Forty years after it was laid out by Alex Swan, the course at Bentley Golf Club, Essex, is once again being worked on by the Swan family; Howard and William have recently undertaken and submitted an audit of the course. It looks at the redevelopment of the par-3 17th hole and will help the club formulate a ten year plan for the overall improvement of the course.
Building on his experience of designed and building coursing with Henry Cotton, Alex took on the challenging site at Bentley in the 1960s which was situated just a few miles from his home in Brentwood. Since its opening in 1972, the course has stood the test of time well and now thrives as a private members’ club in a tough market. However, advances in technique and technology now mean that the layout requires updating to remain a test for golfers of all ability.
The work to the 17th has already begun and encompasses a raised green with new bunkering, drainage and irrigation. Howard Swan will oversee the implementation of his design supported by Bentley’s experienced Course Manager, Mark Stopps.John GreasleyLtd has been chosen to execute the construction, with the new hole due to return to play in Spring 2012.
Whilst the new 17th takes shape, SGD are working with the golf club to formulate a comprehensive renovation plan to be implemented over coming years. Much of the focus is on rejuvenating the bunkers, relocating some to take into account the effects of changes in playing equipment and improving their appearance throughout the course. In addition, an assessment of Bentley’s landscape setting has been made as, having benefitted from 40 years of maturation, a new approach is required to ensure the golf course and its natural environment continue to benefit each other.
William Swan adds: “My father and I are particularly happy to be revisiting my grandfather’s work at Bentley to continue the Swan family’s connection with the Club and course. The quality of the original design has shown through over the four decades with few alterations to the layout and with the course ranking as one of the best in the country. We now have the chance to raise the bar to make it even better and to enhance the Club’s vision for the next decade.”
Swan Golf Designs Ltd www.swangolfdesigns.com