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Ashbourne Golf Club, Derbyshire. (1886 - 1889)

The original club was founded in 1886.

The original six-hole course was laid out near the Dovedale Hotel in a remote spot on the edge of the Peak District.

The club moved to a course at Boothby Farm in 1895.

In 1909 the club moved to a nine-hole course at Hollies Farm, Clifton. In 1928 the club acquired a further 38 acres of land at Lodge Farm and the course was re-designed by James Braid. The fourth hole on the course was based on the seventeenth at St Andrews “The Road Hole” The course was later re-designed by Frank Pennick although the year he carried out his work is yet to be confirmed. 

There is no entry for Ashbourne Golf Club in the 1888/89 Golfing Annual.

In 1895 the club moved to a course at Boothby Farm, Ashbourne.

Thanks to Michael Morrison whe sent us the following on the second course at Boothby Farm. The article is from Golf 22 February 1895 – “ASHBOURNE (DERBYSHIRE) GOLF CLUB. This club has for some three years past been carried on in the face of difficulties, in a great measure owing to the inability of the club to obtain suitable links and accommodation at an accessible distance from the members. During the winter this difficulty has been overcome, and the members have just removed to the new quarters, though not without some feelings of regret at leaving the place where many of them had their first introduction to the game. The old links were remarkable for the very pretty scenery surrounding them, which embraced the Dove Dale Hills and a large portion of the Dove Valley ; and the new links, although unable to rival the old as to this, are still very pretty. The new links are situate within a mile from the station on the North Staffordshire Railway, and conveyances meet every train. The club-rooms have been obtained at the Boothby Arms, which is on the links, and immediately in front of the club windows is the first tee, the last hole being within 100 yards of the door. Here can be obtained very excellent accommodation, stabling, and beds. The links consist of over 40 acres of fine old permanent pasture, and are on a dry, sandy subsoil, the turf being fine short turf, remarkably free from weed or rank herbage, and the putting-greens are large and good. The services of W. Lowe, the professional of the Buxton and High Peak Golf Club, were obtained in planning and laying-out the links, which are in radius 2,450 yards. W. Lowe was very pleased with the contour and features of the ground, describing it as of the best possible inland golfing ground, naturally adapted in the position of the hazards, &c., for the game, and, allowing with the growth of the club for eighteen holes. As during the summer many anglers and other visitors come to reside in the neighbourhood of Ashbourne, and especially to Dove Dale, which is distant about three miles, it will no doubt be of interest to them to know of good links being opened, and will induce them to bring their clubs with them, and join the club either as permanent or temporary members. The present president of the club is Major Corbet, and the honorary secretary is Captain Macbean, Church Street House, Ashbourne. The groundsman is W. Phillips. The following is a description of the holes :— No. 1 Hole (Long Hole), 380 yards.— The tee, which is in front of the clubhouse windows, is situate in the middle of a rather narrow field, about 60 yards in breadth, and about n o yards in front of the first hazard, a hedge and ditch ; but, this cleared with a drive, a brassie and an iron shot should land you up to the green, if you keep on the line and do not stray into the fence, which comes out at an angle some 50 yards from the hole, or an erratic approach take you into the burn. The hole should be accomplished in 5. No. 2 Hole (Boothby Hole), 270 yards.— This is a very pretty hole, as, teeing off from the end of the second field, a drive of about 100 yards will carry you over the burn, a low hedge beyond, and leave you on good ground for your second, whilst a good drive will also carry the cart track beyond, and leave you in a position to carry the next hazard, a fence on the top of a gently-sloping band, and enable you to be on the green with your third. This is a very pretty hole, and rewards good play without punishing an only moderate player, and should be done in 5. No. 3 Hole (Midfield Hole), 285 yards.— Teeing off from behind the last hazard, a good drive will take us over this and on to the top of the sloping ground, midway for the next hole, and a brassie should land us up to the green, and the ball should be holed in 4. No. 4 Hole (Henmore Hole), 200 yards.— This hole requires a straight drive of some 100 yards to carry all intervening obstacles, as a sliced ball will be out of bounds, and, as the river makes a bend almost into the line of the hole, which also brings out the fence, straight driving is rewarded. Having carried the hazard (ditch and fence), a short approach should lay the ball on the green, and should be holed in 4. No. 5 Hole (Corner Hole), 340 yards.— Teeing off from the boundary of the links, the line of this hole extends in a diagonal line, firstly, up a rising slope, which, if our drive carries so far, will leave us in a good position to carry the ditch and fence forming the hazard, with a brassie, and care being taken to be to the right of the dry ditch running to the hole The hole is guarded by scrubby bushes and the ditch. The hole should be done in 6. No. 6 Hole (Paper House Hole), 270 yards.— Driving off for this hole in the direction of the third hole again, it is necessary to keep on the line, or a little to the left, to avoid the farm buildings and house ; with our second we must carry the hazard, or we shall be left to play our third from a much-used track, alongside which runs the ditch and hedge. The hole is a fair 5. No. 7 (Short Hole), 160 yards.— Teeing off some 40 yards behind a considerable pond, which lies in wait for a topped or foozled ball, and 20 yards in front of which is a fence, our first, should we have passed these in safety, will be on good ground, affording an opportunity for being up to the hole in 2, and holed in 3. No. 8 (Brook Hole), 310 yards.— Teeing off from the orchard hedge, the first hazard will require a very powerful driver to carry, and an ordinary player must be content to carry it with his second, and keep on the line, as a sliced or misdirected ball will be caught by the brook, which here bends into the course. With our third we must carry the cart track, and also the burn, or else play short of the latter, and then approach ; if we carry it, we shall be up, or nearly so, the green being some 15 or 20 yards beyond. This hole should be accomplished in 6. No. 9 (Home Hole), 200 yards.— Recrossing the burn for the last hole, we tee our ball about 50 yards in the rear thereof, and a straight drive is necessary to clear the burn and a piece of marshy and broken ground beyond ; whilst if we stray to the right or left, the drive will, in the former case, be out of bounds, and in the latter, we risk its being snatched by the bushes on the brook-side. Keeping on the line, we have then to negotiate the most thrilling and pretty stroke that can be imagined, as the hole is situated in a square green, guarded on three sides by fences, and on the fourth by a road, and is only about 27 yards across. It requires a very well-judged shot to be dead with the second, and it is not usually done under 5.”

The course was in very fine order and the greens good and fast for the Spring Meeting played in May 1895. Tuesday May 14th prize presented by Mrs Peveril Turnbull; Rev. T Dale, 128-45-83; Rev. T Middleton, 117-30-87; T H B Bamford, 96-3-93; W H Matthews, 137-40-97;  H Holmes, 115-16-99; H F Gilson, 120-20-100; P Turnbull, 118-18-100; Rev. Barnwell, 128-26-102; J R Cooke, 125-22-103. Wednesday May 15th Monthly Medal; J R Cooke, 113-22-91; Capt. Macbean, 111-15-96; Rev. T Dale, 126-28-98; H Holmes, 115-16-99; Rev T Middleton, 122-20-102; L Frank, 122-18-104; W H Matthews, 137-30-107.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News 29 June 1895 - "The excellent links of the lately formed Ashbourne Golf Club were opened for play on the first day of the Spring Meeting. The hon. secretary, Captain Macbean, driving the first ball. The site of the links having been selected and the course laid out by W Lowe of the Buxton and High Peak Club." 

The following is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1886; Membership of 35; Entrance fee nil and subs £1/1s; Terms for visitors, 1s a day, 2s/6d a week; Hon. secretary - R Williams, Church Street, Ashbourne; Captain, Capt. Macbean; Professional, J Plant; Course record - B R Wilson, 34. The course is of nine-holes and the hazards are natural and the greens good. There is a club room in a farmhouse adjoining the course.

In the Kelly’s Directory of 1912 the Ashbourne & Dove Valley Golf Club in the village of Clifton appears, the entry reads "Here is a golf club, established in 1910, with a 9 hole course and pavilion." Hon secretary was Rev Frederick Clifton Smith, MA. Kelly's also has a golf professional listed living in Clifton - Joseph Frederick Stenson.

Following WW2 the secretary was E R Sly, 112 The Green Road, Ashbourne, telephone 337. The greenkeeper was J Harrison. The nine hole course had a Par and SSS of 76. The station at Clifton was three minutes away. Visitors’ fees on introduction were; 2/6 a day, 7/6 a week and 15/- a month. Sunday play was allowed without caddies.

In the mid 1950s and early sixties the secretary was R E Job, Home Farm, Clifton, telephone 69. The greenkeeper was W Holland. Membership of 150. The total length of the course was 4548 yards the SSS was now 65. Visitors’ fees on introduction were; 3/6 a day, 15/- a week and £1 a month.

In the 1964 Golfer’s Handbook the club was stated to have been founded in 1910; presumably this was when it moved to Holllies Farm. The secretary was N P A James and the greenkeeper W Holland. The club had a membership of 250. The SSS was now 62.

From the late 1960s and into the 1980s /1990s the secretary was still N P A James. The club had a membership of 350 during this time. The (nine hole) course had a total length of 5,388 yards with a  Par of 68 and a SSS of 66. Visitors’ fees in the late 1980s were; £6 during the week and £8 at weekends.

 

1980s scorecard for the former Ashbourne Golf Club course.

 

Plan and clubhouse of the earlier Ashbourne Golf Club.

Above is the scorecard from the 1980s.

 

During the 1990s the club was listed as being founded in 1886, 1902 and 1910.

The green fees in 1998 were; £14 weekdays and £18 at weekend.   

The club moved to its current location in May 1999.

 

Location of the earlier Ashbourne Golf Club course.

Above is the location of the former Ashbourne course at Clifton; reproduced from the {1922} Ordnance Survey Map.