Harry ColtHenry Shapland “Harry” Colt remains one of the most influential golf course designers the world has ever seen. Colt had a hand in the creation of over 300 golf courses, 115 of which were solo projects. Whether working solo or collaborating with other great architects like Alistair Mackenzie Colt’s creations were always spectacular and have proved to be able to stand the test of time. While many of Colt’s most notable creations can be found in the Home Counties he has also had an influence on some of the most famous seaside courses in the UK including several courses in the Open Championship rota. Here are ten of his best.

Royal-LythamRoyal Lytham & St Anne’s

Royal Lytham & St Anne’s has hosted the Open Championship a staggering ten times and will make it 11 when the oldest major in golf returns for the 2012 championship. This historic golf course celebrated its centenary in 1998 and Colt got his hands on it back in 1919 making several subtle changes to ensure it remained a real championship course that would test the world’s best for years to come. Links golf lovers will not be disappointed by Lytham which is just one from the handful of world class links courses to grace the north west of England.

Royal Portrush

Royal Portrush 1

Royal Portrush holds the distinction of being the only golf course outside of England and Scotland to have hosted the Open Championship and although it was originally laid down as far back as 1888 it was Colt’s redesign in 1947 that made it into the stunning championship test it is today. Mind boggling undulations and towering dunes define this course and any golfer heading planning a Northern Ireland golf break would be remiss to overlook this world class links. Royal Portrush has only hosted the Open once but following Darren Clarke’s memorable win at the 2011 championship the R&A have been put under pressure to bring the Open back to the Emerald Isle.

County SligoCounty Sligo

County Sligo Golf Club was founded in 1894 and the glorious Colt designed links has certainly stood the test of time and has maintained its reputation as one of the finest golf courses in Ireland. The course is set on the spectacular promontory known as Rosse’s Point and offers golfers an experience that is hard to match anywhere in Europe. The quality of the course is underlined by the calibre of some of its visitors over the years including the likes of Walter Hagen, Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer, Sir Nick Faldo and more recently Rory McIlory. Not only is the course a joy to play for golfers of all abilities it also boasts stunning views with the sea and Benbulben Mountain in full view from all over the course.

Sunningdale New Course


The Sunningdale Old Course had already placed the Surrey club firmly on the map but in 1923 Colt’s New Course added to the allure. The New Course has a distinctly different character to its elder sibling but remains an equally enthralling test of golf. Long carries are required from the tee and distance must not come at the expense of accuracy as the fairways are narrow. The New Course is a more rugged and complete test than the famous Old Course and will be sure to delight any golfer who gets the chance to play it. Jack Nicklaus long held the course record here with a 67 which is testament to the challenge that awaits golfers at this famous heathland gem.

Swinley ForestSwinley Forest

Swinley Forest is another of the world class golf courses situated on the Surrey and Berkshire sand-belt and like the New Course at Sunningdale it was devised by Harry Colt. Perfect fairways are bordered by towering, ancient pines and like its illustrious Surrey neighbours the course is rugged yet beautiful thanks to banks of glorious purple heather. Swinley Forest is reportedly Harry Colt’s favourite design which speaks volumes about its quality, especially when you consider the other courses he has in his impressive portfolio.


Yet another of Colt’s courses that is situated on the Surrey and Berkshire sand-belt is the fabulous West Course at Wentworth. The West is perhaps the most famous of the Colt courses in this region thanks to the countless professional tournaments held there year after year. Currently the West Course is the home of the BMW PGA Championship and it has also previously hosted the HSBC World Matchplay Championship and the Ryder Cup back in 1953 which underlines the quality of Colt’s design and of course the stunning patch of land that is also home to the East Course and the Edinburgh Course.

Royal BelfastRoyal Belfast

Royal Belfast is just one of a handful of Irish golf clubs to the Royal prefix in their name and also has the distinction of being the oldest golf course in Ireland. Assisted by W. A. Murray, Colt routed a stunning collection of holes over rolling parkland and towering trees, gentle undulation changes and intelligent bunkering make the course a real delight to play. Holes 9 to 11 run along the shoreline and are a particular highlight if the course which is a must play course while on a Northern Ireland golf tour which could also include the stunning Royal County Down.

St GermainSt Germain

St Germain is situated just to the west of Paris in the forest of Saint Germain and is one of a small number of Colt’s creations in France. This 6.734 yard beauty has hosted the French Open an impressive nine times proving it can test even the finest golfers while a collection of tees make it playable to golfers of all abilities. Pristine fairways are bordered by ancient trees which, combined with strategic bunkering, place an emphasis on accuracy and course management. With such an emphasis on accuracy and precision you may be surprised to learn that the last French Open champion to be crowned here was the swashbuckling Seve Ballesteros.


As soon as you arrive at Kennemer Golf & Country Club you catch a glimpse of the undulating links land and the thatched-roof clubhouse that sits proudly watching over the course, you know you are in for something special. Originally a nine hole layout, Kennemer moved to its present location in 1927 which is when Harry Colt stepped in to complete the 18 hole course that awaits golfers on their European golf breaks today. Kennemer bares all the hallmarks of a great links and golfers will have to negotiate sweeping undulations, towering dunes, gorse and even the odd pine tree if they are to score well. You may not expect to come across a world class links course in the Netherlands but Kennemer is the real deal and will delight any golfer lucky enough to play it.

Rye Golf Club

Rye Golf Club

Harry Colt was only 25 when he laid out the design for Rye which must surely rank among the very best design debuts in the history of golf. Rye only measures just over a paltry 6,300 yards but with a par of 68 and defence provided by strong winds blowing in from the sea this is actually one of the toughest golf courses in the UK. The five par 3s are difficult to negotiate thanks to elusive raised greens and the single par five comes too early in the round to really take advantage. All in all Rye is a golf experience like no other and is surely among the very best of Colt’s creations.