Staffordshire’s Heathland Haven
We took the opportunity to visit this natural heathland dominated environment in South Staffordshire late in July on a day of hazy sunshine.
What a beautiful golf course, predominately open in nature which will allow the elements to have a say. Yet it also affords you many superb views of the surrounding countryside in a very peaceful setting.
The fairways were fast running on our visit, gently undulating in places with a few dogleg corners to turn, well-placed bunkering and patches of heather and gorse to steer clear of.
There are a few subtle watercourses that flow through as well, an early example of a little bit of everything that Penn has to offer comes at the third hole, modest in length but tight from the tee to a humpback fairway.
The approach is testing too, over the ditch or pond to a well-protected green with OOB all the way down the left side. It’s a truly stunning looking hole, if a potential card wrecker, take it easy on this one; plenty of driver opportunities are set to come along.
In fact one comes around next, the long dogleg fourth has an enticing tee shot sight in store, unusually for Penn though it increasingly gets a little more tree-clad the closer you get to the sloping green which has some lovely tall pines at its rear.
The course also has a variable and enjoyable quarter of short holes, not much more than a flick of a wedge on a calm day required on seven and 11, but significantly more is needed at the longer ninth and good accuracy, in particular, is demanded at 16th, through a tree-clad avenue.
Not a course with a standout or official signature yet there are many, many deserved contenders, probably just down to your own taste. The 12th was ours, a strong dogleg par four where good shot shaping is well rewarded, beware of the sloping nature of things around the green as well.
The greens are generally sizable here and extremely consistently running throughout, beautiful smooth surfaces and tricky to master, especially on a first visit.
Finally, beautiful Penn has a bit of a beastly ending in-store at 17 and 18, keep a little something in the tank for this pair. 17 is a bit of a deceiving hole, undulating enough to create some real club selection issues and the running fairway ditch gathers many golf balls.
Back over the road for an 18th which continues the scenic theme effortlessly but has a deserved reputation of being one of the toughest finishes in the region. Come in with two fours on your card and you’re one happy golfer.
The clubhouse lounge has recently enjoyed a refit as Penn has continued to push on with its club improvement schedule despite the current situation. This extremely social club is also starting up with pool and darts teams for the members to compete in local leagues.
New caterer Becky has been a huge hit at the club with her home-cooked fare, including an amazing cake range, proving to be very popular.
It’s not just with the membership, but in addition with the local walking population who use the footpaths around the course and in ever-increasing numbers are popping into the clubhouse too for refreshments.
Pro shop and practice
Long-serving head Pro, James Wright operates the club shop and the indoor swing studio with club fitting and simulator hire available. Decent outdoor practice and warm-up areas are onsite too.
Penn has always been a highly regarded and reliable golf course to play. Very affordable for traditional heathland, and unassuming too, they don’t need to blow their own trumpet too loudly, safe in the knowledge that once a golfer discovers it, they are going to want to return, time and time again.
Now that they’ve upped their off-course activities to go along with it, watch them fly to an even higher level.