No official documentation exists to prove the exact date of Trentham Golf Club’s formation but it’s known that a local ladies’ club existed in 1891, followed by a men’s club three years later. For certain, a 9-hole course was in use on the Duke of Sutherland’s estate at Trentham in 1894 over which both ladies and men played.
The course was extended to an 18-hole layout in 1904, with James Braid and Sandy Herd playing an exhibition match to mark the event. Plans to modify the course were drawn up by Herbert Fowler in 1913 but these proposals, along with intended clubhouse changes, were never implemented at the time due to cost considerations.
A decade later, the design company of Colt and Alison was called in to recommend improvements and their “number 2 scheme” was adopted but was not fully enacted until 1931, by which time the course had been extended by almost 500 yards and holes laid out in two returning loops, one inside the other.
James Braid returned in 1936 to advise on further course modifications but it’s not known exactly what his suggestions were and to what extent they were acted upon. Frank Pennink also consulted at the club in the early 1960s and his endorsement of a tree planting program has certainly enhanced the parkland aesthetics of the course in the modern era.
Feature holes on the layout include right doglegged, short par fours at the 3rd and 11th, both of which play to heavily sand-protected greens. The 6th is a terrific long par five, with threatening cross bunkers running diagonally across its fairway, whilst the 14th is another fabulous par five on the back nine, bending left and down to an inviting green.
Trentham extends to 6,641 yards from the medal markers, playing to a par of 72. It’s been used in recent times for Open Regional Qualifying and it hosted the 33rd edition of the English Women’s Open Amateur Match Play competition in 2015, won by Sophie Keech. The English Boys’ Under 14 Open Amateur Stroke Play championship will also be held here in 2019.
Located not far from the M6 motorway in Staffordshire, as soon as you drive onto the car park the club oozes understated elegance and class.
On arrival I was greeted by the Professional Ashley, who is a great ambassador for the club, very helpful and accommodating. The course condition was very impressive, given I played in early spring, not a blade of grass out of place, immaculate grooming and meticulous attention to detail. The greens staff are certainly doing a great job and deserve heaped praise.
Onto the course at nearly 6800 yards off the tips a serious parkland challenge, with some challenging holes to navigate, all facets of your game get a work out, although I have to say even at its length the course does not feel like a slog.
Hard to call out my favourite holes on the course as there as so many strong contenders, however I loved the challenge of all the par 5's, truly sublime in their own right. This course is a must play for all, offering a great test and experience, easily accessible from the motorway yet situated in a relaxing and restful location.
This one’s been a while coming! I’ve held a curious interest in this Stoke-on-Trent gem for a good year or so. Conveniently it’s just off the M6, so I happily lapped up the opportunity to break my duck one pleasant October morning.
And I’m pleased to report that this is an enjoyable course which is well worth making the effort to play. It’s a fine undulating parkland adjoining the historic Trentham Estate, with some quality holes, excellent greens and decent conditioning, plus a friendly welcome in the pro shop, and a reasonable county card rate of £45 which all add up to a good day out.
The phrase “hidden gem” may be thrown around with abandon, but Trentham epitomises it and has plenty for the discerning golfer to enjoy, providing a good test for the fine player, yet also being playable for higher handicappers; particularly as play is offered off both yellow and white tees.
Trentham offers a good variety of holes, all set through corridors of oak, pine and chestnut. Perhaps the 8th is one of the standouts, playing over 400 yards sharp uphill, leaving a long second shot to be threaded around a beautiful old oak tree to a hilltop green. Stroke index one init. The 9th back to the house is strong too, needing a precision mid to long iron into a green down the hill sloping left away from you.
The par 3s are especially good. From the lay-of-the-land fourth, to the tricky 188-yard uphill 15th, via the excellent 12th hitting over a ravine, and back to the seventh over a pretty pond, there’s variety in this par 72.
With some tight driving lines and awkward camber on many holes, the key to scoring well is smart placement off the tee. Taking 3 wood on many holes may bring more success than driver, a lesson your boy failed to heed - until writing this review! Holes such as 8, 9, 11, 13, 14 (especially!), 16 and 18 all demand hitting the right spot to open up the green. And that’s the key at Trentham; placement of the tee ball opening the best line in.
With many undulations, the course can play longer than the card, exemplified by the attractive, yet lengthy 547-yard par 5 6th played uphill and into the wind with cross bunkers to boot. Yet Trentham is still fair, with a duo of pretty downhill par 5s towards the end providing opportunities for birdies to improve your iffy score after driving into the trees earlier (yeah we know what’s what you did!)
This is a great review of an unsung course that I must get back to play again soon. Nice photos too.