A stunning heathland course
Sutton Coldfield GC is a heathland style course in Streetly, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, Warwickshire. It is not far away from The Belfry!
The club was founded in 1889, initially as a 9 holer, and was later redesigned by Dr Alister McKenzie opening in 1934!
The club website indicates that the club is ranked #87 in the 2018 National Club Golfer top 100 courses in England! I also found reference to it being ranked #2 in the West Midlands!
This is a members club! The course is located on public land! Consequently the public have rights to walk across the course!
Apart from the 1st hole tee shot which is hit across a public footpath, where we had to wait for walkers and cyclists, only a few persons walking their dogs were encountered!
Another factor is that cattle roam the course, luckily none were found during our round!
The Course is a par 72, comprising 4 par 3s, 10 par 4s and 4 par 5s!
The yardages are 6,548 and 6,202 yards off the white and yellow tees respectively!
I/we played off the yellow tees! The SSSs are 72 and 71 respectively!
(The ladies red tees were not on the scorecard! Possibly the ladies operate as separate clubs but share the same clubhouse!)
The Greens are generally large, very undulating, play fast and are surrounded by deep heather topped bunkers!
All of the greens are surrounded by metal posts and wire 'ropes' to protect the greens from cattle damage!
These fences were highly inconvenient to the golfer, especially first time playing the course, particularly as it affected distance assessment and club selection! A local rule is that any ball played to the greens within 20 yards hitting the fencing had to be replayed! This effectively eliminated the low pitch and run type shot, a favourite of mine!
I think the uncertainty about shot selection cost me 4 or 5 shots!
Interestingly the club is seriously evaluating a GPS based technical solution to the cattle control situation, ie the cattle will wear a collar which will give out an electric shock if they wander within a specific range of the green!
My outturn putting stats was 33 putts! OK! However the 4 triple putts badly offset the positivity of making 7 single putts!
The Fairways are generally generous landing areas though many of the tee shots are semi blind! However there is a lot of heavy/wispy gorse/heather rough awaiting wayward tee shots!
The Par 3s all have the highest indexes 15 - 18!
The 2nd and 9th are very short but are completely surrounded by bunkers and trees!
Holes 15 and 17 have long challenging tee shots!
My outturn stats for the par 3s was +3, ie 2 part, a bogey and a double bogey!
The Par 4s are a good mix of short and moderately long holes. The 3rd and 12th are well in excess of 400 yards! The 12th was my worst hole due to an inexplicable mishit tee shot!
My outturn stats for the par 4s was +14, ie 3 pars, 2 bogeys, 4 double bogeys and 1 quadruple bogey!
As all the par 4s are shot holes, I was +4 above nett handicap. However most of the excess was due to a +4 on the lndex 3 12th, due to a lost ball off the tee followed by an unplayable lie penalty! A blip!
The Par 5s were beautiful looking holes, with changes in elevation, minor doglegs, were reachable in regulation, even for me, with good drives followed by well hit approaches, with birdie opportunities!
Unusually 3 of the par 5s ran consecutively on the front 9! The 5th and 14th holes are indexes 2 and 1 respectively!
My outturn stats for the par 5s was +3, ie 2 pars, a bogey and a double bogey! As all the par 5s are shot holes, I was 1 shot better than handicap! Very good!
The clubhouse is owned by the club and is situated across a busy road from the course! There are two crossing points, one of which is a traffic light which members can press a button to activate the red light sequence!
The clubhouse was undergoing some building work to extend / reconfigure its layout!
Car parking space outside the clubhouse is limited! Because of the high entry level some parking was across the road on a grassy area between the 1st and 11th tees!
Visitors Green Fees / Seniors Open Stableford Competition
Visitors green fees are £45, £20 as a members guest, or £40 with a County Card!
I entered their annual Seniors Open Stableford competition! The £30 entry fee included a pre-round coffee and bacon roll! Also refreshments were provided at their halfway tent (11th hole)! Good vfm!
Members were very welcoming marvellous hosts for their competition! There is a moderately sized pro-shop! The head pro is an affable high calibre Irish man!
I cut it fine with my arrival so didn't have time to have a pre match bacon roll. However, I had a very nice post round fish and chips meal before setting off for home!
Overall I enjoyed the course despite its idiosyncrasies!
I'd recommend it to anyone visiting the area!
I'd be tempted to enter next year's competition and try to use my new found course knowledge to better this year! However l'll probably also seek to find a couple of other courses in the Birmingham area to make a good trip out of it!