Colchester Golf Club is located at Braiswick on the northwestern outskirts of the historic market town of Colchester, which was for a time the capital of Roman Britain. It’s claimed that Colchester is Britain’s oldest recorded town, as referenced by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder in 77 AD.
Colchester’s par 70, 6,347-yard golf course is laid out across undulating parkland where mature trees line every fairway. It’s both an enjoyable and testing layout that has been used recently for a number of important amateur and professional regional tournaments.
David Hamilton, former member of the editorial staff at Golf Illustrated, wrote the following passage, published in The Golfers Guide to East Anglia:
“The club was founded in 1907 with a private nine-hole course in the grounds of Achnecone House. The course, like so many others in Essex and around the country, was the work of James Braid. At the official opening in July 1910, an exhibition match was played between Braid [fresh from his fifth Open triumph], his partner in the Great Triumvirate and fellow Open champion, J.H. Taylor, Mr Webb, the professional from nearby Frinton GC, and the club’s first professional Tom Trapp. An additional nine holes were added in 1938, again to a design by Braid and laid out by the club’s second professional, Syd Parmenter.”
The course will examine the skills of every golfer and only has two par fives, the second and the ninth. Consequently the par 36 front nine is where a score can be made as the much tougher par 34 homeward nine contains no fewer than five par fours, which measure in excess of 400 yards.
The 3rd is a short but tricky 343-yard par four that doglegs left to a well-guarded green which slopes from the back-left to the front-right. The 409-yard par four 6th is the first significant outward test, running parallel with the busy A12 road which although it cannot be seen, the traffic is audible beyond the trees. This uphill hole with its sloping right to left fairway is the brute of the front nine.
The short par four 10th brings you back to the clubhouse where finding the fairway is crucial as an accurate approach shot is required to hold the small and tightly bunkered green. On the remainder of the back nine, the one-shot 13th is foreshortened by a cross bunker, so heed the Pro’s tip, “trust the yardage rather than your eye”, while the round all too quickly reaches its conclusion with two very strong par fours.
I have now played most top Essex courses and have to ask why this is not in the top 2, I had the pleasure of playing here in the summer and was astounded by the pure beauty and standard of the golf club. The par4s were laid out in such a way you felt with a good drive you might have an eagle chance. If you play here you won’t be disappointed and more importantly you’ll find yourself wondering why you stopped yourself of the opportunity to play such a magnificent piece of art.
Another fine James Braid design in Essex. Certainly exceeded expectations (when I played, the course had a much lower county ranking than It currently holds on this website!). Old fashioned parkland with some good elevation changes, smooth greens and tight tree-lined fairways. Loved the holes around the pine trees on the back 9 in particular.