It’s Sunday… a proper day to rest from golf after six straight rounds in as many days. Well… I mean from playing golf, that is. Today was meant as a relaxing day, but also a time to roam about the Southwest of England and see a few courses that we otherwise lacked time (and energy) to play.
The end of one tour marks the beginning of another. Today, I paired up with fellow architect Richard Mandell and we set off on our own “extended tour” of golf courses in England… beginning at none other than Walton Heath, a return to the heathland courses near London.
Many feel like golf courses are many times defined by their greens. Whether that is completely or singularly valid or not, this is not for me to decide. But in the case of today's course, Royal Cinque Ports (Deal), the greens and their integrated surrounds certainly played a huge part in the dynamic identity of the course.
You know how sometimes you just go along for the ride with something, having mixed expectations…sort of lacking that total emotional anticipation of something great? Today was very much like that for me… maybe because there was such bemoaning about the horrid weather that was forecasted…
Today, The Berkshire. Hebert Fowler crafted two courses here...the Red and the Blue. We enjoyed the Red Course, which gains it's reputation not only as a fine heathland test, but also because of the arrangement of holes.
Wow. Sunningdale proved to be heathlands golf at its finest. The weather today was something on the line of a complete washing machine cycle. Sun, then wind, then driving rain… then sun, and repeat again.
To Heath and Links Study Tour is now underway in England. Today found us all arriving to London, getting our bearings and making a refreshing and insightful tour of Sunningdale Golf Club and their noted “Lost Holes” by Harry Colt on the New Course.
Beginning next Sunday (September 13th) I will endeavor to post journal entries on my blog for those who care to follow along with my upcoming tour of England’s finest golf courses.
In an era where golf courses have fallen defenseless to the almighty length of touring professionals, we’ve seen fairways narrowed, bunkers added, trees planted, higher rough, conditions firmed up and green speeds lowered to the point that balls roll well beyond the tolerance of designed contours. Why? Because yes, “these guys are THAT good”.
If you’re living most anywhere in the Eastern US, chances are good the winter of 2014 has been a long, cold and entirely forgettable stretch.