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Bedford (Bedfordshire) Golf Club, Biddenham.

The club was founded in 1891 as Bedford Golf Club. It appeared as the Bedfordshire Golf Club from about 1926, but, it was still sometimes referred to as Bedford Golf Club after this date.

The first nine-hole course was laid out on land adjoining Brickhill Farm. The entrance fee was 2s/6d with yearly subscription of 10s/6d.

This early course was located near the junction of where Kestrel Road and Brickhill Road are situated nowadays.

The professional from 1892 to 1909 was J Seager.

The following extract is from a report that appeared in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent dated 14th May 1892.

“The second monthly medal play handicap, played by gentlemen and ladies took place on the 4th and 9th instant respectively. The popularity of golf is well shown by the number of ladies who joined in the contest. One lady in the club has already obtained the grand score of 59 strokes over the nine-hole course. The gentlemen also show a power of no mean order. At the same time the links are not as presentable as they should be; but it is hoped that, after some months’ labour expended on them, with special attention to the greens, there will be (if only the owners of the field hold out a ready hand) a very good golfing course. The clayey land produces no turf worth speaking of, and cracks right and left when the hot sun is upon it; and the name “Ghenna” given to hole 5, expresses pretty clearly what an awkward place it is for “putting” and scoring low.”

Following is the result of the competitions from May 1892; J O Crawford, 93-8-85; Dr A C Hartley, 98-12-86; H E Tredcroft, 101-12-89; N P Symonds, 120-30-90; E H Dasent, 108-11-97; Rev H V Macdona, 110-8-102; J B Forsyth, 116-12-104; C L Hart Smith, 113-8-105; E Buck, 126-20-106; T A White, 124-14-110;S Fuller, 134-22-112; S Fielder, 136-22-114.

Mrs Massingberd Mundy, 76-15-61; Miss Briggs, 77-10-67; Miss Sharpin, 82-14-68; Miss F Orr, 86-15-71; Miss Slator, 90-15-75; Mrs Hutton, 85-8-78; Miss Massingbred Mundy, 92-15-77; Miss Thompson, 103-15-88; Miss Stansfield, 112-15-97.    

On Monday 9th May 1892 the first club match against a “Foreign Team” was played at Bedford . The visiting “Foreign Team” was Jesus College Cambridge, result below. 

Bedford Golf Club   Jesus College, Cambridge  
J O Crawford 0 E C Bethune 2
Dr A C Hartley 0 W Watson 8
Rev H V Macdona 5 J McKeown 0
H E Tedcroft 0 F E Swainson 0
C L Hart Smith 8 E W Vaughan Williams 0
M Troup 6 F M Rudd 0
Col. D Broughton 0 E E Eddowes 2
Col. G A Lee 14 G E Mackay 0
J B Forsyth 0 A Tyson 1
  33   13

A report in 1895 suggested that the condition of the Brickhill Farm course was not particularly suited to golf.  It was inevitable that the club would attempt to find a new home.

After a relatively short stay the club moved to a more suitable 18-hole course at Biddenham in 1895.  

The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent on Saturday 9th May 1896.

“Since last October the members of the Bedford Golf club have carried on their exercises in a large field off the Bromham Road. Here they have some eighty acres of land at their disposal, it being part of the farm of Mr Hawkes, Biddenham. Their former links on the Clapham Road were only large enough for nine-holes but the new ground permits the full eighteen-holes. Tom Dunn, the celebrated professional of Bournemouth, came down, laid out the ground, placed the artificial sinuous bunkers in position, and pronounced it good. The Bedford Club now boasts a membership of nearly two hundred. The club has been encouraged to go in for a pavilion, which was opened on Saturday by Mr Guy Pym M.P, himself a distinguished player, amidst strains of music, tea drinking, and other circumstances of jollification. The pavilion is a wooden structure of pleasant design substantially built by Mr J P White. It is painted white, with a red roof, and has a verandah for the whole length of the front. It contains numerous rooms, one being 20 foot each way, and fitted with lockers. There are also dressing rooms for ladies and gentlemen. To return to our links, the field is pleasantly bounded on one side by the river, and the scenery is decidedly agreeable. Mr Henry E Tredcroft is the hon. secretary and Mr Guy Pym the captain.”

On Friday 4th January 1901 the pavilion of the Bedford Golf Club on Bromham Road, was totally destroyed by fire, the damage was estimated at several hundred pounds.

The annual meeting was held at the YMCA rooms on Friday 7th November 1902. Mr Gur Pym M.P, was unanimously re-elected captain and Mr H E Tredcroft, secretary. The accounts showed an overdraft at the bank of £410, chiefly owing to the building of a cottage on the course for the grounds-man, Mr Seager, it 

was also decided to raise his wages by 5/- a week. It was decided to increase the entrance fee to £2/10s. On behalf of the members, most of whom had subscribed, Mr Guy Pym, presented to Mr Tredcroft a silver bowl in recognition of his service to the club. It was also stated that the club had secured a 21 year lease on the course.

 

Bedford Golf Club, Biddenham. Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News November 1902.

 

Bedford Golf Club, Biddenham. Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News November 1902.

 

Bedford Golf Club, Biddenham. Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News November 1902.

 

Bedford Golf Club, Biddenham. Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News November 1902.

Above images from The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News November 29th 1902. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

At the fourteenth annual meeting held in November 1904 it was reported that the club had a membership of 235. Mr Guy Pym was elected President; Mr Pearson, captain; Rev G F Apthorp, treasurer; Mr Janion, secretary.

From the 1905 Nisbet’s Golf Yearbook; Bedford Golf Club; Instituted 1891;Eighteen-holes; Membership of 290; Hon. Sec. – F A Janion, The Clubhouse, Biddenham; Captain – T H G Pearson; Professional J Seager; Entrance Fee £3 and Subs £2;Professional Record – James Braid 71, October 1904; Amateur Record – Bernard Darwin 75, April 1904 (Competition); E E Apthorp 74, September 1904; Terms for Visitors – 1s a day, 5s a week, 15s a month; The course of eighteen-holes is 5,200 yards in length, the lengths of the holes varying from 90 to 425 yards. The hazards consist of hedges bounding the course, a cart road, pond, ditches, and turf bunkers with sand, and pot bunkers.

Also listed was the Bedford Ladies’ Golf Club; Instituted 1891; Hon. Sec. – Miss Haydock, 3 Waldeck Avenue, Bedford; Captain – Miss Sybil Haydock; Ladies play over the same course as the men, with the exception of a short tee at the ninth hole.

The professional from 1907 to 1919 was Robert Jacobs. 

In 1922 J W (Bill) Moore was appointed professional and remained at the club for over 40 years. 

Result of a club match played at Biddenham on Saturday 19th June 1926 against Bedford & County Golf Club. Interesting to note that the club is referred to as the Bedfordshire Golf Club.

Bedfordshire Golf Club   Bedford & County Golf Club  
W L Goddard (6&5) 1 A H Perkins 0
O S Horn (5&4) 1 A Randall 0
A Dymock (6&4) 1 W H Fenton 0
M B Munton (2&1) 1 E M Teare 0
E P Ashley 0 D H Foster (3&1) 1
H Henderson (5&4) 1 H Guest 0
E P Thomas (6&5) 1 C W Rawlins 0
       

 

Bedford Golf Club, Biddenham. From The Tatler April 1934.

From The Tatler Wednesday April 25th 1934. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. Note; referred to as Bedford Golf Club.

 

By the 1930's, the club was sufficiently well established financially to consider the construction of a new clubhouse. At the same meeting it went on record to congratulate Mr Henry Longhurst, a famous member, on winning the Amateur Championship of Germany in 1936. 

It was reported in April 1939 that about sixty people attended “The Thirteenth Annual Dinner” of the Bedfordshire Golf Club at the Swan Hotel, Bedford.  Viscount Mandeville, captain of the club was in the chair. The presentation of trophies took place as follows; Deacon Cup – R O Watson; Moore Cup – R J Rowley; Guy Pym Cup – D B Coleman; Biddenham Cup – I H Graham; Calcutta Cup – V F Kynaston; Kilne Cup – O C Radford; Veteran’s Cup – O S Horn; Cameron Cup – S F Stephenson; Captain’s Prize – I H Graham; Matthew Putter – J L I Stephenson; Aquilla Trophy – A F Stephenson; Four-Ball Tankards – R A Wehner & W B Sanders; Foursome Cup – N D Ednie & C M Daniels; Medal Final – J A Smith; Old Tin Can – The Secretary’s Side. 

Part of the course was requisitioned for the “Dig for Victory” campaign during WW2 but the course survived any lasting damage.

In 1954 the clubhouse was destroyed by fire and most of the club records were lost. Temporary buildings were constructed until a new building was opened by Henry Longhurst in 1956. 

In 2000 it was announced that the Biddenham course was to be developed by the Freeholder. Up to 900 houses were planned to be built and a major link road was also to be constructed.

A new home was urgently sought and land at Stagsden, a couple of miles west of Bedford, turned out to be the clubs choice. The freehold was secured and work began on the complex which would match the best in the area.

In September 2000 the Bedfordshire Golf Club moved to its new home. The course was opened by the doyenne of ladies golf, Dame Laura Davies, on Saturday September 30th 2000. 

When the Bedfordshire club vacated the Biddenham course Ouse Valley Golf Club took over the site. With the impending development of the by-pass the progress of this club became uncertain.

It was reported in 2012 that the lease had been forfeited and that the Ouse Vallley club would be closing.

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the former Biddenham golf course.