Houghton – Stuart McLean

Published by : Stuart McLean - 03 April 2022

The final piece of the jigsaw is in place at Houghton, and viewing the course today it is remarkable how many changes have been implemented (including two redesigned holes) to evolve this into a far more playable layout to the one Jack Nicklaus opened more than a decade ago. Finally the members have stopped complaining about its deficiencies and irritations (the undulating greens to begin with) and started to enjoy and appreciate what is an exceptional design. Last year’s bunker project by Timeless Golf was massive. The jagged edges and steep faces have been removed, the bases of the bunkers lifted as much as 30cm in height. Recovery shots are easier, as is the exit process for older golfers. There are still 64 bunkers, fewer than most would have thought looking from the clubhouse at all the sand on the first and 17th holes. The bunker complexes have softer edges and turned down grass which better suits the parkland look. Some bunkers have been shrunk, others split into two. The fairway corridor on 17 is wider. They are still an integral part of the design, particularly in terms of aesthetics, but less menacing. The course conditioning is looking at its best.

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