There is nowhere else like Knole Park – a beautiful parkland setting, home to hundreds of native deer, in the pleasure grounds of the impressive Knole Park House, home to the Sackville Family. In fact, on the 1st November 1924, Lord Sackville of Knole Park drove from the first tee of the newly completed John F. Abercromby course. He did so as landlord of the estate and member of the newly formed Knole Park Golf Club.
Knole Park House is a remarkably preserved and complete early Jacobean remodelling of a medieval archiepiscopal palace. From an even older manor house, it was built and extended by the Archbishops of Canterbury after 1456. It then became a royal possession during the Tudor dynasty when Henry VIII hunted here and Elizabeth I visited. From 1603, Thomas Sackville made it the aristocratic treasure house for the Sackville family, who were prominent and influential in court circles.
The golf course, which plays through the Knole Park estate, is just less than 6,500 yards from the back tees, with a par of 70 – a good challenge for all levels of golfer – due, in many respects to the undulating nature of the parkland. It is a course steeped in history and a truly inspiring place to play. Regularly named as one of the top 100 courses in England by golf magazines, it’s the home of the Kent Cob Open competition, and has hosted the British Senior Amateur and the English Girls championships in recent years and is hosting the Tillman Trophy in 2017.
During the war years some competitions were held, but it took great ingenuity to keep the club alive. One major obstacle was placement of obstructions on all of the fairways to prevent the landing of enemy gliders and after the war it took many years to reconstruct the course. Finally, in the 1960’s, the course was lengthened to create a par 70 and, amusingly, The Beatles strode across the fairways whilst filming Strawberry Fields in 1967.
Our work has involved providing advice on all aspects of design improvements to the J F Abercromby course, including, primarily, the bunkers, which, unfortunately, get ravaged by the thousands of deer hooves as they forage for grass and low growing shrubs. Work has started on Phase 1 – hole #10 – to eradicate this problem, using a purpose-designed specification including Bunker Blinder liner and revetted fescue turf. The work is being undertaken to a very high standard by Profusion Environmental Ltd.
Photo Credit: Knole Park Golf Club