The Lichfield races moved to Whittington Heath from Fradley in 1702 and during the eighteenth century became one of the leading meetings in the Midlands. In the early 1740s, the races were held in the first week in September and lasted for two days and by the 1750s Lichfield was the only race course in Staffordshire.
In 1773 a grandstand was erected by public subscription. From the 1780s onwards a decline set in, although the opening of a new stand donated by Lord Paget in 1803 suggests at least a temporary revival in fortunes.
Between 1840 and 1875 a new brick grandstand was built adjacent to the main road between Lichfield and Tamworth. After racing finished the building was used as a residential home for old soldiers.
In 1875 the Marquis of Anglesey agreed to the sale of his land for military use and was paid £5000 in March 1876 and the common land was bought from the commoners of the Manor of Longdon for £14,211 in February 1877. Construction of the barracks started in 1877. The barracks were simple in design, based around a large parade square. Some of the original buildings survive to this day although many have disappeared.
Although large parts of the heath were occupied by the military during two world wars, the club continued in being throughout and some holes were kept in play, albeit in poor condition, and in 1945 it was even suggested that the club no longer existed. Through the efforts of the then professional, Fred Fox, and others the course was rapidly recovered. The club has maintained its relationship with the barracks next door. There is an annual match between teams from the golf club and the barracks and the Army Golf Association Championships are held at Whittington each year.
The club originated in 1886 with a few holes set out on Whittington Heath, a high piece of land adjacent to Whittington Barracks. ‘Father’ of the club was George Simon, a Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Medical Service, who founded the club which became known as Whittington Barracks Golf Club and was, for some years, open only for military personnel.
In 1905 the military handed over day to day control to the civilian members. The first clubhouse was purchased and a Professional, David Fox, was employed. The Clubhouse was a collection of wooden huts on land opposite the current Greenkeepers compound. The Whittington Pavilion Golf Limited company was formed to protect members should the club become bankrupt. This company stayed in existence until 1994 when the course and buildings were purchased from the MOD
In 1927 Mr H.S. Colt was brought in to re-model and extend the course to 18 holes and what a wonderful job he made of it, creating an equal to any in the Midlands.
The grandstand adjacent to Tamworth road has served as the clubhouse since 1957.
The golf club was purchased from the Ministry of Defence in 1994 and became Whittington Heath Golf Club.
When the government announced plans for the High Speed rail link (HS2), the club was faced with the serious threat of extinction because the route runs straight through the middle of the course. But a successful planning application and the purchase of adjacent land means Whittington Heath Golf Club does have a very bright future. We have a new clubhouse, and the course has been reconfigured with 6 new holes having been constructed which have been in play from March 2022.