The Russley Golf Club is perfectly situated on the edge of Christchurch's Garden City. It started out in life as a 12-hole course called Hagley Golf Links and, according to the club, it was founded “on good old Kiwi determination and innovation”.
In 1927, the current and more challenging site was found for a new beginning and in 1929 the first clubhouse was built and it remained for more than sixty years until a new 19th hole was built in 1994. The new clubhouse provides panoramic views across the golf course.
The original course was laid out by Joe Clements, the club's first professional, but Grant Puddicombe took the trouble to contact us and shone some light on the architectural story: “Commander Harris had some involvement with the design in the mid-1960s, Puddicombe Golf did a Master Plan in 1990 and redeveloped holes #3, #6, #7, #9, #11, #13 and #17.”
Today’s Russley is very challenging thanks to renovations which included enlarging the greens, mounding – to add definition to the otherwise flat topography – and the addition of water hazards at the 5th and 6th holes.
Russley played host to many International and National Tournaments including the 1985 New Zealand Open that saw the ever-popular Corey Pavin lift the title. The United States ladies team also lifted the Espirito Santo Trophy when the biennial world amateur team championship for women was held at the club in 1990.
Despite its championship pedigree, Russley has four sets of tees from which to choose so the course is eminently playable for handicap golfers. With many holes lined by avenues of stately trees, Russley is a delightful course but, according to the club website, the key to a decent score is to drive straight and true, as advised by the motto ‘Medio Tutissimus Ibis’.
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Course ArchitectView All
Harris was educated at Pangbourne Nautical College, where he gained civil engineering and surveying qualifications before joining the family golf construction company which was run by his father and uncle.