Patshull Park's Sporting Life
PUBLISHED: 19:55 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:17 20 February 2013
Patshull Park's Sporting Life Walking by the lakes in Patshull Park, watching trout rise and kingfishers swoop, it is difficult to remember that you are only nine miles from the centre of Wolverhampton.....
Patshull Park's Sporting Life
Walking by the lakes in Patshull Park, watching trout rise and kingfishers swoop, it is difficult to remember that you are only nine miles from the centre of Wolverhampton. Yet this 220-acre park has a championship-standard golf course, four fishing lakes, as well as a leisure centre that incorporates a health and fitness club and spa. And above all a 49 bedroom hotel that also serves as their club house.
The main mile-long, 35 ft deep, lake of free-flowing water runs the whole length of the park. It was created in 1774, by Capability Brown, to provide a diversion for the Earls of Dartmouth and their guests staying in the baroque splendour of their seat at Patshull House. The 72-acre lake forms part of the border between Shropshire and Staffordshire and creates an attractive natural hazard for golfers as well as home for flights of water fowl and other wild life.
The park has many well established specimen trees collected by one of the Earls of Dartmouth who was a keen arborist. He would travel around the world sending saplings and seeds back to the royal collection at Kew Gardens and Patshull. These include a number of Cedars of Lebanon, Atlantic firs, Wellingtonia and one of only 13 handkerchief trees in the UK.
It was in the early 1970s that the Dartmouth family decided to create a championship golf course. Construction, to a design by European Ryder Cup Captain John Jacobs, was carried out during 1972 to 1974. The 18 hole, 72 par course was finally opened in 1976 and now has a practice putting green as well as a 250-yard practice fairway.
The original Club House was the old water bailiff's cottage that now forms part of the hotel.
The club has some 320 members who, on average, play a round a week. However casual visitors are always made welcome, while corporate golf days account for nearly 23,000 rounds a year. Patshull has built up a strong following for corporate events with businesses enjoying the opportunity of offering fishing to their guests who don't play golf, while ladies always enjoy the experience of a well equipped and professional health and fitness club.
One Midlands company that has run regular corporate events at Patshull believes that the course is sufficiently demanding for enthusiastic regular golfers, and yet not too difficult for the occasional player.
In 2006 a Department of the Environment scan estimated that there were some one and a half million coarse fish in the big lake - carp, tench, perch, pike and eels. Each year some six or seven thousand rainbow trout are injected into the water to join the indigenous brown trout. The fishing lodge, by the entrance to the park, has a number of rowing and electric punts for hire as well a couple specially adapted for people in wheelchairs, with fold flat loading ramps and hand propelled paddles.
The fishery has some 70 regular members who can enjoy the main lake throughout the season. There is also the eight-acre Church Lake reserved for the carp syndicate which is widely recognised as one of the best facilities of its kind in the country, containing specimen fish that can weigh up to 50 lbs. One of the two other lakes, the Barbara, is kept for a coarse fishing syndicate while the Bridge Pool, suitable for coarse anglers, is especially popular with families.
Health and Fitness
The low-lying set of buildings, overlooking the lake, provides the golf shop and changing rooms. At its heart is a Health & Fitness Club open seven days a week with two gymnasiums - one with cardio vascular equipments such as treadmills and cross trainers, and the other for specific muscle training with weight and cross trainers. The Club has some 650 members who make full use throughout the year of its 14 metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi and gyms. A wide range of spa treatments are given by a team of professionally qualified therapists and beauticians. Although most of these - from facials and relaxation treatments to pedicures - are aimed at ladies, sportsmen find that a Swedish massage is particularly beneficial after a hard round, or at the end of a stressful week and before a weekend's golf.
At the centre of the whole operation is the three star hotel that provides club house facilities for all the sports and leisure activities. The Earls Restaurant offers snacks and drinks throughout the day as well as simple lunch and early supper dishes. Flexible banqueting suite and smaller meeting rooms are regularly used for conferences, business meetings and training courses. They also provide an exceptional setting for dinner dances and spectacular weddings. The hotel is licensed for civil ceremonies.
The main entrance is a Roman folly designed for the park by Capability Brown. There is something homely and comfortable about Patshull Park Hotel which, in no small measure, is due to the exceptionally excellent and friendly. Although the hotel makes no pretention about gourmet dining, the 100-cover restaurant overlooking the lake has to be one of the finest dining rooms in the region.
The 49 en suite rooms may be rather retro in their dcor, but nevertheless they have broadband connections through their bedside direct dial telephones. Tea and coffee-making equipment, irons and ironing board, trouser presses and colour televisions with a wide range of TV and radio stations enables guests to keep smart and in touch with what is going on in the world beyond the comforting cocoon provided by Patshull Park.