Sutton Coldfield Golf Club is in the suburbs to the north of Birmingham. One minute you are on a busy road, and the next you have parked up on one side and crossed it to reach a vast golf course that has a wilderness feel to it. Sutton Coldfield occupies public land within Sutton Park. The outstanding greens are fenced off to keep grazing cattle away. It’s a magnificent piece of land, and one that you might expect to find in the further reaches of Surrey. This is a site of real scale and the turf is firm and sporty, which is just how I like it.
The club dates back to the 19th century but the course that stands today is the work of Dr Alister Mackenzie, who came here after the Great War. The layout forms a horseshoe, and each nine takes you first away from the clubhouse before doubling back.
When you play the front nine you will encounter three consecutive par 5s. If that happens on any other golf course in the British Isles then I have yet to see or even hear about it. Better still, they are all fine holes, and not remotely similar to each other.
It’s over 6,500 yards off the back tees and the toughest section of the course is around the turn.
It’s tricky to pick a favourite hole here, so I am going to choose two. First up is the par-5 5th, which really gives you the feeling of scale and space that is a Sutton Coldfield trademark. It doglegs from right to left and the green can be reached in two on a good day.
I also greatly enjoyed the 11th. This is a downhill and right-to-left dogleg that demands control over your flight to find and hang on to the fairway. I only wish that the silver birches that line the fairway could be taken out to restore what should be the open feel of this classic piece of design.