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United Services Golf Club, Chatham. (1908 - 1960)

Following the closure of the Royal Engineers course at St Mary's Barracks in the early 1900s a new course was eagerly sought.

The United Services Golf Club, Chatham, was founded in 1908. The first course was of nine-holes and was laid out at Twydall.

It wasn't long before it was on the move again this time to its permanent home on the then Rainham Road, Chatham, adjoining the Star Hotel and Fort Darland.  

The course was progressing well but the outbreak of war in 1914 changed everything. The club lost the majority of its members and the course was requisitioned for the war effort.

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. Text from the handbook.

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. The sixteenth green.

The sixteenth green.

 

During the 1920s/30 the professional was Harry Llewhellin.

At the time of WW2 the secretary was T Davison. The professional was H Llewhellin and the green-keeper, H Peach. The 18-holes had a Par and SSS of 71. Course records; amateur - J J Shelton, 67; professional - H Llewhellin, 64. Visitors' fees were 2s/6d a day. It was stated that "Open to all officers of the Services. A limited number of civilians may be elected to the club."

During the Second World War most of the course was used for military exercises. There were a few holes left open for the golfers, these were maintained by a small band of civilian members. Following the war the course was gradually restored to the full eighteen-holes. 

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. From the second tee.

From the second tee.

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. Length and Bogey of the holes.

Length and "Bogey" of the holes.

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. Course layout in the 1920/30s.

Course Layout 1920/30s.

 

United Services Golf Club, Chatham. The ninth green.

The ninth green.

 

With a growing civilian membership during the 1950s it was decided to change the name to the Gillingham and United Services Golf  Club.

In the mid 1950s the secretary at the Gillingham and United Services Golf Club was A O Bland, 56 Darland Avenue, Gillingham. The professional and green-keeper was D I Brown. The 18-holes measured 5,495 yards with a SSS of 68. Visitors' fees were 3/- a day.

In 1960 the site was sold to Gillingham Council. The club were able to secure a tenure on the land and in 1964 Gillingham Golf Club Ltd. was formed.

In 1986 the future of the club was in doubt due to a proposed road development. In the end additional land was acquired and new holes were constructed.

The United Services Golf Club, Chatham, had long gone but in 2005 Gillingham Golf Club celebrated its centenary (many sources have the foundation date of the United Services Golf Club as 1908.)