Chislehurst appoints EGD for design review of Braid course

Chislehurst appoints EGD for design review of Braid course
Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

Chislehurst Golf Club in Kent, England, has appointed European Golf Design to undertake a full review of its golf course, which was established in 1894 as nine holes and expanded to 18 shortly afterwards.

There is evidence that James Braid was involved in the club’s layout, both when it was expanded and when bunker work was conducted just before the First World War.

“Working with a club and on a course with a relationship to Braid is a great honour and privilege,” said golf course architect Dave Sampson, who will be leading the project on behalf of EGD. “We are eager to explore all possibilities to restore as much of the original aesthetics and challenge as we can, while keeping the course playable for as many golfers as possible.”

The course at Chislehurst is compact, occupying 70 acres of parkland with no obvious scope for expansion. The current layout is a par 66 that plays 5,095 yards from the back tees. The course has eight par threes and two par fives, and is designed to encourage precision over power. However, EGD notes that some of the hazards have become less strategically relevant over the years. Part of its design brief is to investigate the strategy presented to players, as well as returning bunkers to the style and aesthetics of the course’s early years, by referencing the club’s archives of plans and photographs.

David MacLaren, the club’s chief executive officer, said: “This is a progressive club with a very active golf and social membership. Those who know the course love it – those that visit us soon come to love the course too. It has visual interest, it has challenge, it has beauty. Working with European Golf Design to develop a five- to ten-year programme of improvements allows the club to move forward positively, but also to reclaim our heritage by re-establishing the original styling which has inevitably been lost in parts over the last one hundred years or so.”

Initial planning work began in March and is expected to take two to three months, after which more detailed plans will be prepared, alongside work schedules to fit within the club’s playing and competition schedule.