Although design partner Charles Hugh Alison left quite a few fine courses scattered around the United States, British golfers cannot but feel sympathy that Americans have very few opportunities to play a true Harry Colt design within their homeland. Apart from the Country Club of Detroit, there is just one remaining exception, and that is Bloomfield Hills Country Club, located a few miles north of Motor City.
Despite Tom Bendelow taking a stab at the club’s original course, the current design has recently been attributed to Colt after the Englishman's original plans were unearthed. Since Colt left in 1913, Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills have tinkered. Naturally, as this Colt is a rare specimen in the United States, it is all the more essential that it be protected. Accordingly, Mike DeVries and Frank Pont were called in during 2020 to reshape the Nos. 3 and 4 holes to better imitate Colt’s original routing, reintroduce the double fairway on the 1st and 18th holes, as well as rebuild three greens and restore the course’s bunkers to a style more representative of the master’s.
Although it seems Bloomfield Hills is in safe hands, the club is notoriously private; it may still be easier for Americans to fly to London for a go at Colt.
Your site wrongly attributes Bloomfield Hills Country Club as a Tom Bendelow design. Although he originally did design the course in 1909, the club bought 50 more acres in 1913 at the instruction of Harry S. Colt and he designed and rerouted the entire course. BHCC is only pure Colt design remaining in the USA, as after WWI he partnered with Alison and McKenzie and they designed many other USA courses. But before WWI Colt was on his own and he designed BHCC while traveling from Old Elm in Highland Park, Illinois to Pine Valley in New Jersey where he assisted George Crump in laying out that world famous course. So Bloomfield Hills Country Club, as is very clear in the club minutes, was a solo Colt design, and although Donald Ross was brought in later to redesign the course, the work was never even started, just the design was done by Ross and locked in the club's safe never to be implemented. I hope this clears up the Tom Bendelow misnomer at BHCC. John Quay
Given that Tom Bendelow did design the original course at Bloomfield Hills, why is our attribution incorrect? Almost always some fragment (a green site or a hole) is left over from an original design.
We think you may be incorrect in your assertion that Colt was on his own before WWI. Here’s a quote from Masters of Design – Great Courses of Colt, MacKenzie, Alison and Morrison: “The war [WWI] put a hold on nearly all golf course construction, but in the years shortly before and after the conflict, Colt fostered a partnership with Charles Hugh Alison and Dr Alister MacKenzie. Colt and Alison probably knew each other through the Oxford & Cambridge Golfing Society and in 1908 they worked together informally on Stoke Poges (now Stoke Park)… The relationship with MacKenzie began in 1907 when Colt had been called to give advice on the new layout at Alwoodley Golf Club.”
We're not completely convinced that Bloomfield Hills is a “solo Colt design,” but we do know that the Englishman's plans were unearthed in 2017 and a Mike DeVries restoration is imminent.