The Lilleshall Hall estate dates back to the 12th century, when it was originally known as the demesne of Lilleshall Abbey, owned by the Augustine religious order. Local businessman Henry Ford purchased the property in 1927, creating pleasure gardens for the public to enjoy, with an amusement park, narrow gauge railway and children’s playgrounds.
Ford also established an 18-hole golf course, designed by Harry Colt, who added a new nine to the already existing 9-hole layout. After World War II, the Hall and part of the estate were sold to the Central Council for Physical Education, which was looking to establish a second national recreation centre to complement Bisham Abbey in the south of England.
The sports centre was opened by Princess Elizabeth in 1951 before it was eventually handed over to the Sports Council in 1974. Meanwhile, the golf club continued to function next door, developing into the 6,226-yard layout that now operates in the modern era, playing to a par of 70, with one par five hole on each nine at the 2nd (“Through the Back”) and 10th (“Pickens Wood”).
Feature holes include short par fours at the 7th (“Kestrel Copse”) and 17th (“Ice House”) and the two longer par threes at the 205-yard 8th (“Harty’s Oak”) and 228-yard 12th (“Strawberry Lane”). The left doglegged 397-yard 18th (“Heron’s Pool”) rounds things off nicely, playing to a home green that’s protected by one solitary bunker to the front right.
I have played Lilleshall on several occasions, I really enjoyed the course. The two nines have different feels to them, but both were challenging and interesting. The greens were true and even in pace, the fairways well grassed and the back nine a delight. I was made to feel very welcome in the clubhouse, the staff were welcoming. I can't wait to go back and play again!
Visited Lilleshall in July 2019. Front nine was fairly average parkland played off firm clay baked fairways so ball bounced far. Back nine was much nicer, more woodland and had a much nicer feel with springy turf and more interesting holes. Thought holes 10-16 were the best, followed by an odd driving hole at the short par 4 17th where a directional marker would have been handy. Greens were some of the slowest I've played on this year (and it was an open competition) and this did not help the enjoyment of the round. I have played six of the top 10 courses (including Ludlow) in Shropshire and would place Lilleshall at the bottom of those I have played.