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Royal Leamington Spa (later Leamington) Golf Club.

The following is from a letter to the Leamington Spa Courier dated 25th May 1889. “During a recent stroll over the breezy Campion Uplands, in company with the Reverend Percy Coates, we came to the conclusion that the undulating formation of the large pasture fields made them well adapted for Golf links, and we are determined to take an early opportunity to broach the matter to Mr Hawkes, the genial tenant of this farm. This has been done, and I am authorised to say that he is willing to consider any proposal that may be made to him on the subject. Since calling on Mr Hawkes, we have been fortified in our view as to the suitability of the ground for links by the opinions of a veteran golfer, a member of the Tennis Court Club, who, by request, has kindly gone over it. Having floated the idea, we shall be glad to receive any communications from gentlemen desirous to co-operate in the formation of the Leamington Golf Club” The letter was written by Richard Badger, who along with the Reverend Percy Coates of 45 Campion Terrace became the pioneers of golf in Leamington.

Originally known as Royal Leamington Spa Golf Club, they played on the Campion Hills course from the formation of the club in May 1890 until 1904, they then moved to a course at the Old Butts, Milverton and became known as Leamington Golf Club. In 1909, they moved again, to Guys Cliffe Fields. This was a 9-hole course until 1930, when it was extended to 18-holes. In 1935, the club purchased Brookhurst House to use as their clubhouse. Golf was temporarily halted in 1939 due to WW2, but restarted when the conflict ended. However, many members decided to join Leamington & County Golf Club which had been formed in 1907. The Brookhurst site was eventually used for housing.

The Guys Cliffe Fields course was just 10 minutes from the station at Milverton, London & North Western Railway. There was a tram and bus service that ran to within 5 minutes of the course. Sunday play was not allowed until the 1930s.

 

Leamington Golf Club. Eighteen-Hole course layout 1930s.

Layout of the 18-hole course in the 1930s.

 

Leamington Golf Club. Club Trophies 1930s.

List of Club Trophies 1930s.

 

The table below shows the known secretaries, professionals and greenkeepers throughout the clubs history.

  Secretary Professional/Greenkeeper
1896/7   J Timbs (P).
1906 W S Spicer, 6 Victoria Terrace, Leamington. W Cunnigham (P).
1914 H P Smith. B Hobley(P).
1923 W H Stampe, 19 Regent Street, Leamington. B Hobley (P)
1924-30 William Jones. B Hobley (P) J Sumner (G).
1930s  William Jones. Percy Fiddaman (P) J Sumner (G).
1940/47 G Gulliman, 29 Warwick Place, Leamington. H W Roffe (P) J Sumner (G).
1951 G Gulliman. M Burkett (P) F J Cherry (G).
1955 G Gulliman. G Williams (P) F J Cherry (G).

The Leamington Spa Courier reported on May 3rd 1890 that the Royal Leamington Spa Golf Club will erect a shed on the “Heights of Alma” This was required as a house of refuge for golfers during rain showers and as a place of safety for “golfing paraphernalia”  When this is done, and the ground has been prepared for the game of golf, there is every confidence for the future of the R.L.S.G.C. 

The third annual meeting was held at the Committee Room, No 130, Parade, on Friday 9th January 1891. In the absecnce of the President, Colonel Boothby, the Mayor, Councillor Hinks, was in the chair. The secretary and treasurer, Mr R Badger, produced the balance sheet and gave a report on the progress of the club and course. The balance sheet included all receipts and payments from the formation of the club in May 1890 and showed, to many members surprise, a respectable balance in hand. Mr Badger went on to report that to his knowledge, the club didn’t owe “a single Shilling” The membership of the club was 70. The election of committee members took place with Mr Wilson of Newbold Beaches and Mr Mitchell of the Oaks replacing Messrs Ashton and Arkwright, who retired by rotation.

Richard Badger had been the main instigator of the club and in his quest to gain more knowledge of the game had visited St Andrews, Sandwich and other famous courses, and it was with great pleasure that he looked back to those excursions and remembered how much courtesy he received from eminent golfers everywhere when it was made known that the knowledge he sought to acquire was to be applied for the benefit of the Royal Leamington Spa Golf Club. He went on to say. In golf there was no fast and furious element as in football and other popular sports, but it might be played by those who, like himself, found themselves in life’s autumn. The links he had visited were quite different in character to theirs, but he would venture to say that his increased golfing experience had not shaken in any degree his confidence in their unique course, or his belief that, if it was bought into first-class playing condition, celebrated golfers would come to “the garden of the midlands” and play a round over the golf links. Leamington and the game of golf, in his opinion, stood in the same category, in as much as each only required to be known to be appreciated. The increased popularity of the game of golf was indisputable, and he was sure that a well kept golf course and a well managed club could only benefit the town. As one of the original promoters of the scheme, he might say that at its inception it was intended to be a Town Club, not a combination of exclusive units, and the only criteria for membership were respectability, willingness to learn the rules and the payment of £1 up to Xmas, and he trusted in the near future they might enroll many new members from among the various classes that constituted respectable society.

The monthly competitions for the Badger Cup and the Club Prize that were played for in February 1891.

Badger Cup result.

J H Mitchell 55 60 115 12 103
J Kinmond 77 67 144 35 109
Colonel Boothby 56 57 113 scr 113
T Kinmond 68 65 133 20 113
Captain Shaw NR        
W A Canning NR        
C Humphries NR        
C Lloyd Carson NR        

Club Prize Result.

J Kinmond 66 66 132 35 97
C Humphries 66 67 133 35 98
J H Mitchell 59 56 115 12 103
T Kinmond 64 67 131 20 111
C Lloyd Carson 78 72 150 35 115
G B Blyth NR        

The first monthly competition for the silver challenge cup, presented to the club by Mr R B Wallis-Wilson, was played on the 6th June 1891 over nine holes, result as follows.

C Humphries 61 12 49
J H Mitchell 55 3 52
N W Brown 58 6 52
C Lloyd Carson 61 8 53
C B Gaitskell 74 17 57
A G Hatton 67 8 59
T Kinmond 71 10 61
Dr F Horsfall 88 25 63
J F Wilson 80 13 67
J G Dunn NR    
J V Saunders NR    
T Southwick NR    
W Ricketts NR    

Result of the Badger Cup played on the 11th June 1891; J H Mitchell, 117-7-110; A G Hatton, 134-17-117; C Lloyd Carson, 134-16-118.

It was reported in October 1900 that the captain, Mr Sydney Miles, was accidently struck in the eye by a ball hit by great force by Mr W H Stampe. Mr Miles was taken to the Queen’s Hospital, Birmingham.

In 1906 visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 2/6 a week and 10/- a month.

Below are the results of two matches played against the Hearsall Golf Club in July 1911. The top one is the result of the “first team” match played at Leamington, the one below is the “second team” result which was played on the Hearsall course. 

Leamington   Hearsall  
B R Knight (6&4) 1 C D Pole 0
W H Stampe (5&3) 1 C E Cox 0
S Booth 0 W Shortley (2up) 1
G Lord (1up) 1 L Cartwright 0
L Booth 0 A G Hadden (3&2) 1
H P Smith (7&6) 1 R Wormell 0
F A Adlard 0 Mr Harreden (1up) 1
W W Price (4&2) 1 L J Kaye 0
W P Collins 0 W Holmes (1up) 1
  5   4

 

Hearsall   Leamington  
E H Spencer 0 W W Jones (2&1) 1
T Hancox (2&1) 1 W W Hewitt 0
C Floyd (8&6) 1 S Mellows 0
J Haymes (half) 0 H R Horswill (half) 0
J Budge (4&3) 1 H E Major 0
J Baker (half) 0 Mr Breen (half) 0
J Simpson (5&3) 1 W A Macpherson 0
G Hill 0 W S Spicer (2&1) 1
  4   2

 The King Edward V11 gold medal stroke play competition was played on Boxing Day 1912, result; G L Hughes, 108-24-84; A Dean, 104-18-86. A G Lord scored 88-7-81 but was disqualified for a breach of the rules. The stroke competition for two pictures donated by Mr P Spicer was played for on Xmas Day, J K Tonkin won the prize for the best net score 92-13-79; winner of the picture for the best gross score was B R Knight 84-2-82.

Result of the monthly competition played on Saturday 5th April 1913; A V Brown, 99-16-83; W P Collins, 100-16-84; S Swift, 100-15-85; A G Lord, 93-7-86; A H Measures, 102-16-86; E E W Berrington, 97-8-89; W W Jones, 98-9-89. There were 22 entries, A V Brown qualified to play for the Lucas Bowl.

Below, result of a match played at Kenilworth on Saturday 12th April 1913. 

Kenilworth   Leamington  
F W Clive 1 W H Stamp 0
H R Clive 0 S Booth 1
H R Hands 1 L Booth 0
G J Homfray 1 G Lord 0
T J Addenbrooke 0 E Hains 1
Colonel Mallock 1 S Straw 0
C H Passman 0 H P Smith 1
J Woodward 0 E Berrington 1
W H Spencer 0 W W Jones 1
T Kinmond 1 J Tonkin 0
  5   5

There were 22 entries for the “Reilly” medal  played on Saturday 19th April 1913, result as follows; A V Brown, 99-16-83; A G Lord, 92-7-85; Rev C J Reade, 101-16-85; W H Stampe, 87-2-85; Rev H T B Shuckburgh,106-20-86; S Swift, 102-15-87; G H Breen, 105-16-89; A H Measures, 105-16-89; S Straw, 100-11-89; J K Tonkin, 101-11-90.

In 1914 the club had a membership of 150. The entry fee was £2 and the subs £1/10/0. Visitors’ fees 1/6 a day, 2/6 at weekends and Bank Holidays, 6/- a week and 15/- a month.

Coventry   Leamington  
L E G Miles (half) 0 W H Stampe (half) 0
C D Pole (6&4) 1 W Heasman 0
W A Bennett 0 D G Heasman (2&1) 1
B B Tuke (5&4) 1 A G Lord 0
A J Makepease (half) 0 W W Jones (half) 0
E P Keeble 0 S Straw (5&4) 1
J Pickin (5&4) 1 J K Tonkin 0
A S Hill (half) 0 H P Smith (half) 0
Rev H W Northcott (7&5) 1 C C Smith 0
Rev L Bradley (6&5) 1 P Collins 0
P R Hill (6&5) 1 G H Burford 0
  6   2

On Saturday 24th May 1913 Leamington played club matches against the Hurst Golf Club, Kenilworth (see Hurst for results). 

Below is the result of a match played against Hurst Golf Club (also defunct) in April 1914. 

Hurst   Leamington  
S Booth (captain) 0 B R Knight (4&2) 1
L Booth 0 W H Hawkes (4&2) 1
J E Booth 0 D Heasman (4&3) 1
E Saunderson 0 W Heasman (1up) 1
J Munn (half) 0 W Jones (half) 0
R A Booth (half) 0 W Berrington (half) 0
R P Mason 0 H P Smith (5&3) 1
A F Holden 0 J K Tonkin (3&2) 1
J Robson 0 H Horswill (4&3) 1
S Swift (6&4) 1 R J Jones 0
J W Bayliss (w.o) 1 G A Skelton 0
W E Manisan (half) 0 C C Smith (half) 0
M R Barran 0 J Lawson (2&1) 1
W G Ledgard (5&4) 1 R Wright 0
  3   8

The foursomes, which followed the above singles matches, were halved. 

Below is the result of a match played at Leamington against Harborne Church Farm Golf Club in April 1928. 

Leamington Golf Club   Harborne Church Farm Golf Club  
A Rawlings & J K Tonkin (1up) 1 R Williams & W H Burgum 0
W W Jones & H G Thornton 0 H Hope & S Williams (2up) 1
O Bentley & C C Smith (2&1) 1 B Rudge & A Drummond 0
W H Stampe & H P Smith (3&1) 1 G Rudge & F Statham 0
E Murray & G S Farnfield (6&5) 1 P W Davis & G F Bennett 0
H R Horswill & C V Horswill (3&1) 1 T Weston & W Jackson 0
G Lord & C Carbis (1up) 1 B Newey & F Hennegan 0
H Butterworth & F Smith 0 K P Young & N Lightowler (4&3) 1
  6   2

A competition was held over three days in August 1928. The proceeds of the competition were donated to the Warneford Hospital and totalled £6/12s/6d, leading scores; Miss K McCarthy, 101-36-65; A W Wellings, 88-20-68; S Straw, 83-14-69; Mrs Hobley, 88-18-70; C T Lloyd, 94-24-70; H G S Thornton, 89-18-71; A E Rawlings, 77-6-71; C C Smith, 84-12-72; F C Brown, 90-18-72.

Following is the result of the August 1928 monthly medal; A G Lord, 79-11-68; H P Smith, 84-14-70; T T Bromwich, 88-16-72; H R Horswill, 85-13-72; G Rishworth, 82-8-74; W H Stampe, 86-11-75; F A Harrison, 95-19-76; C T Freeman, 84-8-76; W W Jones, 85-8-77; H G S Thornton, 94-27-77.

On August Bank Holiday Monday in 1928 a four-ball alliance was played, four couples tying for first place on net 68, result; H P Smith and J L Lawson, G Rishworth and A H Measures, H R Horwill and W W Jones, H G S Thornton and A E Rawlings; F A Harrison and E Wells, 69; C V Horswill and E H Burnside, 71; J A Bingham and J E Bingham, 72; A W Coles and R Moffat, 72; C T Freeman and W E Andrew, 75; W H Stampe and A G Lord, 75.

In 1930 membership had increased to 300. Visitors’ fees 2/6 a day, 10/- a week and £1/5/0 a month.

 

Leamington Golf Club, Warwickshire. Result of the Club Championship in 1932.

From the Leamington Spa Courier July 8th 1932. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Leamington Golf Club, Warwickshire. Article from The Bystander in February 1938.

From The Bystander February 2nd 1938. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The above picture shows, from top left; (1) H J Kotch (ex-captain); (2) B E Hobley (committee); (3) J K Tonkin; (4) Cyril Townsend (captain); (5) A H Measures; (6) H F Hobbs (committee); (7) H R Horswill (committee); (8) G Robins (professional); (9) H R Maisey, F Bayley, A H Campbell, A J Lewis; (10) A C Burdon (ex-captain, vice president), G Gulliman, hon. secretary; (11) W J Messent, F Anstey.   

Below is the result of the morning round of a club match played at the Cotswold Hills Club in May 1939. It was a closely fought match with the home team just edging ahead in the afternoon matches by six games to five. 

Cotswold Hills   Leamington  
J Major & A F Parker 0 B Hobley & C Townend (1up) 1
J J Cole & D H Davis (1up) 1 H Hobbs & D Martin 0
L Barnett & D A Rose 0 W W Jones & R Short (3&2) 1
C A S Hamilton & A R Adcock (3&2) 1 F Silvester & E Hayes 0
P Jewell & R Garfield 0 J Pearce & A Winters (4&3) 1
W Simpson & J L Brain (2up) 1 J K Tonkin & H Kotch 0
F Lister & G B Pockett  0 W Overton & T Batchelor (4&2) 1
R Copeland & E J Brant (6&4) 1 F Knight & B Rightson  0
S G Sims & J Young 0 F Anstey & D Hanson (2&1) 1
G Bence & J Cooper (half) 0 H Limb & L Colville (half) 0
L Carter & W L Morris (6&4) 1 G Gulliman & G Aubrey 0
  5   5

Result of a match played at Milverton in July 1939 against Kenilworth Golf Club.

Leamington Golf Club   Kenilworth Golf Club  
A C Burdon & C Townend 0 F Morton & F Tommy 1
W W Jones & F Silvester 1 F Riley & A G Jones 0
E J Hayes &  Mr Moggs-Wright 1 T Chapman & F Anstey 0
F Smith & G Gurdon 1 A Clow & E Campbell 0
H Horswill & H Kotch 1 S C Phillips & C Warren 0
F E Knight & S Thornton 1 C Minns & C Spencer 0
  5   1

In 1940 and 1947 the 9 hole course had a SSS of 72 and a Par of 73, club  membership was 500. Visitors’ fees 2/6 a round, 3/6 a day, 12/6 a week  30/- per month.

In 1951 the course records were amateur, G C Wright 72, professional M Birkett 68. Visitors’ fees 3/6 a round, 5/- a day, at weekend it was 5/- a round and 7/6 a day.

In 1955 it was known as Leamington Brookhurst Golf Club.

The course can be seen on the Britain From Above link below.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw045003?search=leamington%20spa&ref=62

 

Royal Leamington Spa Golf Club. Location of the former golf course.

Location of the Leamington course at Guys Cliff Road. Grid reference SP30445,66740, co-ordinates 430445,266740.

 

 

Leamington Golf Club disappeared in 1956.

Thanks to Elisabeth Mills for the following additional information. “In 1973, my parents moved from elsewhere in Leamington Spa to Beverly Road in the same town. When they moved there they were told that the broad greensward and large mature trees in front of their house, which was a large part of its attraction, had been the approach to a Golf Club. How accurate this is, I have no idea. I am 65 years of age and can remember cycling past the entrance to this line of trees before the houses, and indeed, Beverly Road were built. I can’t  remember there being a golf course there, but can remember the line of trees behind a closed gate. At the far end of Beverly Road is quite a large housing estate. Could this have been built on an old golf course?”