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Father of British Golf Course Design

Harry Colt was born in Highgate but he would go on to travel most of Great Britain and the world as one of the great golf architects.

The first significant British architect not to come from the professional golfing ranks, Colt was a prolific force in both original design and renovation work. Teaming up with Charles Alison, John Morrison, and Alister MacKenzie to create over 300 golf courses, 115 of which were his own design.

Harry Colt Facts

Name Henry Shapland Colt
Born 04 Aug, 1869
Died 21 Nov, 1951
Nickname Harry S. Colt
Nationality English
Father of British Golf Course Design

Best Harry Colt Designed Golf Courses

About Harry Colt

Harry Colt, the youngest of his 5 siblings, was born in Highgate North London in 1869, he spent his childhood summers learning the game of golf at the Worcestershire Golf Club.

Colt became an accomplished player, captaining Cambridge University’s golf team, making one appearance in The Open Championship in 1891 and reaching the Semi-Final of gthe Amateur Championship in 1906.

After being appointed secretary of Sunningdale Golf Club in 1901, he spent six years fine-tuning the course building quite a reputation. Over the next twenty years, Colt designed many courses across southern England including St. George’s Hill and Swinley Forest, both of which are still considered to be among the best in Britain today.

Colt teamed up with Dr Alister MacKenzie & Charles Hugh Alison in the early 1900's with MacKenzie moving on to America to build his own career a little later. In 1928 John Stanton Fleming Morrison joined the team to form Colt, Alison & Morison Ltd a group responsible for the creation of over 300 golf courses worldwide.

Colt had a clear design philosophy, his courses possess a meticulously thought-out routing with a key to creating memorable holes. Drilling down to the minute details of the golf hole, he favoured sand-faced bunkering (for visibility) and an asymmetrical arrangement of hazards.

A Colt green tended to not be wild, he preferred not to punish the golfer if they successfully avoided all the hazards leading up to the green. He believed the last thing they wanted when reaching the green was to find the putting surface to be a hazard itself.

The work of Colt and his associates is still celebrated today, not only by the millions of rounds of golf played on his courses each year, but by The Colt Association, who aim to preserve and communicate information about his designs. Frank Pont, a Dutch golf architect, summed up Colt's work by saying “If something looks strange or out of place on a Colt course, it’s been changed.”

Harry Colt’s own designs are renowned to have pioneered golfing architecture across the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia, but it is the influence he had on other designers that propelled him into legendary status.

Harry Colt at Sunningdale

In 1901 Harry Shapland Colt was employed at Sunningdale as the club's first Secretary. After redesigning some holes on the Willie Park Old Course he created the Sunningdale New Course in 1923.

The New Course is considered to be the more rugged of the two layouts, with less bunkering and trees lining the holes. Narrow winding fairways bordered by penal heather, act as corridors to the small and often raised greens.

Sunningdale New Course
Length: 6,738 | Par: 70

Call 0800 043 6644 to speak to one of our Golf Experts about playing Sunningdale.

Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course
Sunningdale Golf Club - New Course

Harry Colt Golf Courses in England

Harry Colt's birth in London and early life in Malvern and then at The University of Cambridge saw him eventually create a number of fantastic golf courses in England. Colt's most famous designs in England are enjoyed at the likes of St George's Hill, Wentworth, Sunningdale New and Stoke Park. These golf courses have welcomed the very best in both amateur and professional golf since their creation over 100 years ago.

Colt's work is perhaps most associated with heathland golf with Parkstone and The Isle of Purbeck in Bournemouth, Hankley Common in Surrey, Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire and Swinley Forest in Berkshire considered being amongst the finest examples of fast running heathland golf anywhere in the world. Colt's work in links golf is seen with Royal Liverpool, host of numerous Open Championships, Trevose in Cornwall and Burnham and Berrow in Somerset stand out as three world-class golf courses that have provided a great challenge for over a century.

Harry Colt Courses in the rest of the British Isles

With his designs beginning to gain more and more accolades, Harry Colt began to branch out into different countries to spread his design ideals further and further. Whether it is to North Wales for a Top 100 Golf Course at Aberdovey, the lush parkland layout at Belvoir Park near Belfast or the picturesque County Sligo in North West Ireland, Colt's ability to shape the land to create a challenging golf course is one that has stood the test of time.

Hidden gems are found on the East Coast of Scotland with Montrose, a popular choice and final qualifier course of The Open when it visits Carnoustie, Longniddry on the famed East Lothian coastline which sees pine trees meet coastal views, and even added his design flair to Muirfield Golf Club with his loops of nine sitting clockwise on the front nine (outer) and anti-clockwise on the back (inner) being considered one of the most impressive design feats in modern golf. This proposition ensures that golfers playing here will see each tee shot and approach played with a different wind, making it tough to find a rhythm.

Harry Colt Courses in Europe

Harry Colt's European Course designs are not as many as one would've expected given the number of golf courses that created or aided in the re-design in the UK and Ireland. However, the courses that he created helped accelerate the game of golf in Europe with his work at Cannes Mougin being hugely important for golf in the South of France where many rich and royal enjoyed their holidays before taking the game back to their respective parts of the globe.

Colt's work at Malaga Golf Club in Spain is recognised by Miguel Angel Jimenez not only holding the course record but being one of his favourite courses. In 2010 and 2011 Malaga Golf Club extended its tournament history with Major Champions Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Lawrie both claiming the Open de Andalucia tournament played here.

More of Colt's European work can be found in Holland at Hilversumche (Top 50 Golf Course in Europe), Belgium's Royal Zoute and France's famed La Mer Le Touquet Golf Courses.

Wherever your golf finds you in Europe, be sure to seek out a Harry Colt, you'll be sure to have a fantastic time playing what many believe to the best golf course designer.

Other Harry Colt Golf Course Designs & Amendments

Belgium Golf Courses
Royal Zoute

England Golf Courses
Barton-on-Sea Golf Club
Bath Golf Club
Broadstone Golf Club
Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club
Churston Golf Club
Formby Golf Club
Ilkley Golf Club
Ilse of Purbeck Golf Club
Little Aston Golf Club
Newquay Golf Club
Northumberland Golf Club
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Woodhall Spa Golf Club

France Golf Courses
Biarritz le Phare

Ireland Golf Courses
Rosapenna Golf Club
Royal Dublin Golf Club

Netherlands Golf Courses
Eindhoven Golf Club
Hilversum Golf Club
Kennemer Golf Club
Utrecht Golf Club

Northern Ireland Golf Courses
Belvoir Park Golf Club
Castlerock Golf Club
Royal County Down Golf Club

Scotland Golf Courses
Montrose Golf Links
Muirfield Golf Club

Wales Golf Courses
Aberdovey Golf Club
Radyr Golf Club
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club