Date: Wed 02 Nov 2016

Simpson & Co. Golf Architects

We have been given a copy of this book by Fred Hawtree & Donald Steel by the publisher. It is the first to examine the life and career of Tom Simpson, until now a mysterious figure known only through his own writings on golf course architecture.

Tom Simpson book

Relying on Simpson’s personal scrapbooks the book is written by two of the most eminent names in golf architecture of the last 60 years, setting out Simpson’s golfing philosophy and methods. It is lavishly illustrated with previously unseen photographs and reproductions from Simpson’s own ‘Bible’.

Whereas many famous golf architects have been reluctant to divulge their trade secrets, Simpson was a glorious exception. His views are an educational catalogue of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. Without them, a biography published half a century after his death may have proved impossible. An engaging, multi-talented figure with a perfectionist’s streak, he was one of a generation who had to adjust to the disruption of two World Wars. As a result, there were more prolific golf architects but few whose legacy has a more enriching influence.

Simpson was involved in many courses around Europe, one way or another, and these are some of the jewels: Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, Royal Porthcawl, Rye, Hayling, Ashridge, New Zealand, Muirfield, Huddersfield, Sunningdale, Woking, Liphook, St Andrews, Chantilly, Fontainebleau, Morfontaine, Deauville, Royal Antwerp, Liege, Spa, Louth, Ballybunnion and Zurich etc.

Fred Hawtree had only just graduated with a degree in modern Languages from Oxford University in 1938 and had begun a career as a golf architect when World War II saw him serve with the Royal Artillery in Indonesia. On his return, he continued where he left off with the design and construction company his father had founded in 1912, although the name was changed to Hawtree and Son in the 1950s to concentrate purely on design. The high point for Fred came in 1974 when his son, Martin, became the third generation of a unique golfing family dynasty.

For more than fifty years, Donald Steel has led a dual life as golf writer and golf architect. He held office and later served as President of both UK professional bodies with the further distinction as a notable international amateur golfer. He frequently took part in events he reported for The Sunday Telegraph, not least an Open Championship at St Andrews. It was that front line experience that forged an undying love and respect for our courses which he has striven, by word and deed, to exalt and protect.

This book can be obtained from Rhod McEwan Publishing, price £28 + shipping. Go to for details.

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