Courses Overview And Introduction to Heathland Golf

Enville Golf Club is in South Staffordshire on the fringe of the Black Country and five miles west of Stourbridge.


It was formed in 1935 by a small group of men who were members of Churchill and Blakedown. A nine hole course between Stourbridge and Kidderminster. At its formation, Enville Golf Club had an initial nine holes. This was extended in 1940 to eighteen holes. A further nine holes were added in 1972, with the final nine being completed in 1983.


The club now has two eighteen hole courses; The Highgate, with a par of 72 and a Standard Scratch of 73. The lodge has a par and Standard Scratch of 71. Both Courses are a test for any golfer but above provide a idyllic environment in which to play golf, combining a mixture of heathland surrounded with testing tree-lined fairways.


Enville is a venue for many top professional and amateur tournaments including The Open Regional Qualifying.

 

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17th Lodge Course



When golf began to expand in the UK from the coast of east Scotland, inland courses started to crop up away from the heralded ‘links lands’. The leading architects at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century- Willie Park, Jr., Harry Colt, Herbert Fowler and J.F. Abercromby et al began searching for suitable well-drained soils on which to build their golfing masterpieces.


With an evangelical zeal they discovered and embraced the ‘heathlands’ fast running excellent draining, sandy soils often spanning areas with gently rolling terrain that emulated the links land where golf had been born. Heathland courses boast the kind of firm, sandy turf present at all classic links courses, which is simply perfect for golf.


Other heathland characteristics include swathes of heather, devilish gorse, and broom coupled with towering Scotch pine and Birch trees. In addition to an intriguing terrain ideally suited for golf, these heathland ingredients combine to form some of the most visually stunning golf courses in the world.



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Sunningdale Old Course




These courses, similar to links are not heavily manicured, but much more naturalistic, some trees will prevail to allow protection from the elements, to add strategic challenges and to increase the aesthetic quality and sense of well being for a golfer.


Discovering the virtues of heathland as suitable land to build was a major step in the development of golf course architecture. Thanks to these early pioneers we can count many of these heathland courses as some of the world’s finest.


Some of the much-loved classic golf courses around England and the world are built on heathland areas these include, Walton Heath, Hollinwell, Alwoodley Woodhall Spa and Sunningdale. The search for suitable heathland around the golfing world as the game spread ensured the early pioneers developed the much-revered Pine Valley in New Jersey. Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath in the Sand Belt near to Melbourne Australia exhibit ‘genetic’ similarities to their old world cousins.




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10th hole Pine Valley NJ USA


All of these courses have a recognizable pedigree that ensures they are seen as classics. At Enville we are aware of our good fortune to be located in the middle of a small area of heathland and our obligation to help maintain the characteristics of the fabled heathland golf courses mentioned earlier.


Enville typical of all of these English heathland golf courses has the virtue of offering year round golf because of the well-drained sandy subsoil. The course does not put a premium on length however accuracy should always be a preferred strategy - always better to be in the fairway approaching the hole from the correct angle as opposed to playing from the trees or worse still the heather. My advice to anyone playing Enville, be prepared to hit a shorter club from the tee to make use of the fast running ground, try to think strategically- where is a good place to approach the target.


Above all enjoy the experience of playing Heathland golf at Enville and I trust that you will appreciate some of the delights that golfs’ early adherents discovered when the Royal and Ancient game was introduced from the ‘Kingdom’ over a 150 years ago.

 



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