Another generation of Hawtrees at Hill Barn

Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Designed in 1935 by Fred Hawtree, Hill Barn GC, on the Downs above the south coast of England, has recently been enhanced by Fred's grandson Martin. "I recently assisted the groundstaff at Hill Barn with some bunker renovation," he said. "I tried to adapt to modern requirements of play and maintenance without changing my grandfather's characteristic bunker style too much.

"The greens and the bunkering are very characteristic of FG Hawtree courses. It's only the downland situation and the soil and grass types which differentiate it from other Hawtree designs.

"I cannot define the style of any of the Hawtree courses but it developed from the machinery my grandfather used – namely a large mechanical Ruston- Bucyrus scoop. The sheer number of bunkers at Hill Barn is typical, as are the greens which tend to be quite flat with sharp drop-offs outside a flattish collar." Hawtree said he would not be too quick to make wholesale changes at traditional layouts such as Hill Barn. He said: "If Hill Barn were built now it would probably be spaced out more and have fewer bunkers, easier slopes to maintain, larger tees and bunkers further along the fairways – but I wouldn't want the course to be too different. It's a fine example of a golf course of its period and too much tinkering may spoil it."