Coventry Golf Club was established in 1887, with members playing on a 9-hole course laid out by P. Paxton, the Malvern professional, on Whitley Common. The Coventry Ladies’ Section was founded in 1892, making it one of the earliest ladies’ clubs in the country.
The women had their own playing fields but eventually a 6-hole ladies’ course was built on the common. In 1901, the club’s main course was extended to eighteen holes, using the ladies’ layout and some additional land, but it only remained in play for ten years.
A new property was identified at Finham Park in 1911, with Tom Vardon designing an 18-hole course which his brother Harry subsequently bunkered. James Braid and Harry Vardon then participated in an exhibition match to officially open the course in May 1912.
Six holes were turned over to the War effort for food production during the early 1940s but a Red Cross charity match involving Henry Cotton and a couple of American Ryder Cup players marked the return of golf to the club in June 1945.
Two holes were lost due to the construction of the Kenilworth/Warwick by-pass in the late 1960s, with Fred Hawtree installing two new holes (the current 11th and 12th) on fourteen acres of ground acquired on the other side of the River Sowe.
In the mid-1990s, Fred’s son Martin Hawtree carried out a major renovation of all the bunkers.
Coventry Golf Club has staged Open Championship Regional Qualifying and the course also hosted the PGA Seniors event in 1987, with Neil Coles claiming his third successive title. He would go on to win a fourth championship two years later at West Hill.
Coventry is a very good parkland course where a days golf would be fully enjoyable. I found all 18 holes were decent holes with a good mix of short and medium length par 4s some decent par 3s and 5 par 5s (off the whites) though it was probable missing one or two 430-470 par 4s imo. Curse was in excellent condition and very well presented with superbly true, evenly paced greens with lots of subtle breaks. At £70 a round it may be a bit over priced (£50-55 is about right) so the £40 County Card rate makes it excellent VFM and it is great to see Coventry rewarding those who are members of a club with this discount.
Coventry is a traditional tree-lined parkland golf course, very typical of courses in the region. It has never been reviewed on this site, but for why I am not sure.
No reviews equals little interest, but this is highly misleading of a strong Members’ Club on a course first constructed 3 miles to the south of the City in 1911. The golf course and Club was a delight to play and visit.
A study of its history shows the appeal to elite golfers. Back in 1973 to 1976 the British PGA selected Coventry 4 years in a row to host its prestigious Piccadilly Medal, a knock-out stroke-play event, with winners including Sam Torrance and Peter Oosterhuis. In fact in 1974, a 17 year-old Seve Ballesteros made his UK professional debut here at this event. Neil Coles won the British Seniors at Coventry in 1986, and in recent years the course has been a regular site for Open Regional qualifiers. Some record for an unheralded golf course!
Coventry is indeed a highly interesting and well-presented place at which to play the game. It’s playing condition was, when we played, simply faultless. The fairways are fairly generous and the rough under the many trees has been cleared away to leave the opportunity to recover from a poorly hit shot. The holes are extremely varied and all are good, with in my view at least four that are memorable namely:
7. The short uphill par three of over 130 yards is played across a crater to a raised green with bunkers at the front. Within the crater, which is surrounded by trees, there is a pond and wild flowers grow.
11. You are faced with an intimidating dogleg par four over the River Sowe, with leafy trees to the right before a well struck mid-iron is needed to find the well-bunkered putting surface.
12. This is possibly the ‘new’’signature hole. The drive is downhill to a left to right dogleg with bunkers on the right hand corner. A good drive leaves a short iron that requires a high level of accuracy. The green has a pond to the right stocked with flowers and yellow irises, and to the left there is precious little space, other than more bunkers. Apparently the woods to the left of the driving area are a glorious blanket of bluebells in the springtime.
17. A par three that plays deceptively longer than its 170 yards from the yellow tee boxes, is to a steep two-tiered green tilting slightly at an angle, with trouble around the back and sides.
The parkland golf course is a feature of Warwickshire golf, and Coventry is one of the very best in the region, well worth a day’s visit to play. You will not be disappointed.