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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH GC New
« on: November 12, 2016, 04:30:00 PM »
 

Luffenham Heath is set admirably in remote and diminutive Rutland County whose motto is multum in parvo (much in little).  Not five miles northeast of the course is the most famous landmark in the county, the romantically named Rutland Water.  Built in the mid 1970s, this is one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe and provides a crucial water reserve for one of the driest sections in the UK.
   
With some modifications by Braid between the wars, Luffenham Heath remained much as Colt had designed the course in 1911 until WWII. It was thought best that some 60 acres of land encompassing holes 9-11 should be ploughed under for the war effort.  These holes never made their way back into the 18 hole rotation. #s 11, 12 and unknown configuration for 9 & 10 are the result of the war effort and today the course still has a rather awkward traipse from the 12th to the 13th. 

One of the more impressive aspects of the design is the excellent use of ridges to define doglegs. We get an example on the opening hole. One will notice the filled in bunker on the left.  In 2003 Hawtree was called in to make changes to the bunker scheme.  There are many empty pits strewn about the course and some new bunkers installed in what are modern driving zones. 
 

 

The 2nd plays to the edge of a dip with the possibility of staying on the blind high ridge side of the fairway if one is incredible straight with the driver.
 

One of the best holes on the course, the third is an excellent short 4, but also highlights one of the worst aspects of Luffenham Heath.  The grassing lines make absolutely no sense in the fairways.  The course is loaded with incredibly wide corridors which in some cases are filled with up to 50% rough.
 

Looking back to the tee, the narrow cut lines are heightened by the sloping fairway.
 

The fine start continues on the fourth, a modest par 4 with its green set down a steep incline.  There is a funky break in the fairway some 40 yards shy of the green which in keen conditions would place significantly more emphasis on run-out control. Many will notice North Luffenham (back left) and the alluring spire of St John the Baptist Church sprawling down the hill across the valley.  Perhaps more interesting is The Pastures, a house in the village designed by well known Arts & Crafts designer CFA Voysey. In addition to his many house designs, Voysey also published two books, Basis of Art and Individuality.
 

 

The set of threes is unusually subdued for Colt.  Often times Colt will look to cover rough terrain for par 3s, except for the 17th, he instead chose to use the odd bits of land with elevation change for par 4s.  Even so, the 5th does have a certain charm due to combination of the landscaping and use of texture.
 

The short par five 6th highlights the poor fairway lines.  Its as if the the person cutting the grass was blindfolded!  Despite the immense area of lost fairway, there is some excellent shaping near the green which adds interest.
 

More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 07:22:23 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Greg Taylor

Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH 1-6
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2016, 03:12:08 PM »
Looks interesting Sean, worthy of a deeper dive. I look forward to the rest of the tour.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH 1-6 New
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2016, 05:13:30 AM »
LUFFENHAM TOUR CONT

Certainly one of the best and most attractive holes at Luffenham, it is a wonder why then that gorse and troubling trees/bushes down the left are allowed to remain on the 7th. 
 

The approach is a shot we can easily identify with Colt.


The short two-shotter 8th is a hole which doesn't make sense on any level.  Somewhat narrow due to a hazard right and trees/bunker left, its a simple choice to lay-up.  Even if one is successful in taking on the trees/sand, he is left in the rough and without a good angle of approach...because there is no good angle.  The 9th continues the ho-hum nature of the short holes, not bad, but somewhat of a letdown.  The 10th uses the gentle ridge extremely well for this bender right.  The landing zone bunkering and approach are interesting as well.   


Unfortunately, things generally turn south on the back nine.  The land is generally quite flat and featureless with a few exceptions.  Holes 11-14 offer very little in the way of charm or interest.  The 13th is especially gruesome as a dull 470ish par 4 with hardly any features except yardage..this is perhaps the worst Colt hole I know.  However, we do get yet another example of Luffenham's many forward bunkers at 11....a design trait I like. 


Despite the fairway lines, 15 is a fine hole, especially the uphill approach.  16 is okay, but it does wonderfully showcase the Line of Charm ideal.  There is loads of space left, but my guess is the two bunkers online with the green see plenty of action.   


Darwin highly praised the short 17th even if the strategy is closely tied with the 4th.
   

The home hole, a par 5, once again has fairway line issues with the entire right side now rough.  Perhaps the most elegant of Colt's bunkers, the string of pearls which would have guarded the second shot back in the day has been allowed to go fallow.  It is my understanding the Hawtree wasn't permitted to add to bunkers due to the Government orders in support of spotted two-toed slugs which are extremely rare... ;D Instead, if he wanted to add bunkers some needed to be removed elsewhere.
     

     

I really wanted to like Luffenham Heath because much of what I admire is present and it reminds me quite a bit of another Colt course which flies largely under the radar, Northamptonshire Co.  Luffenham is a nice club, a great walk in a country setting featuring some good scenery and a handful of fine holes in #s 3, 4, 7, 10 & 16.  However, several things conspire to diminish the quality of the design, namely dreadful fairway lines, an indifferent set of short holes, fairly bland greens and little in the way of quality for the banger holes.  Still, if one is invited for a game and tempers the expectations of what Colt can deliver, an enjoyable time can and should be had.  2016

Previous stops on The Tour:

Celtic Manor 2010
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63796.0.html

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

Welshpool
http://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,63739.0.html

Next scheduled stop: Huntercombe

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 04, 2018, 07:27:19 PM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Mark_Rowlinson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2016, 06:16:27 AM »
I remember Luffenham with slightly more affection, but then it is quite some years since I was there and maybe it was maintained differently in those days. Thanks for the tour.

Richard Fisher

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2016, 07:25:16 AM »
Many thanks as ever to Sean. I'm with Mark in having lots of happy memories of Luffenham, not least because I achieved my first ever birdie there, about 45 years ago! It was (and probably still is) the gentleman's golf club for Rutland and South Leicestershire, with strong links to public schools like Uppingham and Oundle, and a place to which gentlemen retreated when fox hunting (of which this part of the world is probably the English headquarters) was out of season or otherwise impossible. I do agree with Sean about the short holes, but my overall estimate (based on maybe half a dozen visits, over four decades) is distinctly a notch up (and maybe, as Mark, based on a different maintenance regime), and much closer to Church Brampton in overall quality. The loss of the three holes during wartime did have a considerable impact, and was responsible for some of the curious crowding and the odd layout Sean espies in the middle of the course.

Look forward very much to Sean's latest despatch from Huntercombe, and I hope that he agrees with the membership that the tree and undergrowth clearing is moving in the right direction, inasmuch (as at Luffenham) as the Club has control over its own environmental destiny.


Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 03:55:09 AM »
Put me down as another admirer.  I agree some of the mowing is daft but this course has solid bone structure! It's been a while so maybe its got worse, but I do think the balance of the strengths of the architecure are stronger than the negatives in presentation and most visitors would have a good time here.  Would rate it as a "hidden gem".




Although it is in the middle of nowhere it is only 15 mins off the A1 which is a much more interesting drive than the M1/M6 if travelling from London to the North.  Still think its worth a detour if you want to break the drive in two and make your own mind up.
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

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 05:55:50 AM »
GCAers


I live about 10 mins drive from Luffenham Heath where I was a member whilst playing for the Oakham School Golf Team just over 20 years ago.


Have seen many changes over the years. A few years ago one of my old school master was head of greens committee at Luffenham and asked me what I thought of the new changes my reply was that the fairways are too narrow and does not allow for more interesting shots the fairway needs to be wider to allow for this.


Luffenham has hosted the local qualifying for the Open Championship and next year it will be the last time it will hold one with the course in its current form because the R&A have said it is too short these days to meet their new criteria. Unless they revert back to the original 9, 10 and 11 it will increase the yardage of the course and will make it more interesting than the current 11 and 12.


In the summer I can get a double header at Rutland Water with a morning tee off for 25 and then Luffenham at Twilight rate of 30. Robin came over to play last year and it was the best putting performance I have ever seen from a GCAer 8 one putts on the front nine.  ;D


« Last Edit: November 15, 2016, 04:11:56 PM by Ben Stephens »

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 04:19:19 PM »
Old Aerial Photo of Luffenham






Old Course Map of Luffenham






Aerial Photo of current 60 acre field with a triangular patch in the middle with trees at the edges is the site of the original 10th green






Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 05:33:53 AM »
Put me down as another admirer.  I agree some of the mowing is daft but this course has solid bone structure! It's been a while so maybe its got worse, but I do think the balance of the strengths of the architecure are stronger than the negatives in presentation and most visitors would have a good time here.  Would rate it as a "hidden gem".

Although it is in the middle of nowhere it is only 15 mins off the A1 which is a much more interesting drive than the M1/M6 if travelling from London to the North.  Still think its worth a detour if you want to break the drive in two and make your own mind up.

Spangles

We are probably not far off in our estimations.  I would recommend Luffenham as a good fall back on course/trip filler/if in the immediate area play it.  Having just made the long journey, I don't believe Luffenham is worth a 5 hour day trip (the time it takes to play and have drinks)...which is the next step up in my recommendations.   

Ben

Thanks. Is it possible the 8th uses the old 12th green?  Same for the old 11th, is this the current 9th green? It seems to me the current 10th may uses he old 11th in reverse?

Ciao
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 05:36:31 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2016, 08:26:33 AM »
Put me down as another admirer.  I agree some of the mowing is daft but this course has solid bone structure! It's been a while so maybe its got worse, but I do think the balance of the strengths of the architecure are stronger than the negatives in presentation and most visitors would have a good time here.  Would rate it as a "hidden gem".

Although it is in the middle of nowhere it is only 15 mins off the A1 which is a much more interesting drive than the M1/M6 if travelling from London to the North.  Still think its worth a detour if you want to break the drive in two and make your own mind up.

Spangles

We are probably not far off in our estimations.  I would recommend Luffenham as a good fall back on course/trip filler/if in the immediate area play it.  Having just made the long journey, I don't believe Luffenham is worth a 5 hour day trip (the time it takes to play and have drinks)...which is the next step up in my recommendations.   

Ben

Thanks. Is it possible the 8th uses the old 12th green?  Same for the old 11th, is this the current 9th green? It seems to me the current 10th may uses he old 11th in reverse?

Ciao


Sean,


The current 8th and 10th is in effect a Hawtree green built in the 2000's to make the course longer. The new 8th is located behind the old 8th (original 12) green and the 10th which was the original 8th is located on the original 9th tee is built about 30 yards further than the old green.


The old 8th tee is behind the 10th Blue tee. The bunkering on the current 8th is baffling to me and should have had better thinking behind it to make it a more strategic hole.


The current 9th green is the original 11th hole green. The good thing about the original 13th is that it had 2 different set of tees and directions so that the hole plays differently.


I have heard suggestions through members that the 6th green is to be pushed further back as well as 14th hole green.


The secretary said that if the club had money the would seriously consider rebuilding the lost holes which I think will make it a better golf course.


Cheers
Ben

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2016, 09:01:10 AM »
Whoops wrong thread!
atb



« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 10:37:25 AM by Thomas Dai »

Michael Whitaker

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2016, 04:13:45 PM »
Sean - I can't argue too much with your assessment of Luffenham Heath. Craig Disher and I stopped there last year prior to the 2015 Buda Cup in Nottingham.


The course had a very promising start, but as you mentioned, lost a bit of charm as we moved to the back nine.


Still... I would enjoy another visit... it was a pleasant course with lots of fun holes.
"Solving the paradox of proportionality is the heart of golf architecture."  - Tom Doak (11/20/05)

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: 2016-17 Winter Tour: Colt's LUFFENHAM HEATH
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2016, 03:51:04 AM »
Whitty


I wouldn't mind playing Luffenham again either, but the full green fee is a bit much for what is on offer. I need to get a bigger bang for my buck or get a deal. 


Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Erewash, Malone, Cruit Island & St Pats

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