There is so much good inland golf to be found around Birmingham yet few of us from beyond the immediate area get much past The Belfry and, perhaps, Little Aston. I had visited Copt Heath a couple of times before, but to report on the McEvoy Trophy rather than to play myself. Copt Heath is pretty much halfway between Birmingham and Coventry, just outside Solihull. Like most places in this part of the world, it is just a short drive away from the motorway network.
Having attended the McEvoy Trophy as a spectator, I knew how many good players had developed their competitive skills here over the years. And what an honours board it is – Lee Westwood, Brian Davis, Justin Rose and Steve Webster to name but a few.
Copt Heath has long been renowned for its conditioning and it was absolutely impeccable on the day of my visit. There wasn’t a blade of grass out of place and the greens were a joy to putt on. Even I holed a couple of putts.
I really liked the tough but stylish par-4 16th, which is 440 yards from the back tee. Ideally, the drive is hit towards the bunkers in the distance and drawn inside them. That opens up the long second shot into a typically slippery Copt Heath green.
The 5th is a lovely Colt short hole. The design theory is of a very short par 3 with an oversize green that is severely contoured so that the green is effectively partitioned off. Finding the green is relatively straightforward but if you want to have a look at a two, and take a three-putt out of the equation, then you need to find the right portion.
From the moment you wander out towards the first tee it is apparent that you are in a golfing playground. It’s essentially a flat parcel of land, and there is very little rough. You might think it would lack variety but that is simply not the case.
I guess you can thank the designer for that, allied to the presentation of the course.