“Restoring Simpson’s strategy and aesthetics”

Ten Year Masterplan

Inspired by the finding of some original Simpson sketches and historical photographs, the club members have developed a 10 year master plan to restore the many intricate details of Simpsons original features and strategic intentions with the help of IVGD, a Dutch based specialist in restoring Simpsons course details.

The 10 year Masterplan is currently being implemented with the first results already there to be seen.

Simpsons’ trademark original lace edge bunkers have already been restored on a number of holes giving the members a good feel for what they can expect going forward. Our ground staff and greens committee work tirelessly to maintain firm, fast greens; a trademark of Simpson courses and Blackwell’s reputation. In addition, we are working to create firm and short grass on approaches and run offs. As Simpson stated:

It should be impossible to detect where the fairway ends and the green begins; on really well-kept courses the one melts imperceptibly into the other.
Short grass around the greens is the ultimate “equaliser”; it is hard for good players, whilst being fairly easy for the less accomplished player.

Simpson believed that:

The middle of the fairway – except for perhaps once in the round for the sake of variety – should never be the true line to the hole

Over time the fairways at Blackwell have narrowed , often due to committees thinking the course had to made harder by making the fairways narrower and due to irrigation being put into courses thereby effectively limiting the fairway width to 30-35 yards. The result is that the intended strategy of the hole was somewhat lost in the process. At Blackwell we are recreating the original width of the fairways and widening the playing corridors through the removal of trees and the break-up of long tees into individual tees where possible to bring back the original strategic options.

The work is all being carried out in-house by the green keeping team. IVGD will be closely involved in all the works that will be undertaken on the course.