Swans return to Bentley


Sean Dudley

Forty years after it was laid out by Alex Swan, the course at Bentley Golf Club in  Essex, England, is again being worked on by the Swan family.

Alex’s son Howard, and his son William have recently undertaken an audit of the course, focusing on the redevelopment of the par three seventeenth hole. The audit will also help the club formulate a ten year plan for the overall improvement of the course. 

Building on his experience of designed and building coursing with Henry Cotton, Alex Swan took on the challenging site at Bentley in the 1960s which was situated just a few miles from his home in Brentwood. 

The work to the seventeenth has already begun and encompasses a raised green with new bunkering, drainage and irrigation. Howard Swan will oversee the implementation of his design, supported by course manager Mark Stopps. Contractor John Greasley is handling construction, with the new hole due to return to play in spring 2012. 

While the new seventeenth takes shape, SGD is working with the club to formulate a comprehensive renovation plan to be implemented over coming years. Much of the focus is on rejuvenating bunkers, relocating some to take into account the effects of changes in playing equipment and improving their appearance throughout the course.

William Swan said: “My father and I are particularly happy to be revisiting my grandfather’s work at Bentley to continue the Swan family’s connection with the club and course. The quality of the original design has shown through over four decades with few alterations to the layout. We now have the chance to raise the bar to make it even better.”