The forefathers of Foxrock had the vision to employ the services of some excellent golf course designers/architects. The course was originally laid out under the direction of one Mr Brown. Thereafter, Harry Shapland Colt, one of the greatest golf course architects and a hero of the golden age of golf design, was invited to offer his redesign proposals in 1913.
It is recorded in the Irish Times of 4th January 1914 that
“Mr H S Colt the brilliant golf architect and secretary of Sunningdale Golf Club, has been, I understand, at Foxrock this week. The Foxrock Golf Club engaged his services for suggesting further improvements to the course. I do not know if Mr Colt is visiting any other courses about Dublin”
After numerous attempts to break from Sunningdale Golf Club where he was Secretary Manager, Colt eventually left in 1913 to pursue his design work on a permanent basis. In 1928, Colt formed the firm of Colt, Alison and Morrison Ltd, where he remained as Managing Director until his retirement in 1945.
C H Alison, Colts associate was Secretary at Foxrock Golf Club for approximately a year from 1908. During this period his address was The Club, Foxrock, Dublin.
Alison was also an accomplished golfer. In 1907 he is recorded to have driven a ball 340 yards at the Royal Dublin Club Dollymount. He also held the amateur record of 32 for 9 holes at Foxrock.
It is widely felt that Harry Colt’s longtime partner should be more highly regarded as a designer in his own right. Charles Hugh Alison, known to his friends as ‘Hugh,’ might just be the best sidekick in golf architecture history. Alison played a crucial role in the spread of golf around the world in the years before the Second World War, although his legacy may be somewhat overlooked by many courses claiming a Colt heritage.
During the First World War he was captain in the army involved in Ciphers. After the war and for the next nine years he took responsibility for North America, designing no less than twenty courses and remodelling a further six. According to his friends and associates, Alison was a "great man for humps", the 10th green at the Bristol and Clifton Club being an example.
Alison and Colt are noted for their work at Pine Valley GC, rated the No.1 golf course year on year. Alison helped to complete four holes at Pine Valley at Colt’s request when the instigator George Crump died suddenly.
Harry Colt might be described as the founder of golf course architecture in the British Isles. Golf obviously existed before he came along, but it was a game of straight lines and sharp angles. He softened those lines, introduced curves, and long before the art of pacing courses came into being, created visual challenges to tease and intrigue the golfer. Above all, Colt was the first to appreciate how golf could be a delightful walk through beautiful vistas.
Colt was a bold designer who built strategic rather than punitive courses that were adapted to the stronger playing character of the then modern rubber-core Haskell ball. The word most uttered by a Colt enthusiast is “natural” as he endeavoured above all else to make his courses fit in to the landscape and look like they were created by Mother Nature.
Suffice it to record that Harry Colt, together with his partners Charles Alison, John Morrison, and for a few earlier years Dr Alister MacKenzie, were involved in the design, construction, and remodelling of over 300 courses world-wide including the Eden Course at St Andrews, Royal Portrush, and Pine Valley and Augusta in the USA. Colt himself is credited as being responsible for 115 of these courses.
The Colt style is clearly evidenced throughout Foxrock. We are fortunate to have an enlightened team managing our course. They are committed to keeping course development and the design ethos of Colt front of mind, and in 2013, in line with our 7 year Golf Course Improvement Plan developed with Ken Kearney Course Design, we re-modelled our signature 5th hole in line with Colt’s original conception.
C H Alison
H S Colt