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Sean_A

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Droitwich GC: 2018-2019 Winter Tour - Would You Join? New
« on: September 07, 2006, 01:17:46 PM »
Droitwich is a modest club about 20 miles south of Birmingham and is a poster boy for what I would call the average course in England. I used to be a member, but resigned some four years ago.  The course was originally designed by a chap called Cawsey, but Braid did an extensive redesign when he expanded the course to 18 holes in 1923. There have been many changes to the course since then, but many of the best holes are the work of Braid.  Much of the rest of the course was created by Hawtree & Co. in his 1980s redesign.  Notably, the 17th and 18th holes, both very good, were designed by then club pro Ben Croydon in 1938.

The 1st is a drivable par 4.  Below is the approach after a 200 yardish layup; notice the ridge running through the middle of the green. 


The fairway of the par 5 second leans a load to the right so the drive plays much narrower than appears.  The approach over an old marl pit - the namesake for the hole.


A closer look at the green which falls away from the fairway.


Other than the hopeless 11th, the par 3s at Droitwich are quite good.  Even so, the 3rd could possibly be made better by placing a cross bunker perhaps 25 yards short and online with the ramp up to the green.  Shudder all you strategic thinkers!


The 4th is a tough par 4 turning against the lay of the land.  The approach to the three-shot 5th after a long layup.


The next hole threads between water right and oob left.  The green too sits close to the boundary making any slightly pulled approached most likely a goner.


#7s and 8 are not bad holes, but don't work that well back to back as both are short par 4s.  The driveable 8th is the more interesting of the two as it slants toward oob down the left.  For the greedy there is also the unique feature of a cement path long and left of the green which feeds the ball oob (one of my many issues with those in power!).  I think this hole is better as a one shotter from the ladies tee.  In fact, I think a few shots could be shaved off par by also calling the second a par 4.  Instead, as is the want of clubs to pursue the disease of distance, the grandees would never contemplate losing 100 yards and two shots off the card.


#9 takes us back to the house.  This too is another point of contention for me.  Using this numbering system (solely for the purpose of two nines) means crossing a road four times and a few horrendous walks.  I said many years ago that there is no reason to increase the odds of somebody being killed by a racing car (the road to be crossed is a rat-run).  The course could simply be re-numbered and there are still two starting points near the house.  The end result was somebody was struck and killed by a car, not long afterwards I resigned from the club.

The house.


#10 is a good hole, yet another which is driveable for flat bellies (I reckon fully seven par 4s can be driven by very good players), but for the likes of me there is plenty of interest.




#12 turns hard right and journies once again to the top of the hill.  The integrity of this hole has been compromised by the planting of trees and growing of nasty rough on either side of the fairway's turning point - what a shame and yet another reason why I left.


If you hadn't noticed by now, Droitwich features a rather large hill in the middle of the course which dictates bounce/roll and causes wind to change direction several times in a round.  Below is the awful 13th. 


The uphill/sidehill 425ish yard 14th is a good and tough.  Most have to hit a cut, but the flat bellies just hit a draw over the right trees.  The approach after a layup.


The uphill/sidehill 15th is another excellent uphill par 3.  #16 is a sub 300 yard two-shotter which I have a lot of time for and features a cool name - Tomkins Plateau.  The approach after a lay up. The centre bunker is new; I think it should have been put in ~30 yards short of the green.


We now walk what seems a mile to the 17th - a walk which can be avoided if the holes were re-numbered!  Despite my misgivings, this is a grand hole.  There is a turbo boost around the corner if the player can land his drive about 240ish just on the right edge of the fairway.  The short finisher is a tough green to hit because of the left to right wind combined with a narrow green - photo taken not far short of the green.


One can readily see that Droitwich has a lot of issues holding the design back, not least of which is crude bunkering which could use a re-design both in placement and style.  Despite several changes which have not benefited the course, the club has made great strides concerning drainage the past several years and now Droitwich is one of the best draining courses in the area.  The greens are flatish, but putting is greatly effected by the hill.  The course plays best when it is f&f as ball control around the hill is difficult, but fun.  The great shame is the terrain for a very good course is there and there are some very good holes. Unfortunately, the entire package merely amounts to an average course. 

Ciao 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 06:19:41 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022:

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 06:06:37 PM »
How many people are members of 2 clubs by the same Architect? Like you Iím a big fan of Braid, however the contrast between Pennard and here is amazing.  As you note Braids work has been mucked about here but Iíve been looking for tell tale signs and like most of the Golden age guys they worked more with the avaible land than just producing template holes. However...

Heís never afraid of the short uphill one shotter another example being the 5th at Shanklin and Sandown.


And from your picture the 13th looks not unlike the 4th at Hainault Forest Upper which was originally Taylor and Hawtree but Braid may have redone this part of the course.  The down hill nature of the shot invites you to go for it but the lie of the land punishes anything with even a hint of fade, mercilessly.



Iíve found Braid to be at his best where the terrain is most extreme and Iím sure he got good use out of your hill.

I donít think thereís such a thing as Braid green.  As has been pointed out by others Shanklin and Sandown have some of the flattest and your 5th looks to have an enormous change in levels.  I wonder if you have any front to back sloping?

Iím surprised that you think the bunkering needs repositioning as part of an overhaul. I recently discovered that in 1922 Braid was called in to redo the bunkering of Colt and Alison at Thorndon Park. Of those courses of his that Iíve seen they have had great use of bunkers. However I feel the courses over here have suffered more from cheap maintenance than they have over there.

Thanks for the report, one day I hope to see it. Iím delighted to hear that the drainage work has been a success Ė if only clubs in Essex would do something similar on their clay greens.  I hope you are going to add a little more about the Ďclubabilityí of the place and ask Ran/Tommy to include it in ĎMy Home Courseí.  
Let's make GCA grate again!

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 06:13:24 PM »
Sean, Keep posting pictures of modest courses.  There are so many courses which would rank in the 2,000-3,000 rating of the 3,000 or so courses in the British Isles.  None of them is a world beater, but they all have something of value.  For me, Droitwich is the memory of occasionally driving past on my way from Hanbury Road to Rashwood School.  I left in 1958....

Brent Hutto

Re:Droitwich GC Pix
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2007, 11:30:02 AM »
I'd consider membership of a course of Droitwich's caliber if there was an active membership and one were generally able to find a game. Perhaps not as much so before the improvements you mention in drainage, for me a constantly boggy golf course is a deal killer. However, if another course were nearby with more interestingly contoured greens that would seem very attractive to me in comparison since that's a part of the game that I really enjoy.

One thing about the sort of dues you mention is that it can make perfect sense to belong to a Droitwich as well as having an out-of-town membership at an interesting course somewhere even if you only travel there a handful of times per year.

There actually are semi-private courses in my area which would cost a similar amount to play and are not particularly "better" in any way that I can see compared to your club. The absolutely unavoidable downside to such courses around here is the crowding, lack of etiquette and abysmal pace of play at weekends and holidays. Paying even $75/month and having to scrap for Saturday morning tee times and suffer through 5+ hour rounds will drive anyone with the means to do so in the direction of the private clubs which cost three to five times as much. I take it that in your vicinity one can have a pleasant private-club experience without such great expense by simply accepting a modest layout with a few weak holes. Sounds marvelous!

P.S. I do assume that there are adequate yardage markings, for instance sprinkler heads or yardage plates every 25 yards or so on along both sides of the fairway  ;)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 11:32:03 AM by Brent Hutto »

Mike Sweeney

Re:Droitwich GC - Would You Join?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2007, 11:43:42 AM »
I have been showing some pix of modest clubs in England for a few years now.  I am curious, would folks be willing to join a club such as the one pictured above for say $100 a month in dues and no food minimums?  Or is it just not good enough and you would prefer a better, more expensive club or remain a freelancer?  

Ciao

Sean,

I curse you for asking that question knowing where I live!  ;) Reality is I joined a pretty good public Orrin Smith Course of Ross pedigree for my son and I to play weekday afternoons, as it was much closer than Yale. The names and management has turned over a few times, so they got rid of the afternoon deal. It is again called River Vale in NJ. For sure you would never want to play it on a weekend, and I never did.

http://www.rivervalecc.com/

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2007, 12:18:20 PM »
$100 pcm?  That's what, £600 pa?  Pretty much average in the North East (most expensive is probably Northumberland at £900 pa, I think Goswick, which is another quality course, is £300 pa).  I probably wouldn't pay that for a course with drainage issues.  I also think that's on the pricy side for English privates of that quality but then I live in a cheap(ish) part of the country.  It'd probably be a steal in the Home Counties.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Andy Hughes

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2007, 12:43:23 PM »
Quote
I am curious, would folks be willing to join a club such as the one pictured above for say $100 a month in dues and no food minimums?
Sean, I'd jump at such an opportunity, but there is no chance such a course for that price will ever pop up here (DC).
"Perhaps I'm incorrect..."--P. Mucci 6/7/2007

Mark Bourgeois

Re:Droitwich GC Pix Would You Join?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2007, 04:12:47 PM »
You've got the eight-year itch, don't you? It's hard to stay married to a course forever. Fortunately, in the UK you have "no fault" divorces. Over here it's more like indentured servitude, often with no prospect for working off the debt.

Given you've put the question to a group of circus freaks, I think you already know the answer to your question; however, what are your prospects?  Do you have any reason to believe if you joined another club, the membership and the course would get you out of bed well before the alarm went off?

The grass is always greener...

David Stamm

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC - Would You Join?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2007, 07:38:42 PM »
I have been showing some pix of modest clubs in England for a few years now.  I am curious, would folks be willing to join a club such as the one pictured above for say $100 a month in dues and no food minimums?  Or is it just not good enough and you would prefer a better, more expensive club or remain a freelancer?  

Ciao


Oh my friend Sean, the numbers you speak are fanatsyland here in Southern California. Yes I would jump at the chance, but as you say, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. If I saw what was on tap where you are for what we have to pay here, well, let's forget that. I would only be frustrating myself! :'(
"The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball."- Max Behr

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix Would You Join?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2007, 02:04:07 AM »
MP - You are right £600 would be a steal in the home counties where £1000-£1200 is about the norm for a good quality club. However as you know dining spends are unheard of most clubs add between £50-£100 p.a. onto your bar card.

At Deal we have 28 categories of membership ranging in price from full local male down to junior under 16 and many stops in between such as;

35+ miles member of another club
100+ miles
Foreign $630 p.a.
Over 70 years old
University
Public School & Oxbridge, etc, etc.
Cave Nil Vino

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix Would You Join?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2007, 02:37:04 AM »


At Deal we have 28 categories of membership ranging in price from full local male down to junior under 16 and many stops in between such as;

Public School

Mark I recently played another course with a "Public School" member of Deal.  I think it's because he had played in the Halford Hewitt(sp?) and he said that it was a very good offer because your annual subs never changed from the year you joined. He believed there were Octogenarians paying about £10 pa for full playing rights!!!!!!!!!!
Let's make GCA grate again!

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix Would You Join?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2007, 11:38:27 AM »
Around South Manchester/Cheshire most annual subs are about £1,000 per year and the joining fee is usually twice that, so your first year sets you back £3,000.  But there are cheaper - Cavendish (a good MacKenzie course) is £670 per year plus a joing fee of £450 payable over 3 years.  Heaton Moor is quite typical of the lesser clubs in the Manchester area in having no joining fee because they are desperate for members.  Their annual sub is £740 plus a £25 levy for bar purchases.  Heyrose, a popular newish course out in the country, is £757.42 par annum with a joining fee of £587.00.  

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re:Droitwich GC Pix Would You Join?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2007, 05:52:52 PM »
Tony - You are quite right if you attended anyone of the 64 Hewitt schools the annual fee never rises, it's currently £125pa for new members. The Halford Hewitt is blvd to be the worlds biggest amateur event with 640 competitors playing foursomes match play for their old schools. Deal and Sandwich share the first two days with the last 16 and beyond being played at Deal. For some great stories checkout;

   http://www.halfordhewitt.org/index.lasso?pg=4033458df66f91a8&mp=5781135feec0407a&-session=ldcms:568EAB5D0ef7b36F7BYIFFDAFAE7
Cave Nil Vino

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Droitwich GC: 2011/12 Winter Tour - Would You Join?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 06:28:34 AM »
Take a look at the updated tour.  Oh what a good archie could make of this site!

Previous stops:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,35050.0.html  Blackwell

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,42178.0.html  Stratford

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51420.0.html  Saunton West

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51415.0.html  Saunton East

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51321.0.html  Sutton Coldfield

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html  Huntercombe 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,35648.0.html  Whittington Heath

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,40029.0.html  Edgbaston

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,50805.0.html  Sherwood Forest

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32655.0.html  Woking

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,50427.0.html  Berkhamsted

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,46538.0.html  Coxmoor

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,37725.0.html  Temple

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,38973.0.html  Little Aston

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30965.0.html  Beau Desert

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html  Notts

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,50088.0.html  The Old Course

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,50086.0.html  The New Course

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,50078.0.html  The Castle Course

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html  Kington

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,37526.0.html   Harborne

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49998.0.html   Worcester G&CC

No future scheduled stops.


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022:

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