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Wherever Harry Colt traveled Ė France, Spain, Netherlands, Canada, the United States Ė good things happened, with him nonchalantly leaving behind one of the finest courses in each country. Can you imagine being that good at your craft?! During the period from 1911 to 1914 when Colt came to North America, he worked on ~15 courses in addition to his famous input at Pine Valley. Personal favs include Toronto GC and Bloomfield Hills (I havenít played Old Elm). Did you know he also worked at Indian Hill outside of Chicago? Until recently, even the club didnít appreciate its own important Colt connection. Happily, John Challengerís most recent In My Opinion piece provides a clear, concise accounting of Coltís involvement there. Here is the link: Challenger, John Ė The Routing and Design of Indian Hill Clubís Golf Course Ė Golf Club AtlasIndian Hill enjoys the unique distinction of having H.H. Barker, Colt, Ross AND Langford work on it. Pretty tasty! In this IMO entry, John meticulously details the courseís foundation, namely the work performed by Barker initially in 1912 and early 1913, and then what Colt did on a hole-by-hole basis in 1913. John intends to publish a follow-on IMO later this year detailing Rossís and Langfordís subsequent work. As part of his second of three trips to North America, Colt came to Chicago to design Old Elm. Thankfully, Indian Hill lured him over for three fateful days in May 1913. No less than Max Behr used diagrams of holes 15 and 16 to illustrate Coltís command of design. As John notes, ďOn this 1913 journey, Coltís development of precise plans and drawings was a significant innovation in the history of golf course architecture.Ē As part of Coltís changes, the 17th went from a par 5 to a par 3 and many consider it and his work at the 8th to be the courseís two best holes. Though there is no evidence that the four architects ever collaborated at Indian Hill, it is still revealing to read Johnís analysis of Coltís work as it captures features that Colt prized in designs, including variety of shapes and sizes in greens that dictate preferred playing lines back to the tee. Colt clearly was a quick study and enjoyed great clarity of purpose, making fundamental and critical changes at Indian Hill after a three-day visit, to Pine Valley after just seven-days, and Old Elm after nine-days. Talk about impactful - The man knew what he was doing!Thanks to John for sharing this important insight into how Colt worked. Who knows how many more times Colt might have come stateside if not for WWI, but after that, he never returned. Thankfully, his partner C.H. Alison carried the torch going forward but given the relative paucity of courses that Colt himself touched in North America, it makes me appreciate his selective works on this side of the pond even more. Cheers,
John,A masterfully researched essay. I read that CDP was retained to do a master plan for Indian Hill. Any word on whether they are contemplating implementation of the Colt 15 and 16 holes?Ira
His approach to golf course design and his design aesthetic were necessarily the same.