Kidderminster Golf Club Feature Review
Golfshake Ambassador Melvyn Davies played Kidderminster Golf Club in March 2017. Take a look at what he thought of this West Midlands situated course.
Kidderminster Golf Club was formed in 1909 and was originally a nine-hole course under the name of Comberton Golf Club, designed by Midlands Pro G.V.Tuck.
The course became 18 holes in 1919 and changed its name to The Kidderminster Golf Club in 1921.
It is handily placed about a five-minute walk from the railway station and about a 30-minute drive from Birmingham or Worcester. The course is a member’s course with varying membership options and no joining fee.
Around the club
The first thing you see when you enter the drive is the Club Shop and the Clubhouse. The head pro Patrick Smith is the owner of the shop and has Noel Woodman as his Head Assistant, his dad Bill does all the trolley repairs not only for the members but for visitors from other clubs as the club is a recognised trolley repair outlet.
In late 2015 Patrick opened a swing room in the clubhouse with a GC2 and foresight simulator. You can have lessons, custom fitting, simulation play, gap testing and self-analysis.
In the middle of the course is a massive practice area that is big enough to hit every club in the bag and at the top is a practice green with two bunkers to enable you to play any short game shot you like.
During my visit I met Sam Burton the recently appointed General Manager who outlined what he sees lies ahead for Kidderminster GC. Sam wants to change the perception of KGC from being an old, traditional club to a forward thinking club with the Members interests at heart.
He has many views on how to do this and is confident he can move the club forward and elevate the club into one of the best in the Midlands. He has been a member of 11 clubs down the years and will bring his experiences of those clubs to KGC. Sam wants the course to be presented as a pleasure to play with a good all round experience for Members and visitors alike. He wants the club to always be striving to improve and to be "friendly for all".
Once out on the course you can see that your game has to be sharp in all areas as it’s well lined with trees, the fairways are quite narrow and nearly all the greens are well protected by bunkers and/or water. I was fortunate enough to be joined by Noel Woodman for my round.
The front nine
The front nine is a tough nine holes to start with, but I felt that you could get a score going especially on the first seven holes but still only if you were striking the ball well.
The 1st is a gentle downhill opener with two fairway bunkers down the left. A mid-long iron will leave a short iron or pitch into a well protected green with bunkers left and right and a green that slopes from left to right.
The 2nd is the only par 5 on the front nine and it is out of reach for all but the long hitters. The fairway tree lined on both sides with a fairway bunker to the right. There is another for the lay up and bunkers left and right protect a narrow green. Par here is always a good score.
Holes 3 and 4 are all about positioning off the tee before the challenge of hitting well protected greens with bunkers awaiting any off line shots.
The 5th is the first par 3 that, depending on where the tee is and where the wind is coming from, you can be hitting anything from a 5 iron to a 9 iron. Again, you play into a well protected green with bunkering all round and the green slopes from right to left.
The 6th and 7th are again about getting your tee shot in the right place to be able to hit approaches into the greens. Six has a large green but the right half of the fairway gives a better look. Seven has large trees both sides pf the fairway so you need to be accurate and not go too far so as to block yourself out. Water awaits on the left hand side to collect anything a yard out.
At eight and nine are two tough holes to finish the front nine, as both require long straight tee shots with eight dog legging slightly to the left and nine slightly to the right. Good tee shots will leave a mid-iron on the 8th and a long iron at best on nine. Both greens are again well protected by bunkers. Pars here will almost certainly put you one or two shots up on the field.
The back nine
15th Tee - Kidderminister
The 10th is a great par 3 with bunkers front and left and two large trees making the entrance to the green a narrow one. The green slopes from back to front so a shot below the hole is recommended.
The 11th is a slight dogleg to the left that requires a drive to the middle or right side of the fairway to allow a sight at the green that is very narrow at the front with bunkers left and right to grab anything slightly offline. The tee is shared with the 18th.
The tee shot on 12 reminds me a bit of watching the 18th tee at Augusta as it is tight with trees either side and a bunker awaiting to the left as well as another bunker on the right. A good straight tee shot will get you to the brow of the hill and leave a mid/short iron in to the green below you with bunkers left and right again. The one on the right is an evil little bunker.
The next hole is a par-5 meandering to the left that requires a well placed tee shot not too tight to the right hand trees that will enable you to play a mid-iron over the bank for your lay-up. After that a short iron downhill to another well protected green gives you a good chance of a birdie here but you could easily run up a seven or an eight.
The 14th doglegs to the right and, again, you need a well placed tee shot to allow a sight of the two-tiered green – and a big tier it is. Again bunkers await short left and right for any approaches slightly off line.
The 15th is probably the signature hole and is a par 3 of 174-yards off the whites. The green has a narrow front and slopes from back to front. A bunker awaits at the front-right of the green and a pond awaits front-left. A well-struck iron is needed to find the green and preferably leave an uphill putt for birdie.
The par 4 16th doglegs to the left and yet again an accurate tee shot is needed to the right or centre of the fairway to allow a route to the green in two. At 418yds this is stroke index 2 and has danger all round. There are trees left and right off the tee, as well as the recently extended ditch on the right, which may catch longer hitters. The green is a generous sized green with three bunkers again waiting to catch anything offline, a par here is a real bonus.
The 17th is a par 5 that doglegs to the right and the long hitters can reach in two at 488-yards. The best line is the left side of the fairway, opening the view up to a well protected green with a big slope from back to front. If you end above the hole then a three putt is potentially on the cards.
Finally, the 18th is back across the lane from a tee shared with the 11th and once again your tee shot needs to find a relatively narrow and sloping fairway. The second shot is probably one or two clubs more than you think, as you are playing to a sloping green which is well above the fairway and has bunkers left and right. A birdie here is a possibility and will put a smile on your face as you head to the lovely looking clubhouse.
I found the course to be in great condition this early in the year and the greens staff were busy with ongoing improvements which should bode well for the season ahead.
The clubhouse is very traditional looking yet at the same time feels right. The room next to the main room has a 3/4 sized snooker table, dart board, fruit machine and Sky TV, which is great for relaxing in after your round.
The staff in both the clubhouse and club shop were very friendly and welcoming.
All in all, I found Kidderminster Golf Club to be a fantastic venue for all types of golfer and by the looks of the work taking place and the vision of Sam it will only get better.
The course currently sits inside the top 50 courses to play in the West Midlands on Golfshake so well worth a visit if you are local to the area or looking to organise a society trip.
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|Kidderminster Golf Club
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