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Herbert Fowler

Course Designer

In 1912 golf course design was still very much in its infancy. As a rule, it was dealt with by professional golfers, Willie Park JNR twice Open Champion, was considered “top dog” in this respect. But Lord De La Warr had heard of William Herbert Fowler’s growing reputation in this field and especially his success at Walton Heath Golf Club. The Earl wanted something extra special at Cooden Beach so he invited Mr Fowler to come and view the proposed site and offer his suggestions and ideas for a new golf course.

Herbert Fowler was adventurous and fresh, with masterly vision for creating golfing perfection. He designed courses in an extraordinary manner with long hitters in mind, although he claimed to have no bias. Fairness to all was always his true intention. He considered that only a course which was a true test of one’s golfing ability could offer the golfer a sustained challenge and true enjoyment.

Fowler must have been elated when he first surveyed the possibilities of such a large open and secluded space at Cooden. What a challenge, to design a course in such an environment on a piece of lowland ground, a large part of which was below sea level. Here was a piece of terrain hardly touched by man, where nature would have a continued influence on the environment from raging storms to peace and calm. There would be no side-by-side criss-crossing holes. A purpose-built drainage system was already in existence to exploit, from water hazards to additional drainage for the course. The soil which offered excellent growing medium, would yield luscious green fairways.

The views from the high spot, now the 10th tee, would have clinched his thinking, another high-class course, and a great sporting challenge. What a draw, Fowler was hooked!