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Sean_A

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ENVILLE GC Highgate Course New
« on: June 28, 2010, 06:46:54 AM »
Enville is an attractive village not far from Stourbridge.  The club is about 1.5 miles north of the village in glorious Staffordshire countryside and both courses are a pleasant change of pace from the heavily industrial Black Country to the northeast.  Two 18 hole courses were eventually completed and designated as such in 1983; both are approximately equal parts heathland and parkland.  The evolution of the Highgate course is vague, but I believe it is an combination of work by A Padgham, A Wigglesworth, H Lewis and F Pennink over several decades.   

The Highgate Course is named after the nearby common.  The course has been the site of Open Regional Qualifying and relatively high qualifying scores are a testament to its ability to test the best players.  In the recent past changes have been afoot at Enville. Two new greens have been built and a few others had their bunkering and shaping altered.  The opening seven holes are a grand stretch of heathland golf measuring less than 2300 yards, however, one should not be deceived by this modest length as much long iron/fairway wood play is required on later holes. 

The course opens with a fabulous par 5 which requires precision approaching to hit the green in two.  Forward bunkers and a green sloping away from play combine to make this short three-shotter a true par 5. 




The bunker changes on #1 serve to make the green easier to approach.  Then and now.




The second is a demanding long par three with a green sloping surprisingly left.  The Highgate is punctuated with several blind/obscured drives.  The drivable par 4 third swings left between two blind bunkers and finishes with a green running away from the fairway.  Behind the green is the 1st fairway.  The intimidating 4th has a large bunker eating into an obscured narrow fairway. 




A nasty cross bunker awaits the aggressive player willing to take on the 240ish yard carry over the previous bunker. Below is an example of how parched the club is willing to let the course become.  While courses look very attractive when baked out, it isn't necessarily ideal conditions because it is difficult to get the balance of fairway aprons and greens running at roughly the same speed...which to me is ideal conditions. 


A tight par 3, the fifth was re-worked a few years ago.  Gone is the forward cross bunker; replaced by a simple bunker which should be a more prominent feature with a higher nose.  Some foliage to the rear has been cleared out as well. 


To this point the golfer has been engaged in a game of cat and mouse with length not an issue.  The 6th alters this formula with a brutal, but great par 4 of 449 yards. 


The second is all uphill and ever so difficult.  Most must flirt with these bunkers to get home in two.


This is one of the greens which had the bunkering and shaping altered, however, the front to back tilt remains.


The opening stretch is completed by a seemingly breather hole of 323 yards.  Like all good short par 4s there has to be some sort of sting in the tail and the narrow target of the green provides this bite.


We now play nine holes in a more parkland setting with trees being the major obstacle to good scoring.  I believe 8-13 are D Steel holes. The 8th is another blind drive, but within reach of the tee is funky mounding which replaced a blind creek.  This is better than the creek, but not enough to win me over. 


Each nine is book-ended with a par 5.  All the three-shotters are very different and only the 9th requires some hitting.  At 596 yards and through an alley of trees this hole can fairly be called a beast.  Only two very accurate and long shots to the corner of a dogleg will leave an opportunity to approach the green. 


The short three-shotter 10th features another blind creek in the driving zone.  Again, one of the hardest aspects of this hole is its obscured nature.  It is difficult to pick a line and commit to it. One can lay-up and still reach the green, but the odds are the approach will be coming in flat and not hold the green or find the very well placed bunker well short of the green.  This is a most unusual par 5 and I applaud its originality.


By now I am longing to return to the heathland.  The holes among the trees grind because many of them are not wide enough to accommodate shots.  It is very easy to be just off fairways with absolutely no shot at the green; which is fine for a few holes, but not for long stretches at a time.  The 11th was formally quite a short, tight par 4.  It has been extended about 40 yards with a new green near the boundary line.  A swale fronts the green which has more movement than the older version. 


The double dogleg 12th is a case in point about lack of width.  The corridor is about 50 yards wide and the hole turns right then left at the landing zone.  To top it off the fairway cants left.  Its a great shame it isn't easier to make the approach to this great green site.




The 13th turns back on #12.  The right to left slope of the 12th is now left to right; again, a very accurate drive is required for this long par 4.  Down the right is the remains of an old pond whose clay base was punctured when fire fighters used the water on a call.  Consequently, the pond drained.  I can imagine this being a marvelous hole if trees down the right were cleared to the would be pond, leaving an upper and lower fairway.  While still among the trees, we are finally rewarded for the patience of the six previous holes with a good par 3.  Very little of the putting surface can be seen and there is a hidden bunker mid-green to the right.  The fifteenth is the beneficiary of a new green complex which is far more interesting than its predecessor.  The drive used to be largely blind until the tee was moved further right.  With the land canting well right, we have another dogleg against the grain.  Below is the approach.  On the holes with newer work more mounding was created, but for some reason trees are in these areas, thus reducing the visual impact of the work.


We now break back into more open ground, though not quite onto heathland.  I am not sure why the water isn't better utilized for this short hole.  However, there is a gradual slope rising from the water to the green which can easily repel shots which come in too high.  To reach the 17th we must cross over the Lodge's 18th and 2nd holes.  The heathland look is immediately discernable once stepping on the tee of the penultimate hole. 

The dogleg on the par 5 final hole is severe, but a well placed drive leaves an opportunity to reach the green in two; although it may be wiser to forego the aggressive play due to a new bunkering scheme tightly guarding the green.
 

 

The house.
 

There are many fine holes and compelling shots on the Highgate, especially on the heathland holes.  However, I can't help thinking what gem is waiting to be discovered if the club ever decided to create one heathland course rather than two hybrid courses and clear out thousands of trees.  That said, I am in the minority of not enjoying the six hole stretch between 8 and 13 - most folks like this sort of golf.  I admit they aren't bad holes and nothing that wider fairway corridors couldn't fix, still, I am left wondering.  Good news though, some 2500 trees were recently removed and there are long term plans to continue tree removal.  The inconsistency of quality and too many blind shots with trouble lurking are enough to limit my appreciation for Highgate, but one won't be disappointed should he happen to get an invite.  2018

Link to Lodge Tour
www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,61551.msg1461523.html#msg1461523

Ciao   
« Last Edit: January 15, 2021, 05:30:55 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

James Boon

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Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 01:11:45 PM »
Sean,

This looks much more appealing that your Copt Heath tour so again thanks for posting!

From the pictures it reminds me a bit of Sutton Coldfield? Perhaps its the mix of open heathland and tight parkland?

I'd be interested to know of the courses pedigree with regards to who was involved if anyone knows. If I remember I'll check Cornish & Whitten when I get home tonight to see if they can throw any light on the matter...

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course New
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2010, 05:14:21 PM »
Sean,

This looks much more appealing that your Copt Heath tour so again thanks for posting!

From the pictures it reminds me a bit of Sutton Coldfield? Perhaps its the mix of open heathland and tight parkland?

I'd be interested to know of the courses pedigree with regards to who was involved if anyone knows. If I remember I'll check Cornish & Whitten when I get home tonight to see if they can throw any light on the matter...

Cheers,

James

Boony

You are right, Copt Heath doesn't have any holes the stature of Enville's 1st or 6th.  I would agree that Enville is probably just below the class of Sutton Coldfield and the two courses are somewhat alike.  I really don't know who designed Enville, but I would hope the archie(s) would have tried to convince the club to create a primary heathland course.

Ciao 
« Last Edit: August 10, 2020, 11:46:00 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

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2010, 05:47:58 PM »
Sean - Highgate was built in 1983, you say?  And not by a 'name'?  Fascinating.  That sure goes to prove something. I'm not sure what exactly - perhaps that the LAND, for anyone with eyes to see, TELLS you how to design and build a course; perhaps that a GOOD but relatively obscure designer, if he is willing to remain relatively obscure, will build a BETTER and more lovely and more LASTING golf course than would a hungrily ambitious designer; perhaps that if one honours his OWN TRADITION (both personal and 'cultural') instead of that of another person or place, you end up having a golf course that looks like it's been there a HUNDRED YEARS.  (I m not usually a big complainer about cart-paths, but here I wish they'd have scaled those back a lot). I think I may like this Highgate even more than you do, Sean.       

Thanks
Peter

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2010, 05:55:02 PM »
Sean,

No luck with Cornish & Whitten I'm afraid. Enville isn't mentioned so no light on who designed it from that direction. It has to be the first course I've come across that isn't mentioned in their book?

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 06:02:03 PM »
Sean - Highgate was built in 1983, you say?  And not by a 'name'?  Fascinating.  That sure goes to prove something. I'm not sure what exactly - perhaps that the LAND, for anyone with eyes to see, TELLS you how to design and build a course; perhaps that a GOOD but relatively obscure designer, if he is willing to remain relatively obscure, will build a BETTER and more lovely and more LASTING golf course than would a hungrily ambitious designer; perhaps that if one honours his OWN TRADITION (both personal and 'cultural') instead of that of another person or place, you end up having a golf course that looks like it's been there a HUNDRED YEARS.  (I m not usually a big complainer about cart-paths, but here I wish they'd have scaled those back a lot). I think I may like this Highgate even more than you do, Sean.       

Thanks
Peter

Pietro

The 36 were completed in 1983.  The many iterations of the course(s) have been going on for something like 75 years.  To me, it does feel like amateur design except for the brand new stuff.  This work has the opposite problem of the hand of pro archie is too prominent like in I have seen this before - more than once.

The paths in question are just paths, not cart paths.  Still, down the middle of some corridors seems rather dopey.  That is the MO of Enville all over though.  I don't think the project is well thought out in terms of getting the best of this land.  I spose my angle is I can't really enjoy this course (read Hillside into this as well) because I think it is a big opportunity gone begging.  Sort of like leaving two men on base if you know what I mean. 

Ciao 
« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 08:27:03 PM 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

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 06:11:30 PM »
Thanks, Sean - I'm a little  :-[  . As soon as I posted (and with the memory of that grand 'house' lingering in my mind) I realized that you probably meant the 2-course complex had its lastest iteration and was completed in 1983. So now it's interesting instead that you felt the archies didn't make the most out of the land. I defer to your view, both because you've played it and because you know your stuff. But it does LOOK to me like the 'average English course' I like so very much, and your description of it makes it sound like one good and/or fun and/or challenging hole after the other. 

Pietro

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 02:15:26 AM »
Thanks, Sean - I'm a little  :-[  . As soon as I posted (and with the memory of that grand 'house' lingering in my mind) I realized that you probably meant the 2-course complex had its lastest iteration and was completed in 1983. So now it's interesting instead that you felt the archies didn't make the most out of the land. I defer to your view, both because you've played it and because you know your stuff. But it does LOOK to me like the 'average English course' I like so very much, and your description of it makes it sound like one good and/or fun and/or challenging hole after the other.  

Pietro

Pietro

Enville isn't a bad course at all.  Everybody I know praises it highly and it does have some interesting holes.  I just think that less would be more in this case because the heathland sections of the courses are very good land for golf and I don't understand why someone would want to split it up over two courses.  The bottom line for me is I am not a big fan of narrow corridor (especially with such mature trees) parkland golf because I believe trees should be used sparingly in design.  If the parkland holes were opened up another 25 yards I would be singing a different tune about Enville.  For the Birmingham area, Enville is right there with Blackwell as courses which should be much better than they are.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 02:59:55 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

Michael Taylor

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Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2010, 06:10:09 AM »
Pretty good looking course. I just think it's slightly repetitive to have the same bunkering scheme on the first 3 of 5 holes, 1, 4 and 5 have a bunker in front, and one to each side.

Do you have an opinion on those 3 holes bunkering?


Mat Poade

Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 03:34:04 PM »
I played the lodge course today. Holes 1-3 are Heathland, then you cross a road and 4 -12 are parkland through the pine trees then back to heathland for the finish. Across the road is a bit tight in places with 2 very severe doglegs which unless you have played before it's quite hard to decide where to go off the tee. There's a lot more undulation than i was expecting.

I enjoyed the contrast, but I do agree it would be better if they had 18 holes of heathland and parkland. Perhaps its something to do with them wanting to hold major comps. Looking at the card of the Lodge there's not a lot of length in the heathland portion of the course, so perhaps 18holes of heathland would be too short for the better amateurs.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2014, 04:13:56 PM »
Nice of you to bump Enville Mat.

I've played both the Highgate and the Lodge quite a few times and like them both, although my play there has always been from the competition whites rather than the daily yellows.

I'm not sure I'd call the holes in the trees 'parkland' as I tend to associate 'parkland' with clay and Enville seems to be all on sand and drains well. The trees are tall tough with the holes cut through them (rather than the holes built first and the trees added later).

The Highgate is generally considered the more difficult course and is the course where Regional Qualifying for The Open was played on several recent occasions. That said I like the Lodge too.

I understand that the original 18-holes at Enville comprised the front-9 of the now Highgate plus the first-3 and last-6 of the Lodge. Later a additional 9 was added to the Highgate and later still 9 more holes over the road were built to make the Lodge up to 18-holes. As Mat says the holes over the road on the Lodge are pretty undulating.

Heather comes into play quite a bit on the first few holes and last couple of holes on the Highgate, with the balance of the holes being in the trees. The heather is very close to the edges of the fairways so off the fairway is not the place to stray. There's heather on the more open holes on the Lodge as well, but not so much nor so close to the fairways as on the Highgate.

A few changes have been made to some of the bunkering on both courses over the last few years and a couple of holes on both courses have had new greens built which have extended them. In house work I believe.

One further aspect of Enville worth highlighting, is the (for the UK) exceptional practice facilities, chipping and practice greens galore. A feature far to often overlooked.

Both courses are worth playing. Neither are as good as say Beau Desert, not many are, but both would be in the upper echelon of courses that ring Birmingham.

Here'a Bing sat-map - http://binged.it/1tFG1IH

atb

Mat Poade

Re: Enville GC Redux: Highgate Course
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2014, 05:20:18 PM »
Yes, its not really parkland. They are very Woburn esqe.

Yes there seems to have been quite a few changes. I purchased a course planner from the shop and there were at least 8-10 bunkers that weren't on the planner. The 11th we played to the old green so its a severe dogleg. The new green makes the hole a straight par 4 of around 400 yard to a green well below the fairway, it looked a much better hole than the version i played.

I think the medal tee's only add around 200 yards onto the course. It felt like there was often a decent walk from tee to green.

Looking at the card, the heathland holes on the lodge contain 2 par 3's and no par 5. Yardage is ~2800 for those holes.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ENVILLE GC Highgate Course
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2018, 05:19:56 AM »
I had the pleasure of playing Enville Highgate again in conditions which are very similar to 2006...more baked than Spicoli  :D   The club has started to make inroads with the serious tree problems to the tune of 2500 trees getting the axe.  While it has made a difference in terms of finding balls on some holes and having a way out of the forest, there is a long way to go.  There is evidence of heather regeneration in the some of the cleared areas and it is the hope of the club this trend will continue.  See the dramatically updated tour.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 16, 2018, 06:10:43 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

Thomas Dai

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Re: ENVILLE GC Highgate Course
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2018, 06:05:40 AM »
Nice re-visit. I've played Enville, both courses, many a time during a dry spell and it can get pretty burnt-up and fiery. I've heard a new irrigation system is planned for both courses. Greens and tees only I hope......fiery fairways are fun.:)
I like the sound of trees coming out and heather re-generation, yippee! This might also reduce some of the sap-like effect on the more tree enclosed greens that seems to exist ie, mark your ball, pick it up and the ball will have a sticky feel to it.
atb






MJohnson

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Re: ENVILLE GC Highgate Course
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2018, 12:02:13 PM »
The courses are certainly dry , as I can reach the long par 4s, like the 6th, at present.


I took three friends from Lincolnshire around a few weeks ago and the also felt that the tree lined holes reminded them of Woburn too. They also felt that it was underrated in the grand scheme of English golf courses. I agree - but I am biased!
2019 courses - Enville, Wharton Park,

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ENVILLE GC Highgate Course
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2018, 05:18:36 AM »
I don't know if it could ever be on the cards because thousands upon thousands more trees would need to be removed, but to be called a proper heathland course would be a big boost for a Midlands course.  Still, I have seen great improvements with the course and house since my first visits circa 2000.

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

Tim Taylor

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: ENVILLE GC Highgate Course
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2018, 09:24:44 AM »
My cousin is a member of Enville. I've played both courses (only once each) with him. Nice club, fun courses. Can't wait to do it again.


Tim

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