Date: Mon 05 Dec 2011

Swinley Special: one hundred years of Harry Colts’s ‘least bad course’

By Nicholas Courtney. This is the story of Swinley Forest Golf Club near Ascot in Berkshire. It is not just the course that makes Swinley unique. This idiosyncratic club is a law unto itself, run solely to suit its very small and very exclusive membership. Swinley has always been an extension of the country houseparty, the city boardroom and the regimental mess. There are no handicaps and no medal competitions, just golf with friends.

Swinley Special

Here is Harry Colt at his very best. Only he had the genius, a century ago, to see what a phenomenal course could be made from the desolate heathland and forest. Colt’s Swinley is inspired. The natural sites of the five outstanding short holes, the immaculate fairways and greens, the woodlands and sheer beauty of the place go to make this one of the most revered places to play golf in the world. It was Colt, himself, who described it as his ‘least bad course’. The early chapters of the book contain a detailed description of the design and construction of the course, from the felling of 14,000 trees to the planting of the rhododendrons.

Published by Phillimore & Co, 2008.

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