The original course was built on part of the Hewell Grange Estate, owned by Viscount Windsor. In November 1893 five prosperous residents of Blackwell commissioned (for £1.5s.0d) C W Cunningham, a local golf professional to plan the original 9 hole layout that measured 2,056 yards. Viscount Windsor (soon to be Earl of Plymouth) allowed sand bunkers on the course in 1905 and in 1912, the highly reputed Harry Colt was asked to re-design the course and this added another 1,000 yards.
After completing a lease, and then later a purchase agreement, of 102 acres in 1923, the Club appointed Herbert Fowler and Tom Simpson to design the 18 holes that exist today. What Fowler and Simpson achieved at Blackwell on a relatively small acreage is a tribute to their skills and one of only 7 in the UK in which they collaborated.
What Fowler and Simpson achieved at Blackwell on a relatively small acreage is a tribute to their skill and the course on which members play today is not greatly different from the original 18 hole design of 1923 apart from the 1st tee is now the 10th.
Today, Blackwell is a traditional English mature parkland course measuring 6260 yards from the white tees with a par of 70 (sss.71).
Simpson might well be one of the most creative golf course architects who ever lived. His basic tenet was “The vital thing about a hole is that it should either be more difficult than it looks or look more difficult than it is. It must never be what it looks.”
Further he believed that “The middle of the fairway – except for perhaps once in the round for the sake of variety – should never be the true line to the hole”
Blackwell reflects these views through its strategic bunkering and angled greens that generally encourage an approach from one side of the fairway or the other. It is a challenging test of golf, the fast and true greens have been a constituent part of Blackwell’s reputation. This, combined with some interesting contours, places high premium on putting skills.
Bobby Jones visited Blackwell in 1930 and used the 13th to create the 12th we see at Augusta today. A raised tee shot, narrow green, water at the front and bunkers/trouble at the front and back!
Extract from the golf club website.
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