golf clubs in the vicinity. A green fee at Royal St Davids (the 2010 Welsh Club of the year) is remarkably reasonable when you consider the stature of the establishment and the quality of the layout.




GTOUR – THE RACE TO CYPRUS GTour Order of Merit 2011 King Reigns Supreme at Staverton

There were many winners on the day most notable the greenkeepers who had the course in fantastic condition even with heavy overnight rain and it’s something that most players dealt with well. Kevin King started his year with a bang claiming the first victory of the season with a fantastic performance which sees him leap to an early lead in the Order of Merit table something he is keeping a keen eye on throughout the year:

The 2011 Gtour season got underway on Saturday 19 February with a packed out field at De Vere Staverton Park, Northamptonshire. The players had to battle the elements but that wouldn’t stop some superb golf being played as the players start to focus on booking their place on the plane to Cyprus. The Race to Cyprus and the all expenses paid trip to Aphrodite Hills, Paphos was the talk of meeting room before hand but the weather was far from the Mediterranean climate they all crave for come November. Rain, wind and bitter coldness greeted the players on the 1st tee as they started their 2011 campaign in an event that was booked up weeks ago.


“I think you have too, I’ve picked my events that I want to be involved in and hopefully they will bring me some good results and by the end of October I can be in the top ten and heading to Cyprus. “Today was just a great day for me and one of those days where everything seemed to go right and on the greens which were fantastic, I was holing everything from 10ft which made thing a lot easier”. The Order of Merit is split into two tiers for handicap purposes, the Eagle and Birdie tiers. King came out on top overall and in the Birdie tier followed by Lee Parnham in 2nd and Jayson Liu in 3rd. In the eagle tier a fantastic debut performance by Thomas Jones gave him valuable OoM points as he claimed top spot. Graham Miles and the ever consistent Gary Walker were 2nd and 3rd respectively. APRIL/MAY • 2011


2011 Is set to be an exciting year for the gtour faithful with the final event taking place a the fantastic Aphrodite hills resort in Cyprus. With the season 3 events old we check in with the guys to see who are the early pace setters.

Elementary from Watson at Oulton

“I needed that birdie on the last, I missed out on a prize at Staverton on a count back and I was playing with Lee (Parham) who finished second and I knew he was having a good back nine so the birdie won it for me in the end.” Lee Parnham finished top of the birdie tier and second overall with 35 points to finish a point behind Watson. Third place went to Paul Whiting with 34 points followed by last events winner Kevin King who maintained his position at the top of the order of Merit with another good showing.

Steve Watson continued his early season form to claim victory at the second Gtour event of the year at De Vere Oulton Hall. The sun shone on what was the first mid-week event ever on Tour which saw a packed field of 56 arrive knowing that a good day will earn them the ever important order of merit points. Watson, who had a top-five finish at De Vere Staverton Park in the first event of the season, birdied the last hole to claim victory at Oulton: “It was tough out there at times with the wind changing direction, but I was very pleased with the way I scored especially on the front nine.

Bickerstaff Seals Maiden Victory at Wychwood Long time tour member Gary Bickerstaff notched up his first win on Saturday at De Vere Wychwood Park. On another packed out event Bickerstaff scored 35 points around one of the trickiest courses on the Gtour circuit. “This is the type of course I like to play with narrow fairways and lots

of water hazards to make you think about every shot. I felt I played very well in superb weather and the course was in very good condition.” Said Bickerstaff. He continued, “I’m not as so much relieved but excited to get the first win under my belt and I’ve proved that I can win events like this with so many quality golfers. The confidence it has giving me for future events where I hope to make the Semi’s and strive to make the final at Aphrodite Hills.” The sun shone over Cheshire for the third event of the season as the players battled it out once again for the all important order of merit points.

Lee Parnham continued his early season form with another top-ten place. Parnham is the new leader of the Race to Cyprus after finishes of seventh, second and ninth respectively in the three events. Tournament director Colin Astbury said the Race to Cyprus is really giving everyone that little bit more competitive edge: “Everyone really wants to be involved in the two day semi-final at De Vere Belton Woods, at the minute that’s everyone’s aim and then whoever makes the top-ten from there will fully deserve the trip to Cyprus. “I’m delighted for Gary (Bickerstaff) he’s such a genuine guy and I’m pleased he’s got his first victory on tour.” Mark Tarling finished second on 34 points playing in his first ever event. He was followed closely on a count back by eagle tier winner Paul Strange and Matt Surgey who lead the 2010 order of merit going into the final event of last season. Order of merit winner for the past two years Shane Davies added his second top-ten finish of the season along with Gary Walker. Tim Hawkins playing in his third year on tour rounded up the top-ten alongside Parnham. Written by Adam SMITH


Tour Banter The Hawkstone Park staff knew we were coming!

2011 wish list

A springy flavoured column, musing all about our hopes for 2011.With a mouthwatering summer ahead of golf for us all, just what is it we need for a successful season and a whole lot of fun on the fairways, greens and probably deep rough at the golfing establishments in the Midlands and beyond? The weather: Naturally to be favourable, but that’s hardly in our hands. Fine dining: There have been some legendary trips over the years with undoubtedly more to come in 2011. Most of them have involved food and drink in some way as notable highlights. We’ll gloss over the drink (re: The Vale resort 2010) and focus on grub instead. It was decided that our scattergun approach to eating on the move needed a bit more organising, no army marches on a empty stomach, neither should travelling golfers, we’ve got more than enough issues as it is. So I’m making it official, for all eastbound travel from our Leek base to destinations in Derbys, Notts and Lincs we have selected Sals Easy Diner as the preferred breakfast choice. This friendly looking establishment is situated on the Ashbourne/Derby road and we’re going out on a limb a little having passed it a number of times without actually sampling its delights, but we’re confident it’s a wise decision. Apart from that it’s a case of staying loyal to the one establishment that has defined our magazines history, and with that statement comes an offer. If anyone out there can produce a web page devoted to pinpointing the location of each and every KFC in the Midlands region, we’re more than happy to fully publicise your very noble work on our behalf. Hospitality vs Happy Billmore: We’re lucky blighters here at PGM, with not only the opportunity to play some of Britain’s best layouts but also occasional treats as we get the chance to indulge in some delightful 19th hole post round cuisine. Well most of us indulge, it would be rude not to, however Bill is a different animal altogether. He is Mr Tour Banter really, most of the daft stuff that goes on revolves around Bill, an affable fella who takes most of the stick flying around, a lot of it though self inflicted, like the recent occasion when he accompanied yours truly on a review to one of the Midlands finest. Presented

with a menu full of Cordon Bleu finery, Bill, who in opulent surroundings looked as comfortable as Tiger in a Ryder Cup jersey passed over the entire complimentary charms of the A la Carte menu and selected a cheese sandwich from the bar snack alternative. Expecting a rather grand cheese sandwich he didn’t get one, we sensed it wasn’t a dish the said restaurant was used to making. Knowing him as well as I do, he’ll remain the same, unimpressed by 5 stars, preferring a more common touch, nothing at all wrong with that, but the ridicule will continue, there’s stil-ton (s) more of that to come! Zeditor at The Brab: As legendary a fable as Bills eating habits are my own toils at the spiritual home of The Ryder Cup, which from a totally personal point of view MUST be laid to rest in 2011. We are very fortunate to be able to play here a couple of times a year, one of them always happens around Euan’s birthday, the time where

he treats himself and us to a special round of golf at a special venue, thinks about where for weeks….then always ends up at The Brabazon. No complaints or surprises there, he loves the place so much it’s an inevitable destination, nevertheless for me it all comes to the surface again, the memories, the fate, the ultimate defeat at the hands of an historic challenge. Now I’m sure I’m not the only golfer out there lucky enough to play here occasionally who lets it get under their skin a bit and succumbs to its aura of invincibility. Yet let’s just say this. I can play a bit, handicap 15, might be considerably lower if I could resolve my frustrating penchant for duffing short putts (not a skill advisable at The Brabazon), but if I can walk off the famous 18th green in a couple of weeks with 99 on my card I might just repeat what Paul Mcginley did in the 2003 Ryder Cup and jump in the lake in celebration. What happens at The Brabazon (booked for April 13th) will probably appear on our Twitter and Facebook pages sooner, but will also be documented here in the June issue, watch this space. Scotland: We’re going to The Home of Golf at last! Golf: Finally we should record our playing aspirations for this year. If Euan can back up his long hitting (that never fails to be mentioned!) with a little more accuracy, single figures beckons, if Bill (now to be known as Cheese Sandwich) extends his tee shot consistency to his short game he’ll be ok, and as for yours truly? Too complicated for words but I’m hoping to get down to about 12 and continue to play golf in some awesome locations. We’re looking forward also to introducing a few extra reviewer names to Tour Banter as we go through the year, and if you, the readers and fellow Midlands golfers would like to share your tales with us we’d be delighted to read all about them. Have a great season.


PlayGolf April 2011  

PlayGolf magazine