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Sean_A

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Bygone Birmingham: HARBORNE GC New
« on: November 21, 2008, 07:38:51 PM »
Located in the hilly southwest section of Birmingham, Harborne is a Colt course with many admirable holes. The original plan of the redesigned course was first submitted by the then firm of Colt, Mackenzie and Alison in 1922.  The club also invited Fowler and Simpson to submit a plan.  However, Colt was not in the business of entering competitions and promptly withdrew his design. After the club determined the Fowler plan was unplayable they coaxed Colt to carry on with the job.  While some corridors of the old course were used and the 12th green retained, there can be little doubt that Harborne is vintage Colt.  The main features of the course are the variety of ways the hills are used and the green complexes.  Many holes play at hills on the slight askew and some attack the slopes directly.  While many of the approaches may be downhill, the greens themselves are almost without exception placed on the high ground of the nearby area. 

Nearly all of the greens complexes are characterized by rather ambitious shaping.  Colt seemed to choose a good natural site then mould it into the green complex he desired. Franks Harris Bros. did the work and not surprisingly this bold shaping looks similar to other Colt designs such as Oxford GC.  Several greens feature alarming contour and on occassion one can be in a position where stopping the putt near the hole is impossible. From this perspective, it takes a few rounds to figure out where the low sides of the greens are.  It is also beneficial to pay particular attention to the valleys to help with reading the greens. 

While far more forested than the original Colt plan, the trees at Harborne rarely block angles of play and instead, present aesthetic/sightline issues.  The property is quite tight and on probably less than 100 acres so it isn't surprising trees were introduced as a form of safety, but there are instances where trees blocking vistas of forward bunkering belies common sense.  It all adds up to a course which feels as though there is more space than is actually the case and plays much longer and is more difficult than the listed daily tee 6000 yards. 

The opening hole is a quite appealing hard dogleg right around attractively severe bunkering.  There are trees which compromise the look, but not the playing characteristics of the hole. With the unsightly housing in the background it is immediately clear that Harborne is in a bit of a concrete jungle.

Because of the property size with a road splitting the land, the tee for #2 is an awkward walk back between the 1st and 8th holes.  However, the walk is well rewarded.  The down n' up hole flow is bisected by a stream.  The photo below offers a clear indication of the radical green shaping.  One can easily imagine how exaggerated these green complexes would have looked before tree planting. 


Behind the 2nd the reader gets a better idea of the slopes. 


The 3rd is a good little hole.  The green surface is larger than it would seem from the tee. 


#4 is the first of a disappointing set of par 5s, but there is still a sting in its tail as the seemingly benign green slopes ferociously from back left to front right.  The 5th brings us back to the ever present creek where there is a real decision to be made.  Can it be carried and if so, to what benefit? The green has loads of interest with a wee hump near the rear making it imperative to keep the approach below the hole.  Take care to look at the unusual shaping work to the right of the green.  I can only surmise that Colt was trying to protect the green from play coming down the 8th.     


This photo from just short of the water shows the uphill nature of the approach.  The hole is located on a back shelf which is very difficult to access.


The par 3 6th is a lovely hole with a deceptively wicked green flowing from right to left.  I also note that the bunkering of this hole is more closely associated with Whittington Heath - a lovely Colt gem a bit further north.  Among several filled in bunkers, there is a curious one positioned just beyond the creek.


#7 is one of Harborne's sidehill holes.  Colt used the land very well in creating all sorts of different angles for the hills. The proximity of Edgbaston and the city centre is evident by Birmingam University's Old Joe in the background.  The right half of the fairway corridor is rough. I think the hole originally played more as a choice of dogleg left or right.  Rough and trees now cover what would have been fairway right.  The 4th is just to the right and it makes sense that the fairway was dropped to a lower section thus creating a dogleg right. 

Its only a short iron approach, but playing off a hook lie to a green which can comfortably allow for tucked pins...lets just say there is a reason this 372 yard hole is Harborne's #1 stoke index. 


An old photo demonstrates how the bunkers have been nuetered. The second hole is to the left.


It was mentoned earlier that the 8th plays toward the 5th green.  Like at Camberley Heath, Colt fed the 5th green into a ridge and then routed the 8th hole over the high side - great use of the land.  Of course, now there is a plethora of trees and rough as a protection layer for the 5th green.  The bunkering for #8 is well placed as the photo doesn't accurately reflect the right to left slope of the fairway. 


This par 5 is tough to reach in two because of the raised nature of the green and the degree of dogleg.  Nearly all the greens at Harborne are either raised and/or on naturally higher ground.


#9 takes us back to the house with another side-hiller.  The back nine begins with a very good reachable par 4 that looks much longer.  Often times the trees are not a serious issue, but here the aesthetics of the design are compromised by tree plantings.  We face a decision with the creek once again on the 11th.  Unlike the 5th, there is a real advantage to carrying the hazard as it can make a big difference to the length of the approach.  This hole is also clever in that it feels more constrained than the other holes because of housing, but the fairway is very wide.  The green is very tricky putting from back to front.  Like on many Ross holes, it pays to keep the ball between yourself and the hole when approaching.

We now cross a wee lane to another section of the course for the next five holes.  When this sort of scenario presents itself one is never sure if a secret garden (such as at Worplesdon) or a septic tank will be discovered.  Well, in Harborne's case its a bit of a mixed bag.  I used to dislike the 12th, but I think it is wearing on me.  Without question it is a tough hole at 400 yards and a bit uphill, but it does lack a certain charm.  The nest of bunkers blocking the fairway are problematic for shorter hitters.  The following hole could well be my favourite at Harborne.  #13 is a corker which takes us blindly over the brow of a hill with this view to await.


The approach is what I call do or don't die.  For sure this is an heroic approach, but coming up short still leaves a recovery. From here the severity of the slope to be carried is more evident.


Bigger drivers can risk trees right and earn a better angle of approach.  Our very own Mark Rowlinson strides the fairway below.


The 14th is a wonderful short hole among what I would call a very worthy and generally quite difficult and long set of par 3s. 


An old photo showing Harborne virtually treeless.  The bunkers placed green high today were wisely not orginally present.


Both 15 and 16 are short par 4s of which I think 15 is far more devious due to the run-away nature of the approach.  Both holes will pay dividends for those who keep left off the tee.  I believe the 15th has been compromised a bit by trees up the left - making it quite difficult to gain the best angle of approach.  Approaches to 15 & 16. 




We now recross the country lane for the very good and difficult 17th in which the player drives back over the creek with two well placed bunkers to give pause.  The hole then climbs a steep hill for the blind second. 


The home hole is a long par 3 which will require a driver for most golfers.  Its  not my favourite sort of finisher for a match, but a decent hole for that. 

In some respects Harborne reminds me of the London heathlands courses such as St Georges Hill.  It has that open feeling to it which really lets the player swing away, but it certainly lacks the majesty of Colt's premiere London designs.  There are at least half a dozen very good holes and two All England candidates; #s 6 & 13.  Yet, I sense something is lacking for me to really place Harborne in the class of really good courses.  Thinking on it, it must mainly be due to visuals because Harborne is a very good course indeed.

Other than the drainage issues I would also mention that due to the small acerage of the course, many greens and tees are in very close proximity and so with a large competition on there are too many instances of waiting for others to finish. However, these are relatively minor quibbles. The biggest issue is likely the over-use of crossing hazards.  Water runs practically straight across the fairways on 2, 5, 11 and 17.  I suspect these ditches are necessary for drainage, but in terms of hitting shots they are less than satisfactory.  Regardless, Harborne gets the seal of approval by me and I recommend it for folks already planning to be in Birmingham or not able to secure a tee time at a one of the Midlands more famous courses.  No less an expert than Darwin thought "the framework of the course is probably as good as any in the Midlands".   2014

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 02:37:35 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Jason McNamara

Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2008, 10:22:05 PM »
Sean -

Your link for the 13th still needs a bit of a tweak.  The 13th is the one with the green on a bit of a knoll, correct?  Sharp fall-away left and OB right?

Yep, found it.  Others can click here until you fix your link
http://www.harbornegolfclub.org.uk/course/popups/13.htm

Thanks for the great pics, as always.  I guess you'd rank it then among Copt Heath and Sandwell Park?

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2008, 04:54:32 AM »
Sean -

Your link for the 13th still needs a bit of a tweak.  The 13th is the one with the green on a bit of a knoll, correct?  Sharp fall-away left and OB right?

Yep, found it.  Others can click here until you fix your link
http://www.harbornegolfclub.org.uk/course/popups/13.htm

Thanks for the great pics, as always.  I guess you'd rank it then among Copt Heath and Sandwell Park?

Jason

Thanks.  I fixed the link and the photo now appears. 

I would need to see Copt Heath and Sandwell Park again, but from memory, I would think Harborne has a bit more about it than those two.  Harborne certainly has a superior topography to Copt Heath, but I don't think Harborne's short par 4s are in the class of Sandwell Park's.  Plus, Sandwell has a few cracking holes  on the high part of the course - I need to get back there some day.  However, neither seem to offer a winter deal this year so they haven't been included in the itinerary.  Besides, Sandwell is very sloppy around the clubhouse holes in winter and I would never dream of going there at this time of year anyway.  The older I get the more I disdain sloppy golf.  I don't know why the members of these old Brum area clubs haven't done something about this problem.  Its a real pity.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2008, 06:11:43 AM »
Because drainage costs a lot of money, Sean. I've just been reading the Wilmslow annual report and they remark that this has been an exceptionally wet year - between 13th August and 8th September we had no visitors AT ALL. And Wilmslow is one of the best maintained courses in the area - we attract a lot of winter visitors from neighbouring clubs because their courses are closed. I met Tom Willimasen and Mark Pearce at Alwoodley recently and that had quite a lot of casual water lying about - and they recently spent several hundred thousands of pounds redraining the course. It has been exceptionally wet.

When next you are in the West Midlands with a few minutes to spare, have a look in at Oxley Park in Wolverhampton (just north of the town, sorry city, centre). I think it's Colt and I played it quite a lot as a teenager. I remember it wih no affection. The only good think was that the railway sheds next door still had steam locomotives operating almost to the end of steam. It also ran alongside a sewage works. But I wasn't aware of golf architecture in those days and I may be being unfair to it.

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2008, 10:32:50 AM »
Because drainage costs a lot of money, Sean. I've just been reading the Wilmslow annual report and they remark that this has been an exceptionally wet year - between 13th August and 8th September we had no visitors AT ALL. And Wilmslow is one of the best maintained courses in the area - we attract a lot of winter visitors from neighbouring clubs because their courses are closed. I met Tom Willimasen and Mark Pearce at Alwoodley recently and that had quite a lot of casual water lying about - and they recently spent several hundred thousands of pounds redraining the course. It has been exceptionally wet.

When next you are in the West Midlands with a few minutes to spare, have a look in at Oxley Park in Wolverhampton (just north of the town, sorry city, centre). I think it's Colt and I played it quite a lot as a teenager. I remember it wih no affection. The only good think was that the railway sheds next door still had steam locomotives operating almost to the end of steam. It also ran alongside a sewage works. But I wasn't aware of golf architecture in those days and I may be being unfair to it.

Mark

I know drainage costs a load, but when we get as much rain as can be expected in these parts, I thinks its money well spent.  Besides, its not as if these clubs didn't know the drainage was poor these past 50 years.  That is a long time to do very little about a serious problem concerning any club's best asset. 

While I disagreed with much of what Droitwich has been doing these past few years, the one thing they have done is commit to drainage improvement and it has made a world of difference.  Droitwich is now one of the very best drained courses I know of not located on naturally well draining land.  I think more and more of the few prospective members of clubs will consider drainage as an important consideration before signing on the dotted line.  With reduced visitors fees due to sloppy conditions, clubs really can't afford not to improve drainage for the future health of the club.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

BCrosby

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2008, 12:34:53 PM »
Sean - Delightful. As always. Keep these coming. With your commentary.

Not to sound like a colonial rube, but what is a "Brum area course"?

Bob

Paul_Turner

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2008, 03:36:30 PM »
Sean

Nice to see this unheralded gem again.

I caught it on a much nicer day when it was playing fast and hard.

I think its best quality is the hole routing.  The holes are well linked and and 6300 yards on about 90 acres is quite clever by Colt.  Only on the third feels a bit squeezed in and I think there's almost no unused space (a little bit between 13 and 15).

I was a bit fonder of the short 4s than you,  particularly the 15th green which is quite tilted like many of the greens at Harborne.

Pleased to see the trees gone on 6th.

Interesting that Colt really used some heavy mounding at Harborne, almost alpinization which he cut the bunkers from (some beauties too).  You can see this style on other courses but it's not so prevalent:


15th

2nd, 3rd and 7th from 8th

14th

7th now

8th green all built up

9th bunker all built up

2nd mounding and green, big drop back to front here.

13th

I thought the 11th was a tactical gem with the OB eating into the fairway and the green pointing at that OB



But has the green shrunk since i was there and a bunker added?

I guess the built up nature of some of the greens was to help drainage?







« Last Edit: November 22, 2008, 04:36:25 PM by Paul_Turner »
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Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2008, 07:53:30 PM »
Paul

Its really cool to see the pix when Harborne was the edge of Brum.  The course, like all the other well known Brum city clubs (Edgbaston, Handsworth & Moseley) are surrounded by concrete jungle. 

I agree, Colt probably got the best out of the land on the clubhouse side of the property.  It is a tidy routing, but never feels crowded.  As I say, the width of the holes is probably Harborne's best feature. 

Regarding the short 4s, I was hoping for some which could be driven, but with the appropriate risk.  The obvious candidates are 9, 10, 15 & 16.  None of these is a real head turner and they offer plenty of space for a long layup and wedge approach.  Part of the problem may be that the shorties come in succession.  The 15th is a weird hole.  There are two fairway bunkers protecting the the right of the fairway when the left is best angle of approach.  This was one of the few holes where the bunkering made no sense to me given the angle of the green and the right green side bunker.  I spose the short left bunker on 18 makes little sense as a shot hit out there has a bad angle for the recovery anyway.  I am curious why a handful of Colt bunkers were filled in and some others added. 

I am not a huge fan of the alpinization green corners for uphill (skyline) approaches.  They give the golfer a clue as to distance which I think defeats the purpose to some degree of the lay of the land golf.  The 11th is a very good example of Colt giving these clues.  And it does look like the green has shrunk slightly with an added bunker as well.



BTW, I also noticed that a few rear of the green high profile bunkers (ala Dr Mac-like) bunkers seem to have been filled in - #s 2 & 6, with all the massive mounding and sharp alpinization corners come to mind.   

Bob

Brum is Birmingham, a much maligned area for golf where England is concerned.  Though folks who believe these rumours will miss out on some wonderful courses. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 22, 2008, 08:08:13 PM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Paul_Turner

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2008, 03:13:44 AM »
Sean

5th at Beau Desert an example of green edge alpinization for a skyline?

I was wrong re the 11th, just the angles hiding the bunker...it was there when I played a few years ago:




The 9th played nicely when firm.  It was driveable but you really had to land on the left edge of the fairway to stop it leaking right.



Holes 12-16 were taken over during the war for agriculture but they kept the greens intact.  I do think the 16th was altered at some point because I have a pic that shows a strongly contoured green.  Now the hole relies more on the bunkering alone.

The 12th needs its cross bunkers to be restored...more visual interest.
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Tony_Muldoon

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2008, 04:24:54 AM »
I'd be interested to hear more about those bunkers whose style reminded you of Whittigton Heath?  Overall this does seem a case of building greens and bunkers on steroids - for want of a better phrase.   I wonder if the club has any record of who actually built the club .e.g. Legouix or Frank Harris or possibly someone entirely new?


This one reminds me of the 18th at Upminster, 135 yards.  At Upminster the front bunkers are well short of the green which had wicked cant to it. Among the many crimes there they’ve built the tee up so you can now see the surface as you prepare to hit.
Does the no 3 green have any hidden subtleties and how close are the bunkers to the surface?
#3 is a very short one-shotter.  This is from a winter tee, the normal tee doesn't play over the second green.





Once again a nice report Sean.  It’s interesting where you place it in the order of local clubs. I found the pictures of Copt Heath much more appealing but it seems Harbourne packs quite a punch in its 90 acres.
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Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2008, 05:00:55 AM »
Sean

5th at Beau Desert an example of green edge alpinization for a skyline?

I was wrong re the 11th, just the angles hiding the bunker...it was there when I played a few years ago:




The 9th played nicely when firm.  It was driveable but you really had to land on the left edge of the fairway to stop it leaking right.



Holes 12-16 were taken over during the war for agriculture but they kept the greens intact.  I do think the 16th was altered at some point because I have a pic that shows a strongly contoured green.  Now the hole relies more on the bunkering alone.

The 12th needs its cross bunkers to be restored...more visual interest.

Paul

Beau Desert's 5th is a great exception to the general rule.  The alpinization doesn't serve to make the target clearer, it is used on the right as guard rather than using a bunker and on the left to house a bunker.  That right mound essentially forces the player to keep to the extreme left (inside of the dogleg) for the best angle of approach.  Colt's 11th is merely for framing purposes.  Below is a shot of BD's 5th.


I figured some sort of farming during the war had taken place because I saw some ridge & furrow remnants somewhere, but I don't recall where.  

I figured the 9th and probably the 16th could be reachable, but because of the lay of the land on #9 with a low and a high bunker, it isn't a really good gamble.  On the 16th there is a gate to the left between all the bunkering, but hitting that slot blind from the tee must be a fools choice.  I think the problem with these holes isn't down to design, its down to modern tech.  They are essentially reachable for the flat bellies, but I doubt Colt thought this was the case in his day.  They were probably tee placement holes where trying to get the best angle of approach was the key.  Especially on #16 because the green falls from front to back so if one has to carry the bunkering its tough to stop the ball.  

The 12th does have low profile cross bunkers (from memory 3-4) maybe 75-100 yards short of the green.  A peculiar placement as I don't see how they come into play.

Tony

There are some similarities between the bunkering at Whittington and Harborne, WH's are probably more consistent in their upholstered look and many tend to have the "spectacles" (as in glasses not Carnoustie) look as well.  

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 05:50:36 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Paul_Turner

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2008, 09:55:43 AM »
Sean

I'm not sure that the 11th at Harborne is any more "framed" than the 5th at BD.

Tony

Harborne was Franks Harris.

I don't think Whittington is a good comparison because the land is much subtler and heath vs park. 

Prestbury looks to much closer. parkland and bold (about 4-5 years earlier).  It has some of the same mounding at holes like the 1st. 

Bunkers share some similarity too:




can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2008, 11:26:31 AM »
Sean

I'm not sure that the 11th at Harborne is any more "framed" than the 5th at BD.

Paul

You are drawing a curious conclusion.  I am quite confident that the mounding on Beau's 5th is far more strategic than framing.  That right mound blocks access from the right side of the fairway and directs play toward the left bunker or perhaps long (because the mound are very much front green features).  Once one plays the hole they understand the advantage of staying left off the tee.  On Harborne's 11th the two mounds really outline the edge of the green to the rear and rear right as the meat of the play is well forward of these features.  I spose we either disagree on what framing means or have different ideas of how these holes play.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Paul_Turner

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2008, 01:16:06 PM »
Sean

I look at you photo of the BD's 5th and see a framed, almost symmetrical green complex.  I do agree that the mound performs strategic function too and combined with green contours it's a very difficult approach.

I see less framing and symmetry on Harborne's 11th, mainly because the green is angle.  The mound/bunker on the right basically performs the same function, if less severley, as the mound at BD.  Particularly to a back right pin position. And the mound behind the green was surely put there for chipping interest:  if you hit long you have to loft over it to a strongly downhill tilted green.

Ok enough of this arguing, they are both super holes, back to Brum in general:

I basically agree with Sean's take on  the relative merits.  I think Sandwell and Copt Heath are about as good as Harborne, I probably give Harborne the edge. 

Moseley and Edgbaston seem to be on even smaller acreage than Harborne.  They have a number of excellent holes but I'd put them a little below the courses above.  Moseley like Copt Heath relies on bunkering more, particularly on the flatter holes.  Edbaston best quality is its greens which are mostly small and have neat little contouring in the approaches and sides.  Best to play this one in the summer.

I haven't played Handsworth (a turn of the century course) but Sean did post some pics of it and I guess it's of a similar quality.

Obviously BD and WH have the advantage of classic golfing country and away from the urban mess.  And I think they are the pick.  I can't really recall Little Aston very well but I'm sure it's up there.

Olton used to be really good and I think it may still have some good holes.  But losing some land to the war and the bunkering losing its flair make me think it's probably not as good as Moseley. 

Robin Hood is from the same era and again lost a lot of land after the war.  Somehow the course manages to make 6700 yds on a miniscule area.  But because of this, the photos look ultra cramped with out of control tree planting.  No width like Harborne or Sandwell.

I've walked Oxley Park too.  Again it's cramped and over planted.  But there is still the occasional good hole with big sand faced traps.

Finally Brand Hall, which was a super municipal but lost land to a motorway expansion.  Not much to draw us there now.  The old photo i have is just about the fanciest bunkering I've ever seen Colt and Co do.
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2008, 03:39:04 AM »
Sean

I look at you photo of the BD's 5th and see a framed, almost symmetrical green complex.  I do agree that the mound performs strategic function too and combined with green contours it's a very difficult approach.

I see less framing and symmetry on Harborne's 11th, mainly because the green is angle.  The mound/bunker on the right basically performs the same function, if less severley, as the mound at BD.  Particularly to a back right pin position. And the mound behind the green was surely put there for chipping interest:  if you hit long you have to loft over it to a strongly downhill tilted green.

Ok enough of this arguing, they are both super holes, back to Brum in general:

Hey Paul, I thought we were discussing/debating.  I don't much care about the final outcome, the fun is in the discourse.  Afterall, we essentially agree, its only details we are talking about. 

Two interesting (or not) thoughts/observations.  Back on another thread you stated that Harborne was one of those Colt's which gets no notice - undeservedly.  I agree and the number of hits on this thread is evidence of that - especially when compared with what folks are interested in.  Second, you and I seem to look at courses from completely different perspectives.  I could be wrong, but you seem to focus a lot on bunkering style and I focus a lot on topography and how it is used.  Is this a fair assessment?  If so, why have you become so interested in bunkering styles?  I am curious because many folks on this site are attracted by this sort of thing and focus on it.  I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with me - other than the usual hangups of course!

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Paul_Turner

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2008, 07:43:57 AM »
Sean

I look at you photo of the BD's 5th and see a framed, almost symmetrical green complex.  I do agree that the mound performs strategic function too and combined with green contours it's a very difficult approach.

I see less framing and symmetry on Harborne's 11th, mainly because the green is angle.  The mound/bunker on the right basically performs the same function, if less severley, as the mound at BD.  Particularly to a back right pin position. And the mound behind the green was surely put there for chipping interest:  if you hit long you have to loft over it to a strongly downhill tilted green.

Ok enough of this arguing, they are both super holes, back to Brum in general:

Hey Paul, I thought we were discussing/debating.  I don't much care about the final outcome, the fun is in the discourse.  Afterall, we essentially agree, its only details we are talking about. 

Two interesting (or not) thoughts/observations.  Back on another thread you stated that Harborne was one of those Colt's which gets no notice - undeservedly.  I agree and the number of hits on this thread is evidence of that - especially when compared with what folks are interested in.  Second, you and I seem to look at courses from completely different perspectives.  I could be wrong, but you seem to focus a lot on bunkering style and I focus a lot on topography and how it is used.  Is this a fair assessment?  If so, why have you become so interested in bunkering styles?  I am curious because many folks on this site are attracted by this sort of thing and focus on it.  I am beginning to wonder if something is wrong with me - other than the usual hangups of course!

Ciao

No Sean that's not a fair assesment.  The use of the land is why I stated that Harborne's routing was its best quality and why I like a hole like the 9th.  I often focus on the bunkers because these are what get screwed up first, or are currently getting screwed up by guys in JCBs with nobody seeming to care. 

Alsio bunkers, being the most visual features, are the easiest to pick up on a style change of an architect through a long career.

The order of importance is broadly: routing, greens and then hazards.

I admit to being an aestheticist and liking a bit of eye candy now and again.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 07:50:55 AM by Paul_Turner »
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Wet n' Wide
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2009, 06:14:03 AM »
Kaput.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 09:23:53 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE Revisited: Still Wet n' Wide New
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2009, 09:25:30 AM »
Take a look at some updated photos.  Myself and Remy had a go last week and Remy was very impressed.  I walked away a bit more impressed than my previous vist - which is to say Harborne is really quite good.

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 11, 2022, 02:33:40 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

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Re: HARBORNE: Revisited
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2010, 06:01:47 PM »
After another visit today I continue to be more and more impressed with Harborne each time I return.  Am I somehow impaired or does this course not deserve serious consideration for top 100 in England?  Take a look at some updated pix and decide for yourself. Thank you Paul for introducing me to one of the very few proper gems left in thsi world.  

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 05:58:50 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Yes, I may be impaired, but Harborne most certainly does deserve consideration as a top 100 in England.  Take a look at the updated profile.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
I joined Sean for this year's expedition to Harborne. I hadn't been there since the mid 1960s! I didn't remember all of the course, but on this visit everything seemed more extreme, more concentrated and much better than I had remembered. I really enjoyed the course and the challenges set. The greens were in wonderful condition and remarkably fast. Just to miss a putt by an inch or so might entail a putt back of 12 feet! What I hadn't remembered in particular was the scale of earthmoving carried out to create so many fascinating green sites. As the sun lowered towards the end of the afternoon the shadows created made many of these look impressively dramatic.

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Sean and Mark, the green site on 13 seems almost identical to a hole at Reddish Vale. It too was one of the best holes on that course.  I can't remember the number but it seems it was on the back nine.  Do you recall the hole?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 08:32:14 PM by Tommy Williamsen »
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

PPallotta

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Apropos of nothing, it's striking to me what a thin line exists between acting as if you don't give a damn and actually not giving a damn. A thin line subjectively, but objectively the results are miles apart.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 08:52:40 PM by PPallotta »

Paul_Turner

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Sean

I think it's worthy of Top 100, it's as good or better than several that are routinely on the list.

Of all of Colt's courses, it's probably #1 for value for money.   Colt's worst for value for money are either Wentworth West or Stoke Poges!

Mark

Good to hear that the courses is in good nick.  How would you compare it to an old fave of your's: Prestbury?
can't get to heaven with a three chord song

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Paul

The greens were in outstanding nick.  Probably the second best I saw all year behind Formby.  

Depending on what you term a "Colt", I think Burnham could well be the best value Colt out there.  I would place Camberley Heath very high as well.  Yes, Harborne, Prestbury and Southfield are all excellent value.  I don't think I have ever come across poor Colt value, but of the ones I have seen I would probably plop for Trevose or Copt Heath.

Pietro

I don't have a clue on what you are on about.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 05:53:04 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

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