This is a modern golf and leisure complex that doesn’t like to sit still and the steady growth in popularity of the club since its opening in 1995 has enabled the family ownership to put investment back into the course and facilities.
Golf is changing and memberships are changing too as clubs move to meet the needs of the modern golfer.
Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club, a traditional private members’ club founded in 1926, has embraced a new flexible membership category to increase choice for golfers.
And, nearing the first anniversary since C&B launched its Flex-Up membership, it’s fair to say it has been a huge success.
With nearly 70 members signed up across its three packages, Flex-Up is going from strength to strength and has complemented the traditional full membership categories.
Flex-Up membership was the idea of the club’s PGA professionals Angus Hoare and Phil Lathwood.
Aimed at attracting new members and generating revenue during the club’s quieter times, it has given a range of golfers the opportunity to become involved at this picturesque course in north Worcestershire.
Flex-Up has proved ideal both for beginners just getting into the game who perhaps don’t want to commit to full membership fees yet or more established golfers who love golf but simply don’t have the time to justify full membership at this point in their lives.
Among those to fall into the starter category is Julie Yardley who has been playing for a year and also has regular coaching with Phil.
Julie became the 50th Flex-Up member and the membership has ignited a love affair with golf.
“As someone who works I have limited time so can only play once or twice a week at most so Flex-Up is ideal,” she said. “I started to play last year because my husband plays and once I had a go I fell in love with golf. I’ve been made to feel very welcome at Churchill and Blakedown and my game has come on massively with Phil’s help so I’m really enjoying the Flex-Up experience.”
Flex-Up is points-based with three packages – 60, 120 or 210 points.
While not carrying the benefits of full membership it is sufficient to meet the needs of many who still hanker after the golf club environment and they can also play in Stablefords and medals.
The club’s long-term aim is to encourage Flex-Up members to move up to full membership which several have already done but in the meantime it has proved invaluable in getting more golfers into C&B which can only be of benefit to all concerned.
If you are interested in Flex-Up or just getting into golf call Angus or Phil in the pro shop on 01562 700454 and find out more.
Alternatively see https://churchillblakedowngolfclub.co.uk/membership/flex-up-membership/
Main Image: Golfers on the 3rd
Sky Sports put C&B in the spotlight
It was a case of lights, cameras, action at Churchill & Blakedown Golf Club as Sky Sports came to film head PGA pro Angus Hoare and two of his talented charges in the summer.
Brothers Brandon Sarfo, aged 16, and Hayden, eight, are long-standing pupils of Angus and have both been capturing the golfing headlines.
Older brother Brandon, who plays off three, is part of the England Midland Training Squad U18s squad while Hayden qualified and recently shone in the World Junior Golf Championships in San Diego in July.
Haydn has a 22 handicap and has been wowing coaches and members alike with his smooth swing and golfing skills.
Sky Sports presenter Kirsty Edwards and cameraman spent three hours at the club where they filmed the juniors in action while also speaking to dad Claude and Angus.
“I’ve been working with Brandon for four years and Hayden for two years,” said Angus.
“Hayden qualifying for the World Junior Golf Championships attracted a lot of media attention. He already plays off 22 which is really pretty impressive for an eight year old and I think he could go all the way.
“I love coaching both the boys. With Hayden we work a lot on the fundamentals. He swings it lovely but if the fundamentals breakdown that is when the bad shots come so we work a lot on grip, posture and alignment.”
Churchill & Blakedown is making great strides in growing its juniors section with 30 on its books.
Angus, who is a PGA Advanced Professional, and fellow PGA pro Phil Lathwood are both passionate about encouraging more juniors into golf and welcomed the chance to showcase the club.
“We host a lot of coaching programmes at Churchill & Blakedown and also do a lot of out reach work in schools and also adults centres for those with learning disabilities,” added Angus.
“Golf is a great game for kids, both for the health and well-being of being outside but also for teaching them about life-skills. The more we can get playing the better.”
Any parents interested in getting their children into golf can call Angus and Phil on 01562 70045 4to find out more.
The Redditch based family owned venue has come a long way since opening its doors in the late 1970s. The ideal society and play and stay venue for golfers, complete with modern and luxurious hotel facilities to enjoy.
The parkland golf course plots a path around the hotel and the neighbouring housing estate with a peaceful countryside and woodland backdrop. Typically for a resort course, water features appear with great regularity. Two loops, one of eight holes and the closing ten both conclude at the clubhouse.
The very first hole offers out of bounds to the left, the tricky short par four runs alongside the excellent two-tiered driving range, then turns a tight corner to the right to a secluded little green guarded by tall trees.
The testing start continues with a superbly challenging short second that threatens with deep traps, water to the right and a steep faced putting surface, take a club more than you think is the pro’s advice here.
Then the long game gets a good examination as you head out into open countryside, but every now and then a hole like the lakeside short sixth comes around, a big difference here in difficulty between the medal tees and the yellows.
The final par three comes at the signature 10th so you can be assured of a lengthy finishing stretch, a series of exciting holes for your driver that reach a peak from the elevated 17th tee, demanding a good carry to negotiate the lake.
If you’re in the later groupings for your society day prepare for a pressure finish (above), your concluding challenge sits underneath the clubhouse balcony, but like all of The Abbey’s greens it plays true and consistently and will reward a good putting stroke.
MG Pick: 10th 162 yards Par 3
A lovely looking short hole over the water to the sloping putting surface, with another lake threatening to give you a nasty surprise if you stray a little too far to the left. Often plays into the wind, once again it’s a smart play to club up a little.
Pro facilities : Head Pro Rob Davies runs the shop at The Abbey and you can be assured of top class practice and teaching facilities. The 28 bay two-tiered range is floodlit with heated bays and also houses an indoor custom fit ready studio complete with Trackman.
For Societies : Exclusive MG 2019 summer weekend deals
Golf Day 1 – – Full English or Light Lunch + 18 holes – Weekday £32pp – WEEKEND – WAS £40pp – MG RATE £35pp
Golf Day 2 – Tea/Coffee/Bacon Roll, 18 holes & 2 course lunch – Weekday £38pp – WEEKEND – WAS £45pp – MG RATE £40pp
BOOK NOW AND YOUR 12TH GOLFER GOES FREE!
To book – Call 01527 406600 or check out the website – www.theabbeyhotel.co.uk
Play and Stay : 100 contemporary en-suite rooms, fine dining in Bramblings Restaurant, snacks and pub classics in Tawnys Bar & Terrace which overlooks the 18th hole. Full leisure facilities include gym and swimming pool plus the 4* Abbey Hotel Spa, offering a wide range of treatments.
The Abbey Hotel has a sister venue of equal standing, Lea Marston Hotel & Golf, situated on the outskirts of Sutton Coldfield. Find out more about them here – https://midlandsgolfer.co.uk/lea-marston/
Fortunes are continuing on an upward curve at Redditch Golf Club. This popular members club situated on the outskirts of the Worcestershire town is an ever more popular venue for visitor and society traffic as well.
The improvement can largely be attributed to the golf course, one that has always been admired for it’s looks and test but these days also wins just as many plaudits for its superb conditioning too. A complete renovation of the putting services during the mid-1990’s certainly helped but Redditch are also blessed with one of the best greenkeeping teams in the region too. I found this out to my detriment during my review trip at the crack of dawn on a late autumn morning. Trying to play a few holes during the walk should have been a doddle with no golfers around, but every corner I turned there seemed to be a greenkeeper raking bunkers or hand mowing the green surrounds – the clubs stayed in the bag.
RGC starts off with a couple of gentle opening holes, the first plays uphill but from the top of the hill the reward is there, The Malverns provide you with a glorious backdrop. The fourth and fifth are two stout par fours, and it is the latter, ‘The Dingle’ which gives a brief taster of what is in store for later in the round with it’s green positioned within a glade enclosed on three sides by mature trees and fronted by a running ditch.
The back nine begins with cracking mid-length par four whose green is pinched in between two deep bunkers and a pond. The signature 12th is sandwiched between two decent length short holes and then it all changes.
For most of the round the course is laid out on relatively level ground and has a rather open feel to it. Quite a contrast from the 14th through to the 17th, situated within the towering trees of the established ‘Downsell Wood’ and it is one that is quite stark, but at the same time focusses the mind and makes for an exciting finish to the round.
Shrewd course management is key in order to make par over the roller-coaster fairways and superb green-sites. The 17th is the quirkiest of dog legs, a near 90-degree left turn with an up and over fairway before toppling down to the two-tier green. The home hole returns to open ground and is the course’s longest at 497 yards, provided you can negotitate the final ditch there’s a good chance of a final flourish.
MG Pick: 12th 362 yards Par 4
‘Rushey Bottom’ is the wonderful signature hole, not long but the drive must favour the right side if an open view of the green is to be found. The delightful creek that snakes it’s way from the dog-leg to the green is full on in your thoughts for your second shot, and the green slopes toward the water on the left making an up and down from the right tricky.
A modern and spacious clubhouse with fantastic bar area, well-stocked pro-shop and recently refurbished changing rooms make RGC an ideal venue for individuals, groups and societies alike. A new menu has recently been launched offering great food at a reasonable price.
Formed in 1905 Wrekin Golf Club in Wellington near Telford is situated just off the M54 J7.
The course nestles under the famous Shropshire landmark, The Wrekin and as you drive to the Clubhouse adjacent to the Ercall Woods look out for deer in close proximity.
To master the course your drives need to be accurate and a good short game helps when playing the six varied par threes
The par 66, SSS 68, is a good test for the average golfer and as you cross the drive to complete the final four holes the challenge to keep a good round going is a test for most.
There’s a popular mis-conception in golf that it’s got to be big to be worthwhile. Wrekin Golf Club disputes that theory and makes a forcible argument that yardage doesn’t make any less a test or more importantly, any less enjoyable.
The course takes golfers on a winding, wonderful path under the shadow of the famous Shropshire hill, The Wrekin, and never too severely, just a very beautiful scenic walk.
Plus it’s not like you need to leave the big dog at home either, realistically a good ten of the 12 par fours are driver suitable, and a pair of them are realistically reachable too, increasing the excitement factor.
You also get some inspiring tee shot views, the 10th and the 13th are the best examples of that, who doesn’t enjoy opening their shoulders a little to a fairway running downbank with a glorious backdrop? Plus the views from the latter tee are quite spectacular across to Telford and the countryside beyond on a clear day.
Half a dozen short holes too, the best is known as ‘The Pulpit’ a plunging par three 7th , only a little gap to aim through to a distant green over 50 metres below your feet. The woodland on the left threatens out of bounds, favour the right for safety and a tough up and down awaits.
‘Long Valley’ a tremendous sideways sloping par four comes along next, stroke index 1 and rightfully so. It might need a solid up and down to grab a par here.
Wrekin is beautifully conditioned; the greens were smooth in texture and teasing in examination. Full greens all year round now, a feather in the cap of Head Greenkeeper Harry Jones, they think very highly of Harry and his team here.
But our abiding memory of Wrekin is the sheer friendliness of the place, they have a warm welcome in store to all visitors here, the first floor Clubhouse is spacious with panoramic views towards the Wrekin & the Cheshire plain.
Shropshire is proud of producing champion golfers; Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and Peter Baker, and now Wrekin Golf Club have high hopes for the future in Will Enefer who having enjoyed a great amateur career is now embarking on the EuroPro Tour.
Visitors & Societies are very welcome so why not book now to enjoy the finest course & the friendliest club around.
For all enquiries please contact
Richard Gallier or Tanya May – firstname.lastname@example.org