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Coventry Golf Club, Whitley Common.

The club was founded 1887.

Originally a nine-hole it was eventually extended to twelve-holes. The course was situated on Whitley Common. It continued at this location until 1912.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Whitley Common. Entry from the Golfing Annual 1888/89.

Entry from the Golfing Annual 1888/89.

 

Below is the result of a match played against Oxford University on Monday 14th March 1892 at Oxford. 

Oxford University Golf Club   Coventry Golf Club  
H J Wigham 0 Harold Smith 2
W D Davidson 9 A Rotherham 0
H Nicholls 10 F C Hunter Blair 0
F H Stewart 0 H Rotherham 6
C F Balfour 1 H W Bainbridge 0
P Balfour 0 W Hillman 0
L Armistead 2 T Latham 0
A R Hamilton 0 Rev F R Evans 1
A Pelham 0 J Powers 7
T Smythe 0 F A Moncrief 2
  22   18

Result of the monthly cup played on Wednesday 27th October 1897, ten cards were taken out with four returned; G G Brodie, 87-9-78; T Latham, 86-7-79; H J Nutt, 89-9-80; Harold Smith, 90-5-85. Miss Rotherham’s silver buckle was played for on the ladies’ course and was won by Miss Mayfield with a score of 1down. 

Below is the result of a match played at Coventry against Wolverhampton Golf Club (now defunct) in May 1899. 

Coventry Golf Club   Wolverhampton (District) Golf Club  
F M G Abell M Wilkie  0
Hugh Rotherham  0 T N Fowke 2
Kenneth Rotherham  D B W Lamb 0
G F Twist  C Elwell 
H Smith D A E Chesshire  0
W Hillman 6 A C Cozens-Hardy 
G Hume  11 R J Lawrence 
R A Rotherham  2 Rupert Smith 
M Brown  Dr Edge  0
Kevitt Rotherham 1 H B L Atkinson  0
S Cash  7 C T Mander
  43   2

In the early 1900s a prominent fixture at the club was an Amateur versus Professional competition. This was the brainchild of H W Bainbridge a Warwickshire County cricketer and also keen golfer. The teams were drawn from clubs within the county. There was usually a keen following on the course, although the weather in May 1900 when the match below was played was very wet and windy and it put many spectators off. As can be seen the match was a very one sided affair, the professionals triumphed in every game, not sure what handicap system, if any, was in operation.

Amateurs   Professionals  
H W Bainbridge 0 G H Causey 8
E F Chance 0 T Williamson 8
J A F Moncrieff 0 J Sherlock 3
S W Clive 0 F Wingate 9
F M G Abell 0 W Lewis 5
S Baldwin 0 A Fowler 2
V H Jepson 0 L G Ross 3
J A Fairhurst 0 C Wingate 3
H Rotherham 0 C Veness 9
G W Blythwayte 0 A Lewis 4
F J March 0 W Hutchings 3
F R Burrow 0 A Bell 7
  0   64

Result of a one sided match played at Coventry against Kenilworth on Wednesday 12th September 1900. 

Coventry Golf Club   Kenilworth Golf Club  
W Hillman 6 P Homfray 0
H Robertson 2 E Matterson 0
S Cash 0 H Smith-Turberville 0
F Smith 4 F Pearson 0
R Hill 10 J Kinmond 0
J Fenton 4 J A T Woodward 0
  26   0

 Below is the result of a match played against at Kings Norton on Tuesday 18th September 1900.  

King's Norton Golf Club   Coventry Golf Club  
S Baldwin 0 P A Adams 0
C A Palmer 2 N A Stebbing 0
A G Brinton 0 Harold Smith 2
J O Walford 0 G B Sanderson 1
T Homer 0 S Cash 1
H S Player 5 A Pearson 0
W A Crosbee 5 R Hill 0
H Clark 3 Harry Smith 0
H E Cashmore 0 H N Smith 0
  15   4

Result of the monthly cup played on the Whitley course on Wednesday 26th September 1900; W R Monahan, 98-22-76; H W Bainbridge, 81-2-79; H R Hands, 93-14-79; J Powers, 91-11-80; M A Stebbing, 88-5-83; W Hillman, 90-6-84; H Smith-Turberville, 94-10-84; H Smith, 90-6-84.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Warwickshire. Article from The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News October 1901.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Warwickshire. Article from The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News October 1901.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Warwickshire. Article from The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News October 1901.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Warwickshire. Article from The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News October 1901.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News October 26th 1901. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The following is from the 1905 Nisbet’s Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1887; Membership of 130; Hon. Sec. Harold Smith, Pinley House, Coventry; Captain, Sydney Cash; Entrance Fee £2/2s and Subs £2/2s; Eighteen-holes; Amateur record - F W Clive, 75, October 19th 1904; Fixtures – September, Hillman Cup; October, Bogey Challenge Cup; April, Gold Medal (scratch), Silver Challenge Bowl; May Adams Challenge Cup; last Wednesday in the month Club Cup; Visitors’ 1s a day, 5s a week, 10s a month, (must be introduced.) The course is of a very sporting character. Careless shots are badly punished in the numerous hazards, which are well situated. The greens are very good, but the lies through the green are not always of the best. The length of the holes is good, and the two short holes are very interesting. The steward lives in the clubhouse, which is not large, but very comfortable and convenient, being close to the first tee. The Ladies’ club play over the same course – in some cases from different tees. They have a separate clubhouse. Local hotels; King’s Head, Queens, Craven Arms.

Listed separately was the Coventry Ladies’ Club; Instituted 1892; Membership of 60; Hon. Sec. Miss Fenette Smith, Pinley House, Coventry; Captain, Miss Pridmore; Entrance Fee 5s and Subs 10s/6d; Eighteen-holes.

Below is the result of a match played at Kenilworth on Saturday 2nd March 1907.

Kenilworth Golf Club   Coventry Golf Club  
G Parratt 1 F Kerby 0
H R Hands 0 R J Bowen 0
J E Wall 1 W W Curtis 0
W E Anderson 0 K Rotherham 1
E H Green 1 Rowland Hill 0
W H Margetts 0 A S Makepeace 0
A C S Glover 1 M Lorrimer 0
R L Curle 1 M J Schultze 0
T Kinmond 1 R J Sawers 0
  6   1

Leading scores in the annual competition for the Gold Medal played in May 1908; R W Walker-87-15-72; R G Bell, 94-17-77; Hugh Rotherham, 83-5-78; J Mitchell, 93-15-78; M J Schultze, 93-15-78; M Lorrimer, 92-13-79; Dr. Milner Moore, 96-17-79; A J Makepeace, 91-12-79.

Below is the result of a match played against Leamington & County Golf Club at Whitley Common in April 1910.

Coventry Golf Club   Leamington & County Golf Club  
F Kirby  1 R M Griffin 0
H R Hands 0 H Everitt Clarke 1
Cecil Hill 0 E Matheson 1
R A Rotherham 0 A C Laing 1
H Rotherham 0 Major Lloyd Carson 1
B B Tuke (half) 0 R Curle (half) 0
K Rotherham 1 A C S Glover 0
W W Curtiss 0 Col. A G Watson 1
  2   5

It was reported in February 1911 that the Coventry Golf Club where to leave their course at Whitley Common. 

Below are results from the Spring Meeting May 1911.

 

Coventry Golf Club, Whitley Common. Results from the Spring Meeting May 1911.

From the Sports Argus Saturday 6th May 1911. With thanks to Trinity Mirror. Digitised by Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited. All rights reserved.

 

The following article is reproduced from the Coventry Evening Telegraph Tuesday 13th August 1912. It gives an important insight into the history of golf played on the early course at Pinley and the later Whitley Common Course. I would imagine that the brochure mentioned at the beginning of the article is a very rare item.

“Coventry Golf Club – History and Development – An interesting brochure has been issued by the Coventry Golf Club, giving an excellent account of the organisation, history and development, as well as an accurate description of the course. The handbook is well printed, and contains several illustrations. Dealing with the club’s past it is pointed out that 1887 saw its inception, a time when the game of golf was little known in the Midlands, and when there were very few courses in England. Games were first played at Coventry in the early spring of 1887, a few holes with rough greens having been made at Pinley. Later a nine-hole course was laid out on Whitley Common, and for many years the club flourished there, but owing to the recent rapid growth of the city and the ground being used by so many people for recreation it was eventually seen that a private ground was necessary. The ultimate move of the members of acquiring the present ground at Finham, which is now considered one of the best inland courses in England is also dealt with. It will be seen from the names mentioned that the players who originated the club are still enthusiastic members, for instance at the first meeting there were present, G F Twist, Harold Smith, M Fenton, H B Francis, J Cash, A E Jagger, W F Wyley, Alec Rotherham and Col. O Minster.

It is recalled that the first annual meeting was held in 1888, when the late Mr Edward Petre was elected president, and he had two of the greens relaid. Details are given of early competitions, and some notable events are chronicled. One of these has reference to the ladies’ section of the club. It is pointed out that the ladies made an application to the club to have some accommodation in the clubhouse, but it was found that an alteration could not be made to meet the requirements and it was suggested that the club should find the ground and the ladies erect their own clubhouse. This arrangement was carried out, and the ladies erected a pavilion in the garden with separate entrance to the Common. At the annual dinner, held in April, a piece of plate was presented to Harold Smith by the members, in recognition of the trouble he had taken in the formation and the management of the club. Seventeen matches were played, 11 won, three lost and three halved. Thirty-five played for the gold medal, which was won by Rev. F R Evans with a gross score of 89. In 1894 the members, fearing the gorse hazards might be destroyed, a rule was made for lifting, when the ball was in such a position that by playing it the gorse would be injured. Provision was made to have it preserved, authority having been obtained from the Corporation, who, as Lords of the Manor, had control of the matter. This was the first year of electing a captain at the general meeting and Alec Rotherham was the first captain elected.

Mention is made of the fact that from 1902 to 1906 128 matches were played, 58 won, 57 lost and 13 halved. Difficulties were encountered, and owing to a succession of mild and wet seasons, and the Common not being sufficiently stocked, the grass became very troublesome in 1906. Arrangements were made with the Freemen for cutting the grass through the green. The club had always been on the best of terms with the Freemen, and there could be no doubt the club had improved the herbage on the Common, as well as increasing the growing area by cutting down the gorse and draining the wet parts, but when the extra cutting commenced a few Freemen got up in agitation against the club, which was made a public affair. It was shown that the cutting of the grass deprived the Freemen of nothing, as it was eaten by the cattle, and the fairway of the course was seldom mown. The agitation seemed to have been started by a few who, for some reason, wished to deprive the golfers of any pleasure they might have by playing on the Common. No objection was made to football and other games, so it was thought to be a personal attack on the Golf Club. After the first outburst very little was made of it. The difficulty of playing on Saturdays increased very much, and three or four football teams appropriated the Common in the afternoons, which almost prevented play. On Mondays also, the Ladies Club day, a football match was always being played. The rapid growth of the city also had an effect on the Common, as it was used by many more people for recreation, and on school holidays and in the summer it became dangerous on account of the number of children. As a result the club saw the necessity of having a private ground and Finham Park was considered the best situation. The new course was formally opened on the 9th May last. Harry Vardon and James Braid, “Clarkie” Wingate of Olton, and “Jock” Bloxham of Leamington, were engaged to play exhibition games. The expert advice of Tom Vardon was obtained in laying out the course.”  

 

Coventry Golf Club. Location of the former Whitley Common golf course.

Location of the earlier Coventry course on Whitley Common. Grid reference SP34635,77045, co-ordinates 434635,277045.