A five-year bunker reconstruction project at Effingham Golf Club in Surrey, UK, has been completed.
Led by Mackenzie & Ebert, the final phase of work at the Harry Colt-designed course focused on the final set of six holes. This saw 27 new or reshaped bunkers, while seven were removed as part of the work.
“Harry Colt is rightly regarded as one of the greatest golf course architects,” architect Tom Mackenzie told GCA. “At the heart of his skills was his ability to route courses over difficult terrain to create excellent holes. Effingham is one of the finest examples of his skill at this with players finding themselves high in the North Downs almost effortlessly without feeling like any of the holes have been uphill. It is a master stroke and the layout has stood the test of time.”
As with many Colt courses, the greens and bunkers at Effingham have been altered over time and there is little immediate evidence of what Colt’s initial designs were like.
“Our work started with a historic study, but this was inconclusive, so we agreed an approach with the club to revamp the bunkering using the philosophy of Colt & Company,” Mackenzie said. “Fundamental to that was the quote of Colt’s partner Hugh Alison: “What is the aim of a golf architect? To design courses which give the greatest possible pleasure to the greatest possible number”.”
Much of the recent work involved filling in bunkers that, according to Mackenzie, “only bogged down the shortest players and moving bunkers into the thick of the action for the longer players.”
“As with all such projects, it takes club officers with vision and drive to see these programmes through,” he added. “It is hard to reach a consensus among members and these projects only happen through strong leadership. We have thoroughly enjoyed this project as we feel that it has breathed new life into this lovely downland course.”
Steve Slinger, general manager at Effingham Golf Club, commented: “The now completed bunker project is a stunning enhancement to both the character and playability of our course. I think Tom should be congratulated for his vision which has brought what has always been an excellent course layout to life, embracing the styles and design patterns of generations before us, whilst importantly creating a test of golf thoroughly in keeping with the requirements of the 21st century.”