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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Musings on MOSELEY GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour New
« on: April 29, 2011, 07:31:59 PM »
Probably most famous for its rugby club which won many honours and supplied the English national side with countless internationals during the 60s, 70 & 80s, Moseley is also home to one of the many Colt courses in the greater Birmingham area. Founded in 1892, Moseley is located approximately four miles from the city centre between Moseley and Kings Heath.  The nine hole course underwent a radical Colt redesign beginning in 1913. Colt was to visit and make suggestions on several occasions over a span of some 20 plus years.  The end result is an ingenious routing over a fairly small property.  As is most usually the case with Colt courses, the short par 4s (of which there are three just below or over 300 yards) are balanced with a few long par 4s (three over 440 yards) with only a few par 5s to keep par a tight 70. 

The view as one turns the corner of the house is most impressive.  The 18th, 1st and 10th are running to and from the house unfettered by many trees.  Unfortunately, much of the course is corsetted with foliage, but to be fair, only a few holes are seriously impacted by lack of fairway width.  Many of the holes are short enough that hitting a driver off the tee isn't paramount.  The greens are typically Colt; many are flatish, but with enough subtlety to keep golfers interested and honest. 

Before getting to the course, a word about the father and son Lunts must be mentioned if Moseley is to be spoken of at all. Between the two, they Captained England on five occasions.  The father, Stanley, was a most important early member of the club having won the 1934  English Amateur.  The son, Michael, died in 2007 while sitting as Captain of the R&A.  He won the 1963 Amateur Championship at St Andrews with his rather glamorous wife to be on the bag.  Michael also won the 1962 and 1966 English Amateur and was a member of the Walker Cup teams four times on the trot between 1959 and 1963.  A true amateur, Michael was obliged to refuse five invites to the Masters due to the pressing nature of his job.  Not surprisingly, both Lunts remained Moseley members until their dying day. 



The opening hole is curious as the landing zone is blind with hidden water both right and left.  Just over the crest of the hill all is revealed.




A very tight driving hole, the second somehow manages to look inviting.  There is a huge benefit to carrying the left bunkers successfully compared to laying up into the hillside. 


The approach can still be difficult even with a wedge in hand because the view of the green is obscured by sand.


The third is a monster 460 yard par 4 bending left.  The fairway is not nearly wide enough for this type of dogleg with tall trees guarding the left side of the fairway.  More is the pity because the green is good.  Moseley's first par 3 is, as one should have come to expect from Colt by now, one of a fine set.  However, visually, this hole is lacking something. Perhaps the green has shrunk over the years. This corner of the course is very peaceful and if one looks away from the houses through the trees it is impossible to tell the second largest city in the UK has us enveloped. Anyway, onto a rather unusual hole.  Colt designed this in 1936 and Water Hole is most certainly an apt title.  Its not the water which is unusual, its the trees on the far bank which are an added hazard for the bold hoping to cut the corner.  The photo doesn't reveal the clever fairway which propels a well shaped draw.   


The second unusual aspect is the forward tee - it is part of the path leading around the pond.  I have never seen anything quite like this. For all the oddities on the tee side of the water, once over, this is an excellent hole.  Below is photo from ~170 yards out; very reminiscent of Harborne and Southfield.


The par 3 sixth is a hole of simplistic beauty that Colt seems to have had an exceptional ability to create. 


The following hole exposes perhaps Colt's weakest area of design, the par 5.  The drive zone is too narrow and the hole doesn't have enough to recommend it considering some 480 yards of land is used on a design where land is a premium.  #8 is a bit better, but I still get the impression that not quite enough land was available to squeeze out a really top notch design.  The front side ends on a positive note with a very good par 4 of moderate length.  Bunkers which seem well out of play from the tee are indeed reachable.  Colt does this trick more than once at Moseley.  Bunkers are out there just within reach, there is no good reason to challenge them, yet players feel compelled to give it a go.  The 10th which heads straight past the first may be the best hole on the course.  The drive is uncharacteristcally wide open, but this hole is all about the redan-like green.  This photo is from well beyond the driving zone.  What a beauty!




The fine golf continues on the diminutive 11th.  The green is cut off the pad for the 1st green and 12th tee.  Colt created a collection-like saddle in the middle of the putting surface which is well disguised. 


The 12th is another good medium length par 4.  Indeed, perhaps this length of hole along with the par 3s is the strength of Moseley.  As on the 9th, the bunkers off the tee don't look reachable, but they are...just.  The angle of the green tilts toward the oob line down the left and that is where the drive needs to be to access the hole.


Unfortunately, the good holes come to an abrupt end with #13.  This is another long par 4 which is too narrow off the tee given that oob runs down the left side of the hole.  Like the 3rd, the hole turns left at the driving zone and requires a very accurate strike if driver is the choice of club.  Not my favourite sort of hole for a long par 4.  The final par 3 is an interesting change of pace for the short holes.  Colt hides the narrow putting surface with a large cross bunker not unlike many found at Little Aston.


A most curious hole, the 15th is just about drivable, but one must drive over a small wood.  There is a scrap of fairway left to aim for, perhaps not quite enough to create clear choices from the tee.  Either way, as is the case with the 5th, I have never seen a Colt hole quite like this. As expected, the green is a small, narrow target which opens up from the right and requires a longer carry from the tee.


The final long par 4 (there are three around 460 yards) comes on the 16th.  Again, I am not keen on this hole, but its not bad.  I get the impression that the large dip which is part of the area one must drive over for the previous hole is not used as well as it might be simply due to lack of fairway width again. 


#17 is a short par 4 which can be driven.  Again, the angle one leaves for the second is very important.  Anything coming from the right side of the fairway makes it difficult to access the hole, but there are two fairway bunkers which tease the golfer iinto lurching further right than he should. The canted green is a very simple concept, but I am not sure its used enough.  The home hole is a good short par 5 finishing under the patio of the attractive clubhouse.  A very well placed large centre-line bunker is hidden off the tee because the drive is downhill over the crest.   

There is a lot to recommend Moseley.  A very good set of short holes and an outstanding group of 350 to 380 yard par 4s are the main positives. The bunkers too are often cleverly placed and many are attractive yet simple in their design.  However, the property is a bit too tight and that feeling is increased by too many trees.  Additionally, the long par 4s and three-shotters are not exceptional in any way.  A course of 6300 yards from the tips desperately needs some excellent longer holes and on this score Moseley fails.  Still, Colt did a very good job creating a large handful of very good holes on a tight property.  He also managed to create a little slice of heaven in blocking out the hassles of a large city.  I would also point out that the club is very hospitable as visitors are allowed seven days a week including the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday. For a fan of Colt Moseley is well worth visting.  For the remainder of golf enthusiasts, Moseley is certainly worth your time if you are invited or get a round on offer.  Moseley won't threaten to make a best of list, but it will provide an enjoyable round of golf.   2015

Ciao 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 05:46:35 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

Phil McDade

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 10:19:32 AM »
Sean:

Another fine review of British golf obscura. I like the look of the back nine more than the front, and I can't imagine long forced carries over water, and hidden water to start off the round, appealed to your usual sensibilities. I think the back-nine par 3s look much more interesting than those on the front nine, and I think that small stretch of 10-12 looks like the centerpiece of the course's appeal.

Colt's bunker work continues to be a highlight of these photo essays.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 04:20:34 PM »
Phil

Thanks

I really liked #1!  Its a cool hole which presents clear choices from the tee.  I am also very intrigued by the 5th and the 15th as they are such unusual holes for a guy like Colt to build.  Perhaps two of these odd over the tree holes is one too many though.

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

Dónal Ó Ceallaigh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 05:32:57 PM »
Sean,

Once again, thanks for the nice review.

Some of the greens look tiny. Are they really that small in reality?

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 05:39:02 PM »
Donal

Thank you.  Yes, the greens are quite small and many are very narrow. 

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

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 08:25:41 PM »
Thanks for the tour. 

Interesting looking hazard on the 11th.  How long is that hole?

Malcolm Mckinnon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2011, 10:07:48 PM »
Sean!

Me likey. Thanks for the tour.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2011, 05:45:20 PM »
Tucky

The 11th is about a buck twenty five.  I think the water hazard was put in after Colt to help with drainage (across the 1st hole as well).  Its quite a good hole despite the business of the appearance.

Malcolm

Cheers.

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

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 10:17:26 PM »
The 11th is about a buck twenty five.  I think the water hazard was put in after Colt to help with drainage (across the 1st hole as well).  Its quite a good hole despite the business of the appearance.

I like the looks of the green a lot.  I don't mind the hazard - just pretty funky looking.

Michael Goldstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 01:20:18 AM »
Sean,

Great write up and pictures.  Played Moseley last year and the club was incredibly welcoming and the members friendly.  The elderly gents on the patio invited us to stay for a beer or two and were great banter. 

The course indeed has some touches of class.  I'm not a Colt expert but I agree with your sentiments about the par threes and the drive and pitch par fours.  There are a number of times during the round at Moseley where you have wedge in your hand and a tiny target where you're equally as likely to make bird, par or bogey.  I like that.

I'd guess the course is often quite soft and being so short would get torn up by low handicap golfers but absolutely doesn't stop it being a great members course.

M

 
@Pure_Golf

Rob Rigg

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: MOSELY GC: Some More Marvelous Colt in Birmingham - all 18
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 02:18:47 AM »
Sean,

Chapeau - as always - what an interesting course from Mr Colt - it looks like a really fun track that would be somewhat of an enigma if introduced to the world (or the UK) in 2011. Kind of brilliant.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Musings on MOSELEY GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 08:50:08 AM »
Michael

Yes, unfortunately I get the strong impression that Moseley wouldn't be a good winter course.  We came across a few blotchy patches and with the spring we are having that is unforgivable.  

Rob - cheers.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 05:58:23 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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Musings on MOSELEY GC: 2014-15 Winter Tour New
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 06:05:33 PM »
Well, had another look today and came away a bit more impressed than my last visit.  The course wasn't nearly as wet as I expected.  In fact, it was in much better shape than Walton Heath New a month or so ago. Anyway, I reckon if the club could sort out its five big holes by clearing trees, Moseley would be a much better course because that is the only shortcoming.  Bottom line, I would go back again  :D  See the updated tour. If you get the urge, pay attention to the map...it is quite cool how Colt takes the golfer around the tight property.   

Previous stops on the Tour:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,47211.0.html  Worplesdon 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60107.0.html  Walton Heath New 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59831.0.html  Cumberwell Park Orange 

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

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html  Cleeve Cloud 

Scheduled stops: Formby Ladies, Formby & Little Aston   

Ciao
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 04:01:04 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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