Golf Course Architecture - Issue 64, April 2021

17 MA I L BOX Dear Editor As readers will see elsewhere in this issue, Allestree Park golf course in Derby has been abandoned and closed for use since January 2021. It’s a municipal layout that is being destroyed by its owners, Derby City Council. As part of our fight to save it we created a video with Golf Mates about the issue, attracting over 140,000 views, and our e-petition has over 26,000 supporters, but there’s still no change in the council’s stance. The council has made a number of errors in trying to justify the destruction of the course, the main one being their failure to mention in any advertising that it is a 1930 Harry Colt design. Surely as a council asset it is a duty to ensure ‘best value’ is obtained on any asset being sold or destroyed? It is the ultimate irony that we are using the council’s aerial photograph from 1932 to illustrate our findings. Colt designed the course to complement the high value properties that surround it, like St George’s Hill, Wentworth, Effingham and Ham Manor. These five designs led to the country club concept being exported and adopted around the world. In its day, this course was famous but known as the Derbyshire Golf Club at Allestree. It had a unique water feature that included a tee box sited on an island in a lake that was reached by a footbridge before the player undertook a ‘heroic’ shot over water. Nowhere else in the world is this Colt feature found! We have been able to recreate the layout through contemporary hole by hole descriptions. Fourteen of the original 18 holes are untouched since 1930. The other four, including the island tee box are still visible and capable of reinstatement. They have simply not been played since the end of the war. We have an application pending with Historic England for the course to be recorded as a Designated Historic Landscape. If successful, it will be the first UK course to get this protection. The clubhouse of the now defunct Allestree Park Golf Club was a grade II listed building. This building is within the top eight per cent of all listed buildings in the UK and has been sold for development as a wedding venue, with the developer having no interest in running the golf course that surrounds the Hall. It sits within Derwent Valley World Heritage Site Buffer Zone, so no other developments are likely to be allowed. We need the council to recognise what a potential asset this course could be rather than let it simply die. We consider that it is priceless from a commercial and historical viewpoint, especially at this time of greatest demand as all local private clubs are oversubscribed and not accepting visitors. Please visit our website and register your support: . Andrew Picken Derby We are delighted to receive letters from readers, and the best in each issue will be rewarded with a golf shirt. Send to 6 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA, UK, or email us at As hinted at in the text for January’s Gopher Watch , for the second issue in a row, Sandy was on a Harry Colt course. In this case though, the hole, the eighth at Wentworth’s West course has been significantly altered since Colt built it, with Ernie Els’s team extending the fronting pond quite extensively as a part of their multiple course rebuilds over the past 10 years. Anyway, congratulations to Robin Lawson, who spotted the hole, and whose entry was first out of the hat. A priceless GCA shirt is on the way. This time, Sandy is back on his most regular haunt, the links. Pretty close to the water, in fact, on a well-known course in Scotland. Which is all the clue you’re going to get: a prize as precious as the GCA shirt deserves a bit of work. Entries, as ever, to . GOPHER WATCH