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Sean_A

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LITTLE ASTON GC: Pleasure To Play Again
« on: March 13, 2009, 07:44:05 PM »


Long considered the premier club in the Midlands and a top parkland course in the country, Little Aston has hosted many amateur and professional events, including the Dunlop Masters, Brabazon Trophy and English Amateur. In 2008 the club celebrated its centenary and two years later major amateur golf was reintroduced to the club in the guise of the English Amateur for the first time since hosting the Ladies British Amateur in 1998. Opened in 1908, the original Harry Vardon design is routed mainly through grounds that at one time belonged to Little Aston Hall (adjacent to the 15th fairway and across the lake from #17).  In the 80s the Hall was converted into luxury flats and later more apartments were added along with a private hospital. Importantly, none of this development can be seen or heard from the course. Although a relatively intact Vardon design with work carried out by HS Colt in the mid 1920s; Little Aston has been tweeked in recent years with added tees and revamped bunkers.  Additionally, the 17th green was moved closer to the water on the left creating a much more demanding approach.

The first impression upon arriving at the gates through the posh Little Aston Park neighbourhood is that of quality.  The course is just off Roman Road, a section of the famed Icknield Street which was a Roman road running from the Cotswolds to South Yorkshire.  The tranquility belies the fact that Little Aston lies within a few miles of Birmingham's hustle and bustle.  The house is very tastefully decorated without being ostentatious. After playing the 1st hole that feeling of quality stays with us for the course is rather like a well kept garden and most certainly looks as though it belongs on this landscape. Some may mistake this air of genteel restraint as a sign that a good score can be had cheaply. On the contrary, for those who refuse to meet Little Aston on her terms a round of golf may seem an eternity of frustration. The chief causes of this would be anguish are the greens and bunkers. The putting surfaces tend to measure on the rather large side and many slide from front to back.  The sand pits are sometimes immense and often conceal lines of play.  The somewhat hilly terrain make shots play significantly longer or shorter and fairways often move a penny left or a penny right.  In short, Little Aston is cunning and very good golf.

Image posted by C Georges

The opener is a gentle hole with a bit of a sting in its green end.  The hole flows steadily downhill, but because the green is built up in the rear about 8 feet it is difficult to ascertain how severe the front to back slope is.  Notice the shedding edges of the first green.  Many of the greens feature this style of design which effectively make the greens play smaller.


The monster second plays straight back up the hill and through a myriad of bunkers; usually into the wind.  We next come to the short par five 3rd.  When combined with the 4th and 8th it forms a long avenue not unlike Swinley Forest's 6-8 run.  In earlier times, this via of golf, which has now been cut off from the clubhouse by trees, was a particular delight of members.  It would seem the club doesn't seem to mind burying not only views behind trees, but bunkers as well.  I don't think its a particularly attractive combination, but it does serve the purpose of toughening up this relatively (for flat belly standards) short course. The second to this three-shotter demonstrates how much the course relies on bunkers to challenge golfers.  The foreward left bunker was recently enlarged.


Many of the best courses have good sets of par 4s which are varied.  Little Aston certainly falls into this category as the two-shotters are a marvel of diversity.  The 4th is a lovely short two-shotter in which a long diagonal bunker hides the aggressive landing zone and thus the best angle of approach to this slippery front to back sloping green.  This is a reachable two-shotter for some, but the gap to the green is at such an angle where the green shunts balls toward the back right bunker.  A good drive can reach the far left bunker.  For flags in the back right part of the green there is a hidden half of a bunker which is very much ready to gobble up overly aggressive approaches.  This picture gives an indication of how penal and huge many of the bunkers are.


#5 is the first of a good set of short holes all of which play longer than they appear; this one because of the raised nature of the green combined with front bunkers.  The 6th is a tough driving hole that calls for a fade around the right bunkers.  Once again, we see bunkers being used to obscure the approach distance.  In this case, if one can hit the drive far enough that element is nullified. While Little Aston is a parkland course it does enjoy some elements of heathland characteristics such as relatively good drainage and a scattering of heather here and there.  With the course relying so much on bunkering for interest, I wonder if this is a situation where the two bunkers below should be removed and heather encouraged to flow across the ridge? 


#7 is another tough driving hole which like many at Little Aston has the driving zone pinched by a bunker cutting into the fairway.  Unfortunately, as on #4, some lovely earthworks are buried in trees.  I believe this hole used to play more as a legger right over the large mound.  The green is large and wraps around the front left bunker.  The eighth is dead straight and features another front to back green.  Another wonderful feature of Little Aston's bunkering is how many conceal additional pits further up the course.  In the case, there are hidden bunkers greenside left and right.  The short 9th makes no allowances for a shaped tee shot - only a straight, true shot will find the target.

In days gone by the golfer used to pass through a gate which signaled he was leaving the park to play a trio of holes which seem different from the other 15 holes.  Up to this point, Little Aston has a very gentlemanly nature about it which abruptly comes to an end.  It is not unlike Swinley Forest's or Beau Desert's 12th holes because this par 4 double doglegs as well.  However, Little Aston takes the concept up a notch by requiring a far longer and more precise drive to have any hope of reaching the putting surface in two.  One may think this is a gambler's hole, but playing for a 5 is a much better bet than opting to achieve a two putt par. This hole used to be far more brutal prior to trees being cleared on the left which left a gap and the right fairway bunker removed. Yet, it remains a formidable challenge.  Not only is the 12th a 435 yard, double doglegger, but it also plays uphill, often into the wind, to what is surely one of the smallest greens on the course and over a newly restored large cross bunker. Indeed, some of the time, the bunker some 50 yards short of the green ise the main worry for the player lucky enough to have hit the fairway with his drive.






The best of golf design often centres around tempting the golfer.  #11 is a tight legger left with the land moving right.  One must hit a long drive to earn a view of the green.  The hole has recently been cleared of a ton of debris, thus creating an enticement to drive straight at the green rather than follow the fairway. 


It seems there isn't a single hole at Little Aston where the architects haven't used some sort of clever design method to put golfers on guard. A look at the green. 


The 12th is the last of the three consecutive holes not in Little Aston Park and it also introduces water to the course.  This reachable par 5 is spruced up with a water hazard guarding the lay-up area and approach to the green.  The approach - gulp.  Of course, I don't believe the water was created by Colt or Vardon.  P Dickinson eludes to "improvements" in his " A Round Of Golf Courses" and that is what I believe we can put the water down to on this hole. 


We now re-enter the park proper for the 13th.  Changes are afoot at Little Aston.  The club finally decided to remove the offending tree overly protecting the right side of the green. This crafty one-shotter is the best short hole on the course. It plays to a narrow green with flanking bunkers.  What you can't see from the tee is the green is more protected than it would seem.  A very long blind bunker guarding the right side of the green makes this hole play more difficult than one imagines on the tee.  Before the tree removal.


Behind the green before the tree removal.


After tree removal.




If Little Aston has a famous hole the drivable par four 14th is it.  There are a few spots on the course in which trees are egricious, the 14th is probably the most glaring example.  There should at most be only a few trees down the right so the temptation of the green as a target is in sight.  As the hole is now with a large scattering of unattractive trees, it is not only less attractive than it should be, it also offers less options.  Finally, not having the back tee for the next hole in sight gives a false impression of safety.  I would much prefer to see where golfers are located and take appropriate safety measures rather than hope that trees block a bad shot. For all this, the hole is a keeper.  Due to the large diagonal hazard we only see the far left of the fairway which doesn't look particularly inviting. One's instinct is to fade a drive right over the bunker, but the key is get your ball to the far side of the fairway for the up the alley approach.

Sketch taken from A Round of Golf Courses by P Dickinson

Short-sided approach.


The 15th is a cracking par 5.  If there is a tailwind the flat belly must decide if he can carry the bunker/hump complex.  If he can the green is within reach of two blows.  For the rest of us poor sods, we only have to make sure we don't hit into the crossing hazards.  That said, often times the hole plays straight into the wind and in this case, it takes three good blows to reach this green 550 yards away.


"The greens of Little Aston are large, beautifully kept, and exceedingly cunning.  They are such greens as Professor Einstein would delight to putt on - for there is no such thing a straight line however, superficially, it may appear so.  The slightest of inclines, the subtlest, finest borrows and curling declivities bear the ball away to touch the hole like a tangential arc.  I pause to allow Dickinson to bear witness to what my skills as a photographer cannot - and what better person to quote than the only writer I know of who could match Darwin for his prowess with the pen.  The 15th green is one of the devils Dickinson describes.

#16 is one of those holes where there is loads of space off the tee.  The golfer is tempted to bang away, but perhaps it is best to lay back for a better view of the green for the approach.  Below is a look at the fairway from well in front of the tees. There has been subtle re-shaping of bunkers on this hole.




Many people question the presence of the two water holes, but I think they go a long way to providing variety at Little Aston.  In both cases, the water must be taken on.  The bunker in the foreground is very much in play off the tee and forces the player to make a decision; hit left in a less desirable position for the approach, layup short of the bunker or try to skirt one past the bunker.   


Thankfully, the silly tree sapling past the bunker was removed.


The home hole takes us up our final climb and is tightly bunkered as well - what a surprise.  Another cross bunker conceals the distance to the green and this one is mammoth!  The other standout feature of the hole is a large specimen tree to the right of the green which guards rather than frames. This is rare instance of trees being used intelligently. 


Little Aston is a lovely day's golf, but has been tagged as a course with too many holes which are a bit too similar.  I suspect the aggressive use of bunkering and subtle greens may offer this impression.  As a counter-point and interestingly, the reviews on offer from well known sources (Pennink, Finegan, Dickinson and Doak) all point to different holes as the best.  Pennink cites 6 & 17, Finegan 3, Dickinson 8 & 14 and Doak 18.  Furthermore, Lorne Smith believes 10 is the best hole!  In addition, I believe holes such as 1, 4, 11 & 15 are more than merely good holes.  The conclusion I draw from this discrepancy of opinion is that Little Aston not only has plenty of very good holes, but also great variety.  Yet, Little Aston is essentially only as hard as the golfer chooses to make it.  There are nearly always ways to avoid serious trouble yet one is asked to take risks on a great many of the holes.  In a word, Little Aston is the essence of the gentleman's golf with an emphasis on gentle and fits in very well in terms of ambience and course quality with some of the great clubs of Surrey and Berkshire.  I shall leave the last word to Patric Dickinson;  "...I am not going to give detailed and meticulous directions how to get there, but, I think, as to Southwell Minster, the interested enthusiast will find his way there sooner or later and, without being extended to the utmost, will enjoy himself. Little Aston is in good taste and has good taste."   1*  2021

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Ciao
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 08:38:29 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 03:48:24 AM »
A course Ive long wanted to play and youíve just added to the anticipation. 


I would love to see old pictures for a couple of reasons, are there many in the clubhouse?
The website says mainly Vardon and that would account for the old fashioned look of the cross bunkers.  1908 was before Colt and yet those bunkers appear built in what we might call his style Ė cut into the face of a mound, often created where no natural one existed.  Iíd like to know how much theyíve changed. There seems to be a fair number and they define the course for me and yet you donít find even one of them to be suplerfluous?  Thatís a mark of quality. 


Parkland in England.  Never having played an American parkland course Iím still a bit uneasy with this concept.   I wonder if most English course were constructed on farmland in this densely crowded island, whereas American parkland courses were constructed in mature woodlands?  Even SGH and New Zealnd donít have that feel of maturity in the trees that seems to define the genre abroad (something to do with light soils not supporting big trees?).  The vast majority of trees in your photos are less than 50 years old and again Id like to see old photos to see how it orignally looked.


Paul Turner has commented on here how the clubs donít seem to get the parkland tree look.

Buried in your photos thereís a number of majestic Oaks, and they should get pride of place like here.



Stands of Birch are always wellcome


But thereís too much clutter and the two stunted ornamentls on the left of the photo are a disaster.


Evidence of the earthmoving in 1908?  I bet it looked brutal when it was first done but now it adds Ďcharacterí.


Finally I donít want to sound to negative but doesnít this look more TPC than village pond.  I hope it softens with time.



Having said all that I canít wait to play there. Thanks Sean.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2009, 05:37:46 AM »
Tony, lets not get carried away!  There are probably 10 - 12 bunkers I would remove.  That said, many of the bunkers that are seemingly not of interest surely are for they obscure views of greens and hide landing zones  - a tactic I have always liked especially as one isn't challenged with many awkward lies at Little Aston.  On the whole however, I was very impressed with the bunkering scheme and wonder why I hadn't noticed it too much on earlier trips.  Perhaps it was because I was paying a lot of attention to the greens which are surely a crafty set without appearing to be so.  As you say, I would also take out some trees mainly for visual effect as the trees rarely encroach so much on the course except where they are well used.   

I too would like to know who did what because the bunkering style is a curious mix pre-heathland and heathland styles (minus the heather I think many of these bunkers look exactly like the London courses), but for the most part Little Aston's bunkers are quite punishing - meaning its a one shot penalty to get out. 

Its very difficult to label what a parkland course is because there are really so many different types that the overall term is meaningless in an American context.  From my PoV, parkland means being built in a park and that originally meant not so many trees, but a showcasing of specimens - meaning not a cluttered look with many varieties bunched together.  That said, I believe Stoke Poges, one of the original parkland type courses was built through mature woodland that wasn't really a park in any sense of the word as it is normally associated with human recreation.  In any case, Little Aston feels part parkland and part heathland.  Perhaps a case of more toward the parkland feel, but the turf certainly feels and plays better than the typical parkland course - certainly in the Midlands. 

One aspect that I really enjoy about Little Aston is the club very much feels like some of the great clubs in the heathlands.  It is a great pleasure just to walk through the doors, much like Woking.  I know this has nothing to do with the golf, but it surely helps to make for a grand day.

Since I had the best score in out 4 ball I will be invited back for a game against other March winners in the hopes of qualifying for the May finals of the winter deal.  So you see, even well heeled Little Aston feels the need to get visitors in on specials during "down" winter months.  Hopefully they will runs this winter special next year because at £40 for a game and breakfast with a 1 in four chance to get invited back for a free game is good deal and a clever way to bring in the punters, but it does remain surprising that the club feels its needs to do this.  Mind you, I saw what looked to be quite a large grounds crew beavering away in many areas.  Perhaps the club's continual upgrading for next year's English Amateur is a costly business. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 06:13:30 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

PCCraig

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 07:15:59 AM »
Great tour...thanks for the photos.

I really love the bunkering on the 3rd, very neat. Also, the practice green looks interesting if it actually moves through the shrubs and such.



Random question...when did you take these photos?
H.P.S.

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2009, 07:48:19 AM »
Great tour...thanks for the photos.

I really love the bunkering on the 3rd, very neat. Also, the practice green looks interesting if it actually moves through the shrubs and such.



Random question...when did you take these photos?

Pat

Yes, the putting green plays between the foliage. 

I took the pix yesterday - a very gloomy day.  Hopefully I will get some better pix in April. 

There are a lot of very cool bunkers on the course - especially the huge old diagonal cross bunkers.  I would like to see more of the rugged earthworks as seen on the 6th, 7th and 15th.  These are sort of the antithesis of the cross bunkers, but in many respects serve the same purposes. 

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

J_ Crisham

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2009, 07:55:14 AM »
Sean, Nice pictures!   Is this a flatish piece of property?  If so, the bunkering really spices up the flow of the holes. Have to get over at some point to play. Are greens fees reasonable and are they open to guest play?                               Jack

PCCraig

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2009, 07:59:07 AM »
Sean-

I'm not very informed when it comes to London Area golf...is this a private club that offers outside play for 80 pounds? Or is this a full "public" club?

I agree with your last post...it seems that they have done a great job taking a normal piece of land and by adding some neat bunkering, a couple wild greens, and some man made mounding, they have made a really neat and fun golf course.
H.P.S.

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2009, 08:28:30 AM »
Jack

"Is this a flatish piece of property?"

Actually, Little Aston has significant elevation changes, but none are ott.  That said, the fairways play mainly level without too much in the way of awkward stances.


Pat

I'm not very informed when it comes to London Area golf...is this a private club that offers outside play for 80 pounds? Or is this a full "public" club?

One of the great things about GB&I golf is that one can pay the visitor green fee of a private club and waltz around what are often times virtually empty courses during the week.  To me, this is worth paying extra over say an American public course which may be very good, but the day out suffers due to a variety of factors that come along with public golf - mainly slow play and the general herd mentality of the staff - "getem' through the gates fast or slow, what matters is that till keep ringing". 

£80 (~$116) summer rate is a steep price to pay in the Midlands for a game of golf even at a private club, but this is why I do my touring in the winter when the fees are often less than half the normal rate.  I spose Little Aston's perennially high ranking (usually between 40ish and 60ish) is to blame for the high fees.  On previous visits I never got the feeling Little Aston belonged in such acclaimed company, but after this visit I "get" the course.  Whether its top 50 or 100 I don't know, but I have a lot of time for Little Aston. 

BTW - Little Aston is not in London, its in Birmingham, but it compares well with the well heeled London area clubs - which in my experience is unusual for courses from any part of the country to accomplish.  You can just feel the difference when you walk through the gates of say Woking or Swinley and LA feels the same way.  For many this is neither here nor there, but I think it adds to the overall experience of the day. 

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

David_Tepper

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2009, 10:04:26 AM »
Sean -

Thanks for the photo tour.

I played LA in 1985. I remember the unique practice putting green. I still have the Ben Hogan "25th Anniversary" wedge I bought out of a barrel in the pro shop there.

DT

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2009, 07:33:52 PM »
I must be missing something.  While LA is a nice course I have played a couple hundred parkland courses its equal. After about 10 holes I was waiting to be done.  I played well there so that was not an issue.  I thought that the greens were the strength of the course.  Other wise it was hit a drive hit a second shot and go.
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2009, 07:53:13 PM »
I must be missing something.  While LA is a nice course I have played a couple hundred parkland courses its equal. After about 10 holes I was waiting to be done.  I played well there so that was not an issue.  I thought that the greens were the strength of the course.  Other wise it was hit a drive hit a second shot and go.

Tommy

Either A) you are a lucky guy, B) I look for different things in a course, C) I am easily pleased or D) some or all of the above! 

Little Aston certainly doesn't have any power packing visuals, but it is good, strategic golf all the way round which doesn't beat you up - its only as hard as one makes it.  I really enjoy this sort of low key approach which doesn't rely on a few impact holes to carry the day.

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

PPallotta

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2009, 08:25:22 PM »
Sean - thanks, as always. You know I too like the low key approach (visually and playing-wise), but on LA I do notice and miss the canted/sloped fairways of some of the other courses you profile here -- both in terms of what I imagine is lost playing-wise, and visually - given how bunkers have to be used on a 'level' landscape.

Peter

John Mayhugh

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 09:30:43 PM »
Am I ever enjoying the winter tour.  An interesting variety of courses that makes me wish the BUDA trip was for two weeks instead of one.  A couple of questions:

How long is the third hole?

What's the carry over the diagonal bunker on the 14th? 

Many thanks for posting these pics.

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2009, 04:18:39 AM »
Am I ever enjoying the winter tour.  An interesting variety of courses that makes me wish the BUDA trip was for two weeks instead of one.  A couple of questions:

How long is the third hole?

What's the carry over the diagonal bunker on the 14th? 

Many thanks for posting these pics.


John

The 3rd is just under 500 yards from the daily tees and maybe 25 yards longer from the back.

The carry on 14 is very deceptive.  I guessed about 175, but its more like 210.  However, to get the straight angle into the green its about a 235 shot.  All that said, its not a bad play at all to go left unless you really think you can reach the green because its a wedge from anywhere in the fairway - the hole is all about the angles.

Peter

Little Aston doesn't have canted fairways hence the reason there aren't many awkward lies and hence one of the reasons I think of the course as very "gentlemanly".  The course is more about deception with combination of elevation changes and bunkering.  For instance, the 4th.  The ideal landing zone is obscured by a diagonal bunker.  So the player then looks at the left bunker then pauses and wonders if that is reachable.  Before you know it, you have a 3 wood in your hand aiming at the fat part of the fairway, but the part which doesn't offer a view of the green.  This is important for two reasons.  1st, the green really slides hard away from the fairway.  If the player figures this out and decides his approach just needs to cover the bunker and gravity will do the rest.  However, there is also a wee raised lip to the front of the green which kills approaches that don't comfortably carry the green - leaving a nasty downhill or worse, downhill/sidehill putt.  I could go on more about this hole because there is more, but you get the idea.  Little Aston is full of this sort stuff which isn't thought much of these days, but these little features are what really float my boat. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 15, 2009, 04:24:11 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Andrew Mitchell

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2009, 06:28:16 AM »
Sean
Thanks as ever for your extensive photo tour.  Little Aston has been on my list of courses to see for some time and this is the most detail I've seen of it.

When I first saw the photos I thought there would be too much bunkering for your liking so I was surprised that you would only take out a dozen or so.
2014 to date: not actually played anywhere yet!
Still to come: Hollins Hall; Ripon City; Shipley; Perranporth; St Enodoc

Michael Wharton-Palmer

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2009, 09:18:07 AM »
Thanks Sean..oh what memories.
I love that place...I finished second after a  playoff with Gary Wolstenholme in the Midaln amateur there many moos ago.
Great parkland course..so much fun to play
thanks for the great pictures.

Mark_Rowlinson

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2009, 02:04:45 PM »
Sean, Have you read Patric Dickinson's account of Little Aston? He is most eloquent on the nature of it as a parkland course.

It was at Little Aston that I first observed gamesmanship in action (in the 1960s in some ICI inter-division tournament in which my father was playing and I caddied for him). Poor man, I disgraced him on the 5th green when I stood with his bag and the flag on the very edge of the green above a bunker. I caused the edge to collapse, and I fell into the bunker, bag, flag and all. He wasn't worried about me but he fretted over what to do about the damaged bunker. He played abusmally from then on....

Sean_A

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Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure To Play Again Sir
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2009, 07:23:56 AM »
Mark

Yes, the Dickinson book is charming and a must read for any golf enthusiast. 

All, take a look at the updates pix.

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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: A Pleasure To Play Again Sir
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2010, 07:30:14 PM »
All

Another update from the Winter Tour of England & Wales.  For those that love Huntercombe, I think they would also have a lot of time for Little Aston.  They are different from each for the sure, but both are born out the classic school strategic design.  

Previous stops on the 2009/10 Winter Tour below.  Next stop scheduled stop Formby.  I did play Swinley Forest and Huntercombe, but the tours weren't substantially upgraded.  

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,43021.0/

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

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30965.0/

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

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,42229.msg902776/#msg902776

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,42385.0/

http://golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32146.msg631133/#msg631133

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 07:56:11 AM by Sean Arble »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: A Pleasure To Play Again Sir
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2011, 05:48:00 PM »
The 2010/11 Winter Tour took me back to Little Aston and I was frustratingly as impressed as ever.  See the updated Tour.

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

Kevin Pallier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 03:45:25 AM »
I spose Little Aston's perennially high ranking (usually between 40ish and 60ish) is to blame for the high fees.  On previous visits I never got the feeling Little Aston belonged in such acclaimed company, but after this visit I "get" the course.  Whether its top 50 or 100 I don't know, but I have a lot of time for Little Aston. 

Sean

I neve found the time to get to Little Aston when in the UK - where would you bracket it in relation to other courses in the Central / Midlands region ?

Greg Taylor

Re: LITTLE ASTON: A Pleasure To Play Again Sir
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2011, 08:40:56 AM »
^ I used to live 5 mins from LA and IMHO I would put "LA" in the highest echeleon in terms of it's stature in the Midlands area. Comparable I would say with Beau Desert. Let me also say that joinging Little Aston is not easy, they dont want or need more members and you have to live on the estate or be well connected to join.

Annual subs are whatever they are incidentally... the mods to the 17th cost £xxx and the club asked each member to pay any cash shortfall. If you didn't pay or agree... then you are free to join elsewhere!

As Sean has mentioned as a day package the club house and atmosphere is excellent, and you rarely see anyone else on the course, (at least in my experience). For sure, the estate that the course resides in is very exclusive, like Wentworth. The putting green is wonderful.

Little Aston along with Sutton Coldfield recently hosted the English Amateur final and having watched final itself I was surprised that the winning scores weren't several under par. From memory I think in the morning of the final the scores were one or two under.

The recent mod to the 17th is somewhat out of character with the course, but having said that the course did need some bite esp over the closing holes.

Thanks for the review Sean....

Michael Wharton-Palmer

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: A Pleasure To Play Again Sir
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2011, 09:30:54 AM »
Sean..
Thanks very much such fond memories for me...one of my better tournaments was there losing ina play off to Gary Wolstenholme in the Midland Am many moons ago.
I love LA...Graet place to play, very entertaining and tough to score on.
Love the pictoral tour...thank you again for posting.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 05:07:36 PM »
I spose Little Aston's perennially high ranking (usually between 40ish and 60ish) is to blame for the high fees.  On previous visits I never got the feeling Little Aston belonged in such acclaimed company, but after this visit I "get" the course.  Whether its top 50 or 100 I don't know, but I have a lot of time for Little Aston.  

Sean

I neve found the time to get to Little Aston when in the UK - where would you bracket it in relation to other courses in the Central / Midlands region ?

Kevin

If we take an area formed by the box of Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham in the North and Worcester and Northampton in the south (sort of the centre are of the Midlands) Little Aston fairs very well.  For my money these are the top 5:

1. Beau Desert
2. Little Aston
3. Northamptonshire Co
4. Whittington Heath
5. Worcester

Blackwell would probably make the top 5 if they sorted out the serious tree issues.  Harborne would probably make it if it was cheaper.

I have a lot of time for Little Aston, but I am slightly hesitant to recommend a one night detour to see it because the course is incredibly subtle (and fairly pricey) and its easy to be sucked in by visuals of the bunkers.  Still, I like Little Aston so much that I am sure folks would at least gain some sort of appreciation if played only once.

Ciao

 
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 05:28:15 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Daryl "Turboe" Boe

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: LITTLE ASTON: Pleasure to Play Sir
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2012, 09:06:02 AM »
I spose Little Aston's perennially high ranking (usually between 40ish and 60ish) is to blame for the high fees.  On previous visits I never got the feeling Little Aston belonged in such acclaimed company, but after this visit I "get" the course.  Whether its top 50 or 100 I don't know, but I have a lot of time for Little Aston.  

Sean

I neve found the time to get to Little Aston when in the UK - where would you bracket it in relation to other courses in the Central / Midlands region ?

Kevin

If we take an area formed by the box of Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham in the North and Worcester and Northampton in the south Little Aston fairs very well.  For my money these are the top 5:

1. Beau Desert
2. Little Aston
3. Northamptonshire Co
4. Whittington Heath
5. Worcester

Blackwell would probably make the top 5 if they sorted out the serious tree issues.  Harborne would probably make it if it was cheaper.

I have a lot of time for Little Aston, but I am slightly hesitant to recommend a one night detour to see it because the course is incredibly subtle (and fairly pricey) and its easy to be sucked in by visuals of the bunkers.  Still, I like Little Aston so much that I am sure folks would at least gain some sort of appreciation if played only once.

Ciao

 
I stumbled across this old thread I hadn't seen back then.

I would second the thoughts of Sean.  I only had the chance for one round at LA, but found my day to be quite enjoyable.  It doesn't overpower you with huge visuals, but it is fun strategically, and the greens were fantastically fun.

I saw a few people ask about the practice green/putting course so I thought I would post this picture from behind the clubhouse looking out over the first hole to the left and the putting course in the foreground.

"Time spent playing golf is not deducted from ones lifespan."

"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

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