Sunday, 26 December 2010

Kingston Heath

The view from behind the famous 15th and down accross to the 14th green 

At first blush Kingston Heath was surprisingly more flat than I expected, but as my round unfolded I began to see there was far more undulation in play than I would have expected. The course, designed by Dan Soutar, weaves its way around a particularly tight property effectively. The most remarkable part is how you can’t tell where any of the other holes were despite the close proximity throughout. Soutar also managed to incorporate the few larger undulations into some very key areas and required a few critical shots be shaped to deal with the undulation.  

The incredible par three 10th hole  

There are three areas which make the course is special. The collection of greens by (former superintendent) Grahame Grant are some of the best that golf has to offer. He has reworked almost every contour to either add some brilliant subtle movement or to develop an extremely delicate pin position that tests both the shot-making and conviction of the player. 
The most well known feature is the famous bunkers attributed to Alister Mackenzie but likely should be credited to Nick Morcom. The bunkering is absolutely stunning from the shapes and variation through to nature of the maintenance beyond. The positioning is brilliant and the impact is absolutely stunning taking a flattish site and delivering much of the emphasis on greens and fairways.

The short par four 3rd is even more interesting to play with a green that slopes to the left!

This leads us to the third and most interesting aspect of the golf course. The use and integration of native vegetation is stunning. It give Kingston Heath a sense of play unlike any other on the Sandbelt. The rough and ragged edges match in beautifully with the sculptured bunkers and those wonderfully undulating greens. 
Kingston Heath is an architectural marvel since it holds up against the world’s best despite being on a decidedly average piece of ground. For any aspiring architect, it is a must see.

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