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Beckenham Golf Club.

The club was founded in 1892/3 the course was laid out over the old Croydon Racecourse. The racecourse proved a very popular venue with race enthusiasts from London in the Victorian era, unfortunately the then Mayor of Croydon was not a racing fan. He was unhappy with the type of people it was attracting and following pressure from the Mayor the race track closed. It was brought by Beckenham Golf Club and continued as a golf course until the late 1930s. The course was acquired by the Council in 1942, the area is now the Stroud Green housing estate and Ashburton  playing fields.

Following are a selection of club results, mostly from the 1890s.

In April 1894 the competition for the President’s Trophy resulted in a tie between A J Ayden, W Rait, H Aste, and H Doble all 86 net. The Noakes scratch medal was won by A L Jockel, 92.

On Saturday 20th May 1894 the monthly Gold medal resulted in a tie between S F Prest and A S Main with 89 net. The Silver medal also resulted in a tie, between H W Wright and A Howard both 80 net. The tie for the President’s trophy was played off and won by Mr H Doble, 106-17-89.

Result of the 1894 September monthly medals; Gold, H Pullen and H Baker tied at 80 net; Silver, won by Mr Boraston,  99-21-78.

In October 1894 Mr W C Michie won the Noakes scratch medal with 90. The President’s trophy went to Mr J Aste with 82 net. Mr H P Tidy took the prize for the best net on the last nine holes, and Mr F Cancellor , for the best first nine. Mr H W Drew won the prize for the over 18 handicaps.

Following is the result of the March 1895 medal; Gold, W Rait, 90-9-81; Silver, F G Hornsby, 112-24-88. The tie for the last monthly Gold medal was played off, H Baker Munton winning with 106-16-90.

In May 1895 the Ottley Cramp prize was won by E Milner Jones, 103-18-85. The tie for the Captain’s prize was played off and won by A L Jockel, 86 scratch he beat A J Ayden, 98-5-93. Monthly medal result; Gold, L N Dunn, 91-14-77; Silver, S W Gibbs, 102-18-84.

September 1895 medal winners; Gold, B H Latter, 89-14-75; Silver, H B Spottiswoode, 105-24-81.

In December 1895 the Boxing Day captain’s prize was shared by F M Walker and W B Bishop. December medal winners; Gold, F M Walker; Silver, J Annan.

In February 1896 the winners of the bogey competition were; Gold, C W Link, 1down; Silver, Paul Alliston, 1down.

March 1896 medal winners; Gold, H Doble, 90-8-82; Silver, H Inglis, 112-24-88.

Result of the bogey competition April 1896; Gold, W B Bishop (8) 3up; Silver, E W Flyffe (17) 5down.

On Saturday 30th May 1896 the Beckenham Open Amateur Competition was held at “Woodside, where the old Croydon racecourse has been turned in to a first class 18 hole golf course” There were 73 competitors. Captain Nugent (Seaford) and N R Foster (Wimbledon) were drawn together, and had the largest following. Lord Ernest Hamilton (Littlehampton) and Dr Bruce Goff (Brighton) the latter playing off plus 3 and the former off 2, also had a good gallery. Captain Nugent was in great form returning two rounds of 82 playing off scratch. He won the two 15 guinea prizes for the best gross and net scores. Next came; Mr H Baker Munton, 99-10-89 and 89-10-79 total 168; Mr W Newton Dunn, 90-10-80 and 100-10-90 total 170.  Mr Dunn won the prize for the best 18 hole net score.

Result of the May 1896 medal; Gold, A L Crosdale, 96-13-83; Silver S F Bessemer, 109-24-85. There was a total entry of 70 competitors.

The following is taken from "Golfing and Cycling Illustrated" May 20th 1897 - The Golfer in Cockaigne - Beckenham Golf Club - By R A Foster. (Thanks to Golf Heritage - @LdnGolfHistory).

"What was formerly the Croydon Racecourse, surrounded by a hoop of trees, and comprising 120 acres of meadow land, now constitutes the links of the Beckenham golfers. From Cannon Street or Charing Cross Stations the journey occupies just enough time to ash a slow Havana. From Woodside Station the clubhouse is within striking distance of a catapult.

Mr Jockel shares the record for the course with Booth, the professional, with a score of 78.

The secretary, Mr S F Prest, (who has just succeeded Mr P G Collins, now promoted to captain), welcomed us like the golfing enthusiast the members know him to be. He told the story of the club's phenomenal progress since its formation in 1892, and conducted us into the old tithe barn, which has been converted into the homeliest imaginable club-room. A cross-beam in the roof bears the date 1761. The members sat around at small tables, chatting gaily, like fellows who infinitely preferred the old-inn aspect of their rural sanctum to the more pretentious appointments of upholstered urban counterparts.

 

Beckenham Golf Club, London. P G Collins the club captain.

Mr P G Collins, Captain.

 

Beckenham Golf Club, London. S F Prest club secretary.

Mr S F Prest, Secretary.

 

Beckenham Golf Club, London. Course layout.

The clubhouse.

 

Now to make a survey of the links. Let it be calculated that the outgoing nine-holes are about four strokes easier than the incoming nine. The eighteen-holes were laid out by Tom Dunn, a celebrity in his day, and now teaching Yankees a better game than baseball. It was Tom's great care to keep the bunkers well away from the tee, so as to inspire good driving. But fair enough sportsmen may often be tempted to lie conveniently on this side when strokes are being recorded. Consequently Beckenham affords rare opportunities for far drivers distinguishing themselves. A canal intersects four holes at different stages and forms a very effective aquatic hazard. In winter the current runs so briskly that it is no uncommon  sight to see a player drop his sticks and bolt after his shillingsworth before it is carried down the wood.

The ninth winter hole ought surely to be included in the summer course. Booth's ingenuity has constructed a clever arrangement of bunkers to encourage accurate driving. There is a small bunker, with two large ones looming twenty paces behind on either side, showing up a clear straight line for the green beyond. The idea is that a short driver gets caught by the little bunker, and a far driver of the straight, is caught in the bigger trap.

The 13th hole is allowed to be the stiffest on the course, and its neighbour, the 12th, is excellently well done in five. This hole has the finest punch bowl green we have yet seen. Hundreds of cart loads of soil went in to the making of it.

 

Beckenham Golf Club, London. Course layout.

Course layout.

 

Beckenham Golf Club, London. The Bunkers.

The Bunkers.

 

Beckenham has a climate of its own. You have not traversed half-a-dozen holes till the delicious coolness of the air elicits remarks. The members say that be it never so sultry in London, a grateful breeze always awaits them at the links. The view from the higher holes is very charming, comprehending the Crystal Palace perfectly outlined against the sky, amid the villadoms of Beulah Hill and Sydenham. In the gloaming of a summer evening the woods ring with the melodies of nightingales."   

Result of the April 1897 bogey competition; Gold, W Gibbs, 2down; Silver, J Fawcett, 5down.

Saturday 29th May 1897 was a very busy day at Woodside. Two competitions were taking place. The second Beckenham Open Amateur, and a professional 36 hole match between J H Taylor (Wimbledon) winner of The Open in 1894 and 1895 and Jack White (Mitcham) After a very close match between the professionals Jack White ran out the winner by 2 and 1. About 90 players representing clubs throughout the UK took part in the Open Amateur competition. The weather in the morning was really unpleasant, with rain and high winds. Norman R Foster (the Wimbledon Club’s hon secretary) swept the board, winning the scratch prize, 18 holes handicap, 36 hole handicap and first sweepstakes. Leading scores; N R Foster, 81+  85-166, scratch 166; Franklin Ross (Civil Service) 85+82-167, scratch 167;D M Scott (Chiswick) 86+88-174 less 6, 168; R H Hedderwick (Eltham) 87+90-177 les 8, 169; R R Gilroy (Newhaven) 83+87-170 scratch , 170; C Webb (Epsom) 93+94-187 less 16, 171; C A Lidgey (Beckenham) 95+96-191 less 20, 171; F Scrutton (Redhill & Reigate) 94+93-187 less 16, 171; A J Ayden (Beckenham) 90+88-178 less 6, 172; T Cavanagh (Seaford) 93+95-188 less 16, 172.

Result of the August 1897 bogey; Gold, A L Crosdale (10) 2up; Silver, J F Alpe (14) 2up.

Eighty members turned out for the March 1898 medal; Gold, T Stirling, 88-10-78; Silver medal was tied, A Nelliss, 99-20-79 and J C Stevens, 103-24-79.

Result of the April 1898 medal; Gold medal was a tie, H Doble, 84-4-80, P G Collins, 89-9-80 and T P Riddle, 92-12-80; Silver, P Carr, 92-22-70.

Result of the May 1898 medal; Gold, H Baker-Munton, 89-5-84; Silver was a tie between O T S Poulter 102-13-89 and H C Bond 107-18-89.

On Saturday 4th June 1898 the club held the third successive Open Amateur competition. Again excellent entries were received. Among the clubs represented were; Royal Wimbledon, Royal and Ancient, Tooting Bec, Princes, London Scottish, Elie, Mid-Surrey, Bromley and Bickley, Crowborough Beacon, Bush-hill, Eltham, West Drayton, Redhill and Reigate, Honor Oak, Chiswick, Raynes Park, Cinque Ports, Deal, Seaford, Woodford and Wembley. Prizes were offered for the best 36 hole aggregate, this was won by Norman R Foster (Royal Wimbledon) 167; for the best net 36 holes, handicap, won by W C Michie (Beckenham); and a prize for the best net handicap score in either round, tied between Mr Foster, 78 +1-79, Mr Michie, 84-5-79. Result as follows; W C Michie, Beckenham  178-10-168; N R Foster, Royal Wimbledon 167+2-169; A L Jockel, Beckenham 170 scratch; J H Outhwaite, Elie 170+2-172; E G Rand, Raynes Park 173 scratch; F Cancellor, Mid-Surrey 181-8-173; A C Barton, Epsom 182-6-176; D Evans, Eltham 190-14-176.

Result of the monthly bogey for August 1898; Gold, A S Main, 2down; Silver, F Stevens, N Noakes and A Crosdale tied on 1down.

At the autumn meeting held on Saturday the 1st October 1898 the Noakes Scratch Medal was won by H Baker Munton with 84; a 36 hole competition with handicaps exceeding 12 was won by A Crosdale, 195-36-159, he also won the prize for the best round with 93.

Result of the medal for January 1899; Gold, J D Cowan; Silver, J F Evans.

Result of the September 1899 medal; Gold, H W Wright, 89-9-80; Silver, G C Lane, 92-20-72.

In September 1900 at the Autumn meeting F S Heath won the scratch medal with 79and the President’s trophy with 160-4-156. E R Adams won the handicap prize 96-20-76.

The following is taken from the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Friday 20th September 1907. “Remarkable Drive” What is believed to be a record drive has just been made on the Beckenham course by W H Horne, the local professional. He drove altogether 381 yards, the spot where the ball stopped being marked by Mr Potter, a club member, it was then measured. There was only a slight faltering wind, and the ground was level. The previous longest known drive was Mr Edward Blackwell’s 366 yards at St Andrews fifteen years ago.

In 1914 the secretary was E L Storrar, Foscote, Beckenham and the professional C Gray. An 18 hole well laid out course of average length. It was mostly on gravel and was clean and dry, the greens were good. The Bogey score for the course was 79. There was  a membership of 250.  Entry fee was £5/5/0 for full members. There was no entry fee for five day members. Subs for gents were £5/5/0, five day members £3/3/0 and ladies £2/12/6. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 10/- a week, 30/- a month. Temporary membership for 6 months cost £3/3/0. Ladies were not allowed to play at weekends. Sunday play was allowed without caddies. Stations at Woodside (SE & CR) 3 minutes and Norwood Junction 1 mile.

On Saturday 25th July 1914 Mr H G Rowbotham, captain of the club, had a hole in one at the eighth, the hole measured 220 yards.

In 1922 the secretary was E A Gifford, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1 and the professional H Brown.

An 18 hole course the amateur course record was held by G L Mellin with a score of 71, professional record holder was H Vardon 69. Visitors’ fees on introduction were 2/6 a day and 15/- a week.

In 1930 the secretary at Beckenham Golf Club, Woodside, Croydon was E A Gooch.

From1935 to the clubs final appearance in 1940 the secretary was G Cameron, telephone Addiscombe 1132. The professional was still H Brown and the greenkeeper L B Pinner. An 18 hole course with a SSS. of 73 and a Par of 71. There was a membership of 350. Visitors’ fees on introduction were 2/6 a day, 10/- at weekend and Bank Holiday.

Beckenham Golf Club, London. Location of the former course.

Location of the Beckenham golf course.

Grid reference TQ35280,66930, co-ordinates 535280,166930.