Located in Kent, just to the south-east of London, Chislehurst GC was established in 1894 as a nine-hole layout which was subsequently expanded to 18 holes early in the following decade. There is evidence as to the involvement of James Braid in both the expansion and subsequent improvement to bunkers in the years immediately prior to the First World War.
Although short by modern standards at 5,100 yards, and playing to a par of 66, the course is anything but a pushover, demanding accuracy and precision over brute strength. However, some of the hazards around the course have become less strategically relevant over the years and part of the design brief is to thoroughly investigate the strategy presented to players and, in relation to bunkering, to return them to the styles and aesthetics experienced over a century ago by reference to the club’s archives of plans and photographs.
David MacLaren, the Chief Executive Officer of Chislehurst Golf Club, said: “This is a progressive club with a very active golf and social membership. Those who know the course love it – those that visit us soon come to love the course too. It has visual interest, it has challenge, it has beauty. Working with European Golf Design to develop a five- to ten-year programme of improvements allows the club to move forward positively, but also to reclaim our heritage by re-establishing the original styling which has inevitably been lost in parts over the last one hundred years or so.”
Dave Sampson, who will be leading the project on behalf of EGD, said: “Working with a club and on a course with a relationship to Braid is a great honour and privilege. We are eager to explore all possibilities to restore as much of the original aesthetics and challenge as we can, while keeping the course playable for as many golfers as possible.”
Work on the initial planning began in March and is expected to take two to three months, following which more detailed plans will be prepared, alongside work schedules to fit improvements within the club’s busy playing and competition schedule.