Hawtree is the longest continuous practice of golf course construction and design on record. Started by Frederick George Hawtree in 1912, the firm was then managed by his son Frederick William Hawtree when he joined the firm in 1938. Grandson Martin Grant Hawtree entered the family business in the early 1970s, taking over operations a decade later.
Educated first at Tonbridge School in Kent then Queen’s College, Oxford, where he read modern languages, Fred immediately became involved in his father’s design firm upon graduation, before World War II suddenly intervened. He served with the Royal Artillery in Indonesia, spending the last few years of the conflict as a Japanese prisoner of war.
The construction part of the Hawtree company was closed down when Fred Senior passed away in 1955, allowing his son to concentrate fully on golf course design under the new Hawtree & Son banner. During the next twenty-five years, around eighty new courses were completed by the company across four continents.
The firm is probably best known during this period on the domestic front for renovations made to Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale, though the revamp of the Hillside course next door to Birkdale is also high on the list of major Hawtree achievements.
Fred expanded the firm’s reach into new overseas markets, collaborating with Donald Harradine on a couple of courses in Switzerland and venturing into France and Belgium to work on substantial 36-hole projects at Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche and Royal Waterloo.
He also picked up other occasional European commissions in Spain, Portugal and Germany, as well as adding new courses on either side of the border in Ireland at Westport, County Mayo and Malone in Belfast.
One-off assignments in further flung countries such as El Salvador, Morocco and Zimbabwe were also completed and Fred’s designs at the Country Club of Johannesburg (late 1960s) and Plettenberg Bay (late 1970s) are still highly regarded today.
He was assisted in the early 1970s by his partner A.H.F. Jiggens, known as “Jigg,” who had previously worked as an engineer and planning officer at the City of Chester. Jiggens would go on to hold office at the British Golf Greenkeepers’ Association.
Fred’s son, Martin Grant Hawtree, also joined the family firm in 1973, having completed degree courses at the Universities of East Anglia and Liverpool, and he took over the running of the practice in 1984. Before Martin’s arrival, the Hawtree name was well known in Great Britain & Ireland and on the continent of Europe but he has since extended the firm’s horizons into Canada and Australia.
Keith Cutten, in his book The Evolution of Golf Course Design, writes about Fred’s latter years as follows: “In a similar vein to Geoffrey Cornish, Hawtree reduced his design workload while adapting to advancing senior years. An excellent substitute lay in waiting; the all-encompassing tasks of research and writing.”
Fred Hawtree died in September 2000 at his home in Woodstock, Oxford.
Fred W. Hawtree's biography at the European Institute of Golf Course Architects is as follows:
“Fred was noted for his phenomenal energy and industry and apart from designing many new courses and travelling extensively across the world he also ran and developed the Addington Court Public Courses in Surrey during this period.
Like his father before him Fred was a very enthusiastic supporter of the Greenkeepers’ Association, which his father founded in 1912, and Fred himself was a long standing Vice President of the British Golf Greenkeepers’ Association.
He also edited The Greenkeeper and regularly contributed editorials between 1960-74. During the 1960s and 70s he served on the English Golf Union Council and Executive and also on the Golf Development Council and Executive until its winding up in the 1980s.
He was a founder member in 1971, and later President, of the British Association of Golf Course Architects, which was the first attempt in this country to establish a profession of golf course architects.
For many years he served as a private member on the board of the Sports Turf Research Institute at Bingley and was also a member of the Turfgrass Advisory Committee.
In his later years Fred Hawtree was a prolific writer not only for magazine publications but also books and other literary works. His publications include:-
“The Golf Course, Planning, Design, Construction & Maintenance” in 1984
“Colt & Co. Course Architects” in 1991
“Triple Baugé, Promenades in Medieval Golf” in 1996
“Aspects of Golf Course Architecture I, 1889-1924, an Anthology” in 1998
“Aspects of Golf Course Architecture II, 1924-1971, an Anthology” in 1999
In 1989 he received the National Turfgrass Council’s award for his outstanding contribution to the turf grass industry. In 1996 he received the silver medal of the British Institute of Golf Course Architects and was made an honorary member of the Institute in 1998. He was awarded a distinguished honorary membership of the British and International Greenkeepers’ Association in 1999.”
Fred also had the book Simpson & Co. Golf Architects published posthumously by Rhod McEwan in 2016.