Bramshott Golf Club, Hants.
The magnificent course, designed by Open Champion J H Taylor, opened in June 1905.
Often referred to as Bramsot Golf Club.
An eighteen-hole course with beautiful views over the surrounding country, the course was visited by many VIPs. A local newspaper report of 1908 records a visit by Price Albert of Schleswig-Holstein. The subsoil was of Bagshot Sand which was a perfect base for the growth of grass for golfing purposes. The course had many natural hazards including gorse, heather, bunkers, roads etc. The course was located between Fleet and Farnborough alongside the main railway line. The club eventually had its own station, called Bramshot Halt, which was alongside the course on the railway line to Waterloo. It is said that players paid their caddies to run to the clubhouse and warn them when the train was about to arrive. A new luxurious clubhouse opened in 1913 which included a billiard room, smoke rooms, lounge and dining rooms as well as 21 bedrooms. Following the opening of the new clubhouse the original clubhouse was used by the lady members.
The course was requisitioned by the Air Ministry in 1940, and it was rumoured that General Eisenhower stayed at the golf club at some stage. After the war the Ministry retained the land, the clubhouse was converted into offices, all quite small, in what had been the bedrooms in the Club’s heyday. The clubhouse building was eventually demolished after vandals broke in and set it on fire.
Certain features of the old course can still be made out (2004), and, as late as 1991, the name of Bramshott Golf Club remained on the name tag on the post box in Cove Road.
The following were the club officials in 1905; President, Lord Lawrence; vice-presidents, Sir H Seton Karr. M.P., C.M.G and W S Seton Kerr; provisional committee, Mr Ernley Blackwell, W P Clarke, W F Currey, J Hutchison Driver, Colonel F Dorling, H G B Ellis, Major F Fleming and Major C Orman; secretary, Captain W J Seton, 67 Lowndes Square, London S.W.
The professional from 1905 until 1907 was Charles E Forrest. He was followed in 1907 by A W Butchart, who left in 1909, to be replaced by Tom Ball.
Above is the location of the Bramshot course.
Grid reference SU83045,55415, co-ordinates 483045,155415.
On Wednesday 27th November 1907 a professional foursome was played on the course. Taking part were J H Taylor and A W Butchart, the local professional, against Rowland Jones and P J Gaudin. Unfortunately the weather was not kind and it rained most of the day. Taylor was not in his best form, his wood shots particularly wayward but his short game was excellent. In the afternoon he and his partner won four holes in succession, thanks to some lovely chips and putts by Taylor. Jones and Gaudin played steady golf in the morning and finished the first round four up. In the second round Taylor and Butchart, after being five down after the second hole, won the next four, but they could not close the gap any further and Jones and Gaudin won the match by 1up.
A professional foursome was held on Thursday 17th July 1908, in which J H Taylor (Mid Surrey) and A W Butchart (Bramshot) took on George Duncan (Hanger Hill) and C H Mayo (Burhill). Duncan and Mayo were the holders of the last London foursome tournament for the Dewar shields. The miserable weather did not affect the golf with some top class play throughout. At the end of the first round the match was all square, but in the afternoon Duncan and Mayo played brilliantly. They were four up at the turn and went on to win the match by 6&5.
In January 1909 a unique match was played on the course. A team of London journalists, which included Bernard Darwin, took on a team of London golf professionals. The match was played under handicap, the professionals playing off plus 6 and the amateurs played off their club handicaps, result below.
|London Journalists||Golf Professionals|
|B Darwin (plus 4) won 3&2||1||James Hepburn (Home Park)||0|
|A C McCroome (plus 3) 2&1||1||J B Batley (Bushey Hill)||0|
|A J Robertson (scratch)||0||Rowland Jones (Wimbledon Park) 10&8||1|
|C Ambrose (scratch) 1up||1||W Hunter (Richmond)||0|
|T Wilkinson (scratch)||0||Ben Sayers jun (Royal Wimbledon) 6&5||1|
|A M Faulkner (2)||0||H Cawsey (Ashford Manor) 3&2||1|
|E H H Maxwell (4)||0||A Butchart (Bramshot) 6&4||1|
|R H Bromley Read (10)||0||J Milne (Neasden) 5&4||1|
In 1909 the secretary was Captain W J Seton and the professional A W Butchart. Amateur course record; P L Smith, 78. The course bogey score was 81. There was no entry fee, subs were £5/5s.
A new tournament was introduced by the club in 1910. It was called the Bramshot Cup and it attracted many famous players of the day. It was won in the first year by Ted Ray. In 1911 Harry Vardon was the victor. Because of difficulty in raising prize money the competition was scrapped.
It was announced in June 1911 that the club professional, Tom Ball, would be leaving the club to take up a similar position at Raynes Park Golf Club (now defunct). Prior to taking up his position at Bramshot, Ball was attached to the West Lancashire Club. Born at Hoylake in 1882, Ball was a brilliant golfer he had been twice runner-up in the Open.
In 1914 the secretary was Major W Coleman and the professional was G Oke, who joined the club in 1911. He may have left in 1912 for War service but is still recorded as club professional in 1914, although it is thought that Jack Sidey took up the post in 1913, remaining until the club‘s demise. The club had a membership of 200. The amateur course record was held by the Reverend W H Foster Pegg with a score of 74. No entry fee was payable at this time and subs were £5/5/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 1/6 after 1pm. Sunday play was allowed without caddies.
Twenty four prominent professionals gathered on Saturday 15th May 1920 to play in an event organised by the Bramshot Golf Club, amongst them were five former Open Champions. An eighteen hole medal round was played in the morning, two members of the old triumvirate finishing in first and second place. Following is an extract from a report at the time “Vardon started in a manner which did not promise his success, for his old weakness on the greens was evident, but he played soundly through the green that he was able to reach the turn in 37. This score, although representing sound golf, might have been better had Vardon been able to hole his putts. Coming home, however, he made amends, and quite a feature of his game was his good putting.”
His card read; Out – 5,5,4,4,4,3,4,3,5 = 37; In – 4,5,3,5,5,4,3,3,4 = 36 – Total 73.
Scores as follows; Harry Vardon (South Herts), 73; J H Taylor (Mid-Surrey), 74; Abe Mitchell (South Foreland), 75; C Johns (Purley Downs), 75; Rowland Jones (Wimbledon Park), 76, James Braid (Walton Heath), 76; James Sherlock (Stoke Poges), 76; Angel De la Torre (Madrid), 77; Fred Leach (Northwood), 77; George Duncan (Hanger Hill), 77; W L Ritchie (Worplesdon), 78; Tom Williamson (Notts), 78; R G Wilson (Croham Hurst), 78; J Sidey (Bramshot), 78; E Ray (Oxhey), 79; F Robson (Cooden Beach), 80; W H Horne (Durban), 81, Ernest Jones (Chislehurst), 81; Alex Herd (Coombe Hill), 82; George Gadd (Roehampton), 83; J B Batley (London Flying Club), 84; Jack White (Sunningdale), 85; A H Sibbald (North Hants), 85.
The afternoon was devoted to a four ball stroke competition which resulted in a tie for first place between Braid & Sherlock and Williamson & Mitchell both pairs finishing on 69.
In 1922 the secretary was P C Henderson. Club Telephone Fleet 40. Membership had slightly reduced to 180. The professional was J Sidey and the greenkeeper W Soane. Course Records were, amateur C V L Hooman and R Harris 74, professional H Vardon 73. Visitors’ fees were now 2/6 a round, 3/6 a day. At Weekend and Bank Holiday 10/- a day one round after 2pm 5/-.
In 1925 the greenkeeper was C Smith. Amateur course record held by Major Leroy Burcham 73.
Also in 1925 the club was merited with a mention in Bernard Darwins book "Golf Courses Of Great Britain"
In the early 1930s Bramshot Gold Club held a competition which attracted leading players including Bobby Lock and Henry Cotton.
In January 1931 Mr F G Williams holed in one at the sixth, the first time the feat had been accomplished on the course.
It's difficult to read the names on the above image, they are as follows; (1) R G Cookson, secretary; Colonel MacLean; E Greensmith, ex-captain and the oldest member; (2) T S Derbyshire (Committee); (3) C Spencer Wilmott (Committee); R V Callander; (4) J Craddock (visitor); T M Burgess (Bramshot); (5) L Moxey, C E Sledmere, L G Callingham (Committee); (6) J G S Baker, E B T Jenkins; (7) I R Patey and H Martin Row, both visitors; (8) A D Millar, club captain, and Major P H Slater.
The Alan Lawrie Trophy for players of 10 handicap and under, was won, out of an entry of over seventy, by W T Dunn (Coombe Hill.) A D Millar, Bramshot Captain, is one of the very few Americans to hold this office in an English club.
In April 1935 Jack Sidey, the Bramshot professional, set a new course record of 68. He had an inward half of 32. The par for the course was 72.
In the last year in 1940 the secretary was R G Cookson. The 18 hole course had a SSS of 75 and a Par of 72. There was a membership of 200 at this time. The greenkeeper was still C Smith. Course Records were, amateur W B Armstrong 69 and professional A G Matthews 67. Visitors were required to be members of recognised clubs. Fees were 5/- a day, 3/6 a round, weekends and Bank Holidays 5/- a round.
Below is a plan of the later amended course layout.
Bramshot closed at the beginning of WWII, and became completely overgrown. Despite its earlier splendour, it never re-opened, possibly because there were insufficient members to support two clubs, North Hants Golf club was only a mile away. (Above pictures Authors Collection).
Bramshot Halt was closed in the early War years, after several workmen, who had been engaged in constructing the nearby Southwood Army camp, were killed whilst trying to cross the track.
The southern part of the course became developed as the National Gas Turbine Establishment after WWII. One of the roads through the centre of the site is called The Fairway in reference to the former golf course. It actually still has a strip and circle of grass which is thought to be one of the original greens. This whole site is now derelict and is due to be redeveloped into a large distribution depot.
Certain features of the old course can still be made out, and, as late as 1991, the name of Bramshot Golf Club remained on the name tag on the post box in Cove Road.