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North Gloucestershire Golf Club, Leckhampton, Cheltenham.

Founded 1911 and originally known as Leckhampton Golf Club.

The club changed its name to North Gloucestershire Golf Club in 1912 and the course was extended to 18-holes in 1913/4. 

 

North Gloucestershire Golf Club, Leckahampton. Newspaper report from December 1910.

From the Gloucestershire Echo Thursday 29th December 1910. Image © Local World Limited/Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The following report is from the Gloucestershire Echo Thursday 9th March 1911, taking a stroll round the Leckhampton golf course:-

“Leckhampton Golf Club – New Links Described – The committee of this club have the unusual experience of an embarrassment of riches in land. Some of the great historic links are laid out on 80 to 100 acres of land, whereas Leckhampton Golf Club has nearly 300 acres at its disposal. No wonder that numerous proposals and counter proposals were made as to how best to utilise the super-abundance of Gloucestershire was at the committee’s disposal. Mr A Jones Hobley’s advice was adopted, as it makes a practical start and leaves open innumerable possibilities of development.

In any ideal links the first tee and eighteenth green ought to be quite near, or at any rate in view of the verandah of the clubhouse. At Leckhampton theses conditions are nearly achieved, and if a short length of hedge be removed it will be completed. Hedges form the only hazard for the first hole, which is 450 yards across flat fields. The second hole at present has no hazards or bunkers, and a drive and mashy shot by a 12 handicap man will land him on the green. Still on level country, you fire over a hedge to another hole on flat fields of a similar length. Passing through a gate in the hedge, you tee up near the Crippetts Road – celebrated as the prettiest walk or drive near Cheltenham – and if no one be endangered, fire over it and the parallel stream. Utilising that rule common to all new courses, you tee up (without penalty) near your bad lie, a decent brassie shot takes you into the middle of the next field, whose historical name is Holly Leaze. The tee was in ancient “Medley Green.”

Another fair brassie stroke brings one into the “General’s Field” and on to real mountain turf similar to that on Cleeve Hill. A short mashy reaches the fourth green – a strenuous hole, as there is a rise of 150ft from the tee, corresponding exactly in this respect to the fourth at Cleeve.

Still another 50ft has to be negotiated for the next hole, just opposite Hill Grange, on the Birdlip Road, where a professional’s iron or an amateur’s driver will put a ball on to a most  romantic and nature provided green with high banks on all sides. Mr Hobley, always merciful, now takes advantage of geography to give the player a few holes on the same contour line above sea level (600ft,) and the exhilarating air most days (except when a gale is blowing) bucks the player up to a high point of energy.

The sloping nature of the ground under the Birdlip Road has rendered green making a very expensive affair for the next four holes, but confident of success, “expense is no object” has been the motto of the promoters and committee, and the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th correspond to the 1st and old 18th at Cleeve. At these holes a badly pulled shot may hit a passing motor-car, but the stance, except on the tees, being downhill, the tendancy is rather to slice.

The 10th green is in the home field of Blackhedge Farm, and opposite the recently discovered ancient waterworks. One now fires across the valley at right-angles to the recent direction, and it will be very seldom that a player’s second will be laid stone dead, as Cecil Hobley laid his on the first round. The bogey should be 5.

The farthest point from the clubhouse, and the highest (700ft) above sea level has now been reached, and the journey home is gradually downhill in easy stages.

The 12th is a full iron only, and the 13th a full drive and pitch near the old farmhouse site and Druid Stone circles.

The 14th is also a full drive and pitch into a bay in the Blakhedge Woodland – an ideal spot for a picnic and just the place to open the luncheon basket and boil the kettle; almost desecrated by golf.

Three good shots down “the great breach” bring a fair player to the 15th green and in sight of the clubhouse across the woods. Turning sharp to the left, a good drive over hedge and rough ground may land you on a beautifully picturesque green, artfully contrived by draining a former pond.

The 16th requires a good shot across a grass dyke, as if it were the second shot on the 10th at Cleeve, whence a mashy takes one to the green a few yards from Bittams Wood, in front of Furze Wood, on the left.

To gain the tee for the 17th hole, a walk of 100 yards between these beautiful woods compels the player to admire views rather than grumble at his luck. A sharply elevated tee is here necessary, as the ground slopes rapidly. A good straight drive into the park-like field will give the player a chance of landing on the romantically situated 17th green, guarded by a stream on one side and trees on the other, with his brassie shot.

Crossing for the first - and last – time the line of the outward course, a few dozen yards brings one through the gate of the first field to the 18th tee. Geography has now been left behind and nothing but a flat restful field separates the player from the 18th hole, the golf house, and tea.”

 

North Gloucestershire Golf Club, Leckahampton. Newspaper report from July 1911.

 

North Gloucestershire Golf Club, Leckahampton. Newspaper report from July 1911.

From the Cheltenham Looker-On Saturday 22nd July 1911. Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

North Gloucestershire Golf Club, Leckahampton. Newspaper report from October 1911

From the Gloucestershire Echo Monday 23rd October 1911. Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

It was reported in October 1911 that Mr Lloyd, the new professional, had put a strong staff of men to enable the nine-holes on the flat to be opened before Christmas. The upper nine-holes for the more strenuous were also being improved, but some of the steepest will be cut out when the extra holes on the flat are opened to keep the number at the “mystic” eighteen.

The Spring Meeting of the North Gloucester Golf Club was held over four days in April 1913. Results as follows:-

Ladies; Driving Competition – First, Miss K Walker; Second, Miss D Growse; Approach and Putting – Miss Growse and Mrs Robinson, 10; Mrs Webb and Miss Babcock, 13; Miss Campbell, 15; Miss Gordon-Smith, Mrs Parker and Mrs Hughes, 16; Medal Competition – Miss K Walker, 94-21-73; Miss N Walker, 102-21-81; Miss V Gordon-Smith, 113-32-81; Miss D Growse, 108-25-83; Mrs Grant Maby, 126-40-86; Miss Hughes, 134-40-94; Mrs Parker, 149-40-109; Foursomes – Miss V Gordon-Smith & Miss D Growse, 113-28-85; Miss K Walker & Miss N Walker, 111-21-90; Mrs Woods & Mrs Grant Maby, 140-37-103; Miss M Swinley & Miss L Swinley, 154-39-115; Miss Moore & Miss Maxwell, 153-30-123; Miss Badcock & Miss Campbell, 172-172-35-137.

Gentlemen; James Fleming Cup – H Grant Maby, 97-14-83; E M B Joyce, 101-16-85; Major Gall, 106-18-88; F W Dain, 109-18-91; A Milne, 107-8-99; T Clark, 122-16-106; Medal Competition – Colonel Waller and Major Gall, 87; Mr Grant Maby, 90; J F Dearden, 93; H B Christie, 97; R D Moore, 99.

Mixed Foursome – Mr Joyce & Miss K Walker, 104-20-84; Major Gall & Miss Growse, 109-21-88; Mr & Mrs Grant Maby, 118-27-91; A Milne & Mrs R Webb, 113-15-98; H Walker & Miss V Gordon-Smith, 119-27-102; H Walker & Miss V Gordon-Smith, 129-27-102; W M Robertson & Mrs Parker, 145-30-115.

In 1914 the secretary was Edward Basing and the professionals C Lloyd (1911 to 1914) S H Pearson (1914 to 1921). An 18-hole course with a membership of 120. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents were £2/2/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Visitors fees were 1/6 a day, 5/- a week and 12/6 a month. Sunday play was allowed without caddies. The station at Cheltenham South was ½ mile away.

To celebrate the opening of the new extended course on Saturday July 11th 1914 a match was played between Ted Ray, the ex Open Champion and Harry Vardon, the current Open Champion. Scoring on the day was fantastic, Vardon finished with a 68, but his opponent went round in the extraordinary record score of 62, his card included two 2s and seven 3s, details as follows; out, 3,5,4,4,3,3,3,4,4 = 33; home, 2,4,4,3,3,4,2,3,4 = 29, total 62.

Advert from the Gloucester Citizen March 1921 – Grass keep for sale (several fields,) together or separate, 82 acres, some very rich pasture, on the old Leckhampton golf course.    

With competition from the Cleeve Hill and Lilleybrook clubs North Gloucestershire Golf Club could not survive and disappeared in 1922.

The Google Map below shows the location of the former course.