Sutton Coldfield - Warwickshire - England

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club,
110 Thornhill Road,
Streetly,
West Midlands,
B74 3ER,
England


  • +44 (0) 121 353 9633

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club was formed in 1889 and the Reverend W.C.R. Bedford was made the first Captain, with two fellow ministers of religion appointed onto the committee.

The club’s initial course was a 9-hole layout located at the Town Gate of Sutton Park but it was soon abandoned for a layout forming part of the current course located on the other side of the park, closer to Streetly Station.

In 1919, Alister MacKenzie was approached to revitalize the layout and his suggestions resulted in all the holes being altered or replaced over a fifteen year period, with the revised course finally opening in September 1934.

The following extract is taken from The Centurions of Golf by Mike Berners Price:

“Sutton Coldfield provides a good combination of woodland and heathland golf. Mature oaks provide tight lines on holes nearer the clubhouse, whilst in mid-round the fairways are more open but fringed with thick gorse and heather.

Unusually, the 5th to 7th holes are three consecutive par fives. The back nine is tighter than the front and includes the dogleg 11th which is one of the best holes in the Midlands, and the par four 12th which features a stream in front of the green.

MacKenzie would be pleased that his changes have stood the test of time.”

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Reviews for Sutton Coldfield

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Description: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club co-hosted the English Amateur Championships in 2010 and this free draining heathland layout is unusually configured with consecutive par fives at the 5th, 6th and 7th holes. Rating: 6.5 out of 10 Reviews: 10
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paulmardon

I am sat hear scratching my head over this one thinking have I played the course as described in the intro. Yes SC is a lovely layout on common (public access) heathland but it is not a 'great' compared to some others in the midlands. As an overall golfing experience it is a strange one, clubhouse across a busy road away from the course with no view of the course and when sat on the patio you could be in any pub anywhere in the midlands. As for the course there are no 'bad' holes but then again no 'stand out' holes for me that made me go 'wow'. As for the 11th being one of the best in the midlands, I did not think it was the best hole on the course. Overall, I expected more, left slightly disappointed but I did enjoy the round and would recommend playing it if you have not yet done so.

August 29, 2022
5 / 10
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Tim Elliott

Sutton Coldfield is located on some of the most exhilarating moorland terrain that I have ever seen and is in the process of being restored to its former glory. Alister MacKenzie is the master craftsman when it comes to designing this sort of course and years of neglect to his work at this site are now being rectified. The bunkers had fallen into a poor state of repair and have now been sympathetically renovated and more importantly an aggressive policy of tree clearance is restoring the land to open moorland. Fairways already rolled well but are becoming more consistent and the fast smooth greens are a joy to putt on.

There is some way to go as explained to me by the Professional in that the Local Authority who own the land have now agreed at their own cost to remove up to 5 acres of trees from the golf course each year to a program as agreed with the officers of Sutton Coldfield Golf Club. Already the moorland reveals two quite outstanding sequences of golf holes from numbers 3 to 8 on the front nine and 11 to 16 on the back.

After an untidy start the course opens up at the third hole and there follows a unusual sequence of three consecutive par 5s from the fifth that simply takes the breath away. The holes run in different directions and have gentle undulations but their challenges are well set out and good positive play brings a satisfying reward. There is a similar excellent run on the back with 12 being the sort of long par four that you would want to play again and again, 13 is shorter and has a tight drive with a right hand dogleg to a beautiful green, 14 is a glorious straight par five and 15 the best par three on the course to a raised and sloping green.

The rest of the course is currently rather more average fare, including holes near to the clubhouse which is separated from the course by a busy road, and two par threes that are almost totally swamped by trees. But the new Sutton Coldfield is still a work in progress. The existing layout is already just about a 4 ball rating but when the work is completed could be higher still.

Sutton Coldfield is already a must play for its glorious moorland vistas, and in a few years time should become the best golfing experience for miles around.

May 29, 2022
6 / 10
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Alex Frolish

I love visiting a course that know I very little about beforehand as you get a real sense of place without any bias or prejudice from other viewpoints. My knowledge of Sutton Coldfield was extremely limited prior to our visit with only having heard a few murmurs about a Mackenzie course routed across a wonderful piece of land, with some ongoing improvements works currently underway.

Before we get on to the course, a quick note on the new clubhouse which is really quite impressive and I’m lead to believe, is a significant improvement on the previous set up.

Before heading out, we had a good chat with the Club Manager, Head Greenkeeper and Head Professional. What is clear is that the team are highly experienced and working in unison to continuously improve the offering here at Sutton Coldfield. It is a club with a direction and some impetus which is often lacking at lesser clubs or clubs resting on their laurels.

The aforementioned works ongoing have been primarily bunker renovations and tree removal as mentioned in previous reviews. The bunker works that have been carried out are both characterful and aesthetically pleasing and feel well bedded in already in most instances. The rough appearance to the edges of the bunkers makes them look and feel like they have been there since the beginning and the results should be considered a triumph for the team involved. The real transformation for this course however will continue to be the tree clearance programme. On the holes where work has been completed, the results are special and show this piece of land for what it really is; an epic and expansive piece of heathland ground. The holes nearest the clubhouse are still the most heavily covered by trees even with work having been undertaken and it isn’t until you get into the middle part on both sides of the course that you see the greatest expanse of land. I’m hoping, as more trees are removed, you will begin to get a similar feeling closer the clubhouse too. The other benefit of the tree removal will be an improvement in light conditions and therefore grass growth across the course. The course was in good condition for the time of year when we visited and these changes will help to enhance the quality of the grass on the fairways and greens in the months and years to come.

There were plenty of holes that I enjoyed, with the 4th being the first hole you really get to see the course opening up in front of you, the 5th being the first (and best) of the run of three par 5’s in a row and the 12th vying for the award of toughest and most visually stimulating par 4 on the course.

Sutton Coldfield is a course to keep an eye on. It is already a well respected test of golf with a rich history, I’m expecting to hear more about this club and course in the coming months and years as the team continue to deliver the transformation that is already well underway.

March 28, 2022
6 / 10
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T P Dean

It’s fair to say that Sutton Coldfield flies under the radar. It’s also fair to say that there’s no such thing as a mediocre heathland course, and Sutton Coldfield reinforces this point despite not currently gracing England’s Top 100 rankings. The course is located within Sutton Park, a small nature reserve and SSSI on the outskirts of Birmingham and I’m sure makes a serene departure for those looking for an escape from city life. The golf course itself takes up just a small acreage within the park but both the golf and nature walks sit beside one another in relative harmony, with dog walkers and the like sometimes found crossing fairways or walking around the course perimeter.

The course is a Mackenzie, so with that, there’s an immediate tick in the box. As we’ve become accustomed to with many golden age golf courses however, it hasn’t best represented its original self of late as trees and non-heathland vegetation had invaded the property and altered its character from its original artform. Considering that, I’m happy to report that under the careful supervision of their excellent Course Manager, Chris Roberts, things are a-changing, and Sutton Coldfield is on a return to its previous best.

Some of the land here is pretty extraordinary. Largely a flat landscape, but with enough undulation to remain engaging, and with excellent, sandy turf conditions and super slick green speeds, it’s a course that deserves wider recognition. The course also compares very favourably during Winter time.

Already complete are the bunker renovations which have been expertly shaped with roughed-in, naturalised bunker edges. These are some of the best recently shaped bunkers I’ve witnessed on my travels (see photos) and it's a pleasant departure from some of the overtly clean edges we see at many other clubs who've gone through similar upgrades.

The routing of the course is an interesting one. A cluster of holes are concentrated near to the recently renovated clubhouse, which curiously is on the opposite side of the road from the golf course. Within this cluster are the more wooded holes. Still heathy in character but much more claustrophobic than the open character of the remainder of the course. The open heathland holes then fork off in two different directions, a segment on the front nine and then again on the back. Happily, these areas contribute to roughly half of the holes on the golf course, whereas it’s primarily holes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18 that would benefit most from some significant tree clearance – thankfully I’m reliably informed that the tree-harvester is already on order for some mass tree removal in 2023 so we’ll see more consistency in the width and visuals across the course. Aside from the tree growth however, this cluster of treelined holes are still good holes. In comparison, holes 3 through 7 and 12 through 16 are situated amongst much more expansive heathland and are an absolute joy to play, with the vastness of this area enhanced by the fact that both segments are separated by a larger expanse of common heathland.

Unusually, it’s the par five holes that represented the real standout holes at Sutton Coldfield. Oddly, the front nine features three five shotters in a row, whilst the rear of the green on the one par five on the back nine has been opened up as a reveal to wider, expansive heathland views. Coming late in the round, it’s the short hole at 15 though that’s the biggest attention grabber and visually the most impressive, particularly since this isolated hole has been beautifully restored with some eye-catching greenside bunker work.

If offered the opportunity to play Sutton Coldfield in its current form, then don’t hesitate in taking the opportunity. It’s already very good, and its combination of fantastic turf, impeccable greens, naturalised bunker work and open heathland will have you plenty satisfied with your trip. But a return visit will be immediately in mind for when the restoration is complete. I’ll certainly be paying the club a return visit and it’s one that I’m already excited for when the finished product is unveiled.

March 20, 2022
6 / 10
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Greg Watson

The Alistair Mackenzie course really delivers, solid hole after solid hole, the layout is a super test. A first for me was playing a course with 3 par 5 holes on the run. Wonderful bunkering throughout does finish off the usual amazing Mackenzie green complexes which were running true and extremely fast for the time of year, and needed to be treat with the upmost respect.

We had a wonderful chat with the very knowledgable course manager before we went out who explained the ongoing vision for the course, with more bunker remodelling and tree clearance planned, it’s certainly a club heading in the right direction and not long before it makes the final push into the top 100 list.

March 12, 2022
7 / 10
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Andy Dunster

Really enjoyed my visit course was in great condition and the Greens were great, friendly welcome at the club will certainly recommend a visit and I will return in the future

October 15, 2020
8 / 10
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Jordan Preece

A classic example of heathland golfing paradise! Playing the course on a wet January morning and not requiring any water proofs is novel in itself, but then factor in some outstanding holes of golf and you have got an unbelievable golf course.

Holes 11 through to 16 are unique, challenging, rewarding and punishing in equal measure!

A jewel in the Midlands golfing crown, and a must play

January 14, 2020
9 / 10
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Michael Budgen

Played SCGC recently, the clubhouse is across the road, but was atmospheric. Don't let the 1st two holes fool you, (could they be combined to form one par 4 ?) after that the course explodes into life, with a challenging par 4 and 3 successive par 5's all in different directions and shapes to allow the wind to affect them. It probably has 3 'week' holes which stops the rating being higher for me, but the holes out from the club house further into the common are fabulous, the Par 4 11th, Par 5 13th & par 3 14th are brilliant. It's 'old fashioned' golf, with the greens fenced, and a local rule for dung from the cattle that roam freely, well worth a visit.

September 12, 2018
6 / 10
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David Baxter

Sutton Coldfield is another one of those good quality under stated heathland courses in the midlands. On arrival the clubhouse is somewhat dated and you then have to cross quite a busy road (via a crossing) which separates the clubhouse from the course, so quite unusual, but from thereon everything is more positive. The course was in excellent condition this September with good quality nicely paced greens with plenty of slopes to test the putting skills; much improvement on course condition since my previous visit a year ago so much credit to the greenkeeping staff. The first couple of holes are fairly innocuous but are followed by two excellent par 4's with the dog-leg 4th one of my favourites here. Then, unusually, there are three consecutive par 5's, followed by a birdeable short par 4 albeit with a sloping green. I didn't particularly like the par 3 9th as it seemed more parkland than heathland with the front of the green surrounded by bunkers; infact I thought the adjacent alternative par 3 would have made a much better hole far more in keeping with the heathland style. A good stretch of holes then follows from 10 to 15 including difficult par 4's at 11 and 12. The finish and in particular 17 and 18 did not I think give the course the finish it deserved. An enjoyable course to play

September 25, 2017
6 / 10
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Ed Battye

Finding good quality heathland golf north of the Surrey sand-belt is no easy task. However, at Sutton Coldfield, just above Birmingham, you will find a true, fast running course that fits the bill nicely.

Venues such as Little Aston, Beau Desert, Blackwell and The Belfry get touted as the must play courses in the West Midlands. Please add Sutton Coldfield to this list, especially if you enjoy the ground game.

Whilst it may not quite capture the imagination like nearby Beau Desert does there is no denying this is fine heathland golf. Holes such as the 15th, a brilliant par three, belong on any of the country’s finest inland courses. The green settings, along with the actual putting surfaces, at the fifth, sixth and seventh (incidentally consecutive par fives!) are also exceptional.

There are other fine holes too. The third and fourth work well as back-to-back two-shotters, each dog-legging in opposite directions, and the same can be said about the 11th and 12th that play nicely as a twosome. The 14th is also a splendid long hole, again with lovely green contouring, a feature that is prominent throughout at Sutton Coldfield.

What probably holds the course back from greater recognition is a handful of mundane holes, not bad holes but just lacking the sparkle of the aforementioned belters. Holes such as the second, eighth, 10th, 13th and perhaps the last would fall into this bracket, however, multiple plays may change my mind on this.

Ed is the founder of Golf Empire – click the link to read his full review.

May 10, 2017
6 / 10
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