A double header review featuring two closely situated and family owned golf clubs situated on the outskirts of Solihull.
WEST MIDLANDS GOLF CLUB
A mere five minutes from the NEC at Birmingham with close links to the M42 and the A45 Coventry link. The golf club is set around the sprawling Lake at Barston which also plays host to the UK Angling Championship.
Not long in existence but in a short time West Midlands Golf Club has already gained a good reputation, holding its own in amongst an area full of Championship standard golf courses. Not many of them have as spectacular a conclusion to a round as there is here, but more of that later, as you progress across the undulating landscape around the huge lake there are many more reasons to enjoy all 18 holes here. West Midlands was designed to a high specification and has a distinct American feel to it with regular water features, neat contouring and the reliability of USGA putting surfaces, winter play isn’t too much of a problem here.
The front nine which has plenty of watery graves in store contains a pair of monster par fives with a reassuring short hole following each that initiates a variable theme to the lay out that never really subsides. The slightly exposed nature of the lay out may test as can the regular changes in elevation but all in all this is an experience for all abilities to enjoy.
The highlight has to be the standard of the putting surfaces; they gently tease rather than baffle with their contours and most importantly are smooth and consistently paced to inspire confidence in your putter.
In 2017 WMGC utilised a bit of spare land to extend one of those front nine monster par fives into the UK’s longest golf hole. ‘The Devil’ is a par six now and stretches out to 725 yards from the back tees. Mere mortals like us pictured here take it on from the yellows, a mere 666, hence the name. They don’t do things by halves at West Midlands Golf Club!
MG Pick: 18th hole 140 Yards Par 3 – But regardless of that this is the real highlight. No one who plays here even for the first time comes to this hole without knowing what lies in wait. An island green and the closest resemblance there is to the 17th at Sawgrass anywhere in the UK. The task is straightforward, just find the green, there’s not much to worry about once your there. However add a bit of wind to the mix, some 18th hole banter, plus a likely watching gallery from the patio and resident fishermen and the pressure could really crank itself up. You won’t forget this finishing hole in a hurry.
19th hole – Bar, restaurant, patio area, 250 seater function room, large practice ground, short game area, putting green, large supply of buggies.
Situated on the outskirts of Solihull this is an easy walking parkland challenge that thanks to the change to family ownership in 2000 has undergone an impressive transformation in recent times with the reliability of USGA standard tees and greens added.
The course length is pretty modest and this proves to be an ideal track for beginners and juniors, yet there’s a reasonable amount of devilment and trouble spots out there to examine the lower handicapper.
A few out of bounds issues, tight tree lined tee placements and the winding River Blythe at the outer edge all conspire to perhaps make it tougher than you may think. A couple of the short holes here prove to be tight little tests of your club selection, the same can be said for approach shots to some of the longer ones as changes of elevation can deceive.
The new putting surfaces give Widney Manor quality and all weather consistency; much has also been done to improve the drainage at the lower end of the course. Good value for money this is just a pleasant piece of parkland for all abilities to enjoy.
MG Pick : 10th 277 yards Par 4
A touch of risk and reward for this attractive short par four. The longer hitters will be tempted to fire straight at the green but will need a sweet hit to avoid a watery grave. The other option is a nice wide fairway to the side for the more sensible minded, but for all, the tree and shrub surrounded green is most appealing.
19TH hole – 14 bay floodlit range onsite with power tees. The clubhouse is welcoming and homely with a large open bar and cafe area spilling outside to the patio area when conditions allow.
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