Harry Shapland Colt was presented with an almost ideal site for a golf architect in 1919 when he agreed to design the Thorndon Park course: mature parkland with smooth slopes, hundreds of specimen trees, springy turf, quick-draining soil, gently undulating land and a five-acre lake linked by a stream running through a small valley to two ponds.
Careful management over the years has ensured that those features have been not only maintained but also improved. Tees and greens are open all year round – with the exception of severe weather conditions. State-of-the-art equipment manicures the fairways. Since 2001, all the greens have been replaced with a mixture of bent and fescue grasses, offering a firm, fast-running sward. A watering system installed in 2007 helps keep the tees, greens and aprons in peak condition during the summer months.
The course has two nine-hole loops, each starting near the clubhouse, so players can begin their round at the first or tenth tee. There are also two practice areas – one more than 300 yards long – along with practice bunkers, a putting green, a chipping green – both close to the clubhouse – and practice nets by the first and tenth tees.