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Kings Norton (Weatheroak)

Kings Norton (Weatheroak)

Birmingham, England
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Birmingham, England
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Kings Norton Golf Club was founded in 1892, when a 9-hole course was brought into play on the New House and Wyehall Farms, designed by David Brown, The Worcestershire professional, who had won the Open championship at Musselburgh six years earlier.

A decision was made in the late 1960s to sell up to Birmingham Corporation and move to a new 27-hole location at Weatheroak Hall. Peter Ricketts takes up the story in this edited extract from The Road to Weatheroak: Kings Norton Golf Club 1892-1992:

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“Work was progressing at a smart pace on the construction of the course. The three loops of nine holes, each beginning and ending near the hall, have proved to be a brilliant design and a great credit to course architect Fred Hawtree.

A little chap with a weather-beaten complexion, steel-blue eyes, and gaitered legs, he was a familiar figure as he strode the land, planning the great golf holes that delight players today.

He used all existing beneficial characteristics – and there were plenty of those – to full advantage and only helped Mother Nature along where necessary. The result was a triumph. Golf on the grand scale, broad fairways, sweeping to large greens guarded by fearsome bunkers and tricky water hazards.

To build it was not just a matter of cutting meadow land and seeding greens. To achieve the highest possible standard the whole 220 acres were ploughed up, drained, harrowed and seeded. Into the mix went 6,000 tons of sand, 5,000 tons of gravel, 400 tons of peat, and 12 miles of drainage pipes.

The 27 greens were given star treatment. No expense was spared. Layer by layer they were each built up – stone, gravel, ashes, sand, peat, loam – all laid on adequate drainage. Not forgetting the finest of seed, of course. Finally, the latest electronic watering system was laid at a cost of £15,000.

Bit by bit Weatheroak emerged from its very raw state and by June 1971 it was in reasonable shape to stage its official opening. This took the form of a Pro-Am with some of the leading professionals of the day – Maurice Bembridge, Dale Hayes and Angel Gallardo among them – joining top Midland amateurs and personalities like Henry Cooper and Douglas Bader.”

Today, there’s also a 10-hole par three course available for short game practice and additional miles of drainage laid in the new millennium ensures all three nines remain in play all-year round. Original putting surfaces were built to such a high standard that temporary greens are never needed here.

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Course Architect

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Fred W. Hawtree

Fred W. Hawtree was a founder member and later President of the British Association of Golf Course Architects, which was the first attempt in the UK to form a golf course architecture profession.

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