The Clubhouse

Best Harry Colt golf courses

You may not know this but Harry Colt left his career as a lawyer to become a course a designer and what a designer he was. We've put together a list of his top ten pieces of work, all you need to do is decide which one you want to play first.

7 mins read
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As the first significant British Architect not to come from the touring professional ranks, leaving his career as a lawyer to become a golf course designer, Harry S Colt arguably doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Having designed some of Europe’s best courses including the West Course at Wentworth, Utrecht de Pan and Royal Hague in the Netherlands, and describing Swinley Forest as his “least bad” design, Harry Colt golf will see you selecting almost every club in the bag. Take a look at these 10 Harry Colt golf courses that you can play on your next unforgettable golf break.

Royal Portrush (1929)

In 1929 Harry Colt laid out the plans for the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland. Ranking among the best golf courses in the world, it would be hard to disagree with Bernard Darwin’s comment that “Mr HS Colt…has thereby built himself a monument more enduring than brass.” Unimaginable rough, tricky greens and the unpredictable weather that roars off the North Atlantic, make for a tough but beautiful test of golf.

Royal Lytham & St Annes (1919 redesign)

Originally designed by George Lowe in 1886, it was Harry Colt who was responsible for the redesign of this Open Championship venue in 1919. Today the course features 174 bunkers that line the fairways and surround the greens, and it is one of the few great inland links courses in the world. Although a long way from the coast, the sea breeze still has an effect on your round and left golf writer Bernard Darwin to describe it as “a beast of a course.”

Golf de Saint-Germain (1922)

There are 27-holes of golf to be played at Golf de Saint-Germain, France, both of which were designed by this great British golf course architect. Le Grand Parcours is the 18-hole design that meanders through the forest of St. Germain, and incorporates 116 strategically placed bunkers. Regarded as one of the best golf courses in France, it is no surprise this course has hosted the French Open nine times, with the likes of Sandy Lyle and Seve Ballesteros winning here.

County Sligo (1927 redesign)

Although only a redesign by Harry Colt, you could argue that the Championship Course at The County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point wouldn’t be held in as high regard if it wasn’t for the famed designer adding his own touch. This really is an aesthetically pleasing golf course with three large beaches beneath the cliffs keeping the Atlantic Ocean at bay, while the Benbulben Mountain competes with the Atlantic for scenic splendour.

Burnham & Berrow (1913 redesign)

Although opening in 1896, it was Harry Colt who produced a blueprint in 1913 to turn the course into the challenge it is today. He removed the blind shots and replaced the weaker holes with new 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th holes. The Championship Course here is set among towering sand dunes on the Bristol Channel Coast and makes for an exciting challenge.

Sherwood Forest (1912)

In the East Midlands, east of Mansfield, you will find the superb heathland layout at Sherwood Forest, which Harry Colt laid out in 1912. Here, golfers wind their way through the pines, silver birch and oak trees of the Clipstone Woods, which is within the legendary Sherwood Forest. It is no wonder this course has hosted qualifying for the Open Championship in the past, and has become renowned for its excellent greens.

Ganton (1907, 1911 & 1931 redesigns)

Harry Colt was one of many great architects to have their say on the layout at Ganton Golf Club, helping it become arguably one of the best golf courses in Yorkshire. Nestled in the Vale of Pickering, close to York and Scarborough, the sandy and gently undulating terrain creates a blend of links and heathland. When you add to that the cavernous bunkers and tricky greens, you create an unforgettable challenge in the North of England.

Royal Zoute (1907)

Harry Colt’s design at Royal Zoute is one of the finest in Belgium, thanks to its location in a superb landscape of pine, hawthorn hedges, silver birch and poplar trees. The fairways navigate between waves of dunes and, when the strong wind blows, the course will not leave any golfer unmoved.

Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa (1905)

The Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa was originally designed by Harry Vardon in 1905 before Harry Colt made major changes, just before the Great War. A couple more design additions by Colonel S.V. Hotchkin later, and the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa invariably fights it out with Loch Lomond and the Old Course at Sunningdale for the position of best inland golf courses in the UK.

La Mer Course at Golf du Touquet (1931)

Harry Colt’s La Mer Course at Golf du Touquet opened in 1931, but was recently renovated by architects Patrice Boissonnas and Frank Pont to restore holes that were abandoned after World War II. The course is now back in line with its historic, original Colt design. As one of the few genuine links courses in mainland Europe, you’d be a fool not to play this gem on your next golf break in France.

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