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Royal Agricultural College Golf Club, Cirencester, Glos. (1894 - 1960s)

The club was Instituted in 1894.

A nine-hole testing course, heavy in wet weather with hazards of walls and hedges, situated in the college grounds near Cirencester.

The course was still appearing on an O.S map in the 1960s. 

Thanks to Lorna Parker of the Royal Agricultural College Archive for supplying and allowing us to use the following information on the early history of the club. It’s taken from the Agricultural Student’s Gazette, December 1897 and April 1898.

In 1897 it mentions that the course had not been available that year, despite this a lot of golf had been played by the club on away courses, it goes on “Although none of our new players have as yet shown high class form, there has been a great improvement in some of last year’s team, and thus we are able to put out quite a good side into the field. Nevile and Gandy have both advanced with rapid strides. With more experience and the cultivation of a rather more deliberate style we hope to see Nevile take a good place amongst first-class golfers. The chief items of interest in the news for the term are the matches against Marlborough Masters and Minchinhampton. Of these we won the former and lost the latter. We have again to congratulate Low on a fine performance at St Andrews when he won the Jubilee Vase from a field of 60 players from the +1 mark. He was also on the top of his game on Saturday 4th December, when playing for the Montmorency’s team against Oxford University, he lowered the amateur record of the Oxford course by two strokes with a fine score of 68, and defeated his opponent Mr W Henderson, by 8 holes.

For the RAC Cups, played on Wednesday 8th December there were 16 entries, and Gandy with a score of 89-9-80 won the Senior Cup, and Harvey, 111-30-81, the Junior. There was a stiffish breeze blowing across the course, and a driving snowstorm of an hour’s duration interfered with some of the early starters” Following are the returns under 100 net; J F Gandy, 89-9-80; C F Harvey, 111-30-81; G H Nevile, 88-4-84; Prof Blundell, 108-23-85; J L Low, 84+2-86; W A Baird, 106-19-87; Prof Ohm, 111-21-90; R B Ward, 137-40-97.

Below is the result of the one sided match against Marlborough Masters  played on the 3rd November at Marlborough. The RAC team won every game. 

Marlborough Golf Club   R.A.C. Golf Club  
Mr Durrant 0 J L Low 2
A S Eve 0 G H Nevile 2
Mr Hewitt 0 C N Day 4
Mr Thorpe 0 J F Gandy 1
J S Prior 0 E B Haygarth 5
Mr MacDonald 0 P Robertson 1
Mr Wood 0 W T Wilson 2
Mr Ensor 0 R E Yerburgh 13
  0   30

Below is the result of the match played at Minchinhampton on 20th November. The home team bought in a player from Bristol to take on J L Low, the captain, as can be see it made no difference to this game, unfortunately most of the team struggled on the day against a strong Minchinhampton side who ran out easy winners. 

Minchinhampton Golf Club   R.A.C. Golf Club  
Mr Lockwood 0 J L Low 7
Rev Hawkins 0 G H Nevile 1
Mr Chamberlain 0 C M Day 4
Rev Summerhayes 4 J F Gandy 0
Lawrence Grist 1 E B Haygarth 0
Lewis Grist 5 P Robertson 0
J Bryan 12 W T Wilson 0
H M Newman 11 R E Yerburgh 0
  33   12

By 1898 the course in the College grounds was available for play and was well used for the whole term. The greens were said to be better than at any other time previously and with the turf improving on hole 15, which implies it may have been a course of 18 holes, the course was nearing top condition. Weekly handicap sweepstake competitions had been held and among the winners were; T Wacher, R Shafto, H Hutchings and E B Haygarth. A nine hole handicap tournament for a medal was won by C Carr.

The only match played at Sapperton was on the 10th March against Marlborough Golf Club, the home team performed well, not losing a single game, J J Low was again the outstanding player.

R.A.C. Golf Club   Marlborough Golf Club  
J L Low 14 R G Durrant 0
G H Nevile 4 A S Eve 0
C N Day 4 C R Hewitt 0
E B Haygarth 4 Rev C Thorpe 0
P Robertson 3 J Gifford 0
R Yerburgh 5 C H Wood 0
R Shafto 0 A Malin 0
  34   0

The RAC Cups were played for on 23rd March. There was a disappointing turnout of members (which at this time numbered 30), possibly put off by the difficult blustery conditions. Nevile won the Senior Cup after a tie with Yerburgh, the Junior Cup was won by Hutchings, result as follows; G H Nevile, 89-4-85; R E Yerburgh, 100-15-85; R Shafto, 102-16-86; J F Gandy, 96-9-87; A Hutchings, 112-19-93; P Robertson, 104-10-94; C Carr, 115-19-96.

The Gazette goes on “Low has been in fine form all this term and won several matches for Blackheath and Sapperton Park, on one occasion being 8up on his opponent at Cheltenham for the latter club. Nevile has played for Malvern and Sapperton more than once and won his matches, and also won the Cripps and Oakley prize at Sapperton on 12th March. Day and Gandy have also been of great assistance to Sapperton Park. We wish to thank Vyse, Ward, Hickley and Menasce, who have acted as caddies in several matches and medal rounds” 

Due to the poor condition of the course, probably due to the weather, very little golf was played during 1904. Below is the result of a match played against Sapperton on the 10th of December. 

R.A.C. Golf Club   Sapperton Golf Club  
E B Haygarth 1 J Rawlins 0
Prof. Paton 1 E C Sewell 0
Prof. Blundell 0 E C Cripps 1
W F Mott 0 R J Mullings 1
T L Sulivan 0 A H Gibbons 1
K McDiarmid 1 A Stradling 0
Prof. West 0 W W Dobson 1
M de la Gandara 1 W H Cole 0
F de la Gandara (half) 0 H Boulton (half) 0
J V B Sivright 1 W Wearing 0
  5   4

The Sapperton medal was run in conjunction with the above match. It was won by K McDiarmid, a member of the RAC team, with a net score of 74. 

The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Secretary and Captain, K McDiarmid, Royal Agricultural Society; Nine -holes; Membership of 35; No entrance fee, subs were 10 shillings. The course is a short one, the bogey is 36. The main hazards are stone walls and hedges. The soil is clayey, and the lies, in consequence, heavy.

The 1905 term had seen the course very well patronized. The first competitions to take place were the singles and doubles tournaments. The final of the singles was between W F Mott and K McDiarmid. The doubles were won by C A Cooke and G Lyon won the doubles. The College Challenge Cups were played for on Saturday 18th March, in beautiful weather conditions, result as follows; senior division – Professor Paton, 78 scratch; G Stoddart, 89-10-79; K McDiarmid, 83-3-80; C A Cooke, 90-8-82; G E Cranstoun, 91-6-85; G Lyon, 93-8-85; Professor Blundell, 91-4-87; Mr Ogilvy, 110-7-103; junior division – W Osborn, 104-22-82; R Swanwick, 111-25-86.

Below is the result of a match played on the College course against Sapperton Park Golf Club on Wednesday 29th March 1905.

R.A.C. Golf Club   Sapperton Park Golf Club  
Professor Paton (half) 0 C O H Sewell (half) 0
E B Haygarth 0 J Rawlins (captain) 1
K Mc Diarmid (captain) 1 H St G Rawlins 0
W F Mott 1 E C Cripps 0
Professor Blundell 0 W G Tovey 1
Professor Locke 0 R J Mullings 1
G E Cranstoun 1 W W Dobson 0
F de la Gandara (half) 0 W H Cole (half) 0
G Lyon 0 H Boulton 1
G Stoddart 1 A Stradling 0
C A Cooke 1 W Wearing 0
Professor West 1 W Parry 0
  6   4

A return match had been arranged at Sapperton Park and was to be played on Saturday 8th April. 

Below is a match played at Lark Hill in November 1905.

Lark Hill Golf Club   Royal Agricultural College  
E Henry 1 Professor Paton 0
Capt. G Henry 1 E B Haygarth 0
E Hoare 0 K McDiarmid  1
Mr Walker (halved) 0 Professor Blundell (halved) 0
Mr Manwell 0 Professor Locke 1
Mr Taylor 0 G Lyon 1
C Harding 0 W F Mott 1
  2   4


Royal Agricultural College Golf Club, Cirencester. The 1896 R.A.C golf team.

The 1896 R.A.C golf team; back row left to right - P Robertson, H C Gardner, G H Nevile, J F Gandy; front row – Prof G Paton, Prof W T Wilson, J Low, E P Haygarth. Picture by kind permission of The Royal Agricultural College.



Royal Agricultural College Golf Club, Cirencester. Former course location.

Location of the Royal Agricultural College golf course. Grid reference, SO99600,01350, co-ordinates, 399600,201350.