Ganton GC was designed by Tom Chisholm of St Andrews with assistance from Robert Bird (who was the inaugural club professional and head greenkeeper).
The course opened for play in 1891.
Harry Vardon took over as professional at Ganton in 1896, a role he filled until 1903.
During that time he won his first three Open Championships and a U.S. Open Championship.
Ted Ray took over a club professional from 1903-1912, and together with Vardon, James Braid & JH Taylor contributed to a major redesign of Ganton in 1905.
Over time further changes have been made by the likes of Harry Colt, Dr Alister McKenzie, Tom Simpson & CK Cotton.
Ganton has hosted some of biggest events in golf, including:
- the 1949 Ryder Cup
- the 2000 Curtis Cup
- the 2003 Walker Cup
- the 1964, 1977, & 1991 Amateur Championships
- the 1975 Dunlop Masters
- the 1981 PGA Championship
Ganton is based on an ancient seabed with naturally sandy subsoil ideal for golf.
Over the years the course has developed with the help of some of the best golfing minds in history to become a true championship course.
Whilst The Open Championship is always played on seaside links, it was Gary Player who once said that Ganton is the only inland course worthy of hosting it.
While the rolling terrain makes for a moderately easy walk, the course can be challenging to all levels of golfer.
The rough has always been a major defence at Ganton.
It is undulating, thick and wild.
It was augmented in the late 1930’s by the planting of gorse, which adds to the colour and the difficulty of playing a round at Ganton.
But for me the most significant defence at Ganton are the deep and foreboding bunkers that dominate play..
Notable holes include:
- hole 3, a nicely bunkered short par 4
- hole 4, a longer par which demands two strong shots to get home in regulation to a tiered and angled green
- hole 5, a mid length downhill par 3 to a green surrounded by bunkers, a burn in the front and a pond to the left. It's a lovely hole.
- hole 10, another mid length par 3 to a well bunkered green.
- hole 12, a shorter dogleg par 4 with trees framing the fairways. A strong tee shot over the corner tree sets up a short approach.
- hole 14, a delightful short potentially driveable par 4 with deep bunkers and sandy tracts protecting the inside of the dogleg.
- hole 17, an imposing longer par 3 with lots of bunkers and acres of open sand dominating the players vision from the tee (see pic top of page)
- hole 18, a memorable dog leg par 4 to finish. The tee shot is again over the sand to a angled fairway unseen from the tee. The approach is across the road and through the gap in the trees to a green protected by five bunkers.
Ganton is one of England's great courses.
The club members are perhaps the proudest I have come across, and the friendliest.
It all makes for a wonderful golfing adventure.
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