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Sean_A

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KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour New
« on: February 28, 2023, 01:47:13 PM »


The course was built in 1970, but the club was founded in 1892. Kings Norton can make a fair claim as the oldest club in Birmingham; although the members of Moseley GC have different views on the matter. Kings Norton was one of hundreds of English clubs which sprang up between 1880 and the start of WWI. The original course was just south of Kings Norton Green between Wythall Lane and Rednal Rd. During the building boom of the 1960s, Birmingham City Council eyed the golf course as perfect land for a housing estate and there was no avoiding a compulsory purchase offer of £680,000. Locals sometimes refer to the housing as “golf course estate” and several road names etc make reference to golf. With the move now imminent, the club settled on a 150-year lease of the 176-acre Weatheroak Hall estate. An additional 43 acres was purchased from the Ministry of Defense, making for a property large enough to support a 27-hole setup. I believe Hawtree designed 18 and a further nine opened later. Disappointingly, the magnificent hall has not been well treated by the club as terrible additions have been made. Indeed, the hall narrowly escaped being demolished to make way for a new house…it was the 60s!

Fred G founded the Hawtree golf design company in 1912 and worked extensively with JH Taylor. Taylor’s name wasn’t dropped from the masthead until FGH died in the mid-1950s; the name of the company became Hawtree & Sons. Remarkably, the Hawtree company remains open with Fred W Hawtree's son, Martin Hawtree, at the helm. Upon graduating from Queen’s College, Oxford, FW Hawtree became involved in his father’s design business. This didn’t last long as WWII intervened. FWH was stationed in Indonesia in the Royal Artillery and would spend the last few years of the war in a Japanese prisoner of camp. After the war FWH took up the family business once again.

Despite re-designs of Hillside and Birkdale, FW Hawtree is not widely regarded as one of Britain’s best architects, however, he remains an unsung hero of English golf. Somewhat similar to D Steel, FWH was a multi-talented golf all-rounder. He was a founding member of the British Association of Golf Architects which eventually merged into what is now known as the European Institute of Golf Course Architects. FWH long supported advancements in greenkeeping and was a Vice President of the British Golf Greenkeepers Association and often edited the The Greenkeeper. FWH aided in the administration of the game as a member of the English Golf Union Council. Finally, Fred W Hawtree authored many books which include Colt & Co, Simpson & Co and Aspects of Golf Architecture (two volumes).

Card of the original course. Notice the Bogey Score and the stymie gauge. This golfer beat the course 2up. Its a shame I don't have the name of the golfer or the competition.




Entrance to Weatheroak Hall


Despite a cold February northeast wind, the opener is pleasant enough.


The bunkering has recently been renovated. This is a bit of an unusual hole as the bunkering varies from the typical greenside left/right scheme. 


The fairways are for the most part generous, but misses will often find tree trouble. A large bunker on the right was recently removed. The old scheme had far larger, saucer pan style bunkers. The new scheme breaks up some bunkers or just made them smaller.


The short 3rd is highly attractive and difficult. There are several oaks and other specimen trees scattered about the property. Unfortunately, scrubby trees hide some of their beauty.




A blind, uphill mid length two-shotter follows. The two tier green is of some interest, but the hole is a bit disappointing. Playing along the boundary, the 5th is another dead straight hole. There aren't too many doglegs on the Weatheroak. The staggered diagonal bunkering is deceptive. Its about an additional 50 yards or so of carry between the the first and third bunkers.


A severe dogleg, the 6th cuts around a paddock. The bunker down the far side of the fairway on the left was removed. The carry for flat bellies is not terribly challenging so they have a quite an advantage compared to shorters playing left then being faced with a long, uphill approach.


My favourite short hole on the course, the 7th is a beauty. The water was widened to the left to great effect. 


Not a special hole, but the deception of the approach on 8 is clever. The uphill shot demands a bit more force, but the green runs away to a bowl.


The side finishes with an ok par 5. Not a bad front nine, but nothing which strongly stands out.

More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: February 28, 2024, 07:34:43 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour 1-9
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2023, 04:01:27 PM »
Thanks for posting.
Can’t quite make it out from the photos but have the bunkers been re-done using artificial ‘turf’ walls/faces?
Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour 1-9 New
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2023, 01:51:02 AM »
Thanks for posting.
Can’t quite make it out from the photos but have the bunkers been re-done using artificial ‘turf’ walls/faces?
Atb

Absolutely. Without using artificial grass I don't think revetted faces work on the clay soil. I am not convinced the style works, but for some reason (financial?) proper grass faces are no longer in use for parkland courses.


KINGS NORTON TOUR CONT

While the 10th green is of some interest, the hole isn't particularly memorable.


Swinging to the right, the 11th green extends a bit beyond the sand which makes for good hole locations.




The 12th has a tee which is about 50 yards forward and set off the tree line; making for a 280 yard daring cut the corner hole.


A longish par five, the 13th doglegs left to a valley then back up to the green. A big drive can reach the water at the base of the valley. There are definitely shades of Malvern's 14th here. The second shot.




More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 30, 2023, 04:31:12 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour 1-13
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2023, 05:27:03 PM »
Kings Norton Winter Tour Cont

The short 14th is most interesting for the former St Mary's church in the background. The architecture is remarkable!


We now plunge back to the valley floor for the cut & dried 15th. The same cannot be said for the impressive 16th. The ample fairway is split in two by a striking water feature. The right side is ample, but leaves a very difficult approach with the golfer coping with water, a bunker and aiming toward OoB. The narrow left side can't be more than 25 paces from water to mound, although one can layup.  This is a true pick your poison tee shot.


If the water can be carried or snuck by, the approach is more straightforward than from the right.


More to follow.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Mark Pearce

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour 1-16
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2023, 10:04:27 AM »
Surely you're not suggesting that angles matter on the 16th?
In June I will be riding the first three stages of this year's Tour de France route for charity.  630km (394 miles) in three days, with 7800m (25,600 feet) of climbing for the William Wates Memorial Trust (https://rideleloop.org/the-charity/) which supports underprivileged young people.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour 1-16 New
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2023, 11:51:39 AM »
Surely you're not suggesting that angles matter on the 16th?

Nope, angles only matter when they matter.

KINGS NORTON TOUR CONT

An otherwise good short 17th is a bit spoiled by the busy scene, especially the cartpath which kicks balls OoB. 


Kings Norton finishes with an uphill par 5. Not a bad hole, but slightly dull. The Oak used as the club's logo is much more impressive.


Within the old part of the house there are some sobering artefacts.


Like a great many parkland courses throughout England, Kings Norton isn't a course to seek out as traveller. However, its pleasant enough and in some lovely countryside. If one is near Birmingham and invited for a game, Kings Norton is worth an afternoon 18.

Previous stops on the Tour

Minch Old
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48765.msg1100536.html#msg1100536

Welcombe Hotel - no photo tour

Painswick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51629.msg1181534.html#msg1181534

Planned Stops on the Tour

North Berwick
Stratford Park
Whittington Heath
Formby
West Lancs
Sandiway
Southport & Ainsdale

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 09, 2023, 03:03:02 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Steve Holloway

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2023, 05:30:15 PM »
Fantastic reading Sean's review of King's Norton as it is a course i grew up next to when i was first became interested in golf and i always regarded it when i had the opportunity to play it as a level up to my local course  where i learnt my golf at Lickey Hills. I have fond memories although fading as it is now many years ago of deliberating the split fairway hole (16th) depending which 9's you were playing - probably well over 30 odd years since ive played that place - had some schools friends who done well enough to gain membership there. Now i know why it was called Kings Norton even though its geographically nowhere near there. Lovely review Sean

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2023, 10:42:41 AM »
Fantastic reading Sean's review of King's Norton as it is a course i grew up next to when i was first became interested in golf and i always regarded it when i had the opportunity to play it as a level up to my local course  where i learnt my golf at Lickey Hills. I have fond memories although fading as it is now many years ago of deliberating the split fairway hole (16th) depending which 9's you were playing - probably well over 30 odd years since ive played that place - had some schools friends who done well enough to gain membership there. Now i know why it was called Kings Norton even though its geographically nowhere near there. Lovely review Sean

Thank you Steve!

Are you the famous Steve of Woodbridge?

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 07, 2023, 03:36:34 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Steve Holloway

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2023, 12:26:32 PM »
Fantastic reading Sean's review of King's Norton as it is a course i grew up next to when i was first became interested in golf and i always regarded it when i had the opportunity to play it as a level up to my local course  where i learnt my golf at Lickey Hills. I have fond memories although fading as it is now many years ago of deliberating the split fairway hole (16th) depending which 9's you were playing - probably well over 30 odd years since ive played that place - had some schools friends who done well enough to gain membership there. Now i know why it was called Kings Norton even though its geographically nowhere near there. Lovely review Sean

Thank you Steve!

Are you the famous Steve of Woodbridge?

Ciao


I have been known to frequent Woodbridge - so possibly

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: KINGS NORTON Weatheroak: 2022-23 Winter Tour
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2023, 12:47:58 PM »
Fantastic reading Sean's review of King's Norton as it is a course i grew up next to when i was first became interested in golf and i always regarded it when i had the opportunity to play it as a level up to my local course  where i learnt my golf at Lickey Hills. I have fond memories although fading as it is now many years ago of deliberating the split fairway hole (16th) depending which 9's you were playing - probably well over 30 odd years since ive played that place - had some schools friends who done well enough to gain membership there. Now i know why it was called Kings Norton even though its geographically nowhere near there. Lovely review Sean

Thank you Steve!

Are you the famous Steve of Woodbridge?

Ciao

I have been known to frequent Woodbridge - so possibly


Lucky man!


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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