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Abingdon/North Berkshire Golf Club. (1876 - 1940s)

In May 1876 there was a report of a proposed golf course on Abingdon Common. Mr Molesworth, a distinguished golfer, had inspected the intended area and he made the following report to the Field “Oxford has many excellent golfers, and Radley College has sent out some fair specimens. The OUGC cannot play upon their links all year round and Cookham links are too far and difficult to get at. Abingdon Common presents the capabilities of as good golf links as any in England (barring Westward Ho!) It only requires some ten or twenty golfers to put their heads together, get a professional to lay out the links, and fix a day for inauguration, and in a few years Abingdon Golf Links may become as prosperous as any”

It was reported in the Reading Mercury in May 1876 that "In a few years Abingdon Golf Links may become as prosperous as Hoylake, Wimbledon and Westward Ho!"

I’m still trying to find evidence of any golf being played at Abingdon following this promising report.

It was reported in the Reading Mercury in February 1903 that the North Berks Golf Club had played a team from the Sutton Courtenay Club (result below.) This is the only reference found so far for the South Courtenay Club.

South Courtenay Golf Club   North Berks Golf Club  
T A Milne 2 W E Hutchings 0
Capt. Fairbairne 0 P J Martin 4
Rev. H B McKay 2 W T Morland 0
Capt. Goodson 1 C A Pryce 0
  5   4

In 1906 the secretary at North Berks Golf Club was C Alfred Pryce, Abingdon, Berks and the professional A Pedlar, 21 Broad Street, Abingdon. A 9-hole course at Shippon. The visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day; 10/6 a month. The Abingdon GWR station was 1 ¼ miles away. Local hotel was the Queen’s, Abingdon.

Interesting to see the mention of a former club/course at Abbey Gardens in the report below from June 1906.

 

Abingdon/North Berks Golf Club. Mention of an earlier course in a newspaper report from 1906.

From the Farringdon Advertiser and Vale of White Horse Gazette Saturday 23rd June 1906. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Below is the result of a match played at Chipping Norton Golf Club (now defunct) on Saturday 2nd March 1907.

Chipping Norton Golf Club   North Berks Golf Club  
G C Sharp 0 A Pettifer 5
O W Benwell 6 L W Daniell 0
A Webb 0 Rev. H C B Gibson 9
A H Dunston 6 W T Morland 0
A Lewis 0 H Donkin 0
T K Pettipher 0 C A Pryce 1
J C Grant 0 E W Estridge 2
F Cooper 4 T Bowen 0
  16   17

The winner of the monthly silver challenge bowl in April 1907 was the Rev. H C B Gibson. 

Below is the result of the return match against Chipping Norton played on the Shippon Course on Saturday May 4th 1907.

North Berks Golf Club    Chipping Norton Golf Club  
A Pettifer 4 J S Hall 0
L W Daniell 0 T K Pettipher 1
E W Estridge 11 G G Sharp 0
Rev. H C B Gibson 10 O W Benwell 0
A Pryce 0 J C Grant 0
D Almaine 0 A Webb 0
  25   1

Below is the result of a match played against Banbury Golf Club in May 1908.

 

Abingdon/North Berks Golf Club. Result of a match against Banbury Golf Club in May 1908.

From the Banbury Advertiser Thursday 14th May 1908. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

It was reported in the Farringdon Advertiser in May 1909 that "A number of members of the late North Berks Golf Club recently acquired leases of some 150 acres of ground on Frilford Heath."  Dr Harry Challenor, former North Berks member, was prominent in the foundation of Frilford Heath Golf Club.

The following report is from the Reading Mercury Saturday 10th June 1911. "A W Franklin (Chairman) and H P Simpson (Hon. secretary) who were instrumental in Starting the Abingdon Golf Club two years ago, were on Tuesday presented, the former with a silver cigar case and cigarette case, and the latter with a silver cigarette box and match-box." 

In June 1912 Abingdon Golf Club visited Lockinge Golf Golf to play a six a side match. It resulted in a victory for the home team by four holes.

By 1914 North Berks had disappeared and Abingdon Golf Club Founded 1909 appears. The secretary  was H P Simpson and the professional C Cox. A 9 hole course. Visitors’ fees 1/6 a day, 5/- a week, 10/6 a month. Sunday play was allowed after 1pm. With the station at Abingdon GWR still recorded as being 1 ¼ miles away it‘s probable that the club simply changed names from North Berks to Abingdon.

At the annual meeting of the Abingdon Golf Club in May 1915 a successful year was reported. With the help of a few friends a small deficit was disposed of. Membership stood at 50, J H Viney was re-elected captain.

In August 1922 the Abingdon club visited Frilford Heath Golf Club. The home team proved to be on top form with a convincing victory.

The next records found were in 1935 when the club address was Abingdon Golf Club, Shippon, Berkshire.

Below is the annual report for Abingdon Golf Club from the Reading Mercury October 1939.

 

Abingdon Golf Club, Berkshire. The annual report from October 1939.

 

The secretary from 1935 to 1947 was Horace Carter, 3 The Terrace, Northcourt, Abingdon. The greenkeeper and professional was C Cox. The 9 hole course had a SSS of 72 and a membership of about 150. Visitors’ fees  2/6 a day, 7/6 a week and 12/6 a month. Sunday play was allowed. The station at Abingdon was 1 mile away. Local hotels were the Queen’s and the Lion.

Abingdon Golf Club course location.

Course location, Abingdon Golf Club had disappeared by 1951.