Barton on Sea is a bit unusual so far as English villages go. In the 1890s the area consisted of two large farms which were sold. Just after the turn of the century the village began to take shape as we know it today. The first golf course appeared in 1897, but that course is long since a memory. The beach is separated from the village by 100 plus feet cliffs which are very popular for recreational activity and famous for their geological content. These cliffs are of course eroding at a rapid pace causing several buildings to be lost and the reason why Barton on Sea GC is configured in its current manner.
The current course dates from 1920s to a design by H Vardon, although nearly all of it was rebuilt by the hand of HS Colt in 1932. I believe it is for this new Colt design that a magnificent art deco clubhouse was built and remained in use for the club until the 1990s. Tragically, the clubhouse was detroyed to make way for new housing. Interestingly, the photo offers a glimpse of the bunker style.
JH Stutt, son of JR Stutt, the well known builder who worked closely with James Braid, completed a new design which includes 27 holes in 1992. The 27 hole configuration results in the Colt holes being split between the Needles and Stroller nines. The Needles refers to the chalk formations off the west coast of the Isle of Wight. They are a spectacular sight and a sober reminder of erosion. The Stroller is named for the famous horse which is the only pony to have competed in Show Jumping in the Olympics. Marian Coakes won the silver in 1968 riding Stroller. The horse was buried at the farm over which the course is now built. There is a plaque to commemorate the horse!
The Becton/Needles combination is considered the premier 18 hole loop. Becton is a complete Stutt creation while the Needles nine has holes 2-8 attributed to Colt. Though to be honest, the modern shaping goes a long way to negating any touches that Colt may have originally included except for maybe width. The course is for the most part very wide, however, the width doesn't serve much purpose because there are too few features to create interest. The bottom line is for much of the round the two nines feel very much like extra wide 80s/90s design.
The start isn't promising as Becton's opener is on the far side of the parking lot. To add insult to injury the hole is a very dull affair. After a very long walk to the second tee, things improve dramatically. Hemmed between a high ground on the left and water right, the downhill tee shot is attractive and meaningful.
The short 3rd too is very good. It seems simple to bail right, but there is a great hollow protecting this flank to a green that runs away. This may be the best hole on the course. The path location could do with some extra thought.
A very reachable hole follows with a raised green.
The next hole features a funneled blind drive. A good drive in keen conditions can travel quite some distance which is helpful considering water must be tackled for the approach.
We turn back on the 5th for a funnel drive, but uphill.
The green is another of the built up type as seen on the 4th.
More to follow.