- +44 (0) 121 353 2942
5 miles E of Walsall
Contact in advance – not on Saturdays
Little Aston Golf Club is set in 176 acres of tranquil, mature parkland in the former grounds of Little Aston Hall. The club is hidden away on the edge of exclusive suburbia, eight miles north of Birmingham city centre. “A pleasant park course of excellent turf,” wrote Bernard Darwin in Golf Between Two Wars. “This is the kind of golf course which an eighteenth-century English gentleman would have approved.” wrote Patric Dickinson.
Harry Vardon reputedly laid out the course in 1908 for ten guineas. He had a charming and elegant piece of parkland to work with and succeeded in creating probably the best and toughest true parkland course in England. As it turned out, Vardon had created a course with long and challenging carries that ultimately proved too hard for the members, so Harry Colt was summoned to make the course friendlier. Mark Lewis (the club’s professional for over 40 years during the first half of the 20th century) must also be credited for taking Little Aston through to maturity.
The course is always well maintained and even in the winter it plays well for a parkland layout due to its gravel base and the club is justifiably proud of the quality of their large greens and of their trademark Colt bunkers. The undulating formal tree lined fairways ensure that you get a private and picturesque walk in the park.
Above all, Little Aston is an honest golf course. There are no tricks, and everything is clearly laid out in front of you. The first two holes are fairly ordinary but at the third, things start to get better with a testing short par five that cajoles you into opening your shoulders. There are a number of good golf holes here at Little Aston but it will take two or three rounds before you really begin to appreciate this golf course. It is therefore feasible that you might come away disappointed after playing here for the first time.
Little Aston has hosted many important amateur and professional events, including the British Masters, held here on five separate occasions, most recently in 1969.
Birmingham isn’t at the top of the list for golfing breaks, despite the fact that there are notable golf courses in this area, including Beau Desert, Whittington Heath and, of course, the Belfry. But if you do decide to visit this area, make sure you play Little Aston. It’s one of the best courses in the Midlands.
Little Aston is well hidden down a road you feel like you shouldn't be driving down. Surrounded by amazing mega houses, through the gates of Little Aston Golf Club gives you the impression you are at a top class course.
The car park, surprisingly small, left me to ponder about the size of the membership, and what kind of visitor traffic it attracted. I suppose with the likes of the Belfry, a 20 minute drive away, most golfers will flock there and leave this charming little place only to those who know it's quality.
The free bag tag and course guide was a lovely touch, the service from the professional was top class, you could tell he was passionate about his club with the detail he went into describing it which is always lovely to see.
Be careful not to lose a ball even before you start on the putting green! Easily the most beautiful putting green I have seen, flowers intertwined between thin strips of green made for some interesting long putts! It's a great novelty to boast, I'm not sure how members would try to practice putting however!
We managed to get off a little early. The [mega] house behind was holding what seemed like a kids birthday party quite loudly, giving a Ryder Cup feel start, if it wasn't baby shark playing!
The course itself is absolutely littered with bunkers. I wouldn't say it's one of the most picturesque golf courses but for a few holes it's very easy to think you're in surrey which is a great compliment. The only real difference is the parkland turf you hit off which is a pleasure to play from.
A course that measures so short needs some form of challenge, Little Aston brings that in bucket loads with it's mighty 96 bunkers. Little Aston was the 88th golf course I have played and excluding Woodhall Spa, I can't think of another with such imposing and intimidating bunkers. The Brabazon you could argue look very intimidating also but I would say that is a much more manicured course and is very easy to the eye where as Little Aston is much tighter and have many more bunkers over the 18 holes.
I think most peoples criticism of Little Aston is that it doesn't have any pretty holes. And whilst I can agree to an extent, my bias for tight inland courses outweighs it for me. One of the things I really like with this place is it's ability to have wild grass which looks intimidating and adds another layer of depth to the course but at the same time you will very likely find your ball in it if you end up there. It provides a challenge to get out of but I'm a big fan of always being able to find your ball if you stray wide.
My only real criticism of Little Aston is drainage, the course had a downpour at midday, and whilst teeing off at 3 was soggy, the greens were great. It wasn't until the 3rd hole where the rain started hammering down for 30 minutes. Big puddles started forming and the greens became almost unplayable very quickly. Luckily the rain stopped and the greens were just a little slower for the back 9. Comparing this to my old home course King's Lynn which is even tighter than Little Aston, the course does a very good job of drainage. I just wonder how easily the course would be closed in the winter or with harsh rain.
To sum up, Little Aston does fit in the top 100 for me, you have to take into account it's in a bit of a weird location. It could fit into Surrey quite well but not as a high ranking course, it is overshadowed by the Belfry a little but I don't think they mind that. It's obviously small membership are happy with quick rounds and during our time there I think we only saw 2 or 3 other groups on the course.
I played this as part of the Robert Rock Junior tour grand final. the courses is amazing and the people are so friendly
Played here for the first time today and despite the strong wind, I really enjoyed it. The club is located in a very exclusive area, surrounded by beautiful mansions, making it a little hard to find. I agree with others that the green fee is a little excessive but you get the impression that it is a wealthy club and they probably don't need visitor money like most clubs do. My fee today was £115 but included in this you get a course planner, a gift, an excellent welcome in the shop and a practice putting green you might pay to go on if you happened to come across it on holiday somewhere. I actually went back on the green after the round just because it was fun.
I had seen the course given the title of 'best parkland in England' for years but there's enough heather, especially around the turn, to call it a mixture. I really enjoyed the par 3's (the 13th is a gem) and all the par 4's without any really standing out until you get to the 16th and signature 17th with the green jutting out into a pond. The greens were very fast and true, there's great bunkering and there's a great variety of trees around the course which make for great features on several holes.
Overall, it's a little expensive but great fun and would make a great duo with Beau Desert which isn't too far away.
My 2nd visit to Little Aston and as others have said, I think it needs a couple of visits to appreciate the course. A good parkland course with big imposing bunkers on every hole (I had the pleasure/displeasure to visit most of them), which means you need to plot your way round.
The opening hole eases you in to the course but the 2nd, straight back up the hill to a well protected green, let’s you know you’re not in for an easy ride. The par 5’a aren’t particularly long and a big hitter could hit a couple of them in 2 fairly easily, if they position their drive well.
We played off the tips, which I feel shows the course at its best, which brings a lot of the fairway bunkers in to play. The course was in very good condition and the greens fair and true.
My only criticisms of the course is that I feel the green fee at £115 is far too high (£80 would be fair) and the Stroke Index ratings are all over the place. The 4th (S.I 1) is no more than a drive wedge, with the 2nd and 10th being much more difficult holes.
Maybe slightly too high in the top 100 ratings, but definitely worthy of being in the list.
"It's a very good course but I'm not sure it is worth £105 a round," said one of my playing partners as we neared the end of our round at Little Aston.
This was the most expensive so far during my challenge of playing the top 100 English courses and the first time that value-for-money had been in question.
To be fair all other rounds (see my previous reviews) have been discounted either because I was playing just after the Covid lockdown was lifted or I was in a competition.
But my mate felt that we were paying for its Little Aston's position, cheek-by-jowl with some of the most fantastic properties in the Midlands, as opposed to the course's wow factor.
I wasn't so critical. Little Aston is a pretty track. Its fairways are cut majestically with consistent lies and its greens are pacy and tricky (although the toughest was on the beautifully manicured practice area where I nearly lost a ball in the flower beds).
And quality play can be rewarded with good scoring. There was only one hole which none of our party hit in regulation.
But it is true that there are no startling views from the course which is hidden away, even from the nearby mansions, by attractive tree lines (I thought they made the short 9th particularly pleasing on the eye).
There are also a couple of handsome water features which can be easily avoided but add a pretty dimension.
It did seem to me that there were a couple of stroke indexing anomalies - especially the 4th which has to be the most straightforward stroke index one I have ever played, standing out particularly when compared to the 10th, which is S.I.3 but is 125 yards longer.
I disagreed with my pals who questioned the variety of holes. I thought there was plenty of interest and they would have prompted me to have to go through most of my repertoire had I been playing anywhere near my 12 handicap.
And I ought to give mention of our welcome. Covid restrictions were sensible and unobtrusive and the professional was very friendly, giving clear instructions as well as a shot-saver and a money-holder as a souvenir.
My mate would argue that the problem was, we weren't left with enough spare notes to put in it.
So was it worth £105? I reckon £80 would have been more than enough but I still enjoyed a beautiful day.
In the midst of a private estate that oozes wealth and greeted by a clubhouse that has a grand feeling of tradition, you can tell you’re somewhere classy when you arrive at this sought-after Midlands golf club. And welcoming you before your round is without doubt, the most inventive practice green I’ve come across as it loops and bends around beds of flowering shrubs. Due to the clubhouse closure during these Covid-19 restricted times, I can only imagine the fun that could be had on a lazy afternoon with putter and pint in hand.
The course itself is a very pretty, mature tree-lined parkland and whilst I’m not typically a lover of parkland courses, Little Aston is certainly one of the better that I’ve played. The Colt bunkers are creatively built and well positioned, many of which, with their clean smooth lines, pop up above the ground. Whilst unmistakably parkland, there are also patches of heather, most notably on some of the par threes such as the long 9th. And as you’d hope with any top inland course, you’re also presented with immaculately kept, slick, sloping greens.
The course itself is very pleasant, the holes having varying degrees of modest elevation change, but it’s generally an easy walk. The club must have a good tree management programme for the fairways are kept at a fair, bordering on generous width and trees are thinned out meaning balls are easily found and escape shots are often available.
I did feel that the course got off to a relatively slow start albeit with no obvious weak holes, but it wasn’t until the 6th that any of the holes particularly caught my eye, for the 6th is blessed with a nice ridge of heather that cuts diagonally across the fairway before opening up into some fairway bunkers. The back nine is definitely the stronger of the two nines and the 10th for me was probably the best designed hole on the course. Here you’re faced with a decision on the tee as to which side of the tree to angle your tee shot, then what follows is a fairway that chicanes its way up to the green. I also enjoyed the holes where water comes into play on 12 and 17, the former a pretty par five and the latter a peninsula green that plays left to right from the tee due to the skewed teeing ground. 14 is another good hole, a tempter of a doglegging short par four but with a tricky green and trees to block out the direct approach, so only the foolhardy would go for this one, whilst the par five at 15 is another excellent hole where the fairway is blocked with mounds and bunkers before a well constructed tiered green. Otherwise, most putting surfaces are graded but not severely contoured, so a good iron player should be aiming for a position below the hole if birdie opportunities are expected to present themselves.
Overall, Little Aston’s current Top 50 England ranking comes across a little generous, maybe reputation has a part to play here. But it’s a very enjoyable location to play your golf amongst the isolation of some beautifully wooded suburbs, but to be considered the best parkland course in the country, I’m probably left wanting a little more; personally I feel it lacks sufficient elevation change and stronger architectural features for it to achieve that status, but it’s still a grand day out and one that I’d recommend.
I have played here twice this year after making the decision to ‘tick off’ another Top 100 Course not too far from home. I played at end March and then again in June.
To be honest the course grabbed me more the 1st time than the second, partly because whilst the weather wasn’t great in March, the course was in excellent condition for the time of year and partly because of the amazing bunkering, which I found on many occasions. What made the bunkers stand out was the quality and consistency of the sand, and it’s the 1st time I have ever taken a 5 hybrid from a bunker and nailed a 165 yard shot from one onto a green!
The course has pretty wide fairways to what I am used to at my home club, so it encouraged me to relax and as a result I hit pretty straight all day.
The greens again were true and quite quick for end March which again gave you confidence when putting.
The 1st is a gentle opener, but followed by a long uphill par 4 and then 1st of the par 5’s down a hill and back up the other side of the valley to a large and relatively flat green. A nice if yet unspectacular start to the round.
The par 3’s are of good quality, my favourite being the 13th, with great bunkering to catch wayward or short shots to the right. I loved the 17th with a semi island green (surrounded on 3 sides by water) although I ended up in it on both rounds!
The 18th is a little bland for a finishing hole.
Loved the quirky putting green where you can play a little match before setting off, or even after a round.
On arrival the 1sdt time we were greeted in person by the pro and shown our table to have our breakfast. Really nice touches and great attention to detail. The fact that it is located behind a very private estate of expensive houses gives it a real quality feel.
The 2nd time was less over whelmed as the fairways were still playing ‘catch up’ from the heat of Summer 2018 and it made me realise I had been over critical of my own course, as this is Top 100 Course and not in any better condition.
That said it is a great course and combined with Beau Desert makes for a quality overnighter in the Midlands.
Mixed reviews, parkland, parched fairways .. was I going to like Little Aston ?. Answer is Yes. Despite the spell of dry weather the greens were really very good, hand cut and without blemish. The course is obviously parkland but because of the dry conditions played more like a hard running heathland course. A thinking persons course with noticeable strategic fairway bunkering (Colt's influence ?) which certainly made one think about the tee shots. The huge cross bunker at 14 undoubtedly catches many drives of the first time visitor (including me) and there was a similar cross bunker short of the 18th green which I also fell foul of. I didn't think there were any poor holes but maybe no stand-out feature holes. The short par 4 4th was an odd stroke index 1 and I thought easier than the short par 4 14th which was stroke index 16. The 9th was a nice looking par 3 and this led you into a more testing back nine with much variety, including lakes at 12 and 17 (arguably the best hole) which once again need thinking about. So where does the course rank ?. In places reminded me of Whittingham Heath, not as interesting as Beau Desert and in my opinion falls just behind the surrey heathland courses such as Camberley Heath and West Hill. Overall a strong 4 ball for me
A course that clearly divides opinion ! I can see where some of the negative reviews generate from as the first 4 holes are bland - the par 5, 3rd hole is awful with trees encroaching everywhere. The course seems to be between genres in that it is described as parkland but the better areas of the course have a heathland feel such as holes 6. 7, 9, 10, 13 and 15. These are both the most aesthetically pleasing holes and the best designed (the 9th and 10th are top, top holes) . If I could play God for a moment, I would dispense with a couple of thousand trees and plant gorse / heather and go for a pure heathland look ( retain trees yes but keep them 50 yards from fairways). The design is good enough to support the change and it would then sit just below the Ws. It would take all the controversy out of the rankings debate. As it is, it is no better than a 4 ball and in some ways lucky to be on the top 100 list, especially when manifestly better courses such as Gailes, Parkstone, Sherwood Forest, Southerness, both Archerfields and Rosapenna (OTM) don't make the list.
Having read some mixed reviews I nearly didn’t play this little gem of a course. I have nothing but praise for the course and the Pro who was very helpful.
The course was in excellent condition for the time of year. I have recommended the course to my friends and would play it again without hesitation.
Well worth a visit if you are in the area. A great parkland course which is well bunkered off the tee.