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3 miles NE of Alvechurch
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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:
“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.
I too am a member of Kings Norton and having played most of the other clubs in the area on a regular basis, i'm surprised to see it below both Redditch & Fulford Heath in the rankings (both are good course in their own right, but I'd say are an easier test than KN). The 3 loops of 9 offer the member and visitor a choice of what course to play, with the Weatheroak (Blue/Red) hosting the majority of the club competitions. Longer than most courses in the area, it's a challenge for both high & low handicappers depending on what tee you play from. The greens are usually in great shape and the course drains fairly well in the wet weather. Water comes in to play on several holes and the elevations across the course ensure that no two holes are the same. The 7th Red is our feature hole, with the River Cole running straight down the middle of the fairway ready to catch any miss hit drive. Each loop of 9 finishes with a Par 5, giving you a chance of a closing birdie (or dare I say eagle) if you can get your drive away.
The club has great ambitions to host high profile tournaments in the future and are part way through a bunker construction project that will see improvements on all 27 of the holes at the club. I'd expect to see a rise in the Worcestershire rankings once the work is completed.
As a member of Kings Norton and without trying to sound too bias, I find it extremely hard to understand how its so low in the rankings. It should be comfortably inside the top 5 in Worcestershire.
Kings Norton comprises of 3 loops of 9 to form 3 separate courses, the listed course, Weatheroak, is the Blue/Red loop combination and in my opinion is the strongest of the 3 course configurations.
The course is currently undergoing a 3 yr bunker re-development, the Red loop is now completed with the Blue loop due to complete early 2020.
The course can play up to 7010 yards off the back tees, with a more forgiving 6437 yards off the yellows.
There are some really tough holes, blue 3rd plays tough with over 200 yards to this par 3 with front bunkers guarding wayward shots. The 6th also has strong dog leg to the right with out of bounds ready to catch anyone trying to take too much off. The 7th is great if you're not intimidated by water, this par 3 green is surrounded at the front and down the left.
The red loop is just as strong as the blue with the 2 feature holes coming on the 16th & 17th. You are surrounded by the River Cole, with it running all the way down the 16th to make for an interesting tee shot.
I would really recommend coming out to Kings Norton, I feel this ranking doesn't do it justice but interested to see others thoughts.