The Staffordshire Golf Club Review
Course Name: The Staffordshire Golf Club (formerly Swindon Golf Club and prior to that Blackhills Golf Club)
Location: Bridgnorth Road, Nr Wombourne, Dudley, DY3 4PU, UK
Date Played: Many times over 20+ years
Course Type: Parkland
The course opened in the mid-1970s on land that had been mined by the Earl of Dudley.
Formed as Blackhills Golf Club, for most of its history it has been called Swindon after the nearby village.
The club recently renamed itself The Staffordshire. Presumably to try and steal a little traffic from The South Staffordshire Golf Club that was formed in 1892.
I’ve played the course on many occasions down the years both in club matches and as a green fee payer.
The course is much more about strategy and accuracy from the tee rather than length. The majority of holes are lined with silver birch or other species of trees. In some areas should you miss the fairway you are going to lose your ball almost certainly!
The course does have a fair amount of undulation although I wouldn’t particularly describe it as hilly. There are some buggies available for those of you who struggle.
Compared with the first few years I played the course the nines have been swapped.
The first hole is a relatively simple opener. A par-4 of less than 350 yards. Mishits off the tee could catch the pool in front although it would be a pretty bad shot.
Trees line the left-hand side and out of bounds also lies beyond. Banking to the right can bring your ball back to the fairway. A good shot will leave you with a short approach to a fairly flat green with trees and out of bounds beyond.
The second is a similar length and plays downhill dog legging left to right. If you can avoid the trees then you should only be left with a short approach into a two-tiered green.
The third completes the trio of similar length par fours. This one plays back uphill again with out of bounds left and birch trees guarding the right side of the fairway.
A large tree can cause issues with your approach if you’re on the left side of the hole. The green is set up quite well above the fairway and features a fair bit of undulation.
The first par-3 can be quite tricky particularly if you are short and left. The slope to the right of the green can be used to guide your ball onto the putting surface.
The next hole features a blind tee shot over the brow of the hill to a fairway lined with trees. Big hitters might feel they could reach the green but should beware of the bunkers short. Depending on where you are on the green in relation to the flag you might find yourself unable to go straight at the hole.
The first par-5 is one of my favorites on the course as it is played from a tee way above the fairway. Again birches line the fairway. Fortunately, the course features little in the way of rough among the trees as they are a sufficient problem on their own.
If you’re going for the green in two then your second shot will play steeply uphill with bunkers and a tree to the left of the green causing you problems.
The seventh comes back in the opposite direction. Try to hug the right-hand side of the fairway as it slopes down to the left. The second shot needs to carry the bunkers short of the green.
Eight is probably the tightest hole on the course. You can get away with a long iron or fairway wood off the tee although try to keep it as far left as possible to give yourself a sight of the green.
Should you try to hit your driver you’ll find you will run out of fairway and end up with an awkward lie. The green is set in somewhat of a bowl so if you go too far there’s a good chance the ball will run back down onto the surface.
Another par-3 completes the nine. Tricky bunkers await should you miss the green. This used to be the final hole during the first few years I played the course. The current routing is better.
A walk around the back of the clubhouse brings you to the 10th tee, the second par-5. One of the few holes where you feel you may be able to open your shoulders. Although you still have to take care because of the out-of-bounds along the access road to the right.
A dry ditch cuts across the hole and needs to be avoided with your second although bigger hitters will be looking at reaching the green in two.
11 comes back up the hill and is a strong par-3. Almost 200 yards and plays that bit longer. The green is set back in the trees so you need to be accurate with your tee shot.
12 is another hole that I like. There’s a water hazard on the left of the hole along with plenty of trees down both sides to catch your drive. Assuming you’ve hit the fairway you then have to play a blind second shot over the brow of the hill to a green set well below the fairway. Once again you need to be accurate since if you stray too far off-line you’ll be in the trees.
The 13th is another shortish par-4. You may need to use the mirror to check that the fairway ahead is clear as it’s somewhat blind.
Trees and out of bounds can catch you out on the right and the fairway does narrow slightly up the left side where the trees cut in. This is another green that’s set back amongst surrounding trees.
Another short par-5 follows although this is not the easiest to reach in two! The hole doglegs quite severely to the left although the fairway camber does help you out.
If you feel brave you could have a pop at the green which is set up slightly above the level of the fairway. You do run the risk of tangling with some undergrowth short right and dry ditch short left.
The 15th gives a little bit of respite as the fairway seems slightly wider and it also plays downhill to another relatively flat green.
16 plays quite a bit longer than the yardage would suggest as it’s back uphill. Another green that is well protected by surrounding trees.
The 17th is a tricky little par-3 which you can’t afford to miss to the right due to a steep bank that will almost certainly throw you into some undergrowth. If you are going to miss then left is the bailout. Long left you may be lucky and kick down off the slope.
The final hole is another dogleg par-4 which plays downhill off the tee. You need to avoid the trees both left and right and the fairway bunker which will be in play for most players.
I was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the course. It probably looked as good as I’ve known it. The greens putted nicely at a good speed although some were a little damp, particularly those on the back nine.
As with the greens, the fairways were pretty good.
Seems like the drainage on the back nine is not as good as the front since a few tees were a bit wet in places.
The big challenge with The Staffordshire is placing your ball on the fairway and avoiding all of those silver birch trees!
Big hitters may be advised to leave their drivers in the bag and make sure they’re on the fairway. It’s difficult to make forward progress from the trees quite often.
The undulating nature of the course means you’ll probably be faced with all sorts of sloping lies. You also need to shape the ball in both directions to get the best out of your score.
Off The Course
There’s a nice putting green behind the clubhouse and there’s also a recently renovated driving range.
A nine-hole par-3 course was built a few years ago and there are the usual beverages and range of vittles available in the clubhouse/bar.
There are buggies available which you can book through the well-stocked pro shop.
The Staffordshire Golf Club Review: Summary
The main course was looking as good as I’ve seen it in all the years I’ve played it and for the twilight rate of £20, it would be churlish to argue too much.
The peak rate in the morning is £35 and I probably wouldn’t want to go that high knowing that I could play the same course for only £20 later in the day.
Membership can be had for £910 a year which is probably a little less than a lot of local courses. You can also be a member of their sister course at Perton for an extra £10! If you’re under 30 then you’ll find there are some quite generous discounts as well.
Judging by how wet some areas were in July I think the course may still get a bit wet in the winter.
Other Local Courses: