Colt No.2 – Best of Colt – Hotspot, from our top 10 Colt selections

AGS Golf - Trail and ‘Hotspot Series

Colt No.2 – Best of Colt – Hotspot, from our top 10 Colt selections

 

Our Best of Colt ‘top 10 selection’ are the courses that best represent Harry Colt’s design principles. They value his design, some after more than 100 years, and are keen on maintaining or sometimes restoring his design. Our “Hotspots” are trails that can be followed from a single base hotel. This Hotspot takes you to five genuine Harry Colt courses. We have selected Windsor as a base as it is close to four of the courses and also close to Heathrow and London. Two courses are heathland being located on the Surrey/ Berkshire belt of fine sandy soil. One is woodland/heathland and two are parkland.

 

Itinerary for International golfers

Day 1

Arrive at London drive MacDonald Windsor Hotel for six nights.

Day 2

Play Wentworth East, Colt also designed the more famous Wentworth West but it has been modified by Ernie Els and it is generally agreed that the East is Colt’s best legacy at Wentworth.

Day 3

Play Stoke Park, a splendid parkland layout with a memorable clubhouse. It has featured in Bond films.

Day 4

Play Tandridge, a beautiful course that has benefited from major restoration carried out to re-establish and update its ‘Colt characteristics’.

Day 5

Play Swinley Forest, a heathland course renowned for its five tricky par threes and tranquil setting.

Day 6

Play Camberly Heath a leading club in maintaining Colts design while sympathetically recognizing modern day trends and the environment.

Day 7

Depart from London Airport

Other Best of Colt courses in this area are: Blackmore.

 

Wentworth East Golf Course

Wentworth East course is laid out on 200 acres of Surrey heathland and woodland, across land that rises and falls. The turf is rich and springy, ideal to hit iron shots. It calls for accurate driving and precise shots into well bunkered greens. It is a beautiful course and new views keep opening up. It is undoubtedly one of Harry Colt’s most admired creations. The course is not a long, but it provides a full examination of a golfer’s game. It has an enclosed woodland setting with fairways separated allowing each hole a certain tranquility. You normally do not see the next fairway until you reach the teeing area. Typical of Colt it has five strong par threes that are varied and testing. The 226-yard 7th is particularly challenging and much admired. 6201 yards Par 68.

 

Historic Notes Wentworth East

Wentworth’s rich and varied history started when developer George Tarrant and his friend, golf course architect Harry Colt, saw the development potential of this beautiful site.

George Tarrant bought Wentworth House and 200 acres of land for £42,000. In this beautiful woodland-heathland setting Colt was engaged to create two golf courses. The East course was designed in 1924 and the West in 1927. In 1926 a match was held on the East course between professional golfers from Great Britain and USA. This was a precursor to the first Ryder Cup held a year later. Great Britain won 13.5 to 1.5 points. In 1932 the course hosted the first Curtis Cup, an amateur ladies tournament. The USA won by 5.5 to 3.5 points and has dominated the competition throughout the years.

 

Stoke Park Golf Club

The course is made up of the three independent nine hole courses, but Colt was only responsible for the original 18. Encircling the 300 acre parkland estate, the course is one of the finest parkland layouts in the country. The clubhouse is part of a magnificent Georgian mansion. Changes to modernise the course have not interfered with the original designs. It is essentially true to Colt’s design except for the 15th and 16th which were altered to enhance the championship layout. Stoke Park is well known for its film appearances. Sean Connery as James Bond tangled with Auric Goldfinger on Stoke Park’s 18th hole to produce the most memorable game of golf in cinema history. 6751 yards Par 71.

 

Historic Notes Stoke Park

Stoke Park Estate was created on a centuries old deer park. Harry Colt had the opportunity to work with a landscape designed by Repton and ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century. The course has exquisite landscapes with magnificent trees lining the fairways. The signature hole is the 7th, a Par 3 which inspired the notorious 12th hole at Augusta National. Colt used the natural contours and slopes to create undulating fairways and defend greens. Large trees along with clever bunkering, water hazards and fast, undulating greens were his defense. His cross bunkers are prominent in the line to the green. The course has passed Colt’s ultimate test. It has stood the test of time.

 

Tandridge Golf Course

Here Colt designed two loops of nine holes with the front nine more strategic and the back nine dramatic. There are steep faced strategically placed bunkers, raised plateau greens needing accurate approach shots, and imaginative use of the natural landscape. The club financed a beautiful restoration of the course. Frank Pont, a Colt expert, was engaged to restore the Harry Colt characteristics. His work has been reviewed and praised in the golfing press. Note: There are interesting comments on the restoration project from Frank Pont on top100golfcourse.co.uk/golf-course/tandridge.

 

Historic Notes Tandridge

In 1922 Sir Henry Gibson KCB proposed a course at Tandridge for an estimated cost of £10,000. Harry Colt was to design the course. It featured two loops of nine holes and over 300 bunkers. "The Times" reported, "Mr. Colt's architecture and layout has been carried out on a grand, bold scale, eminently fair, but devilishly ingenious". The course opened on 1st October 1924 and in 1925 the inaugural match opponents were from the House of Commons including several future Cabinet Ministers. Tandridge won by 12-6 and the tradition continues with an annual fixture against the Parliamentary Golfing Society.

 

Swinley Forest Golf Club

Swinley Forest is on secluded land with beautiful heather, gorse and pines. The fairways are substantial but some holes restrict a long tee-shot; a ditch at the second, a pond at the fifth, heather at the seventh, cross bunkers at the 12th and heather at the 14th. The approach to the greens from the correct angle is often paramount. A feature that sets Swinley apart is its par three holes. The yardage is modest and it is not overly tight. However, this is not a course you will easily destroy. It teases you, tricks you, tempts and torments you and most certainly plays longer than its length. 6062 yards Par 69.

 

Historic Notes Swinley Forest

Swinley Forest was founded because Lord Stanley, a founder member at Sunningdale, became disenchanted with some policies at his club. He mentioned his problem to the King, Edward VII. The King suggested building a course at Swinley Forest, part of Windsor Great Park. The land was provided at a peppercorn rent and Lord Stanley engaged Harry Colt to design the course in 1909. Colt stalked the property until he found the natural green sites for his trademark short holes of which there were to be five. Colt has modestly described Swinley Forest as “the least bad course he had ever designed”.

 

Camberley Heath Golf Club

Camberley Heath Golf Club is a Harry Colt Classic that was established in 1913 and is a heathland layout of a modest 135 acres. The golf course is a serious challenge that requires accuracy and precise shot making. It is known for mature fairways and subtle greens and the natural contours of the countryside have been used to enhance the course through avenues of pine and over masses of lush heather. Colt’s legacy is an outstanding heathland course. 6426 yards Par 71.

 

Restoration of Camberley Heath Golf Course - Instead of historic notes we have chosen to feature the restoration programme. Following their centenary year the club started a Harry Colt Foundation.  The objective was to preserve to the tradition of Colt’s fine heathland course at Camberly Heath, for future generations of players to enjoy. Also taken into account would be the environment and the nature of the modern game. Frank Pont, a leading golf course architect in classic course restoration, was appointed to survey the course and to produce a blueprint that would reflect the Harry Colt design philosophy for the current day. A presentation by Frank Pont explaining details of its ongoing renovation programme can be found on the club’s website..

Read our previous article in this series HERE!

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