Harry Shapland (H.S.) Colt attended Cambridge, was trained as a lawyer, was a competitive amateur golfer and was one of the finest architects the game as ever seen. Colt started as the secretary at Rye, then served the same role at Sunningdale. Among his designs are the new course at Sunningdale, Swinley Forest, St. George’s Hill and both courses at Wentworth. He also played a major role in both Pine Valley and Royal Portrush.
A prized possession in any golfer’s library is Colt’s Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture which he co-authored in 1920 with his partner C.H. Alison. Colt and Alison’s golf course architecture design firm was involved in designing or remodeling over 300 golf courses worldwide. The book was published by Country Life with a dust jacket, illustrated below (Donovan & Jerris C16810). The book is organized into eight chapters: 1. Golf in the Nineties; 2. The Modern Course; 3. The Placing of Bunkers; 4. Construction; 5. Financial Considerations; 6. Labour-Saving Machinery and the Cost of Construction; 7. Golf in Belgium; and 8. Other Opinions.
The book also contains nineteen black and white illustrations including four early ones of Pine Valley. Colt goes through his design philosophy in the book. He was not opposed to blind shots, cautioned that when designing long holes that they not play into the prevailing wind and was also a big proponent of a forced carry shot.
Copies of the original 1920 first edition are rare, however, there were reprint editions done in 1990 and 1993 in limited editions of 700 and 1,000, respectively.
Colt & Co: Golf Course Architects: A Biographical Study of Henry Shapland Colt, 1869-1951, with his partners C.H. Alison, J.S.F. Morrison, and Dr. A. Mackenzie was written by Fred W. Hawtree and published in 1991 in two editions. The first edition was limited to 100 copies with a decorative leather cover and the second was a limited edition of 1,000 copies with a dust jacket. These books are also difficult to find.
Creating Classics, The Golf Courses of Harry Colt by Peter Pugh and Henry Lord was published in 2008. This 432 page book is an inch and a half thick and is richly illustrated with color photographs of Colt’s courses. For golfers passionate about challenging courses steeped in character, this spectacular book lets players discover the rich heritage of their favorite golfing turf. Colt’s definitive 18 holes, as chosen by golf’s most critical commentator Bruce Critchley, and a foreword from five-time Open champion Peter Thomson, accompany stunning photographs and wonderful personal tales. This book will enlighten all lovers of the game about a special group of courses with unparalleled pedigree and a common bond – Harry Colt. We highly recommended it.