Harry Shapland Colt (1869–1951) was a prolific designer of golf courses; on his own and with various partners, he was responsible for the creation or remodelling of more than 300 courses around the world. That is why some golf historians claim that Colt contributed more to the game than anybody else in the first 40 years of the 20th century.
Harry Colt's portfolio of courses includes the New Course at Sunningdale, the West Course at Wentworth, the Eden Course at St Andrews, Royal Portrush, Royal Liverpool, Royal Lytham and St Anne's, Muirfield – and Thorndon Park.
Colt was noted, among his other talents, for his planning of golf courses as part of residential estates. It is said that his proposals for St George's Hill, Weybridge, persuaded a group of Essex businessmen to hire him to design a course that would be the centrepiece of a high-quality housing development in the vast grounds of Thorndon Hall. The course materialised; the development didn't – only a handful of houses were built because of first the lack of sufficient funds, then the Second World War and the post-war restrictions on building in the Green Belt.
Colt, with his design partner Charles Hugh Alison, had more than 200 acres of parkland as his canvas. They created a classic course with many of Colt's trademarks: strategic bunkering, particularly to the front and sides of holes; sloping greens, so each approach shot has to be carefully placed; dog-legs to test a player's command of length and direction; harmony with the surrounding environment; and each hole an entity in itself. Indeed, Thorndon Park is noted for its 18 very separate holes, giving the golfer the feeling of being almost alone even on the busiest of days.