4 Tom Simpson Classics

A maverick, innovator and artist, Tom Simpson left his mark on many of Britain and Europe’s finest courses, including Golf World’s top-ranked Continental European course Morfontaine. “It is only the mad masterpieces that remain in the memory,” he once stated. Here are four of our favourite Simpson designs.

Click here to read our full architects profile of Tom Simpson.

Cruden Bay in the north of Scotland.

Cruden Bay in the north of Scotland.

#1. Cruden Bay, Peterhead, Scotland
Alongside his partner Herbert Fowler, Simpson reworked this original Old Tom Morris course in 1926. Simpson used the intense and towering duneland to even greater effect, nowhere more dramatically than at the 193-yard par-3 4th hole, with the tee and green cut into dunes either side of a valley.

Ballybunion.

Ballybunion.

#2. Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Simpson revised Ballybunion’s Old course in 1936. Recognising just how well the muscular coastal setting fitted with his own vision for natural, thrilling golf, he confined himself to what he called “Finishing touches. ” Eight decades later, this course remains one of the most exciting links experiences in golf.

County Louth GC, Baltray, Ireland.

County Louth GC, Baltray, Ireland.

#3. County Louth (Baltray), Ireland
Simpson reinvented this fantastic links course in 1938. Baltray is known for its terrific routing, fantastic, sloping green sites and excellent short par 3s; but in the bunkerless short par-4 14th, Simpson shows his genius in creating options from the tee and approach shot challenge through thoughtful greenside contouring.

The 6th hole at Hardelot’s Dunes course, which has since been redesigned by Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonas.

The 6th hole at Hardelot’s Dunes course, which has since been redesigned by Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonas.

#4. Hardelot Les Pins Cote d’Opale, France
Simpson rebuilt this course in 1931, setting a pulsating test of angles and shotmaking among the pristine pines of this sand-based coastal terrain. The five par 3s – especially the superb 175-yard 14th – are great examples of holes that challenge the best while offering enjoyment for the average player.






Nick Wright