Sep 4, 1869
Highgate, England
Dec 21, 1951


Born in north London in 1869 and christened Henry, at age 25 "Harry" Colt gave up a career as an attorney to help design the beautiful links course at Rye on the south coast of England. A proficient golfer, following a spell as Rye's first honorary secretary, he moved to Berkshire southwest of London in 1901 to become the secretary of Sunningdale.

Although a huge fan of links golf, over the course of the next few years Colt developed an appreciation of the potential that existed to create exceptional inland courses and he rapidly became a popular architect.

Colt formed a partnership with fellow designer Dr. Alister MacKenzie and the two were subsequently joined by Charles Alison, and then in 1923 by John Morrison. Initially they created courses in the U.K. but soon expanded into mainland Europe and eventually into the U.S., Australia and the Far East.

MacKenzie left the firm shortly after Alison joined, but the three who remained designed more than 300 courses in 16 countries including famous Pine Valley in New Jersey.

Colt mostly focused on the U.K. and enjoyed significant success with Wentworth, the New Course at Sunningdale, Royal Worlington and Royal Lytham and St Anne's.

Colt and his team had only a few simple rules. Opening holes should not be too demanding; as far as possible, every club in the bag should be utilized during the course of a round; and the routing should be determined by the lie and topography of the land and not imposed on it.

When asked to alter a course, Colt ensured that his alterations blended harmoniously with the natural landscape. Indeed, he always endeavored to go with the flow of the land and tried to replicate as far as was practicable on inland courses the natural route that was more easily discernible on links.

He was fond of pot bunkers and his hand is frequently recognizable on courses where there are numerous and decidedly tricky pot bunkers often clustered together. Royal Lytham and St Anne's being a classic example.

Colt's principal legacy is the mastery of scale; small greens at the end of narrow, winding fairways; tees set back behind modest stretches of rough; each hole an entity in itself, a country lane meandering through a picturesque setting. His courses were plenty long enough, but length was never his principal weapon to test and tease the better player. Most of his creations, therefore, have been stretched to remain competitive today.

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