Sutton Coldfield Golf Club Course Review

Alister MacKenzie designed many excellent but less well-known layouts including the delightful heathland course at Sutton Coldfield Golf Club

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Course
Distinctive bunker remodelling and extensive tree clearances have achieved great results in recent years
(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club Course Review
GF
Round: £80
Par 72, 6,548 yards
Slope 138
GM Verdict A less well-known Alister MacKenzie heathland design benefitting from a comprehensive upgrade to its bunkering as well as heather regeneration and tree clearances
Favourite Hole The testing par-4 12th requiring two perfect strikes and with a stream hiding in a dip crossing the fairway

Sutton Coldfield was founded in 1889, but it was not for another thirty years that the club settled on their current home bordering Streetly. Alister MacKenzie, later architect of Augusta National, was engaged to lay out the course. According to the great man, "The land on which the present course is situated is almost the best heathland I know for golf.” His revisions took several years as there was a very substantial grass fire in 1921.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Hole 3

Heather in bloom beside the third green

(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

The course opens with a pair of relatively gentle holes, a drive and pitch par 4 and a short par 3, before it really takes off at the 3rd with a monster two-shotter of 445 yards.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Hole 4

Beautiful autumnal light over the approach to the par-4 fourth hole

(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

The next hole, Dog Leg, works its way from left to right over a dry ditch.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Hole 4 - Green

Looking back from behind the fourth

(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

Very unusually, as you leave the 4th, you reach a back-to-back-to-back trio of par 5s that pretty much form a triangle. Two of these are well under 500 yards from the back tee and so it may be here that you can make your score, especially in a Stableford.

The front nine works its way back to the clubhouse before you tee off again from immediately between the 9th and 18th greens. The 10th to the 13th head south, a surprisingly long way from the holes on the front nine.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Hole 12

The twelfth hole, Beacon, a very strong par 4 of 432 yards

(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

The twelfth is another excellent par 4, but there are no weak holes here and you have to be on your guard, particularly when the wind is up.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club - Hole 15

Fox Hole, the short fifteenth, is one of two par 3s in the closing four holes

(Image credit: Sutton Coldfield Golf Club)

The 14th is the final par 5 before a strong 3-4-3-4 finish including a tough closing hole that is over 400 yards, plays longer than that and crosses two ditches.

The recent bunker refurbishment has helped turn what was already a fine course into an extremely good and enjoyable test of golf. During that work, a layer of ash was discovered deep in one of the bunkers that had been there since the great fire some 84 years previously.

Sutton Coldfield Golf Club (opens in new tab) now has one of the best golf courses in Warwickshire, indeed one of the best in the Midlands. Along with a number of other Top 100 courses and Next 100 courses in the area, this makes it a great course as part of a golfing trip or to visit as a one-off.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly since 2012 specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played 1,150 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions last year, he still managed to play 80 different courses during 2021, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. Rob is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.