I had often heard of this mythical creature: a half-heathland, half-woodland 36-hole beast in the West Midlands. Now, on a bright Saturday, there was Enville Highgate (and Lodge for that matter) in front of me. What an appetising prospect. Enville, near Stourbridge in the West Midlands, enjoys very pleasant rural surroundings. But don’t let those surroundings distract you, as a difficult decision awaits before you’ve even unsheathed a headcover. Enville’s clubhouse and the – quite sensational – practice facilities are on one side of the road, with both the golf courses on another.
Head left for Highgate or right for Lodge. You honestly don’t know which way to turn – there’s prime golfing territory all around you.
We turned left and were greeted by the most appealing sight – a pristine 1st tee with a heathland par 5 stretching away into the distance. Yes please.
The next six holes continue in the same vein, then we are swept into the tree-lined section. I don’t think I’m courting controversy when I say that these woodland holes do not stick in the memory to quite the same extent. They are, however, very pleasant.
On the 17th tee, you emerge back into the heathland paradise, which means you end your round on a real high. The heathland holes have been here since the 1930s with the woodland holes added more recently, probably in the 1970s.
Various men have had a hand in shaping Enville, and I am indebted to member Graham Rowley for his input here. Alf Padgham designed the first nine holes here, then Arthur Wrigglesworth, a construction foreman, added another five before Horace Lewis made it up to 18.
Frank Pennink created a further nine holes before member and professional Ron Hinton took it up to the 36 holes Enville offers today.
The best hole on offer may well be the aforementioned par-4 17th. It’s a really good hole, but all the better for being the first heathland hole in a while. With the firm fairway rising gently, the challenge is to get between and ideally past the bunkers to set up the approach to an attractive green.
Enville’s presentation is a real strength and the greens putted beautifully on the day of our visit. The Lodge course is in just the same kind of condition and also has nine heathland holes wrapped around nine woodland ones.
You can’t help but wonder if they would be better having a heathland course and a woodland one. The heathland course would be much the shorter without some major work to create new back tees though.