Renowned golf architect Major Cecil Key Hutchison showed extraordinary vision, imagination and skill when he converted an unpromising Bradnor Hill into what is universally acknowledged as one of the finest natural Links courses, and the highest in England.
There is evidence that golf was played near Kington in the late 19th century when the Banks family of the Hergest Court Estate laid out a five-hole course on Hergest Ridge. At the beginning of the 20th century a group of golf enthusiasts set up a nine hole course at Harpton, near Downton House, the home of our long serving Club President, Sir Andrew Duff-Gordon. In 1924 the group decided to create an 18 hole course and invited Hutchison, a friend of the golfing Longueville family from Leamore Manor, to survey Hergest Ridge and the adjacent Bradnor Hill. Hutchison had already established an enviable reputation as one of a group of emerging designers led by the famous Willie Park, and including legendary course architects Alistair MacKenzie, Harry Colt, James Braid, Herbert Fowler and Donald Ross. He had already worked with Braid at Gleneagles and Carnoustie, and later with Stafford Vere Hotchkin to redesign Woodhall Spa, arguably one of the finest inland courses in the World.
Hotchkin and Hutchison were then joined by Sir Guy Campbell to form the renowned Ferigina company who covered all aspects ot the golf course business including design, construction, maintenance, equipment, turf dressing and seed. Among their fine creations were Ashridge, Leeds Castle and the splendid West Sussex courses. After completing his surveys of both possible locations for the new Kington course he felt that Bradnor Hill offered more possibilities for his enlightened design principle of making a course to conform to the natural features and blend in with the landscape. This design was accepted and construction work began in 1925 and opening for play (on a limited number of holes) in 1926. His classic design offering five very different par-three's, three par-five's and eleven par four's, is truly a masterpeice and, save for a few minor modifications, the layout is the same as when it was opened for play in 1926.
Springy mountain turf, superb freely draining greens, and unsurpassed spectacular panoramic views over seven of the 'old' Counties, namely Herefordshire, Breconshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, make it a 'must' for any self respecting golfer. Add to that the delightful chorus of skylarks, and the soaring red kites, you are truly in golfing heaven.
Glyn Wictome, 2012.