High Coniscliffe Golf Club, Darlington. (1895 - WW1)

Founded 1895/6.

Below is the result of a match played on the High Coniscliffe course against Saltburn Golf Club in June 1898. 

High Coniscliffe Golf Club   Saltburn Golf Club  
C Cochrane 9 C C Walker 0
J F Pease 0 W F Whitwell 1
A Massingham 0 Hon. C F Scott 13
J A Pease 5 Dr Stainthorpe 0
W Blain 6 R Maccurrach 0
G Newby Watson 0 T N Muller 3
G H Watson 6 W P Anson 0
W D Richardson (half) 0 J McKenzie (half) 0
  26   17

Below is the result of a match played at High Coniscliffe against Barnard Castle Golf Club on Saturday 8 December 1900.

High Coniscliffe Golf Club   Barnard Castle Golf Club  
T E Hill 1 Dr H Weighton 0
A Massingham 0 F Waddington 1
W Blain 3 H Friend 0
E E Meek 0 R J Bailey 8
H Anson 0 Rev H Jennings 5
G Newby Watson 1 Dr A Sevier 0
J Armstrong 0 H Mudie 0
G Jennings 5 C L Routledge 0
  10   14

In the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook the secretary was W Blain, West Lea, Stanhope Road, Darlington; captain, Dr T E Hill; professional, J Green; amateur record, Dr T E Hill 73; professional record, J Kay 68; entrance fee,  £2/2s; subs, £1/11s/6d; number of members, 130. The nine-hole course is pretilly situated 4 miles from Darlington, on the left bank of the Tees. The holes short but tricky, the hazards being whins, a river, ponds and trees. There is a comfortable clubhouse where lunch and tea can be obtained. 

In 1906 the secretary was W Dudley Richardson, Holmwood, Darlington. The professional was J Green. A 9 hole course at this time. Course records were, amateur Dr T Eustace Hill with a score of 36 and professional J Kay 33. Visitors’ fees on introduction were 1/- a day, 3/6 a week and 10/- a month.

Below is a picture and report from the Newcastle Daily Chronicle from January 1908. It details the extension of the course to eighteen-holes.


High Coniscliffe Golf Club, Darlington. Picture of the brook on the seventeenth hole.

Newcastle Daily Chronicle Saturday 11 January 1908. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The following report accompanies the picture above – “It is only a matter of two years ago since the links of the High Coniscliffe Golf Club was laid out on the high side of the road which traverses that placid and picturesque village.But the golfer who visits the course for the first time will find little to indicate that the eighteen-holes which have been provided have not been in existence for a very much longer period. Previously the members of the club had to play over a nine-hole course, that sloped its way down to the river and which abounded in hazards of the heroic sort. The transfer from the old course has necessitated the sacrifice of many sporting chances for the expanse of grassland that constitutes the new “pitch” of the club has nothing nearly so formidable as the patches of whin and water that spoiled many a good score in former days. On the new course there are, it is true, quite a number of obstacles that are not of the artificial character, but for the main part the spade has been the principal factor in providing perils for the golfer who is not playing the game…

There is not, of course, and in the nature of things there cannot be, the same charm in playing over a course where all the obstacle have been provided after the careful consultations of  the green committee as on a links where Nature has scattered trouble with a lavish hand and regardless of expense. But at Coniscliffe no trouble has been spared to make up for the lack of foresight shown by Dame Nature when she failed to realise the fact that this particular tract of territory some day by the Darlington devotees of the Royal and Ancient game. There are bunkers in plenty, and they are all in precisely those positions where the bad shot is likely to find a resting place – so that there are that will not find find something in the way of trouble. The course is situated about a mile from Piercebridge station just outside of Darlington, just far enough out, indeed, to make the golfer realise that his favourite game is worth a little time and trouble, and the clubhouse, which fronts on to the main street of Coniscliffe – which is also the only street – is as pretty and commodious a place as could well be desired.

Probably the best point about the course is that it not at all, nor anywhere pinched for room..There is to all intents and purposes no crossing, and the prediction of the enthusiastic secretary of the club, Mr W Blain, when the course was barely opened, that “it promises excellent lies through the green as the turf improves,” has been completely fulfilled. The soil is clayey, but, in spite of that, it keeps wonderfully dry, and a quite recent visit revealed the fact that even in mid-winter a good game is obtainable on ground that is at least not too wet to be comfortable. It is, too, no mean testimonial to the quality of the turf to say that all the greens are natural, the product only of careful attention and rolling, and that they play truly and evenly all through. A detailed description of an eighteen-hole course is an equal imposition upon the patience of the reader and the industry of the writer, and for both reasons – and particularly the latter – it is not going to be attempted here. It would resolve itself merely into a monotonous catalogue of the facts that at the long holes two sets of bunkers have been made, one for the bad drive and another for the futile second, and that at the short holes there is trouble either for the bad tee shot or the feeble approach. But it may be taken for granted that this is the case at most of the holes, and that at some, in addition, there is added the difficulty of a fence that skirts the course and puts the pulled or sliced balls out of bounds, whilst one or two stone walls present most uncompromising faces to the player, especially at the fourth, the “Dog’s Leg,” distinctly a hole of the “thinking” variety, where, after a good drive, a loft of the best is necessary to get to the green. There is only one really short hole on the course, the fourteenth, and the trouble here is to lift the ball over the fence, whilst a brook, which also comes in useful as a hazard at the seventeenth, threaten a ball that is off the line. The others vary in length from the two hundred yards of the “Rubicon,” where a wall also has to be negotiated, to the the 445 of the “Long,” which in addition to its length has several interposed perils and pays a compliment to the prowess of the Colonel in crediting him with a five. Altogether the course, with a bogey of 81, extends over some 5,610 yards, but it is by no means a swiper’s course, for accurate play is necessary everywhere, and the care lavished on the course by Green, a proficient professional, who spares no endeavour in making the course of the best, ensures that the good shot shall nowhere meet with unjust punishment. The comments which appeared recently in our golf notes on the subject of the lack invention displayed in finding names for holes on English golf courses can not be said to apply at Coniscliffe. Every one has its distinctive name, and some of them are particularly apt. There is, for instance, the seventh, the “Rubicon,” there is the “Vinegar,” which sounds suggestive as Mr Kipling would say of “another story;” and there is, again, the seventeenth the “Naboth,” only Naboth in this case does not rise to the dignity of viticulture. It would be a great omission if one were to close even so inadequate a description of the course as the present without some reference to its delightful situation and the fine views of wooded hills and pleasant pasture lands that confront the player on every side and from almost every tee. Coniscliffe, in short, is as charming a place to play golf as anyone could wish, and the course, which is of more than average quality, shows many and tangible signs of improving to a standard of undoubted excellence”.   

Below is the result of a ladies’ match played at Middlesbrough against Coniscliffe Golf Club in July 1914. 

Middlesbrough Golf Club   Coniscliffe Golf Club  
Miss C K Spencer 0 Miss Hill 1
Miss J Calvert (half) 0 Mrs Dixon (half) 0
Mrs T S Calvert 1 Mrs Williams 0
Miss D Lithgow 0 Miss Dixon 1
Mrs Lithgow 0 Mrs Blain 1
Miss I Lithgow 1 Mrs Haig 0
Miss E Calvert 1 Mrs Todd 0
  3   3

In 1914 the secretary was W Blain, 1 Harewood Grove, Darlington, telephone 6. The professional was J Green. Now an 18-hole course of 5,600yds that was situated above the village of High Conniscliffe. There was a comfortable clubhouse in the village where lunches could be obtained. The club had a membership of 200. Entry fees for gents were £2/2/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Subs for gents were £2/2/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Visitors’ fees on introduction were, April to September 2/- a day, 7/6/ a week, 15/- a month. October to April 1/6 a day, 5/- a week, 10/- a month. Sunday play was allowed without caddies. The Station at Piercebridge (NER) was 1 mile away.

High Conniscliffe Golf Club disappeared after WW1 and became Darlington Golf Club.

High Conniscliffe Golf Club, Darlington. Location of the former course.

The course at High Coniscliffe was still appearing in to the 1940s.

Grid reference NZ23415,15950, co-ordinates 423415,515950.