Harry Colt – The Great Courses
Henry Shapland “Harry” Colt (4 August 1869 – 21 November 1951) was a golf course architect born in Highgate, England. He worked predominantly with Charles Alison, John Morrison, and Alister MacKenzie, in 1928 forming Colt, Alison & Morrison Ltd. He participated in the design of over 300 golf courses (115 on his own) in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Colt’s courses of note in the UK include: Oxford Golf Club, Tandridge Golf Club, Ladbrook Park Golf Club, Denham Golf Club, St George’s Hill, Sunningdale (New course), Belfairs Golf Club, Rye, Blackmoor, Swinley Forest, Brancepeth Castle, Brokenhurst Manor, Camberley Heath, Stoke Park Club, Calcot Park, Goring and Streatley Golf Club, Grimsby Golf Club, Hendon Golf Club, Tyneside and the East & West Courses at Wentworth Club. He performed extensive redesigns of Sunningdale (Old course), Woodhall Spa, and of Muirfield, Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, and Royal Portrush, three of the courses on the rota for the Open Championship. In Canada, his courses for the Hamilton Golf and Country Club and the Toronto Golf Club are highly respected[by whom?]. He also designed in 1914 the first Spanish course bigger than 4.300 yards, the Club de Golf Sant Cugat, promoted by the Barcelona Traction Light and Power Company Ltd. While it is often joked[by whom?] that “the sun never sets” on a course designed by architect Robert Trent Jones, this is actually true[according to whom?] for the works of Colt and his collaborators.
H.S Colt teamed up with George Crump in 1918 to design Pine Valley Golf Club, which is ranked[by whom?] the #1 Golf Course in the United States, as of April 2017. The classic Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Michigan was designed by Colt and Alison in 1921. The course played host to the 1947 PGA Championship, the 1957 Western Open, and Ryder Cup Challenge Matches in 1943.
In 1897 he became a Founder Member of the Royal & Ancient Rules of Golf Committee.
Below is a selection of some of Harry Colt’s finest golf course designs:
Thorndon Park Golf Club
The premier course and club in Essex.
Walk the fairways of Thorndon Park and you walk with history. Gaze at the great Palladian columns of Thorndon Hall and you gaze at history.
The Club’s course was created in 1920 by Harry Shapland Colt on a deer park dating back to the 1580s. The deer park, already rich with oaks from the 16th century – some of which survive to this day – was enhanced with oaks and chestnuts planted in the 1730s by the eighth Lord Petre, a noted botanist.
The Hall we now see, designed by James Paine and completed in 1770, was the home of the Petre family until 1919. Here, George III was entertained in 1778; here, Lancelot “Capability” Brown laid out a park that was the finest in the county; here, some of the great families of England stayed during the deer-hunting season and joined the Petre family in roller skating in the ballroom.
Ravaged by fire in 1878, Thorndon Hall was offered a new lease of life in 1919 when a group of businessmen saw the grounds as the perfect place for a golf course and for developing a residential estate similar to the one planned for St George’s Hill at Weybridge. St George’s Hill had chosen Harry Colt as its architect – and he was selected to design Thorndon Park golf course.
With the onset of the Second World War and the subsequent constraints of the Green Belt laws, the plans for an estate never materialised. But the course did. It was opened on 1 July 1920 and it has thrived ever since.
The East Wing of Thorndon Hall was leased to the Club in 1921 and, by the late 1940s, the Club had also bought the chapel within the Hall, which was converted into the mixed lounge.
Over a period of time, the Club bought the 240 acres the course occupied and, in 1968, Thorndon Hall. With the building of a new clubhouse in 1974, the Hall was sold the next year to a building company which restored the facade of the Palladian mansion to its former glory and turned the building into apartments with views over the course.
Here, is a place of tranquillity, bounded by a vast country park, with mighty oaks adding their grandeur alongside the fairways and greens.
Thorndon Park extends the warmest of welcomes to visiting societies, groups and individual players. We are proud of our Club and our course and we want visitors to be pleased to be part of us for the day.
We are little more than two miles from Junction 29 of the M25, so we are easily accessible for a day or half a day’s golf.
All our facilities (except the Harry Colt Bar for members only) are there for you to enjoy – and you will have dedicated attention from our staff.
“Intelligent in its layout…imaginative in its use of land…a course for everyone, even the best”
Peugeot Golf Guide to Europe’s Top 1000 course guide
“Thorndon Park is a beautiful place and a fantastic and challenging course – but a word of advice: you’ll need your putting boots on!”
Charlotte Ellis, England amateur international 2008 – 11 and now a professional on the ladies European Tour.
“No matter how many courses I have played, I am still enthralled by the quality, beauty and peace of Thorndon Park ”
Beverly Lewis, PGA Captain 2005-07, BBC and ESPN commentator and Thorndon Park Ladies Captain 2011-2012.
“Of the thousands of courses I have played around the world, Thorndon Park has a special place in my list of favourites. I defy any golfer not to enjoy it”
VOTED NO.1 COURSE IN ESSEX
Thorndon Park Golf Club
Ingrave, Brentwood, Essex CM13 3RH