Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

59 quickly after opening, and the first green was rebuilt by Fred G. Hawtree and J. H. Taylor in the 1930s, after Colt’s original green, which was right on top of a hill, was judged to be too much like hard work by the members. Colt himself altered several greens shortly after the course opened, after their slopes were considered to be too steep, and the strategy of the sixteenth hole has been changed by tree planting designed to force play away from the boundary fence. Otherwise, the course is not dramatically different from that created by its original architect. The most obvious change, though, is at the eighth: Colt’s huge scar bunkers in the face of the green are now mostly grassed down. There has been talk of the club restoring these bunkers for years, but, as yet, it has not been done. The New course, now the Green nine, however, has not been so kindly treated. Built by Colt in the late 1920s, and always something of an afterthought, the New (or Ladies’) course has been reduced to nine holes, with today’s seventh formed from two of Colt’s original holes. A reservoir to store irrigation water has been built in the area previously home to several of the lost holes on the original back nine: the creation of a practice field next to what are now the fourth and fifth holes cost the course two holes. The second, originally a par four to a green close to the boundary fence and Brooklands Road, has been reduced to a par three, with the green much further forward, and the old third, a par three playing back from the boundary, no longer exists. “We completed a strategic review in summer/autumn 2021 and derived six pillars,” says general manager Philip Worthington. “We set ourselves several goals in relation to Colt – and five points we wanted to consider. Fundamentally, though, the central question was Colt’s own test of a golf course: will it live? “We want a 27-hole masterplan, looking at the entire estate as one big picture, including practice grounds and greenkeeping facilities. We want to preserve Colt’s design Photo: Jason Livy Colt's huge scar bunkers in the face of the eighth green are currently mostly grassed down