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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent New
« on: April 13, 2015, 04:53:14 PM »
Colt designed the rugged Canterbury GC over the Scotland Hills section of the city on land leased from the War Office. Frank Harris, as was the case for many Colt designs, was responsible for the construction of the course.  Itís a small world, for the first Captain of the club was none other than Californian Douglas Grant; who collaborated with Jack Neville on the original Pebble Beach design. 

Unfortunately, several aspects of Canterbury combine to effectively mitigate any positives of a Colt design.  Trees crowd the fairways and in many cases block sight and playing lines.  It is clear that originally many of the greens were enhanced by bold bunkering.  Today, barely one such bunker remains.  Finally, the terrain is a bit too rambunctious to allow for very good golf, though Colt did create some fine holes. Not surprisingly a few par 3s are stand-out holes. 

The first hole is a subdued up n' oer par 5.  Things become more interesting on the short 2nd, a par 3 with a knob green.


The blind drive 3rd is interesting for its fallway green.


Unfortunately, the course goes AWOL for much of the next seven holes.  There are a few highs, but not not enough to satify.  The back nine is the much better of the two nines.  #11 continues the theme of hitting from a high spot over low ground to a high spot...a design theme which could not be avoided on this property. 




The 12th is very narrow, but still interesting.






The 13th is one of several examples of trees unnecessarily blocking views...and this is still winter.


14 is probably the hole which best demonstrates Colt's orginal vision of wide open golf played over bold terrain and enhanced by bunkering.  All the bunkers have been removed, but one still gets a sense of the plan.


We now make run for the house.  15 is slightly off course due to the drive being played to plateau, but it flows left while the fairway moves right.


The green site is very attractive.


There is a lull in the action with #16, but the penultimate hole is perhaps the best yet. Uphill and some 180 yards in length...this hole is not only a looker, but challenging as well.


The home hole is unexceptional, but not bad at all and not unlike Canterbury itself.  I am not convinced even a world class architect such as Colt could have created a course of note on this hilly and heavy terrain.  The abundance of trees and complete disregard for Colt's bunker scheme only make matters worse.  I won't be seeking a return engagement.

Previous 2014-15 Tour Stops:

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,40029.0.html  Edgbaston 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,38973.0.html  Little Aston 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32146.0.html  Formby 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60714.0.html  Formby Ladies 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60660.0.html  Stinchcombe Hill   

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html  Huntercombe

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html  Notts 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,48115.0.html  Mosely 
 
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,47211.0.html  Worplesdon 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,60107.0.html  Walton Heath New 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59831.0.html  Cumberwell Park Orange 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,30926.0.html  Kington 

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html  Cleeve Cloud 


Future Scheduled Stops: Sandwich

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 19, 2021, 07:40:46 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South, Lawsonia Links, Shoreacres, Culver Academies & Crystal Downs

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 07:38:01 PM »
Sean,

I have to agree, Canterbury was also a "one and done" for me. I would go back, however, if the company was entertaining... as the golf would not be enough of an attraction.  ;)

Cheers!

Whit
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 05:02:10 AM »
The bunkers on the second hole are new, which is why they're a bit different from the rest. The club is working with local architect James Edwards (who used to be on GCA) on an ongoing improvement basis, but James tells me it's slow going and the club is not flooded with money. A watching brief I guess. Would be much better if they cut down a load of trees and put back some of Colt's features, I suspect.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2015, 04:09:14 AM »
Adam

There are a few spots where insipid new bunkers were installed, yet the lovely pits for the Colt originals remain bare...its hard to fathom the thinking. 

Canterbury definitely feels like a club on its knees...muni-like. Even if money appears to rip out trees and replace bunkers, I wonder if there is a good course to be had.  Canterbury definitely isn't one of Colt's finer moments...the land just isn't conducive for good golf.

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

Scott Warren

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2015, 08:50:30 PM »
Sean,

Thanks for the run-through.

I was interested to read your thoughts. Tony M and I had a great afternoon there in summer 2009 on the way back from a morning round at Deal.

I don't recall, with a couple of exceptions, the course being overly narrow. I wonder to what extent it has encroached in the past six (!) years.

Agree that the threes - especially the 2nd, 11th and 17th - are the standouts.

Bunkering changes and tree encroachment aside, the course is almost pure Colt, save for the 4th being converted into a dogleg right and the 18th being changed to accommodate the driving range.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: CANTERBURY GC: The 2014-15 Winter Tour Invades Kent
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 05:48:53 AM »
Scott

Yes, I was left unimpressed, which is rare for me when Colt is involved.  I think the land dictated there would be several similar holes. 

Thanks for the explanation of the 4th.  Both Dan and I scratched our heads at the trees blocking the green. 

I didn't mention that the conditioning was awful...easily the worst encountered on this winter tour. 

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

Dan Moore

  • Karma: +0/-0
On my most recent trip to England earlier this month I had the pleasure to overlap with Sean for two days as his Winter Tour invaded Kent.  It was my suggestion to check out Colt's Canterbury when we were unable to visit Colt's Tandridge which was closed to visitors the day we wanted to visit.  That was really unfortunate as Canterbury was as Sean documents was a  pretty big disappointment. The combination of a hilly, tough to walk routing, some really silly trees to complement some simply ridiculous trees was not helped by the extent to which Colt's bunkering has been allowed to just fade away.  Notwithstanding these obstacles there were still 4-5 really good holes and 4 of the 5 par 3's such as the !! 17th were quite good as you would expect from a Colt routing. 

I did get a chance to visit Tandridge 2 days earlier and was very impressed.  You can check it out here on Frank Pont's thread here

http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,51398.0.html 

And check out the finished product with an abundance of photos here

http://ivgd.smugmug.com/Portfolio/Restorations/Tandridge/

I was really impressed with the routing.  The front nine is on the gentler piece of the property and flowed really well with a couple of nice short 4's and 2 really good 3's.  Things really took off on the back nine as the property became more rambunctious.  A great mid-round crescendo on the 13th and 14th were a highlight followed by the very cool short par 4 16th, a great hillside green on 17 and string final hole made for a great round. 

"Is there any other game which produces in the human mind such enviable insanity."  Bernard Darwin

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