Oxhey Golf Club, Herts.
The Oxhey Golf Club was officially opened on Saturday 4th May 1912 with a match between Ted Ray, the Oxhey professional, and Harry Vardon, South Herts. The local professional played fine golf while Vardon struggled with his putting. Ted Ray won the match by 4 and 2.
As well as being a splendid 18-hole course, Oxhey Golf Club’s other main claim to fame was that the 1912 Open Champion, Ted Ray, was the club professional. Ted Ray went to the USA in 1913 and finished second in their open, eventually winning it in 1920. His Open win in that year put the Oxhey Golf Club on the golfing world map. Ted Ray spent the rest of his working life at Oxhey and built quite a reputation as a Billiards player.
Many competitions were held on the Oxhey course including the News of the World tournament in 1921 (winner Bert Seymour), 1930 (winner C A Whitcombe) and in 1936 (winner Dai Rees). The Hertfordshire Amateur Open and Ladies championships were also held at Oxhey throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Following WW1 the greenkeeper was S Baker who held the post until the club finally closed in about 1940.
In 1913 the secretary was Colonel R Fulton. Entry fee for gents of £10/10/0 and ladies £4/4/0. Subs for gents were £6/6/0 and ladies £4/4/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day. Weekend and Bank Holiday visitors had to be accompanied by a member and paid 5/-. No lady visitors were allowed at weekend or Bank Holiday. The station at Bushey and Oxhey London & North Western Railway was 15 minutes away.
The following article is from the Nottingham Evening Post dated Friday 7 October 1921; headline reads - The News of the World £750 Golf Tourney. FINAL STAGE REACHED AT THE OXHEY COURSE. Gaudin and Seymour Well Matched.
It’s an interesting, detailed article, giving an insight into the Oxhey course. Bert Seymour, the professional of the defunct Molesey Hurst club, was one of the finalists.
“A man who has for many years been more or less prominent in northern golf Jack W Gaudin, of the Alwoodley club Leeds, and a young Londoner, Bert Seymour of the Molesey Hurst club near Hampton Court, today engaged in the final struggle in the Professional Golfers’ Association £750 tournament. The scene of their meeting was the Oxhey course, near Watford. The match was over 36 holes.
There was a good “gallery” when the players made their appearance. Both players sliced their opening drives, which were lost to view against a background of low drifting clouds, which tempered the heat. Gaudin topped his second into a bunker, and Seymour was almost dead from twenty yards, and getting a four he immediately took the lead. It was thought that Gaudin’s inspired putting, which accounted for his success over Ray yesterday, could hardly be repeated, but on the second green Gaudin, eight yards from the hole, struck the ball, walked behind it to the hole and picked it out of the tin. Seymour seemed confident of his two foot putt, but it did not go down and he lost his lead, as Gaudin won the hole in four against five.
By the time the fourth hole was reached the number of spectators had been doubled, and they saw Gaudin badly cut his drive into the rough. Seymour, who had been vastly superior all the way between tee and green, again took the lead here with a four.
Seymour’s drive clean over the wood at the fifth even eclipsed Ted Ray’s great drive, for he was not more than 100 yards from the green. At the 420 yard hole he lost the advantage of this excellent shot by a puerile mashie shot into a bunker, but he holed his six yard putt with a four to win it. The sixth hole was halved in three. At the seventh however, Gaudin was a foot nearer the hole with his approach, Seymour could not go for the hole ten yards away, for he was stymied, so he took his mashie, played a beautiful pitch over the obstructing ball, and finished eighteen inches from the hole, only to miss the putt. Gaudin thus had a gift of a hole, Gaudin deserved his win at the eighth to square, for he played a perfect running approach to within eighteen inches. Seymour with the like was less than a yard away, but he again failed miserably with his putt.
Seymour played a poor drive at the ninth, but halved the hole in four. Seymour Out, 4,5,5,4,4, 3,5,5,4 = 39; Gaudin Out, 5,4,5,5,5,3,4,4,4 = 39.
There was an unusual incident at the tenth. After the drives the referee, Mr A C M Croome, could not decide which player should play the next shot. He spun a coin and Gaudin elected to play first. The latter lost the hole through missing a four foot putt. The match was then squared again at the short eleventh as there Gaudin cut his tee shot into the pot bunker, was too strong out, and again strong with his pitch from the rough.
So far the best golf through the green by both players was seen at the 12th but Gaudin had the advantage on the green, for while Seymour’s approach putt was short, Gaudin almost holed his, Seymour again failed at a holeable putt, and for the first time in the match he was one down.
Seymour took advantage of the bank on the 13th and his beautiful approach finished two yards from the pin. He half stymied Gaudin with his first putt, and the latter, failing to cut the ball in, lost his advantage. Although the run of the ground is of assistance Seymour’s drive at the 14th was a wonderful one of over 300 yards. Gaudin, putting poorly failed to hole out from a yard, and the London golfer was leading again.
It was a beautifully judged pitch which Seymour played from over the green at the short fifteenth, but Gaudin more than made amends for his error on the previous green when he struck the back of the hole from twelve yards and stuck on the lip. Then Seymour struck his ball, but it never looked like going in and the match was again squared. Seymour had to hole a two yard putt to get a half in three at the sixteenth. At this hole Gaudin hit a magnificent drive, and his ball finished a few yards from the pin, the distance being about 250 yards.
At the seventeenth Seymour had to hole from two yards to get down in four to halve the hole, while at the 18th Gaudin after being bunkered from the tee, made a wonderful recovery, and the hole was eventually halved in four. The first round finished all square. Seymour Home, 4,5,5,4,4,4,3,4,4 = 37 total 76. Gaudin Home, 5,3,4,5,5,3,3,4,4 = 36 total 75.
When the second round commenced there was a greater crowd of spectators than ever. Had Seymour been able to hole his first 4ft putt at the second hole he would have taken the lead.
The wind freshened and blew across the course in the afternoon. At the third Seymour slightly pulled his drive. He drove two balls out of bounds and his third was a great shot of over 300 yards. Then Gaudin played a poor shot into the bunker to the left but he recovered and got to within a foot of the hole, Seymour here picking up on the green and giving Gaudin the lead.
At the fourth Gaudin had pushed his second out but he had a simple pitch over the bunker to the green, only to pitch short and into the bunker ten yards ahead. It was a weekly executed shot which cost him the hole, for Seymour was two yards from the pin in two.
Level again, Seymour hit a good drive over the trees at the fifth and he was fifty yards ahead of his opponent. Gaudin’s second was the better but Seymour ran up to within a foot of the hole so that the Yorkshire player was left with a putt of 6ft for a half, which he holed.
As a match this afternoon’s play was more interesting than in the morning. Yet the golf was by no means good. Gaudin was in the rough with a pushed tee shot at the short sixth. Over the green and into a bunker with his second, he was never in sight of a half, Seymour was one up with a three against a five. Seymour played the seventh in a very week manner, and hardly deserved to halve the hole in six.
At this stage the referee announced to the crowd that for the second time a player had been put off his shot by noisy spectators, but even that appeared to be insufficient excuse for Seymour’s third, which he moved the ball ten yards and into a bunker, Gaudin had found such a good lie in a bunker with a pushed drive that he was able to take a spoon, and eventually he had an advantage on the green, but lost it in putting. Seymour still had the lead.
After an indifferent half an exhibition of bad golf was given by both players. At the ninth Gaudin was over the green in two, lying in long grass and his shot back was off the green on the other side. Seymour’s putting from about a yard went half the distance, and another half resulted, the Molesey Hurst man turning with a lead of one hole. Seymour Out, 4,5,6,4,4,3,6,5,5 = 42. Gaudin Out, 4,5,4,5,4,5,6,5,5 = 43.”
The report finishes at this point, Bert Seymour went on to win the tournament at the 40th hole.
In 1923 the secretary was S Jameson, “Tyndrum”, Green Lane, Oxhey. Club membership was 472. Temporary members, as visitors were known, paid 5/- Monday to Friday. Weekends and Bank Holiday 10/- with member, 15/- without. There was now a tube station at Carpenters Park (Bakerloo Line) ½ mile away.
Result of the December medal 1925; first (senior) division, A W Stevens, 81-4-77; second (junior) division, C F Gray, 90-12-78.
In 1930 the secretary was Major F A Stephens. Course records were, amateur H W Beveridge 72, professional J H Taylor 71. Club membership was 560.
Report from August 1930 (publication unknown); "It was typical of Mr R T Jones (Robert Trent) that in spite of having to sail on Friday he could find time to participate in a four-ball over the Oxhey golf club in order to aid the P.G.A. Benevolent Fund. His presence attracted, as his presence always does, a large gallery, some 2.000 people witnessing the game, and contributing over £200 to this very excellent cause. It was a happy thought that prompted inviting James Braid and Harry Vardon, two members of the great Triumvirate, and Edward Ray, another of the famous old school, to partner Mr Jones on his last round in England. Over the eighteen-holes Mr Jones and Braid proved victorious by 4&3. It is a long time since we have seen the great James Braid make so many excursions into places quite unmentionable, but perhaps he felt lighthearted in the strength of his partner!"
On Saturday 1st December 1934 Oxhey Golf Club played a home match against Cambridge University, result below.
|Oxhey Golf Club||Cambridge University|
|J McKay (7&5)||1||J S L Lyon (Trinity Hall)||0|
|R G D Riddell (1up)||1||P B Lucas (Pembroke)||0|
|C K Cotton (2&1)||1||H A Pope (St John's)||0|
|R Egerton Johnson (3&2)||1||P T Dickinson (St Catharines)||0|
|M F Darke (5&4)||1||H C Neilsen (Clare)||0|
|W B Pilling (1up)||1||G O Peake (Pembroke)||0|
|E Homberger (2&1)||1||P J Gold (Jesus)||0|
|C G Melrose (halved)||0||C M Bell (Trinity Hall)||0|
|P W D White (halved)||0||E C Pemberton (St Catharines)||0|
|B O Babb (halved)||0||R Pattisson (Pembroke)||0|
|Riddell & Cotton (5&4)||1||Neilson & Lyon||0|
|McKay & Pilling||0||Lucas & Dickinson (3&2)||1|
|Johnson & Darke||0||Pope & Peake (3&2)||1|
|Melrose & Homberger||0||Gold & Pemberton (1up)||1|
|White & Babb||0||Bell & Pattisson (5&4)||1|
The grainy picture below shows an interesting incident in the match between Henry Cotton and J Adams in the professional tournament played at Oxhey in 1936. Cotton is stymied by his opponent.
In October 1936 Dai Rees beat Ernest Whitcombe in the final of the "News of the World" £1,250 professional tournament played at Oxhey.
From the mid 1930s to the club’s closure at the outbreak of WW2, the secretary was C K Cotton, telephone 4454. During the mid 1930s it was listed as having both 18 and 9-hole courses. The 18-hole course had a SSS of 75 and there was a club membership of between 500 to 600 at varying times. Course records were, amateur C W Measor and R D Blackwell 70, and professional S L King 68.
London County Council eventually purchased the club and course and built a housing estate on the majority of the 910 acres of the Oxhey Place estate. A small area remained, enough to use as a 9-hole pitch and putt course.
Ted Ray died on the 26th August 1943 and was buried in the graveyard opposite Watford Football Club on Vicarage Road.
The course can be seen on the Britain From Above links below.