Jul 2nd, 2018
Effingham course upgrade brings classic Colt layout back to life
Words: GolfPunk Photography: MacKenzie & Ebert/Azalea
Effingham Golf Club has used a trip back in time as the inspiration for its new-look championship course after completing a major renovation and upgrade of its classic course and club facilities.
The prestigious Surrey club, with a 6,800-yard classic layout set in 270 acres of picturesque Surrey countryside near Guildford, has invested a significant six-figure sum over the last five years to return all the bunkers on its historic downland layout back to their original design, while improvements off the course have included the installation of a new golf shop, golf studio, buggy store and main entrance to its Georgian clubhouse.
At the heart of the renovation has been the transformation of all 73 bunkers on the par-71 layout, with the club working closely alongside acclaimed golf course architect Tom Mackenzie, from Mackenzie & Ebert, to enhance the original course created by Harry Colt in the 1920s.
Harry Colt could well be described as one of the founders of golf course design in the British Isles. Golf courses certainly existed before he arrived on the scene, but it was arguably a game of straight lines and abrupt angles. Colt introduced a softening of those lines using curves, terrain and bunkering to create visual challenges to tease the golfer, and to make them think carefully about each shot. But, equally as importantly, he also created beautiful landscapes for golfers to walk through.
This is now more than evident after the improvements at Effingham Golf Club, and alongside Mackenzie & Ebert the team and greenkeeping staff can be extremely proud of what they have accomplished here. The fantastic views from the top of the downlands are now deliciously punctuated by the shaped bunkering dotted across the course. The view from the teebox down the 15th is particularly breathtaking, as the wide, sweeping downhill fairway, guarded with the characteristic Colt chevron bunkering, leads the eye to the London City skyline in the far distance.
There are a canny group of golfers who have it as their bucket list to play each and every one of the Colt designed courses in the British Isles, and one of our playing partners for our round was one of them. Now well on his way to ticking them all off, it was more than amusing to hear him wax lyrical about the beautiful design of the bunkers as his ball was once more collected by one of the well placed sand traps. Enraptured by the cunning design his enthusiasm was catching, and I fully admit that by the end of the round it was impossible for any of us to disagree.
Steve Slinger, general manager at Effingham Golf Club, said: “The aim of the project was to return the bunkers to a style in keeping with how they looked when the course opened under Colt in 1927 and we’re delighted with the final result.
“We have always had the stunning views here at Effingham, however the bunkers are now equally our signature. With the changes in golf club and ball technology, many had become superfluous, and the new bunkering makes it tougher off the tee for the longer hitters – and definitely more challenging in and around the greens for everyone.
“Tom McKenzie has embraced the styles and design patterns of generations before us, while importantly creating a test of golf in keeping with the requirements of the 21st century.”
Go and take a look for yourself - you can thank us later. Oh, and while you’re there, make sure you pop your head round the door to the Armada Room in the clubhouse. The estate was originally given by Queen Elizabeth I to then Commander of the Fleet, Charles Howard, the first Earl of Nottingham, after leading the successful English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. It's rumoured that some of the wood in the room was carved from the oak timber of one of his warships, don't you know...
For further information about Effingham Golf Club and to book, phone 01372 452203 or visit www.effinghamgolfclub.com