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Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent.  (1969 – 2018)

The course was between Golford and Benenden on the east side of Golford Road - fairways were clearly narrow running between avenues of trees.

The club had a number of names over the years. Firstly Cranbrook. In the late 1990s it was The Executive Golf Club at Cranbrook. By 2002 it had been renamed Hemsted Forest Golf Club, although the name reverted to Cranbrook Golf Club in the last few years.

Cranbrook Golf Club was situated in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. The course was adjacent to the magnificent setting of Hemsted Forest surrounded by rolling woodland that defined the shape of the holes. Cranbrook‘s course setting provided a peaceful backdrop for golf. The Course had a reputation for being very challenging. Twenty minutes from Ashford, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells.

From the 1975 Golfer’s Handbook; Private; Cranbrook Golf Club; founded, 1969; membership of 200; secretary, H M Borrisow; professional, N J C McNeill; 18-holes, 5,600 yards, SSS 67; visitors’ fees, £1.10, (£2 at weekends).

Golfer’s Handbook 1982; Cranbrook Golf Club; secretary, H M Borrisow; professional, Brian Impett; 18-holes, 5,900 yards, SSS 69; course records – amateur; M Ronald, 70; professional; B Impett, 69; visitors, £3.50, (£5).

Golfer’s Handbook 1988; Cranbrook Golf Club; secretary, H M Borrisow; professional, G Potter; 18-holes, 6,128 yards, SSS 70; course records – amateur; S Coulter, 67; professional, S Barr, 70; visitors, £8, (£11).

Sunday Telegraph Golf Course Guide 1990; Cranbrook Golf Club; 18-holes, 6,216 yards, SSS 70; designed by John D Harris.

 Sunday Telegraph Golf Course Guide 1998; professional, Alan Gillard; 18-holes, 6,295 yards, SSS 70; visitors, £23, (£30).

Entries in the Golfer’s Handbook cease in the 2000s.

The following message was issued by the club Directors – “It is well documented that most Golf Clubhouses throughout the UK operate at a financial loss.

At the beginning of April 2016 we relocated our Clubhouse operation from the Oast Clubhouse to the Golf Pavilion. This move corrected the financial losses accruing each year at the Oast Clubhouse and allowed us to charge arguably the best value membership fees in the South East.

We hoped that introducing affordable annual golf membership would negate the yearly membership dropouts. This would then gradually progress to an increase in membership numbers and the additional revenue would provide the capital investment for the purchase of new machinery and course improvements making the Club financially sustainable.

Unfortunately the results of our recent membership survey asking members whether they would be rejoining the club for the year ahead highlighted that 35% of all current members would not be renewing their membership on April 1.

For a number of years we have been hoping that the government would correct the VAT distortion that exists between clubs like ourselves and member owned clubs.
To explain this, member owned Lamberhurst Golf Club charge £1,250.00 for their annual membership and because they are not liable for VAT payments they receive the full £1,250.00 whereas we charge £599.00 for our annual membership and because we are liable for the VAT payment we receive only £499.00.
This VAT distortion also continues where all member owned golf clubs receive the full amount from green fee and society revenues whereas we receive only 80% of all such income.

Following recent communications it has now become evident that the government has no intention of changing the VAT golf payment system. A combination of the new membership year dropouts and having to pay 20% of all our revenues to the government makes our club financially unviable. Therefore it is with great reluctance and sadness that after operating our Club for 30 years we have to inform you that Cranbrook Golf Club will cease trading and close on the 31st March 2018.

We very much appreciate the support you have given to the Club over the years.

Our very best wishes for your future golf.”

Thanks to Richard Anderson for his help in compiling the history of Cranbrook Golf Club.

There seems to have been many differing yardages over the years.


Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent. Scorecard for the course.



Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent. Pictures of the clubhouse and golf course.


Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent. Pictures of the clubhouse and golf course.


Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent. Pictures of the clubhouse and golf course.


Cranbrook Golf Club, Kent. Notice of membership fees for 2017