This week’s English Seniors Championship will be played at the substantially renovated Thorpeness club in Suffolk.
Thorpeness, originally designed by five times Open champion James Braid in 1922, has been refreshed over a three year period by fellow Scot Ken Moodie, the principal of Creative Golf Design. The work has seen extensive remodelling of the greenside bunker complexes at holes 11-17 and the addition of swales, hollows and runoffs to draw in balls that narrowly miss the greens.
“Thorpeness is a beautiful golf course but it is not long at 6,449 yards. The changes to the bunkering and green aprons and runoffs has added another level of strategic decision making for golfers hitting approach shots,” said Moodie. “We have also worked hard to enhance the visual composition and heathland character of the golf course by widening fairways at key points to accommodate new bunkering and by adding additional areas of heather, including on the faces of certain key bunkers. The widening of the fairways offers options for the golfer off the tee and an advantage for one who takes more risk.”
Two phases of renovation work have already been completed, with a third planned for this autumn. A new tee has also been built at the twelfth hole, extending it from 373 to 406 yards, and the greens have been seeded with bent grasses. This week’s English Seniors is the first time all of the renovations have been put in play at the same time.
Thorpeness is best known for the iconic ‘House in the Clouds’, which floats above the tree-line overlooking the course. It was created by then owner Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie in the 1920s as the focal point of a fantasy holiday village by the sea.