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Ross-on-Wye Golf Club, Herefordshire.

Possibly founded as early as 1893 when Major W S R Cox and his brother Captain J A Cox pioneered golf on the Old Racecourse at Weirend.

In 1902 at Wilton Golf Club, Ross-on-Wye the secretary was W S R Cox, Wilton Court, Ross. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day and 5/- a week. Visitors to the Royal Hotel played free. The station at Ross was 1 ½ miles away.

(About this time there was also mention of a Walford Golf Club which appeared only briefly.)

By 1903 the Ross Golf Club at Herefordshire was situated at Alton Court, which continued to be its home for over twenty years. This was more of assault course than a golf course it included crossing the railway a couple of times a 150 ft ascent  and dodging the bullets at the local rifle range. An unfortunate quote from one prominent member at the time stated that it would win the prize for the “worst course in Europe”

Result of the Ross Club Cup held on the Alton Court course in September 1907; H T Howell, 91-10-81; Captain W S Cox, 90 net; C L Llewellyn, senior, 91; W L Brierley, 94.

The following article is from the Hereford Times February 13th 1909:-

“Ross Golf Club – The Ross Golf Club like most of the clubs in the neighbourhood, can only boast a nine-hole course. It is very conveniently situated, however, being about a quarter of a mile from Ross station, whilst there is a first class hotel within ten minutes’ walk of the clubhouse, and the town is in close proximity. As to the surroundings, they are altogether charming, the links being flanked with wooded hills, and also overlook a delightful country, with views of the Welsh Mountains and Malvern Hills in the distance.

B Croydan, the club professional, holds the record for the course, with the excellent figures of 36 for nine-holes and 73 for eighteen. E F W Ingram holds the amateur record with 37. Unfortunately the course is rather heavy, the soil being very rich and consequently the lies are none too easy, the ball lying very close to the earth and getting somewhat frequently cupped. The soil (red loam) on the other hand, dries very quickly after rain, which is, at least, some cause for satisfaction.

The course yardages and bogey; Hole One – 363 yards, bogey 5; Two – 330, 4; Three – 400, 5; Four – 253, 5; Five – 227, 4; Six – 399, 5; Seven – 308, 4; Eight – 285, 4; Nine – 120, 3; Total – 2,685, 39.

Short description of each hole; One – A very good hole, requiring accurate play, as there is a field (out of bounds), on the right of the green, over the corner of which one has to play in order to avoid trees. The new green is on level ground; Two – Uninteresting hole. Level, and no bunkers; Three – Good hole, and the longest on the course. You have to drive over the railway, which is out of bounds for drive - otherwise regarded as a bunker – then cross a cart road (bunker), and there is another bunker guarding the approach to the green, which was leveled two years ago, being on sloping ground; Four – The best hole on the course. Very sporting. Two hedges and a deep roadway to be driven over, ground rises very muchand level green perched upon “Spion Kop” and guarded by stone wall of water tank building at the back; Fifth – Fascinating drive to sloping green, far below, over roadway and hedge. A grand view of Ross and the surrounding country from the tee; Sixth – Slightly downhill to the green, which is one of the best. A hedge to be driven over, long raised bunker for the second shot, and cart road also to be crossed; Seventh – Slightly uphill. Cart road to be crossed and a raised bunker guarding the green; Eighth – Full drive to the cart road, pick out without penalty. Three pot bunkers guarding the green, which is the best green on the course; Ninth – Iron shot over the railway which is regarded as a bunker. A short hole, should get out in three.

A number of lady members grace the club. The entrance fee is £1/1s and the subscription another guinea, whilst visitors pay 1s a day and 2s/6d a week-end. Sunday golf is allowed. The club have the use of Mess Buildings used by the military authorities, and theses afford ample accommodation for members and visitors. The hon. secretary of the club is Mr T H Coombes, Montrose, Ross.”

Result of a match played at Alton Court on April 15th 1909 against Leominster Golf Club. 

Ross Golf Club   Leominster Golf Club  
H T Howell 1 H Horton 0
Rev H Ll. Rice 0 E J Paxton 1
Captain W S R Cox 0 H Gosling 1
Captain Somerset 0 J A Daggs 1
C L Llewellyn, senior  0 W L Whittam 1
J H Hall 1 F Bodoano 0
S Greatrex Yates (half) 0 Dr Steel (half) 0
C H Bunning 1 H Gosling, junior 0
  3   4

Result of the Club Challenge Cup played on Saturday April 17th 1909 (handicap limit 20); J H Hall 100-16-84; H J Howell, 94-9-85; C H Bunning, 105-18-87; J B Bernard, 108-20-88; C L Llewellyn, 101-12-89; Rev H Ll. Rice, 99-9-90; Rev E E W Ingram, 95-5-90; Capt. W S R Cox, 100-10-90; O A Wintle, 106-16-90.

Result of a match played in May 1909 against Bradley Court Agricultural College.

Ross-on-Wye Golf Club   Bradley Court Agricultural College  
H T Howell 0 R Watson Griffin 1
C L Llewellyn 1 K C McRae 0
J Cuthbert 0 T A B Pares 1
H H Child (half) 0 W Hunter Gandy (half) 0
J H Hall 1 N F Richardson 0
S G Yates 1   0
  3   2

Below, result of a match played at Foerst of Dean on Saturday 27th April 1912.

Forest of Dean   Ross  
E Mansfield 0 H T Howell 1
B H Taylor 0 A Hatton 1
E Harvey (Half) 0 W S B Cox (Half) 0
E L Beak 1 C L Llewellyn 0
C L Saunders 1 J Martin Newton 0
P Buchanan 1 H Whiffin 0
E W Battle 0 S G Yates 1
A D Taylor 1 B S Collins 0
O Howells 1 J B Bernard 0
E L Rea 0 C H Bunning 1
  5   4

In 1914 the secretary was C H Bunning and the professional B Croydon. A 9 hole course with a membership of 120. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents, £1/11/6 and ladies £1/1/0. Visitors’ fees were 1/- for 9 holes, 1/6 a day, 5/- a week and 10/- a month. Sunday play was allowed.

Ross-on-Wye Golf Club, Herefordshire. The Alton Court course.

A used 1912 postcard photo from the golf links at Alton Court, Ross, by H E Wilkins for the Trader’s Association.

In 1922 the secretary at Alton Court was J Fred Arnold and the professional and greenkeeper S Harrison. The professional course record was held by B Croydon 73. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day and 10/- a week. The station at Ross was only ¼  mile from the course.

By the mid 1920s the club had moved to a nine-hole course at Rudhall, which was laid out by J H Taylor. This course was about two miles from the station. Membership was 150 during the 1930s/40s rising to 200 by 1960. Local hotels were the Royal, Chase, Waverley, Kings Head, Wye Valley and the Swan.

Ross played home and away matches against Lydney in April 1934. Results below

Lydney   Ross  
E Purvis 1 J F Maclean 0
C Virgo 0 M G Lang 1
E S Purvis 0 Major Allfrey 1
E G Williams 1 F J Kemp 0
S G Rudge 0 E J Turner 1
E C D Virgo 1 A J Kiddle 0
J Elison 0 W F Healey 1
L Coulton 1 E H Soles 0
G Lewis 0 B J H Ayre 1
C E Thomas 1 Major H Backhouse 0
  5   5

The home match at Rudhall resulted in a clean sweep for Ross.

Ross   Lydney  
J F Maclean 1 E Purvis 0
M G Lang 1 E S Purvis 0
Major H S Allfrey 1 C Virgo 0
F J Kemp 1 E J Williams 0
T C Longford 1 S G Rudge 0
E J Turner 1 J ellison 0
P G Aldrich-Blake 1 L Coulton 0
Major Appleby 1 G Lewis 0
A J Kiddle 1 E J Evans 0
H V Pocock 1 R E Willett 0
H E Healey 1 H R Howell 0
  11   0

In June 1934 Ross Ladies entertained Gloucester Ladies at Rudhall, Gloucester won 4-1 with one half.

Ross Ladies   Gloucester Ladies  
Mrs Yates 0 Mrs Barnes 1
Mrs Rainforth 0 Mrs Reid 1
Mrs Blakelock 1 Mrs Clutterbuck 0
Mrs Marshall 0 Mrs Oxley 1
Mrs Beattie 0 Mrs Priday 1
Miss J E Marshall 0 Mrs Lawrey 0
  1   4

Below is the result of a match played against Hereford at Raven’s Causeway on Saturday 29th May 1937. 

Hereford   Ross  
S P Peacock 1 H A Whiffen 0
C L Gabell 0 T C Longford 1
E Lockett 0 G Jorden 1
T O D Steel 0 Major H S Allfrey 1
G B Cooper 0 F J Kemp 1
G H Butcher 1 H C Jeffries 0
Sir G Cornewall Bt 0 E H Soles 1
E J Everdell 1 W H Morgan 0
H A Gale 1 G Okell 0
F Hovil 0 N M Wintle 1
  4   6

In 1940 the course had a SSS of 73. Visitors fees were 2/6 a day and 10/- a week. Sunday play allowed.

The following officers were elected at the annual meeting in May 1940; M F Maclean, president; Major R W Allen and H A Whiffen, vice presidents; J F Maclean, captain; T C Longford, vice-captain; R D Armstrong, match and competition secretary; G O’Kell, hon. solicitor; H T Stephens, treasurer; E H Soles, auditor; I D James, secretary, who was made a honorary member in recognition of his ten years’ services as secretary; committee – Major R W Allen, Major H S Allfrey, Major R G Yates, H A Whiffen, R D Armstrong, G O’Kell, E H Soles, M G Ling and E W Strong.

1955/60 The 9 hole course of 5,955yds had revised SSS of 66. Visitor’s fees were now 3/6 a day and 15/- a week.

  Secretary Professional/Greenkeeper
1930 M G Ling, Kents Green House, Taynto. J Kirk (p&g)
1935/40 I D James, Gloucester Road, Ross. J Kirk (p&g)
1947 I D James T Gurney (p&g)
1955/60 S J Marshall, Gloucester Road, Ross. T Gurney (p&g)

 

  Amateur course record
1930 J Kirk 33
1935 J F Maclean 76
1940 G Jordan 67
1955/60 D Evans 66

In April 1947 A D Evans of the Ross-on-Wye Golf Club, and a Welsh International, was selected for the Walker Cup final trials to be played at Deal. 

Result of a match played against Monmouth Golf Club in May 1949.

Ross-on-Wye Golf Club   Monmouth Golf Club  
A D Evans 1 J V Caldicutt 0
J F Maclean 0 D E Pope 1
L J Wilson (half) 0 A Twiston Davies (half) 0
R P Morgan 1 R Russell 0
H S Jenkinson 0 H G B Griffith 1
E T Jacques 1 E B Edmunds 0
S T Skelton 0 D Howell 1
Dr M McGinn 0 H Hile 1
B C Grant 1 G Meredith 0
G K Grubb 0 H Herbert  1
J Aitken 0 D H Griffith 1
  4   6

In October 1949 the Ross Golf Club, of which Mr A D Evans, the Welsh Amateur Champion, is the captain, arranged a complimentary dinner at the Royal Hotel, Ross-on-Wye. It was in honour of his win in the championship which was held at Aberdovey Golf Club.   

 

Ross-on-Wye Golf Club, Herefordshire. Location of the Alton Court course.

Location of the Ross club at Alton Court. A real obstacle course, if dodging the bullets on the rifle range proved difficult there was also mountaineering up to the reservoir and crossing the railway line a couple of times. Grid reference SO60950,23580, co-ordinates 360950,223580.

 

 

Ross-on-Wye Golf Club, Herefordshire. Location of the Rudhall course.

Location of the Ross course at Rudhall - no rifle ranges or railway lines to worry about here! Grid reference SO62595,25095, co-ordinates 362595,225095.

 

 

In the late 1950s there was a desire by the membership to acquire a new 18-hole course, and this was achieved in the early 1960s when the club moved to its present site at Jays Green.