News:

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


Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC New
« on: July 23, 2019, 06:03:35 AM »


Tucked away in the far southeastern corner of Berkshire, Sunningdale is mostly thought of in the context of THE two courses and Wentworth just down the road.  However, there is an 18 hole course with HS Colt pedigree adjacent to Sunningdale Old Course.  Not quite of the same interest as Sunny Old, yet Sunningdale Heath GC (formerly Sunningdale Ladies) does share similar terrain over largely the same type of tree-lined heathland setting.  I say 18 holes, but it should be noted there are 14 par 3s and the longest hole is 328 yards.  Although, I believe Colt was only associated with an added 9 holes built to make an 18 hole course.  There is some evidence to suggest Claude Harris of Franks Harris Bros built these 9 holes for Colt.

Growing up, courses such as this in the Detroit area were labelled executive courses.  Don't ask me why, it still doesn't make sense to me.  While the course is 3705 yards, this in no way should imply Sunningdale Heath is cramped or easy.  The men's tees have a par of 58 to an SSS of 60.  A great many famous courses don't play as difficult to the handicap as does Sunningdale Heath!  Even though many of the extremely long par 3s are two-shotters for the ladies, the women's course (shown below) is still an SSS of 62 to  par of 61.



The course map below clearly indicates the many boozer loops possibilities...one of my favourite design traits for clubs offering membership.


The course begins in a lively way with the first of two road crossings. 


The course was originally called Sunningdale Ladies GC and recently changed its name.  On this Saturday afternoon, it was very evident ladies remain a prominent force in the club. The red flag of the sunken 1st green can just be seen right of the ladies.


The course may be diminutive, but the neighbourhood is not.




Looking toward the tee.  Probably the most interesting green on the course, the first slopes viciously away from play.  All the greens are small and tough targets.


The tough second plays over a valley in which the third green lies.  Practically the only obvious shaping on the course is doubled up for the third.  There is one area of earthworks to the rear of the green and one (upper right in the photo) which must be carried on this steep downhiller. 


The longest par 4 didn't do much for me, but the leaning left 5th up the hill is intriguing.  This is followed by a pair of long par 3s before coming to the one of the best holes on the course, the par 4 eighth. Longer hitters will want to have a go...


I am very surprised there aren't any holes around 100 yards.  As it is, the 9th is one of the shortest holes and its a cracker. 


Sunny Old's 6th is just the other side of trees and clearly visible.


An evil shelf green.


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 06:19:30 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

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2019, 06:12:57 AM »
I'm fascinated by Sunningdale Heath/Ladies, because, although I can't prove it yet, it seems to be Colt's first golf design work other than Rye and some early changes to Sunningdale Old.


What you see here appears to be the birth of the great man's career. Still digging.
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.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2019, 06:53:50 AM »
I looked at this course as we drove across it on the way to its famous neighbour and was intrigued so nice to see more here. Looking forward to the rest of the tour.
Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC New
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2019, 08:25:48 AM »
I'm fascinated by Sunningdale Heath/Ladies, because, although I can't prove it yet, it seems to be Colt's first golf design work other than Rye and some early changes to Sunningdale Old.

What you see here appears to be the birth of the great man's career. Still digging.

Adam

I must say, the course doesn't feel very Colt-like.  I spose the same could be said for Northamptonshire Co, another early Colt course.  Do you know if Colt did all 18 or if he added 9 holes to an already exististing 9?

SUNNINGDALE HEATH TOUR CONT

Unless one is tall, the 10th is a blind hole and a very tough target at 180 yards.  Playing hard against a property line, the 11th is a  challenging hole, although one can bail right and hope for an up and down par.  It is worth pausing here to note that I used driver on no less than four short holes. 


This photo further illustrates the proximity of the neighbouring property.


With driver in hand again, the 12th turns about face and heads back up the incline...yet another bruising short hole.  A pleasant walk down a leafy trail takes us within a stone's throw of Sunny Old's 3rd and 4th holes, but lets concentrate on one of Sunningdale Heath's better holes.  A sharp legger right, the downhill nature of the hole makes it seem there is oodles of space left.  As on the other par 4s, there can be a tendency to think a score has to be had to make up for the many bogeys to be had on the long par 3s. The 13th is not the time to attack!






The next two short holes take us up to then over the road.  I was taken with the 15th.




Normally, I would think a tree such as this should really come down, especially as there is a safety situation up the right, but when a short course is discussed it is much easier to forgive architectural transgressions.  The old Sunningdale Dormy House is in the background for what used to be the 18th hole.  The house is now a care home. 


The final two holes are quite similar in that they play over valleys to plateau greens.  The 18th is particularly noteworthy due to the proximity of the house and another club building.




Other than the difficulty of the course considering the yardage and the general perception of executive courses, there isn't anything noteworthy about Sunningdale Heath.  Even though there are several good holes, there isn't a stand out such as the property next door possesses in spades.  Yet, somehow, Sunningdale Heath manages to bring a smile to my face.  The smile could be for a number of reasons such as a 2ball we played in less 2.5 hours while playing through two groups, the lovely walk, the fine, springy turf, the many boozer's loops on offer or even the unassuming nature of the club.  I wouldn't ever dream of telling someone to play this course over the many fine nearby offerings, but if time is tight and the wallet is light, give Sunningdale Heath a go.   2019

 

Ciao
« Last Edit: December 09, 2020, 05:35:06 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

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2019, 10:04:34 AM »
I'm fascinated by Sunningdale Heath/Ladies, because, although I can't prove it yet, it seems to be Colt's first golf design work other than Rye and some early changes to Sunningdale Old.

What you see here appears to be the birth of the great man's career. Still digging.

Adam

I must say, the course doesn't feel very Colt-like.  I spose the same could be said for Northamptonshire Co, another early Colt course.  Do you know if Colt did all 18 or if he added 9 holes to an already exististing 9?



Sean, as discussed I can't prove anything yet. What evidence I have found suggests that Colt did the original course back in 1904 -- which would be a full four years ahead of Northamptonshire County, and three ahead of Leamington and County, which up to now I have believed to be his first new build. But I'm not going to go to the stake for it without some significantly better evidence.
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.

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2019, 10:24:58 AM »
A course that brings a smile, not a grimace, to the face. Like it. Kind of says something. Plus that you had to hit Driver four times on the par-3ís. I often wonder how a course of this general nature would play and how popular it would be if the ball only went say 50%-75% of the current ball. Although of course for many older, frailer, younger folks the current ball is fine. Simple Clubhouse too.
An 18-hole version of The Bann on different terrain or not that good?
Atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2019, 03:47:09 AM »
ATB

I did have a sort of epiphany at Sunny Heath.  These half par holes with the par as 3 is pretty crafty.  The folks who think these holes classed as 4s slow the game down because the green needs to be clear can be happy that they are 3s  8)  It also works well for those who want a "challenge". 

No, Sunny Heath is nowhere near the class of Bann 9, but in some ways its the same idea....for the 4s anyway.  They are really too tight to bang at the green, but it is doable.  The alternative of a layup doesn't mean the green can't be reached in two.  This type of design makes perfect sense to me if we want to keep old folks in the game and encourage women and children to play.  One thing is for sure, golf could do with more Sunny Heaths.

Adam

Thanks.  Any idea why the maple leaf (?) for the logo?

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 08:18:32 PM 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

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2019, 07:17:37 AM »
Thanks Sean I used to pass through this area this a lot and have had a look.  But along with the change of name I'm pretty sure the Green Fee has come down, now weekday is £35 and I'd certainly like to play it.



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: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2019, 08:18:18 AM »
Sean,


Would the course be better off as a 9 hole course rather than 18? more like the Valliere at Morfontaine? As it seems to have more potential judging from the photos to be 9 holes.


Cheers
Ben

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2019, 03:10:41 AM »
Sean,


Would the course be better off as a 9 hole course rather than 18? more like the Valliere at Morfontaine? As it seems to have more potential judging from the photos to be 9 holes.

Cheers
Ben

Sunny Heath probably has the most potential by not applying a predetermined number of holes. As it is, the course works very well for its original intention as a ladies course. That said, the aesthetics and greens interest could be greatly improved. That said, I get the impression the club runs on a small budget, so....

Ciao
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 08:19:09 PM 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

James Reader

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 04:17:32 PM »
If this is Coltís first design, it sounds like it might not be around in its current form for much longer.....


https://www.nationalclubgolfer.com/news/sunningdale-heath-redevelopment/

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2019, 04:10:38 AM »
How many courses have EVER successfully transitioned from 18-holes to 9?


I can only think of one which has made it work and that is Inchmarlo, near Banchory, in Aberdeenshire. They canned an entire 18-hole course and work with the remaining 9-hole short course and Driving Range.


Doesn't strike me as a business model with much of a precedent. Does anyone know better?
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: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2019, 04:35:08 AM »
How many courses have EVER successfully transitioned from 18-holes to 9?


I can only think of one which has made it work and that is Inchmarlo, near Banchory, in Aberdeenshire. They canned an entire 18-hole course and work with the remaining 9-hole short course and Driving Range.


Doesn't strike me as a business model with much of a precedent. Does anyone know better?
Sounds a dreadful plan to go back to 9 holes. Financially they are disasters unless they are in remote locations or run as a one man band. Their plan reminds me of the "little britain" sketch where she puts her money into the drain when she gets paid.
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

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2019, 09:26:24 AM »
Keep the course as is, rollback the ball.
atb

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2019, 12:39:50 PM »
Keep the course as is, rollback the ball.
atb
Yes Thomas, by the scorecard you would use every club in the bag. I would think it was tougher to beat par on that than many full layouts, plus you would get round in 2 hours all he ingredients we talk about here and yet someone wants to go an exact different route. I have not played it though I did stop by once.


If it is not doing well as it is there must be another problem, this is perfect executive golf in a great location.
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

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2019, 05:23:09 AM »
Keep the course as is, rollback the ball.
atb
Yes Thomas, by the scorecard you would use every club in the bag. I would think it was tougher to beat par on that than many full layouts, plus you would get round in 2 hours all he ingredients we talk about here and yet someone wants to go an exact different route. I have not played it though I did stop by once.

If it is not doing well as it is there must be another problem, this is perfect executive golf in a great location.

Adrian

You aren't wrong.  This is a tough course to play to one's handicap because of all the short holes...the par of 58 to an SSS of 60 makes this clear.  I suspect being called Sunningdale Ladies didn't help the marketing cause!  I like the course, but it could do with some pizzazz, but not so much as to spoil the simplicity and quick round essence of the place.

Happy Hockey
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 05:28:43 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

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2019, 05:58:01 AM »
I'm going to meet with the new owners to talk Colt next week.
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.

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2019, 06:06:38 AM »
I'm fascinated by Sunningdale Heath/Ladies, because, although I can't prove it yet, it seems to be Colt's first golf design work other than Rye and some early changes to Sunningdale Old.

What you see here appears to be the birth of the great man's career. Still digging.

Adam

I must say, the course doesn't feel very Colt-like.  I spose the same could be said for Northamptonshire Co, another early Colt course.  Do you know if Colt did all 18 or if he added 9 holes to an already exististing 9?



Club founder Edward Viliers wrote to Lord Stanley in February 1902 to ask if his wife would join the committee. In that letter he stated that the ladies would have the use of 'the new ladies links just laid out'. This seems to have been eight holes, laid out by who knows who, but apparently 'simple'. Colt then, seemingly in 1904, designed a further nine holes. This was built by Claude Harris, the first time the two worked together. See this interview with Harris -- [size=78%]https://golfchronicle.wordpress.com/2019/05/30/claude-d-harris-maker-of-golf-courses/[/size]
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 06:13:08 AM by Adam Lawrence »
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.

jvisser

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2019, 08:54:46 AM »
looks like a treat, should find the time to play there before they might muck it up

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2019, 09:00:28 AM »
2 hours is all you will need and if you've never broken 70 in your life then this is the course for you. I might EVEN believe Donald Trump if he said he shot a 69 here! But then again....
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)

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2019, 10:04:06 AM »
I'm going to meet with the new owners to talk Colt next week.


Adam if you or anyone else fancies a game before the "improvements", I'll be up for it.





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

Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2019, 10:17:04 AM »
Tony


I can just about manage that in my lunch break. I'm sat 500 yards away from it as I write.
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)

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2019, 10:36:00 AM »
I'm going to meet with the new owners to talk Colt next week.


Adam if you or anyone else fancies a game before the "improvements", I'll be up for it.


I will report back post my meeting. I got the impression from the phone convo I had that they were a while away from taking any definite decisions.
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.

Adrian_Stiff

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2019, 01:31:21 PM »
They have an architect 500 yards away and they have not used him!
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

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Suitable SUNNINGDALE HEATH GC
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2019, 02:32:12 PM »
They have an architect 500 yards away and they have not used him!


There are four architects 500 yards away. And I should think quite a few more within a mile or two.  :)
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.

Tags:
Tags:

An Error Has Occurred!

Call to undefined function theme_linktree()
Back