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Crookham Golf Club, Crookham Common, Newbury. (1873 - WW2)

The club was founded in 1873.

An 18-hole course on Crookham Common, stated in 1914 to be the third oldest heath land course in England. The club headquarters were at The Volunteer Inn on the common.

The following advert appeared in the Berkshire Chronicle on Saturday 3rd May 1873 - Crookham Golf Club - Gentlemen desirous of Joining this Club are requested to communicate with R Dashwood Fowler, Capt., R.N. Hon Secretary and Treasurer. Club days Mondays and Fridays. Play to commence at 3 pm on Crookham Common, Speen Hill, Newbury.

The following is attributed to the Reading Mercury Saturday 9 May 1874. It carried a report on the Spring Meeting, it’s interesting to see the style of reporting and the terms relating to golf at the time.

“The Spring Meeting which took place on May 1st 2nd and 4th was most successful. On Saturday, especially, there was a good gathering of players to compete for the Open Challenge Cup, presented by the Hon Sec, Captain Dashwood Fowler. There were many whose names are well known in the golfing world who took part in the contest, and, as it proved, the excitement was well sustained to the close. The weather which had been so unusually warm for the season would, it was apprehended, change for the worse, and May be ushered in with storms and cold. Such misgivings and fears were, however, done away with, as nothing could have been more charming to golfers than the bright cheery days they had, moderated, as the heat was during the day, by the cool morning. On Friday, the 1st the members of the club met to contest the Handicap Challenge Cup, presented by Mr Charles Stephens of Reading. There was a large attendance, and some interesting play ensued, as the novices were handicapped freely, and the majority of players were presented with some odds to put them on a par with scratch men (there being many probable holders of the cup) the excitement was well sustained. For some time it was believed that Thatcham would supply the winner, as Captain Thackwell, with 18 odds, managed the round in 99; but local expectations were disappointed, as Mr Cunliffe, of the 93rd Regiment, did the course in 98, and carried of the trophy to Aldershot. Captain Lyon, scratch, went round in 102; Mr J H Morley (Blackheath) 8 odds, 106; and Captain H Hodgson, 24 odds, 109.

On Saturday there were to compete for the Open Challenge Cup, representatives of the many English and Scottish clubs, Strange to say, the scores of most of the players were in a diminishing ratio. Mr J H Morley began play early, and completed the round in 104. Mr Leslie M Sanderson, from Musselburgh, made his appearance, and having done it in 102, apprehensions were entertained that he would be the winner, but these were soon removed by the arrival of the Rev J Scott Ramsay, who had gone round in 99. Some thought that he would be the holder, and that the cup would remain in the neighbourhood, but in an hour’s time Mr J C Fowlie came in with a score of 96, which considering he came to grief on the first hole, and took eleven to it, was exceptionally good. It was regarded as a moral for him, and he was warmly congratulated; but soon another appeared on the scene, Mr J C Baldwin, who divides the honour with him. While these antagonists are looking forward to an exciting match in playing off the tie, yet another advances – Mr George Gossett and with him a large following, and on his card being inspected it is ascertained that he is the winner, with the good score of 94. The visitors expressed themselves delighted with the links, and although very particularly engaged with the surface of the ground, found time to appreciate the bracing air and splendid views. The Crookham Club, while well satisfied that so distinguished a golfer as Mr George Gossett should bear away their cup as an initiative, are fully prepared to make a vigorous struggle to detain it amongst themselves, when it will be challenged in the autumn.

On Monday the Club Challenge Cup to be played for monthly, was committed to the card of  Captain Lyon of Burghfield, who completed the round in 96. Mr Ramsay, though beginning badly, was on the putting green of the last hole but one in 90, when he was informed of the state of affairs; he managed to hole out in three, and so had six for the last hole to tie in. Having rather hard lines he took four to the green, and trying to hole out in one failed to lay it dead, then playing to strongly he ran round the hole and took two more. Mr Cunliffe went round in 107.

The proceedings of the club have excited great interest in the neighbourhood, and there were many in carriages, on horseback, and on foot, who took advantage of the gathering to learn something of the game of golf. Whatever they thought of it, they could not fail to admire greatly the cups, the rewards of success which were on view for a couple of days in the Club Rooms”

The club proceeds as normal  for the next thirteen years, playing club competitions, holding meetings, etc.

The Crookham Club held their autumn meeting on the 5th November 1886. In spite of the rain and windy weather some good scores were returned. G Bolton eclipsed all performances with a capital score of 91. He had won the challenge cup for several years in succession, it was presented to him by the club on his leaving the neighbourhood. At the same time he presented the club with a challenge cup to be played for under handicap.

Then, for no apparent reason, the club goes into abeyance and there is no mention of it after the above competition.

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

It re-appears in 1891.

In May 1891 it was announced that the links on Crookham Common had been re-opened. Fifty members had joined the club. Mr Charles Stephens of Reading had generously placed at the disposal of the club the silver challenge cup left in his hands after the breaking up of the old club. The secretary was the Rev H H Skrine, Greenham Vicarage, Newbury. The competition for the challenge cup and monthly medal took place on Whit Monday. The cup was won by A B Cook with a score of 98, and the medal by Rev J Scott Ramsay with 107. The foursomes were won by F P Brown and J H Havilland.  

Entry from The Golfing Annual Vol. V 1891-92:-

"Crookham Golf Club; Instituted May 1891; Entrance Fee, Ten Shillings; Annual Subscription Ten Shillings; Number of Members 79; President, W G Mount, M.P; Captain, A H Evans; Sub-Captain, B Rendall; Committee - F Everett, H Fox, F Q Loriet, S Matthews, F Ridley and J Shuter; Hon. Secretary and Treasurer - Rev. H H Skrine, Greenham Vicarage, Newbury; Club Green - Crookham Common; Green-keeper - Mr Denniss, Woodside, Crookham; Club Maker- Mr Milsom, The Volunteer Inn, Crookham.

Prize Winners in 1891;  Members Cup - Whitsuntide; A B Cooke, 98; October; B Rendall, 120-24-96; Open Cup - B P Spurway, 115-20-95; Monthly Medal; A H Evans, 105-18-87; The green record is by F T Welman, 79.

The club is really a resuscitation of an old one which broke up for want of members about ten years ago.

The course offers many attractions to golfers. Its position, situated as it is on high table land, 400 ft above the sea, from which it is distant some thirty miles as the crow flies, and between the valleys of the Kennet and Enborne, gives to the seeker after health all he can desire; while the views, especially on the Hampshire side, are exceedingly fine and extensive. The entire length of the course, 18-holes, is a trifle over three miles. The ground is on the level throughout, and the hazards are all natural. The first hole ("open")is approached by an open 400 yards, with a road about 40 yards from the putting green. To the second hole ("whin") there is an open 300 yards, but another road intervenes, and gorse lies beyond the hole. The third hole "The Straits" is so called owing to an island of gorse right ahead, which considerably contracts the width of the course. This however, a good driver can easily clear, and a cautious player can avoid by playing to the right. The hole is just short of another road. To the next hole ("Lodge") is a distance of some 420 yards, with another awkward island of gorse to surmount from the tee, and some heavy, short, heathery ground for the last 100 yards. The hole here lies just short of a road, beyond which again is an interval of turf and then a ditch and a hedge. To the next hole ("Avenue") 170 yards, the drive is over an avenue of Lime Trees. The sixth hole (Ha-ha!") the shortest on the course only 130 yards, requires care,and is, perhaps, best manipulated with an iron shot from the tee. A road lies in front of the hole, and a "Ha ha" beyond it. The next four holes ("Angle,") ("Pig,") ("Trap,") and ("Tum") all present varied interests of gorse, bunkers, roads, and broken ground. The eleventh hole ("Pit") 500 yards, is the longest and most difficult. The putting-greens lie in the middle of old disused gravel pits, and the approach demands great care and circumspection. The drive from the tee is not so difficult as it looks, being out of the gravel pits and over the gorse beyond. A mistake here is generally costly. From thence the course returns over almost the same ground as before, the putting-greens being placed wherever the ground bests admits of a satisfactory approach. The distance for the last seven holes ("Rut" "Side-path" "Lawn" Dardanelles" "Pond" "Gate" "End") are respectively; 405, 254, 276, 330, 391, 393 and 310. There is capital accommodation at the Volunteer Inn, Crookham, the headquarters of the club. The course is open all year round, and the club days are Tuesdays and Saturdays."

Result of the February medal for May 1893; Mr B H Rendall, 98-14-84; Mr E T Maguire, 98-11-87; Mr K Stewart, 100-11-89; Mr T Baker, 113-23-90. The greens were in excellent condition.

At the autumn meeting in October 1893 the Rev G Stuart, plus 2, won the bogey handicap for the Members’ Cup, Mr P S Baker, plus 1, was second. Mr A H Evans won the Challenge Cup with a score of 92. In the Open Handicap, Mr P S Baker secured the first prize, 104-23-81 and Mr H Sawyer was runner-up, 93-9-84.

Report on the annual meting in February 1894.


Crookham Golf Club, Crookham Common Course. Report on the annual meeting in February 1894.


Crookham Golf Club, Crookham Common Course. Report on the annual meeting in February 1894.

Field Saturday 10 February 1894. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Below is the result of a match played against Twyford & Shawford Golf Club (also now defunct) on Thursday 17th October 1895.

Twyford and Shawford Golf Club   Crookham Golf Club  
Captain Corse-Scott (scratch) 0 A B Cook (1) 2
H Strahan (7) 0 H E Meek (2) 9
Rev M R Bethuse (7) 2 A C Bartholomew (10) 0
Dr Geo Roberts (9) 0 B Rendall (8) 7
Rev E P Spurway (11) 5 J H Haviland (10) 0
Rev F N Harvey (12) 0 Rev J H Belcher (12) 4
Colonel Johnston R.E (13) 4 W P Godwin (12) 0
J H T Wharton (17) 2 Captain A B Ridley (14) 0
General Laughton (21) 10 R S Knight (27) 0
  23   22

At the autumn meeting in October 1895 the Challenge Cup was won by Mr A B Cook with 86. The winners of the Open Competition were the Rev E P Spurway, 87-11-76 and P A Underhill, 91-9-82.

In 1896 the winner of the scratch cup at the autumn meeting was Mr A H Evans, 88. The open medal handicap was won by Mr C V Lodge, 95-13-83, and the foursome competition by A H Evans and B Rendall, 89-2-87.

Location of the course prior to WW1.


Crookham Golf Club, Crookham Common, Newbury. The golf course on the 1913 O.S. map.

Ordnance Survey Map © Crown Copyright {1913}


Result of a match played on the Common against Faringdon Golf Club (now defunct) in July 1928.


Crookham Golf Club, Crookham Common Course. Result of a match against Faringdon played in July 1928.

North Wilts Herald Friday 20 July 1928.


The course was required for the war effort during WW2, an airfield was built over most of the course and the club never recovered.

In 1947 Crookham and Newbury and District amalgamated and became Newbury and Crookham Golf Club.

  Secretary Professional/greenkeeper
1870-73   Thomas Manzie (p)
1898-1901   G W Clinch (p)
1906 Broome Sinniger.  
1910-15   F Dodd (p)
1913-22 L V Lodge, Horris Hill, Newbury.  
1935 S Stembridge, Bartholomew Street, Newbury.  
1940-47 B Whincup, “Littlecot” Benham Hill, Newbury and H Inman Taylor, Woodlands, Chieveley W Clinch (g)


  Course records
1906 H E Meek, amateur, 74 G W Clinch, professional, 72.
1947 G W Wathan, amateur, 62.


  Fees, SSS, membership, location, hotels etc
1906 Visitors, were required to be members of  recognised golf club paid, 1/- a day and 2/6 a week. The station at Thatcham was about 1 ½ miles away. Local hotels were the Volunteer Inn and the Swan.
1913 Membership of 150. Entry fees for gents were £1/1/0 and ladies 10/6. Subs for gents £2/2/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 2/6 a week and 7/6 a month. No Sunday play was allowed. Stations were at Newbury 3 miles away and Thatcham 1 ½ miles.
1940-47 SSS and Par of 67 and a membership of 186. Visitors’ fees were 1/6 a round, 2/6 a day, weekends 2/- a round and 3/6 a day. The station at Newbury was 2 miles away.



Crookham Golf Club, Newbury, Berks. Location of the course on Crookham Common.

Location of the course on Crookham Common.

Grid reference SU51800,64650, co-ordinates 451800,164650.