News:

This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Aber's KNOLE PARK GC New
« on: July 31, 2012, 04:32:14 AM »
Sevenoaks, a smart London bedroom community in Kent, is probably most famous for six of its specially planted seven oaks being uprooted during the Great Storm of 1987.  The six were replaced amid a media storm of its own shortly afterwards! Though, for most of us, it is hard to see what all the fuss is about as there are countless oaks scattered about Knole Park's 1000 acres.  Yes, the course is situated within Knole Park, but one doesn't have any sense as to what may be encountered during the round. Climbing from the valley bisecting the 6th, the magnificent Knole House gradually reveals itself.  Made of traditional Kentish ragstone, the immensity of the structure is difficult to fathom. Seat to the Barons Sackville, Knole House is now open to the public, however, most of its 356 rooms are privately owned.  As would be expected for such an iconic building, many bits and bobs of films and tv programs have been filmed around the grounds of the house; including The Beatles' Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever vidoes. 

The original routing is mainly intact with the biggest alteration being the 4th hole.  It now plays awkwardly as a dogleg left where previously the hole was about the same length, but bent a bit right.  The plan reveals a much more interesting bunker scheme than exists today....I do wonder if that was influenced by Simpson?  The sketch in the lower right corner looks to be by the hand of Simpson.


Opened in 1924 by the 3rd Lord Sackville, Knole Park GC was designed by South African born J Abercomby (see map?) with design help from Fowler as a par 72 with six 5s, six 4s and six 3s (its now a par 69 from the daily tees).  James Braid also submitted a plan and it is unclear if any of his design was utilized.  Later alterations were carried out by Simpson, but it isn't known what they were, although Simpson claims the 6th.  Roger Wethered's caddie for the opening exhibition match in 1929 was one young Sam King, Knole Park's most famous son.  Long time professional to the club, Mr King was born the son of a Knole Park Estate tenant farmer.  He finished in the top 10 nine times while playing in every Open held between 1932 and 1962.  Finishing four shots behind winner Dick Burton in 1939, this was the last Open played until 1946.  WWII cut short the careers of several fine players who may well have made a bigger mark in the game.  1939 also saw the cancellation of the Ryder Cup, the second of which Mr King was selected as a competitor. In all, Sam King played in three Ryder Cups (1937, 1947 & 1949) and recorded the only point earned for Great Britain & Ireland during the 1947 matches in Portland. Demonstrating that at one time the distinction between professional and amateur was not always clean cut, partnering Wonda Morgan (one of the premier British ladies amateurs in the early 1930s and won the British Ladies in 1935), the pair won the Sunningdale Foursomes in 1948. 

The course starts as if shot from a canon for the opening six holes covering some testing terrain are terrific. Folks generally don't speak highly of opening par 3s, but Knole Park's is a keeper.


The second continues the climb to a green benched into the hillside. 




The third is on view while walking up the second, but it isn't until after hitting the drive and walking forward some 100 yards that the hole is properly unveiled.




After climbing to a pulpit tee, we now drive straight over the third fairway.  One has to be long and accurate to gain a view of the green. 


Another uphill shot for the par three 5th.


An old photo of the 5th taken from the 16th tee overlooking 15 green.


Tom Simpson claims ownership of what is arguably Knole Park's best hole as he was called in to perform some work sometime just before the start of WWII.  Climbing to higher ground, #6 is a perplexing sight from the tee.  There is fairway way out left, yet the hole turns right.  Great advantage can be had by successfully challenging the centreline bunker.  One can layup or play right and still get home, but only if he doesn't mind a blind approach and greenside bunkers cutting off that line.  I didn't know what to do with the three distinct choices and that has to be the mark of a good hole.


One gains a better insight for this remarkable hole from the 16th tee.  The course is littered with thousands of small mounds as seen in the left rough; I am told these are ant hills.  I suspect the hills had to be levelled to create fairways, it would be interesting to know how the club keeps the fairways ant-free.   


Standing on #7 tee it is difficult to focus on the tee shot for Knole House looms to the right. 


More to folllow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 04:11:23 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 05:03:37 AM »
Sean,

One of my fellow England Deaf Golf Team member is an assistant greenkeeper at Knole Park. I have been meaning go to there sometime.

I have been told by another team mate that Michael a England Deaf Team player is seen cutting the surrounds on the third hole in the pics.

Cheers
Ben
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 05:31:55 AM by Ben Stephens »

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 05:20:16 AM »
I played it once and I have good memories of it. It's a great course up with the best in and around London. I am suprised it does not make more 'lists'. Plenty of deer roam around and dont seem too bothered by men with sticks.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +0/-1
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 06:45:41 AM »
Wow ... I have heard little about this course, but those opening holes are pretty exciting.  Perhaps it doesn't get more love because it's a bit of a tough walk?

I have played very very few Abercromby courses -- he didn't leave enough for us -- but it's noteworthy that The Addington also starts with an uphill par-3.  I had always assumed that might have resulted from a routing change or something, but here is another opening par-3.  Did he ever comment on why he liked to start a course that way?  He might be the only golf architect ever who did it deliberately on multiple occasions.

Tom MacWood

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 06:48:25 AM »
Sean
The course looks fantastic. I've read a few articles on the opening Knole Park, and none of them mention Braid. Where did you get that information?

Darwin was also involved in that opening day, he partnered with Roger Wethered in a match against two gents I've never heard of before (Peploe and Peacock). Darwin made the comment that Abercromby was very fond of par-3s and always tried to maximize them in his layouts - five seemed to be a good number for him.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 06:50:25 AM by Tom MacWood »

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 07:01:59 AM »
Sean

Long had a curiousity to play Knole Park and your photos are certainly brinigng it to the fore of my mind again.  The first 6 do indeed look great and i'm looking forward to seeing the rest.
2022: Al Mouj; Cleeve Hill, Painswick, Minch Old, Weybrook Park, The Astbury, Silloth, Royal Balfron, Strathendrick, Archerfield (Fidra), Roxburghe, Stoneham, Woburn (Marquess), JCB, Pyrford, Hayling, Clandon, Wentworth (East), Ashbourne, East Sussex National (West)

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 07:02:46 AM »
Tom - In this case from my memory (think I played it early 80s) the 1st and 18th are in their own pocket of land, so it's probably a bit restrictive. The 1st is probably one of the least good holes. Manor House @ Moretonhampstead is another Abercromby, I think you mention it CG...Knole Park is better in my opinion... perhaps a good solid 5 on your strict scale.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Craig Disher

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 08:00:48 AM »
I wonder if the flattish greens keep the course from being more highly considered. I agree with Sean that the course does have less interesting holes after #8 but some are just as good as the early ones - the par 3 12th especially. But on a fine day, the walk around the course is hard to beat.

As most have noted, the 1st hole is a weak one. The location of the 2nd green and the practice area led me to think that originally the 1st hole might have been a strong par 5, replaced at some point by the short 1st and a new par 4 playing to the original 1st green. The lengths look about right and there are many spots on the course where another hole could have been located. If not, Aber could have done better with the start.

Several years ago I posted some photos taken on a sunnier day than we had.

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,24547.0.html


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC New
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 08:40:12 AM »
Tom

To the best of my knowledge, Addington was originally meant to start on the current 5th with the house on the hill.  Thinking on where #18 is located, it makes sense for viewing play from the house.  I don't know why the original plan wasn't carried out.

Tommy Mac

The club website claims Braid was involved with the design. 

I wonder if Sam King didn't caddie for Bernardo?

Craig D

The first AND second are fine holes.  Using the land for a par 5 would be a slog of over 500 yards uphill - not good. 

KNOLE PARK TOUR CONTINUED

The 7th legs around the estate, not a bad par 5, but I think it would make a better par 4.  The 8th is an attractive par 3 with a very small green and water tucked down the left.


The ho-hum golf continues for 9, 10 & 11.  Although the 10th recently had a bunker renovation which is meant to match the original design. 


The 11th is very odd for its short turning angle - it somehow doesn't fit with the rest of the course. Luckily, Knole Park hits another purple patch starting on the cracking 12th.  Indeed, the three hole stretch starting here is probably the best of the course.  Playing all of its 200ish yards, #12 is a very attractive hole with a remarkable ridge cutting unevenly through the green.






A drivable par 4, 13 offers three distinct choices off the tee, but none are particularly enticing - just the sort of thing a great short 4 needs to be.




The killer stretch continues with  a monster par 4 bending strongly to the right along the oob line.  The magnificence of the property is easily appreciated from this fairway.


The course has been tidied up since my last visit.  There used to be a track just shy of the green which needed to be carried and is now grassed over.   


#15, a crazy par 5 rising to a green seemingly miles above the floor of the fairway, exposes the site for its severity. This sort of hole is great for flat bellies.  Although, the hole is much better now without rough on the severe upslope.   


Before & after.




There is a bit of a plateau 40 yards short of the putting surface which will catch out many a golfer because I think this is the location of the original green.


A look back down the fairway.  Around the turn and on parts of the back nine Knole Park's terrain is very reminscent of Cleeve Cloud, but with trees.  The turf suggests Knole Park is heathland, but there is a definite downland feel to the site despite the trees. 


The final par 3 rounds off a good set even if it is a take on the front nine's uphill one-shotters, but then I am a big fan of uphill par 3s. 


The course is certainly fizzling out at this point, but the 17th is a good if unspectacular par 5.  The one spectacular aspect of the hole is a large slit in the middle of the fairway which I believe is meant to be a bunker.  The home hole puts water dead in play. 


Thus ends Knole Park, a very fine course meandering over an outstanding site.  It is said the estate lost 70% of trees during the Great Storm. Perhaps this tragedy uncovered outstanding vistas to be had throughout the park.  I would like to see photos of the course/park just prior to the storm.  I must say the course wasn't firing on all cylinders, but it is easy to see how much more difficult some of the sloping greens would be if the course were keen.  Despite some prosaic holes, there are enough lovely examples wonderfully dispersed to keep the golfer engaged for most of the round.  One other positive aspect is Knole Park is of its place.  One cannot imagine this course would exist anywhere but England.  However, I can't help thinking the club would do well to restore something close to the original bunker scheme as the current configuration doesn't add much to the design.  As it is, the course is still worth a good detour especially if one can take in Knole House as well.

A special thank you to Craig for introducing me to Knole Park and indulging my fancy with a game.  Also, Chappers deserves a pat on the back for keeping Knole Park at the forefront of my thoughts when an opportunity to travel to the southeast arose.   2018

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 10, 2020, 02:31:17 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 08:55:41 AM »
Sean - there was something missing in your photo tour but you pulled it out of the bag in the end the deer - they are part of the charm of Knole Park. I did notice a couple in the picture of the first on a quick review!

I agree with Sean that 1 is a fine opener and the land actually lends itself to a pretty boring par 5 to the second green.

Knole is on a little sandy ridge so the turf is fine and it stays pretty dry in the winter. For those Brits with a county card it's a course not to be missed they'll only charge you £30 a round or £40 for the day, now that's value.
Cave Nil Vino

PPallotta

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 01:08:59 PM »
Thanks, Sean. (Btw, I think you're actually getting better at these sorts of profiles -- and you were no slouch before!). I spotted another of our rare disagreements - the 15th looks to me to be a very fine hole, and (like the 8th at Crystal Downs) one of the few par 5s I really like/like the looks of.  (It must be the up-hillness of it). Even though I'm not one of them, I think the flat bellies should get a real advantage once in a while, and leave the rest of us with awkward but not onerous or too challenging 3rd shot approaches - just like here. 

Peter

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 05:10:59 PM »
Thanks for the great reminder Sean, but are you holding something back?


Doesn't the 12th green feature a spine running along the length of it on the LHS?

I remember thinking I'd never seen anything like it.

It was at least 7' high (come on put me right here).


on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 03:11:59 AM »
Spangles

Yes, the 12th is one of the more interesting greens with its groovy spine.  I don't know how high it is, so I will go with your 7 inches.

The next green is pretty good too.  Its the old knob green with a front to back surface trick - just my kind of thing - it doesn't look like much but it packs a punch.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 12:23:14 PM »
It would be very uncomfortable to enjoy venison from the carvery after a round, especially with a crowd of observers like that on the 18th.

Thanks, Sean, for adding yet another course to my wish list.  That third green site alone looks worth the trip. 

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 04:46:35 PM »
Craig,

I trust you are well? This thread reminds me that you are/have been in the country at this time and we had loosely discussed meeting up. Alas, I've been unable to get myself to the south east coast this summer, but I'm actually quite glad, as having seen this thread, I really quite fancy a round at Knole Park which I shall now add to the itinerary when I do!

Thanks Sean, some wonderful golfing country out there!

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2012, 06:24:23 AM »
James we've been holding you a room all summer!!

I'm a big fan of Knole Park especially as I've spent most of my life living barely 5 miles from the course. Now I'm living in links land through and through. Sadly had to turn down a round at Royal St George's today with my friends from Pine Valley but meeting them for lunch before heading to the Olympic stadium for the athletics tonight.
Cave Nil Vino

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2012, 08:16:00 AM »
James we've been holding you a room all summer!!

I'm a big fan of Knole Park especially as I've spent most of my life living barely 5 miles from the course. Now I'm living in links land through and through. Sadly had to turn down a round at Royal St George's today with my friends from Pine Valley but meeting them for lunch before heading to the Olympic stadium for the athletics tonight.

Its a tough life!  ::)

Cheers,

James
2022 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Reay

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Mark Chaplin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2012, 04:27:44 AM »
James - a very enjoyable day it was too!
Cave Nil Vino

Ben Attwood

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2012, 04:50:57 AM »
Sean, we seem to have played the same two courses over the past week (Littlestone being the other)! I have played Knole park last week, after moving to Sevenoaks. I agree the first is a good hole, with the club watching you, getting immediate knowledge of your start. I thought the course has some great half pars and in the case of the 13th and 14th, play in succession as a 3.5 and 4.5 pars. The course is certainly different and I don't know if this is a strength or a weakness - there are 6 par 3's and 4 par 5's. Is it too short or is there just alot of half par holes?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 10:36:10 AM by Ben Attwood »

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2012, 04:40:44 AM »
Sean, we seem to have played the same two courses over the past week (Littlestone being the other)! I have played Knole park last week, after moving to Sevenoaks. I agree the first is a good hole, with the club watching you, getting immediate knowledge of your start. I thought the course has some great half pars and in the case of the 13th and 14th, play in succession as a 3.5 and 4.5 pars. The course is certainly different and I don't know if this is a strength or a weakness - there are 6 par 3's and 4 par 5's. Is it too short or is there just alot of half par holes?

Ben

I didn't even realize that Knole Park had six par 3 - just like Addington!  I spose on severe sites par 3s are easy ways to handle transitions.  The par 5s for me are a bit of a let down.  I would rather see #7 and #15 as par 4s.  I suspect that the tee for #15 is stuffed away from #14 green because of a footpath or some such issue.  If the hole could play from somewhere near the 14th green it may make for something better. 

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 04, 2018, 05:29:46 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2012, 06:31:12 AM »
Sean, all... I've just been searching for some Tom Simpson quotes for Niall on the camouflage thread and found a lovely essay entitled "Mad Masterpieces - Knole Park Golf Course No.6" in which he describes that although Aber designed the original course, he was called in 15 years later to make alterations, of which the entire 6th hole is one (i.e. his)... He provides a great plan sketch and he relishes in the what he calls the usual outcry from members of "where have you ever seen such a hole?!"... I've never played the course and this is the first time I've seen pictures - looks highly inviting...

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2012, 03:50:41 PM »
Tom

To the best of my knowledge, Addington was originally meant to start on the current 2nd with house house on the hill.  Thinking on where #18 is located, it makes sense for viewing play from the house.  I don't know why the original plan wasn't carried out.

Recently played with a guy who's looking into the Addington's history for a Centenary pamphlet next year.  He's looking on here at old threads for pictures etc.

However they believe the story that the Clubhouse was to have been railway carriages at the top of the hill but they couldn't get them up there , to be correct. But they were to be sited  behind todays 4th green with the fifth originally slated to be the first. So Abercrombie in this case accepted a Par 3 Opening hole, but it wasn't his original intent.  Can't help wondering if 5 played a little shorter and was a typical Colt opener, easing you into the round.

I've thought about the original routing and it makes for a very exciting and mixed finish - from today’s 16th, Par runs 5,3,4,3,5,3,4.  Also if you look at the aerial it surprisingly central with a no of short loops running from there.
on 29th May I am riding 100 Miles to help raise funds for Dementia Research. All donations are welcome.
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ridelondon-tonymuldoon

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2012, 05:24:37 AM »
Sean, all... I've just been searching for some Tom Simpson quotes for Niall on the camouflage thread and found a lovely essay entitled "Mad Masterpieces - Knole Park Golf Course No.6" in which he describes that although Aber designed the original course, he was called in 15 years later to make alterations, of which the entire 6th hole is one (i.e. his)... He provides a great plan sketch and he relishes in the what he calls the usual outcry from members of "where have you ever seen such a hole?!"... I've never played the course and this is the first time I've seen pictures - looks highly inviting...

Ally

So when are you going to post the article and plan sketch?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2012, 06:19:14 AM »
Sean, all... I've just been searching for some Tom Simpson quotes for Niall on the camouflage thread and found a lovely essay entitled "Mad Masterpieces - Knole Park Golf Course No.6" in which he describes that although Aber designed the original course, he was called in 15 years later to make alterations, of which the entire 6th hole is one (i.e. his)... He provides a great plan sketch and he relishes in the what he calls the usual outcry from members of "where have you ever seen such a hole?!"... I've never played the course and this is the first time I've seen pictures - looks highly inviting...

Ally

So when are you going to post the article and plan sketch?

Ciao
When I get anywhere near a scanner Mr.Arble... Probably next week...

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Aber's KNOLE PARK GC
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2013, 07:06:10 AM »
Sean, all... I've just been searching for some Tom Simpson quotes for Niall on the camouflage thread and found a lovely essay entitled "Mad Masterpieces - Knole Park Golf Course No.6" in which he describes that although Aber designed the original course, he was called in 15 years later to make alterations, of which the entire 6th hole is one (i.e. his)... He provides a great plan sketch and he relishes in the what he calls the usual outcry from members of "where have you ever seen such a hole?!"... I've never played the course and this is the first time I've seen pictures - looks highly inviting...

Ally

So when are you going to post the article and plan sketch?

Ciao
When I get anywhere near a scanner Mr.Arble... Probably next week...

Its the longest week on record!  Come on my good man, the 6th is a very intriguing hole!

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies, Meadowbrook, Dunes Club & Crystal Downs

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back