Boxmoor Golf Club, Box Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.
Founded 1890 on land belonging to Boxmoor Trust and leased out to the club for a token amount. Founding members were T Christopher, jnr, F Cornwell, J Courtney, N Byass, and A K Richings. Meetings of these committee members took place at the railway station or on the 6pm train from Euston.
In the early years the club rented a cottage from a Mr Bail to use as a clubhouse. In 1894 it was decided to build a room in the garden of the cottage were refreshments would be served. At a general meeting held in May 1895 it was decided to give Mr Bail notice for the club to quit the cottage and build a club pavilion. The pavilion would be erected on land owned by a Mr Ryder. To help with the cost an appeal was made to members for funds, 27 members came forward to invest £5 each, a healthy sum in 1895. The club accepted a tender of £97/10s for the two room wooden pavilion. Following are the members who made the generous donation; W Gillilan, F P Colliver, Dr Mahon, W Owen, A Fox, W M Tapp, J Groom, J B Wildman, W H Mackintosh, C Millar, J F Courteney, Captain Wemyss, F Cornwell (2), Dr F Fisher, N Micklem, P Hall, N Byass, H Marnham, J H McArthur, F Bassett, J Southall, M Thompson, G H Naughton, E W S Smith, H E Ambler, W R Messum and T C Curven.
The following information is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Hon. Secretary, N B Wood-Smith, South Lodge, Hemel Hempstead; Membership of 63; Captain, N Micklem K..C; Entrance Fee £1/1s and Subs £2/2s; Nine-holes; Professional, H Sharp; Amateur Records, N Micklem (9-holes), 37; N B Wood-Smith (18-holes), 80; Visitors' fees, 1/- a day10/- a month. An undulating course of a most sporting description, chalk soil, recovering quickly after the heaviest of rain. It "deserves a wider fame than it has" according to Horace Hutchinson in the Badminton Golf.
Following WW2 the secretary was G H Rogers, Felden Heath, Boxmoor and the professional W England. The club had a membership of 100. Boxmoor station was half a mile away. Visitors’ fees were; 2/6 a day, 4/- at weekends, 15/- a month. Sunday play was allowed until 2.30 April to September and 4pm October to March, without caddies.
In the mid 1950s the secretary was A H Porter, 15 Crabtree Close, Hemel Hempstead. Visitors’ fees had been reduced to 2/- a day and 4/- weekends.
R J Fordham, The Moys, Heath Lane, Hemel Hempstead was the secretary in the early 1960s. Later in the 1960s the secretaries were; A C Williams, 124 Abbots Road, Abbots Langley; R E Howe, The Clubhouse, Box Lane. The professional was still W England. Visitors’ fees were now 3/6 a day, 7/6 at weekends.
In the early 1970s the secretary was T H Williamson. In 1975 the secretary was J Donachie, membership was 225. There was no professional listed during this time. The amateur course record was held by S Beaton, 66. Visitors’ fees were 66p, visitors were not permitted at weekend.
T I Williamson was the secretary in 1981 and E Duell 1985-88. Course records were; amateur, D Boyd and A Reeves, 57; professional, Mrs J Plowright, 59. Visitors’ fees were; £2/50p a day, £3/50 on Saturdays by 1988 they had risen to £5 and £6 respectively.
In the early nineties the secretary was N S James. Amateur course record held by D Boyd, 62. Green fees were; £10 and £15.
In 2005 the secretary was B Swann, the club had a membership of over 200 at this time. Green fees were £12 a day, weekends £14.
Below is the card of the course - SSS 64.
The course started with a tough par 3. The green was hidden behind a mound that slopes left to right in front of the green. The second hole was relatively straightforward with the left to right sloping fairway to negotiate. The third was named “'Cardiac Hill” by the members it was 183 yards in length - most of it uphill. The fourth required an accurate drive, too far right and you would be out of bounds or have your approach obstructed by overhanging trees, too far left and the sloping fairway would sweep the ball away. The fifth was a blind par 3 with a bowl shaped green, tricky to get near the pin. The next hole was a birdie opportunity if you could steer clear of the “Captains Bunker” it was then possible to reach with your second shot. The tee shot at the next is a blind one over the sixth green with a sunken path down the middle of the fairway to a sunken green. The eighth was a long par 3 but had little trouble around the green. The ninth hole was downhill with club selection vital.
When you had finished your round there was always a friendly welcome from the members at the nineteenth.
The club was mainly run by volunteer members, with only the green-keeper being paid.
The nine-hole, hilly course, was considered by some to be difficult but in the main it was a good test of golf. Sadly membership had dwindled towards the end, with few young members joining. The secretary was Martin Fletcher, Vice President Martyn Brooke.
To the end the club played on the original course laid out at its foundation, this in itself is a rare occurrence.
After over 120 years of golf on Sheethanger Common the Boxmoor club closed on the 31st July 2011 due to financial difficulties.
Course location; Grid reference TL03750,05250, co-ordinates 503750,205250.