How to play Widney Manor Golf Club
by Widney Manor Professional Tim Atkinson
Many players, especially low handicappers, will look at the course length at 5654 yards and presume that they are in for a good score. This, as at any course, is always possible. However, the course is tricky and players who try to blast their way round will usually come to grief.
Hole 1 275 Yards Par 4 SI 11
Out of bounds left and a ditch down the right, a narrow start. There is also a pond at about 200 yards.
A wood off the first tee is probably not the best shot. Better to play the iron for accuracy over the tree in the middle of the fairway also avoiding the three trees just off the right side. The green is raised with steep banks at both sides and down at the back where the River Blythe awaits any shots through the green.
Hole 2 350 Yards Par 4 SI 9
An intimidating tee shot over the river and through a gap in the trees to a narrow tree lined fairway. There is also two water hazards just off the fairway on the left. Then about 50 yards short of the green there is a line of huge oak trees with a narrow gap. So if you have missed the fairway the only access to the green is over the top.
Hole 3 115 Yards Par 3 SI 15
Straight forward par 3, slightly uphill and usually into the wind. Most players tend to finish short because of this although through the green is not recommended as this leaves a tricky chip over a bank to a green sloping away.
Hole 4 475 Yards Par 5 SI 5
A hole that plays its full length, slightly uphill and usually into the wind. There is out of bounds left off the tee although you would have to be well off line. The green lies just over a crest in the fairway so it can be difficult to judge the distance. From the crest the ground falls away slightly so if you are approaching from distance you need to land your ball short of the green as usually a ball landing on the green will run through and down a bank leaving a tricky chip.
Hole 5 335 Yards Par 4 SI 13
A short Par 4 with little trouble off the tee. The green is long, narrow and elevated so it can be difficult to control your shot into the green if you are not in the centre of the fairway. Long drivers might prefer not to hit driver off the tee to leave a longer approach. The banks on both sides of the green are quite steep and with a narrow green chipping up onto it from either side will make it a very shallow target.
Hole 6 407 Yards Par 4 SI 1
There is a large pit just off the tee, but only a really poor drive will be caught. The front bunker can make approach shots from distance difficult to stop the ball from going though the green.
Hole 7 503 Yards Par 5 SI 7
Stroke index 1 and there are plenty of hazards to catch you out. The tee shot is fairly straight forward, only the longer drivers will be bothered by the large pit in the right rough and the trees down the left. The fairway is bowl shaped and downhill so anything slightly off-line should up in the middle. The green is small and anything left or long of the green is in trouble with plenty of trees and little chance of making a swing. A very accurate approach is required especially under summer conditions to avoid a high number.
Hole 8 164 Yards Par 3 SI 3
A new hole since the amendment to the layout is the 8th, a testing Par 3 which can be a long iron or even a small wood in the wind. The tee shot demands a straight one to avoid the tall trees left and right. The green is slightly above the tee but in between the two is a kind of valley so a "well short" tee shot will ask you to play a very difficult chip all the way up to the green.
Hole 9 295 Yards Par 4 SI 17
A short par 4 that is definitely not to be taken lightly. The fairway is generous but if you miss it right or left in the trees hit a provisional ball. If you go too far right you will be out of bounds. The hole has a sharp dogleg to the right close to the green so hug the left side off the tee for ideal position with a good view of the green. The ball will kick left on landing so be careful not to over compensate. Most if not all of the green will be hidden behind the trees for approach shots either from distance or the right side of the fairway. Be careful not to over shoot the green as the sharp bank will kick your ball into long grass and bushes or even against the course boundary fence.
Hole 10 - 277 Yards Par 4 SI 16
Although the hole looks fairly straight it really needs to be played as a right to left dogleg for all but the long hitters. There are two large Oaks to thread your tee shot through and then two ponds to avoid. The ponds are on the left side of the fairway although directly in line if your dont play the dogleg. The first pond is about 150 yards off the tee and to carry both is over 200 yards. Make sure your approach shot does not over shoot as the River Blythe is close to the back of the green.
Hole 11 450 Yards Par 5 SI 6
Off the tee there are trees all the way down the right side of the fairway. There is a ditch at about 230 yards off the tee which does not run across the fairway but will catch your shot just off both sides. For shots approaching the green beware of the pond at about 70 yards short and although only small sits directly in the centre of the fairway. The ideal line of approach is to keep your ball as close to the left side hedgerow as this opens up the green. Any shots to the right of the pond leaves a very tricky approach over a huge deep bunker which is definitely to be avoided.
Hole 12- 315 Yards Par 4 SI 12
Although you can just see the top of the flag from the tee, the hole should be played as a slight left to right dogleg. Any tee shots played straight will almost certainly leave your approach shot blocked out by several mature Oaks. The approach shot from the middle or left side of the fairway is fairly straight forward, although through the green is to be avoided as this might well leave you in a ditch and hedgerow.
Hole 13 292 Yards Par 4 SI 10
A short par 4 that plays even shorter because its downhill all the way to the green, but definitely a potential disaster hole. Off the tee you need to drive through the gap in the trees with out of bounds down the left hand side. There are also bunkers on each side of the fairway. Most players will go right off the tee but tee shots really need to go down the left for the best approach. On the right of the green there is a pond which also eats into the front right corner. Any shots from the right hand side of the fairway will have to negotiate the hazard. The pond extends right to the back of the green where it joins a stream behind the green.
Hole 14 - 395 Yards Par 4 SI 2
From the tee set back in the avenue of trees an accurate tee shot is required for position between the tall Oak trees. The trees are about 200 yards uphill off the tee. A drive not reaching this gap will need to be straight as it would be very difficult to hit a ball over the top of the Oaks. Most players will favour the right side of the fairway with out of bounds all down the left. Once you have got over the brow of the hill the approach to the green is relatively straight forward but yardage is crucial and deceiving on this one.
Hole 15 - 130 Yards Par 3 SI 18
A short par 3 with only over the green to be avoided. There is a row of trees and bushes between the tee and the green but the gap is generously wide and should be easily negotiated. The green is very undulating and split into two levels so it is important to be on the right level.
Hole 16 - 375 Yards Par 4 SI 4
A difficult driving hole with out of bounds all the way down the left and many trees down the right. The drive must ideally be played between the two large Oaks either side of the fairway. Just to the right of the right side tree there is a ditch that will catch any off-line running shots. Once you have passed the two Oaks the hole opens out and the approach is fairly straight forward although the right hand side of the green is guarded by a steep faced bunker.
Hole 17 - 123 Yards Par 3 SI 14
A short par 3 that is the signature hole of the golf course. A good tee shot and you will wonder why other players advise caution - a bad tee shot and you will almost certainly ruin your card. From the tee there is a small gap between several large trees which has to be negotiated. Between the tee and about 15 yards short of the green there are very few places to play a shot from, firstly there is a large pond then very dense bushes and then the River Blythe. The river also extends around the left side of the green. Don't be short here!
Hole 18 - 360 Yards Par 4 SI 8
Tee off over the River Blythe through the gap in the trees to a narrow fairway with trees down the right and a ditch down the left. A drive down the right side of the fairway is preferable as drives just off the left of the fairway can have the approach to the green blocked by large Oak trees. The approach to the slightly elevated green is fairly straight forward although the bunker front right is quite deep and best avoided. There is out of bounds to the right of the green but you would have to be well off line to be troubled.
Widney Manor Golf Club, Saintbury Drive, Solihull, B91 3SZ. Tel 0121 704 0704
Sister club to West Midlands Golf Club