Whittington Heath Golf Club is tucked away on an elevated heathland plateau in middle England where there are delightful views across to nearby Lichfield Cathedral. The course has never appeared in a Top 100 list but we think it's well worth its Staffordshire Best In County ranking status.
It's one of the oldest clubs in England, originally founded in 1886 when a rudimentary nine-hole course was laid out on a former horse racing circuit. Whittington Heath really came of age between the Wars when Harry Colt was commissioned by the military club owners to extend the course to 18 holes. The military connection remains strong and the club was known for many years as Whittington Barracks.
The result of Colt's work is a challenging 6,490-yard par 70 course, which provides a real test for golfers of all levels. The club has hosted a number of top amateur events, including the 1986 Women's Home Internationals, which saw the Irish team emerge victorious.
Sandy, springy ground is ideal for golf and there's plenty of it here at Whittington Heath. The course wends its way through tangly heather and gorse: you'll need to keep on the straight and narrow to score well. The opening hole is relatively gentle, a short par five. In fact, the front nine is the place to make your score. The back nine is a much tougher proposition, with no par fives and four par fours, stretching out beyond 400 yards in length. A word about the greens - they are extremely well protected by bunkers and tough to read.
Whittington Heath is a completely underrated and relatively unknown heathland delight. It's a quintessential "hidden gem" and should be savoured alongside its near neighbour, Beau Desert. However, the club is directly in the path of the new HS2 (High Speed Two rail link), so if you'd like to experience the original Colt course, we suggest you make a beeline for Whittington Heath immediately before part of it disappears forever. Plans are afoot to relocate the clubhouse and build five new holes on adjacent recently acquired heathland.
Enjoyed Whittington Heath very much. Although not too much heather in evidence (compared to Surrey heathland courses) it was very pleasant with a number of holes where strategic placement of the drive was important. Condition was generally good, albeit greens were on the slow side and some bunkers had a lack of sand. Absolutely loved the narrowness of the fairways (can't think of any narrower ones I've played), which with the narrow width of semi and then penal rough plus the excellently located fairway bunkers made it a really good driving course. Quite a few dogleg par 4 holes, including 5, 6, 8 and 11 which were probably my favourites, although the well bunkered par 3 7th was also very good. I thought the front 9 had more variety with two par 5's, with the 18th possibly the least interesting hole. I guess the big test for WH will be how the changes due to the HS2 manage to keep the classic Colt style of course. Until then at least well worth a visit