John Harris

Full Name
John Dering Harris
Year of Birth
Year of Death
1977 (aged 65)
Place Born
Chobham, Surrey, England
Place Died
Puttenham, Surrey, England

"Although many of the courses bearing Harris’s name were designed and built by members of his staff, most were his own designs and he travelled the globe to supervise their construction. It was noted after his death that he may have been better known abroad than in Great Britain... Harris once estimated that he had participated in the design, remodelling and construction of over 450 courses." The Golf Course by Cornish & Whitten

John Harris was educated at Pangbourne Nautical College, an independent boarding school in Berkshire where he gained civil engineering and surveying qualifications before joining the family construction company which was run by his father and uncle.

Established in the 1890s, Franks Harris Brothers was the first golf course construction firm in Britain, building courses for all the top architects at the time, such as J. F. Abercromby, Harry Colt and Herbert Fowler.

They constructed the course, clubhouse and residential estate at Moor Park in 1923 – one of the very first developments of that genre – then a short time later they built the East and West courses on the Wentworth Estate.

John’s main role in the firm was to translate into legible drawings for his foremen the sketches and pictures of putting greens, tees and bunkers that his firm received as working plans – some of which were described as “illegible and even childish”.

Harris was drafted into the Navy in 1939, eventually becoming a commander of minesweepers. While working for the Fifth Sea Lord, he was involved in the planning and construction of airfields in the Azores, Gibraltar and Malta. After World War II ended, he teamed up for a short time in a design partnership with C.K. Cotton.

Courses designed by John Harris in England are few and far between but he built or remodelled a number in Ireland, including Shannon (1966), Courtown (1971) and the Castle course at Lahinch (1971). He is also known to have carried out design work at Fermoy, Royal Tara and Tramore.

On the continent of Europe, Harris made his mark in a number of countries. He was involved in a couple of Danish...

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Featured courses designed, remodelled and added to by John Harris

Aalborg (Red & Yellow)

22nd Denmark Ranking

Aalborg is the second oldest golf club in Denmark with members celebrating its centenary in 2008, but golf was first played on the present site when John Harris laid out a course in 1968.


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5th Barbados Ranking

Laid out in two returning 9-hole circuits that finish on either side of a lake in front of the clubhouse, the revamped course at Barbados Golf Club offers a slightly tougher challenge than its predecessor.


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25th Northern Italy - Best in Area 47th Italy Ranking

Situated a mere 20km to the north of Milan, Barlassina Country Club is an exclusive and private club, which was originally founded in 1956 by a group of wealthy Italians...


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3rd Northern Italy - Best in Area 3rd Italy Ranking 57th Continental Europe Ranking

Golf Club Biella known locally as "Le Betulle" is located in Valcarozza, one of the most evocative and serene spots in northern Italy. The club was founded in 1958 and the English architect John Morrison designed it.


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13th Northern Italy - Best in Area 30th Italy Ranking

Founded in 1958, Golf Club Bologna was the first golf club to be established in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. The course was designed by Ken Cotton and John Harris when they were in partnership...


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Costa Teguise

5th Canary Islands - Best in Area 71st Spain Ranking

Situated on the volcanic south eastern slopes of Lanzarote, the course at Costa Teguise Golf Club is a John Harris design that dates back to the late 1970s, making it one of noted architect’s final projects before he passed away in 1977.


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3rd Wexford - Best in Area

Courtown Golf Club is a lovely parkland course – measuring 6,466 yards from the medal tees – located on land that was once part of the Courtown Estate.


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27th Austria Ranking

Founded in 1970, Golfclub Enzesfeld lies a short drive to the southwest of the capital, where its 18-hole golf course (designed by John Harris) is carved through a hilly 185-acre forested property that was originally constructed by Baron Rothschild.


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6th Cork - Best in Area

Fermoy Golf Club was founded in 1893 but in 1972 the club moved six kilometres south to Corrin Hill, calling in Commander John Harris to fashion a new 18-hole course for the members.


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33rd Northern Italy - Best in Area 60th Italy Ranking

Bisected by the Lerrone river, the layout at Garlenda Golf Club was designed by Commander John Harris in 1964, an architect who fashioned more than a dozen courses in Italy, including the highly regarded Biella, Venezia and Menaggio & Cadenabbia.

John Harris Leaderboard

Rank Name Courses Played
1 Jorge Courses Played 9
2 Peter Wood Courses Played 8
3 Ingrinz Courses Played 7
= Helmut Baeck Courses Played 7
= Dino M. Canepa Courses Played 7
6 Georg Kittel Courses Played 6
= Tao Lin Courses Played 6
= Louis Roren Courses Played 6
= Geoffrey Steer Courses Played 6
= erik k Courses Played 6