Exceptional Abercrombie-Colt Course Restored to Glory

Addington Golf Club is just 9 miles from Central London. Built in 1913 with the course opening postponed by World War I until 1919, bunkering and clubhouse were finished during the 1920s. A long-term plan to bring this exceptional Abercromby-Colt designed course back to its former glory was developed by international golf architects Clayton, DeVries & Pont after extensive research into its architectural history.

In 2019, an analysis revealed that much of the original course layout and bunker placement remained intact buried beneath an overgrown, neglected landscape. The resulting renovation blueprint would enhance the playing experience yet respect the architectural mastery of the course as first designed and reinstate elements lost over seventy years.

The Addington – 13th hole (after restoration)

MJ Abbott first installed the Rain Bird system 20 years ago on tees, greens and approaches, maintaining it until commissioned to add fairway irrigation to accommodate wider fairways. The intention had been to expand the system at a later date, to enlarge greens, taking them back to their original shapes and sizes, and to add coverage to surrounds and tees. However, major cost savings could be made by upgrading greens and surrounds at the same time as fairways and would avoid the disruption of a second installation in a few years’ time. So, the decision was made to go ahead broadening the project scope significantly to enable the course to complete irrigation overnight, across the whole site within an eight-hour window. In a period reduced from 11 to 8 hours, watering would take place between 10pm and 6am, primarily so golfers could play on into the evenings during summer months.

The existing Rain Bird irrigation system was upgraded as a part of a comprehensive and sustainability-focused site strategy for irrigation, drainage, water reclamation, woodland management, course and boundary maintenance. The control system was upgraded to Rain Bird® IC System™ with Cirrus™ Central Control, Rain Bird’s most advanced irrigation solution combining computer-aided design with GPS geo-referenced images and state-of-the-art ET-based scheduling. Valve boxes on tees were also replaced in readiness for improvement work to bunkers and tees scheduled to take place over the next 3 to 4 years. By adding three and five-row irrigation on fairways where none existed previously, upgrading and adding new Rain Bird 752 Series rotors on reinstated larger greens and back-to-back rotors on surrounds, irrigation is precise, more focused and deliberately limits coverage to roughs and restored heather. A tree removal programme cleared sight lines and revealed the site’s dramatic topography. The 4-phase renovation continues through to 2025.

The Addington – Aerial photo showing first and fourth greens (1st top/4th bottom) – some of the green expansions and mounding revealed by expanding the short grass surrounds.

“The new system limits the amount of water we’re applying and reducing overwatering gives us firmer playing surfaces. We’ve massively extended irrigation coverage yet we’re using 30-40% less water even with larger playing surfaces, which is far better for the environment, the course, and saves us money. Rain Bird’s commitment to products being backwards compatible also means we can easily extend and upgrade our irrigation system in future years. As custodians of The Addington, we’ve two very clear aims – sustainability and playability.”

Ryan Noades, Managing Director, The Addington


Property Details:

The Addington Golf Club, UK



Managing Director

Ryan Noades


Golf Course Architects

Clayton, DeVries & Pont




MJ Abbott



Photography: The Addington Golf Club