Members of Edgbaston Golf Club first played at Warley Woods then Harborne before finally settling at Edgbaston Park in 1936, where Harry Colt laid out the 18-hole course that’s still in play today.
A Colt parkland course, set fairly centrally in Birmingham, there are worse places to have a walk. With a number of bunkers recently being renovated to reflect the architects original vision, this course is continually improving itself. Although not long, it is a par 69, which can lead to some challenging holes, indeed there are a number of ‘half par holes’, with the 2nd and 6th coming to mind as par 4.5s, and the 11th and short downhill 16th playing as basically par 3.5s. A couple of the greens have a lot of interest, for example the short par 3 7th, two tiered 9th (personally my favourite hole), the green on the aforementioned 11th, and the two finishing holes. Fairly playable with not many forced carries, and mostly offering width, there are a couple of holes which in this authors opinion could do with some tree removal to increase strategic options. On that subject- I’ve heard a criticism of Edgbaston is that it lacks strategy, but I think there is just enough to keep the player interested. If you are in the midlands area, I would strongly recommend a visit over some of the more well-known local resort courses.
Edgbaston and another Colt course to play ! Not the easiest of places to get to in Birmingham, the course is fairly confined and although only 6106 yards in length (on a breezy and wet August day) with a par of only 69 it was pretty tricky. Fairways are reasonably tight (compounded with a number of side slopes) but the main feature is the small greens (good condition) requiring accuracy with the approach shots. The par 4's at 2, 4, 6 and 8 are all good holes and all required good accurate drives to have any chance of reaching in two. In between there were three good par 3's, the 3rd green being very narrow and clever with a run-off on the right hand side funnelling the ball into a bunker, the 5th at 175 yards into the wind requiring a solid hit to clear the bunkers into a narrow green set at an angle, and the 7th a really tricky downhill 156 yard hole to a very small green with trouble everywhere. A very good stretch of interesting holes from one to eight promised much, but I just felt that thereafter it was not quite as good with only one par 3 on the back nine, the only par 5 on the course at 17, and for me the finishing hole (although very tough) was a disappointing finish. Nicest hole on the course was I thought the 13th, a dog-leg par 4 with water left off the tee, a ditch across the fairway and the second shot framed with beautiful trees including a number of weeping willows. A good front nine, a more average back nine, so overall somewhere between a 3 and 4 ball for me
Edgbaston is a highly impressive private members golf club laid out on a rolling, albeit compact, parcel of parkland just one mile from the centre of Birmingham.
Having been established in 1896 Edgbaston had a couple of different homes before the current layout was designed by the legendary H.S. Colt in 1936. The quality of his green settings are clear to see during the round and this makes a round here one of the best in the West Midlands.
The par-69 course, which measures a maximum of just 6,106 yards, includes an ornamental lake and plays through mature and extensive woodland with small greens that have just the correct amount of borrow to make the holes strategic and challenging but still extremely playable.
You’re unlikely to lose many balls at Edgbaston and whilst there are lots of trees on this established property there is still a certain roominess to it despite the small acreage. The course reminded me slightly to nearby Blackwell although the bunkering is nowhere near as good here.
The set of four short holes, three of which come early between the third and seventh, are all very impressive; deceptive targets, well bunkered and taxing greens. The fifth was my personal favourite with an egg-timer shaped green much wider than it is deep with a good amount of slope. The downhill seventh is also a gem with the Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower acting as a unique backdrop.
Classic Colt can be found at many holes but the green complexes around the grand clubhouse – Edgbaston Hall - are the most ingenious.
Length is not particularly an asset at Edgbaston but careful course management, accurate play and a deft touch with the putter will be rewarded in spades.
Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.