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 maintained immaculately and even in the winter it plays well for a parkland layout 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 some excellent 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 the best course in the Midlands.
March 28, 2011