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Barton-under-Needwood Golf Club, Staffs.

The club was founded in March 1892, and the circumstances of its formation were recorded in the Birmingham Gazette in 1895 as follows:

“One afternoon in 1892, time lying heavily on the hands of a few gentlemen, including amongst others Mr A H Palmer and Mr H G Walker, a game of golf was suggested. Some clubs were at hand and a number of jam pots were stuck in the ground to serve the purpose of holes. The new game filled the natives with wonder and no small amusement. It looked so simple that they did not understand how anyone could be so interested by it, and the evident delight of the players only served to increase their amusement…When the club was formed in March 1892, there were only 19 members, next year the number had increased to 48. In 1894 there was another increase up to 60. However, in 1895 the starting of a club at Burton on Trent took way a few members and now the roll comprises 50 and a few ladies, most of whom are thoroughly enthusiastic.”

Among prominent members of the club were Messrs A H Palmer (secretary), F H Jennings, H Walker, Dr Palmer, A R White, P S White, H G Nadin, S H Evershed, Geo Lowe and Maxwell Tod. The Entrance Fee was £1/1/0 with an annual subcription of the same amount. Visitors could play for 2/d per week.

The course had 9-holes and was situated on ground close to the village. It crossed the old polo field, Barton being one of the first provincial villages to take to polo. Hazards included ditches, roads, hedges, ponds and a sandpit.

The Gazette article also contained a description of the course:

“The line of the first hole is to the right of the cricket ground, over the road, and the green may be reached with a driver and a mashie. The “Colonel” allows 5 for the hole but a 4 is not uncommon. The green is guarded by a dip, which not infrequently, is the cause of an extra stroke.

Playing for the second, a straight drive is rewarded as a sliced ball is in danger of being caught by a couple of trees. Two railings have to be crossed and you are fortunate if you reach the green in 4. The “bogey” score is 5, but 6 is not bad value.

The third is a long hole – upwards of 400yds and the “bogey” score is 6. The drive will carry the edge, which is the first hazard. After this the brassey should send you well on the journey. The stroke must be sure however, if the ball is pulled it gets among the trees and if it is sliced the probability is that it will make straight for a pond which lies conveniently for this purpose.

The fourth hole has some characteristics all its own. The green is only about 90yds away. The hole is a very simple three if you drop on the green with your iron, but there is a great deal in the “if”, an absolutely perfect stroke is essential. If you top you get into soft ground, if you pull you are sure to go out of bounds and a sliced ball as also its difficulties. The green is on a slope and if you land on the face of it the ball rolls down towards the hole. 7 is not an unusual score for the hole.

The fifth hole is not an easy one to play. A good drive to the left of the tree facing the tee gives a capital lie and a clear approach to the hole. If however you do not take this line, with the second you have to carry a huge sand bunker, whose sole function is to receive 2nd shots, though it by no means despises the 3rd ones of the of the nervous falterer who plays for a safe lie with his 2nd. Once you are across you are rewarded with a very pretty green and a 4 is only obtained by good play.

The line of the sixth hole is over the corner of a field bounded on two sides by a hedge. A drive of 120yds will carry this obstacle and the rest is plain sailing. The hole which has a length of about 140yds is an interesting one and has spoiled many a good score. Absolutely accurate play is necessary to avoid the difficulties. The least slice will carry the ball over a hedge and out of bounds and facing the tee there is a brook which runs into a pond at the corner of the hedge, and which contains in its waters a perfect wealth of lost balls. The green – a nice wavy one – too, is surrounded with hazards, on the left is a pond, on the right a ditch. It is a perfect hole in 3, 6 & 7 are very common.

The remaining two holes each have their difficulties, but present no special features, and may be accomplished in 5 and 4 respectively.

One very pleasing feature of the course is the greens which, in most instances, are large and particularly well cared for.

The “Bogey” score is 42 but 45 is not at all bad value.

The record for the 18 holes is 83 which was made by Mr H G Walker in October last year (1894).”

An event occurred during a round of golf in 1898 which merits a mention; Mr G E Lowe, while playing the first round of a game with the Reverend W Trevor Parker, scored a hole in one on the 115 yard fourth hole. Not to be outdone, his partner accomplished the same feat on the same hole in the second round!

In 1906 the course record was held by H White with a score of 38. Visitors on introduction paid 2/6d a week. The station at Barton and Walton was 1 mile away. Accommodation was available at the Shoulder of Mutton Inn.

Entry fees in 1914 were £1/1/0 and subs were £3/3/0.

  Secretary. Professsional/greenkeeper.
1890s   C Allen
1906-25 Arthur  R White, Barton House, Barton under Needwood.  

Below is the result of a club match played at the Arden Club, Solihull (also now defunct) in October 1893.

Arden   Barton under Needwood  
F A Bainbridge 4 C Palmer 0
G Airey 3 A H Palmer 0
A E Wilson-Browne 0 P S White 0
A G Tonks 2 A R White 0
  9   0

The  Barton course closed in the mid 1920s. In the later years the amateur course record was held by H White with a score of 37.

Barton-under-Needwood Golf Club, Staffs. Location of the former course.

Part of the old course is now used as the John Taylor School playing field, the rest has reverted to farmland.

Grid reference SK19270,18680, co-ordinates 419270,318680.