Redditch Golf Club was founded in 1913 and celebrated it's centenary year in 2013. The course is acclaimed as one of the finest in Worcestershire and is easily accessible from the Midlands motorway network.
The coming of Redditch New Town prompted the relocation to the current Callow Hill site in November 1972. The course was designed by Frank Pennink and among his course designs are Vilamoura in Portugal, Noordwijk in Holland and numerous Royal Courses in the UK such as Lytham St. Annes.
The part parkland and part woodland course of Redditch Golf Club is well known for both its topography and the quality of its playing surfaces. The greens are particularly outstanding, all 18 having been re-laid during 1995 /1996 under the direction of the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).
This information is taken from the book "Golf in Redditch", written by the late Dan Plim, a loyal member.
As chronicled in Dan's book, there has been a golf club in the town of Redditch since 1891. That year, The Ipsley Golf Club was founded on the site of the 'Old Racecourse', land where the Arrow Valley Lake is now. Dan wrote in his book, "This was a very upper-crust committee for a rather exclusive club of only about forty members. These gentlemen lived well, went hunting and enjoyed many days shooting and fishing, They were the local gentry.....catering for the upper echelons of local society". Despite this, some may be surprised to learn that the ladies section was quite strong. Ipsley GC remained in existence until 1908, effectively going out of business.
The Redditch and Walkwood Golf Club was founded in 1905, its course only a few hundred yards from our current (RGC) course, in what is now the South side of Morton Stanley Park. The President, Canon Newton, could be described as the patron saint of golf in Redditch. Orignally a member at Ipsley GC, he then moved to Redditch & Walkwood GC where he was an active and influential committee member, serving seven years as its President. Unfortunately, the land on which the course was built was sold and the club was terminated in 1912.
Step in Canon Newton, who in 1912 arranged for a new golf club to take over his tenancy of the Soudan, an area of parkland below his house and what is now the municipal course of Pitcheroak Golf Club in Plymouth Road. And so it was, that in 1913 Redditch Golf Club was founded!
On October 29th 1913, J.H. Taylor, the Open Champion of that year, was beaten by one in an eighteen hole exhibition match with George Duncan, the winner of the Belgian Championship to celebrate the opening of the course. The 1914-18 war meant a struggle to keep the course open but Norman Patchett, a schoolboy, and Ron Huins along with senior members kept it going. In 1919 the course was extended to 18 holes with Harry Vardon, six times Open Champion, and Ted Ray, past Open Champion, honouring the opening of the extended course in another exhibition match.
The course thrived during the intervening years but the proposed building of the Bromsgrove Highway to accommodate the New Town in the late 1960's intruded on the course reducing Pitcheroak to its present 9 hole format. This forced the club into making a decision to sell the land and split the proceeds between members or find a new piece of land on which to call home. Thankfully, every single member voted for the new course to be sited at its current location!
Redditch Golf Club relocated to Callow Hill from Plymouth Road on Wednesday, 8th November, 1972. Three days later, on the Saturday, the President, Norman Patchett, declared the course officially open. The lease on the land was for 999 years but the club eventually bought the freehold in 1982 for £200.
The Callow Hill course was designed by Frank Pennink, an Enlish Amateur Champion golfer, whose design signatures were two-tier greens and trees in the middle of fairways, "The Sentinel" 6th is a fine example. The greens were relaid to USGA standards in 1995-96 due to disease and although the Pennink "purist" may complain they are now an outstanding feature year round.
The main item of expenditure over the years was repeatedly on drainage given the course was built on clay. Over the years, new developments in drainage techniques have alleviated the issues of muddy conditions that often manifest themselves in winter. Add to that, the recent introduction of a brand new irrigation system to help with growth in summer and we have a course we are incredibly proud of. Our greens staff are committed and dedicated individuals, who also play the course, led by one of the youngest Course Manager's in the country. The course presentation is a credit to them all!
2022 is another year of celebration at the club, it marks our half-century, 50 years at the Callow Hill course. Who knows what the next 50 years will bring but you can be sure we will continue to keep it as the high quality, welcoming club it is today!