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Dover Golf Club, Kent. (1890 - WW2)

Founded 1890.

The course measured 2,540 yards, it was described as follows “A terrifying chalk pit, a farmyard and ramparts of a fort with artificial bunkers are hazards of this course” 

In the early years it was listed as a 10-hole course but by 1914 and to the club’s final year in 1948 it was 9-holes. There was a period following WW1 when the course was taken over by the United Services Golf Club (see United Services separate listing) In fact the  Dover Golf Club did not reappear again until the late 1920s. 

Below Dover Golf Club play Folkestone Golf Club in September 1894.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News September 1894.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News September 1894.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News September 1894.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 8 September 1894. Images © Illustrated London News Group.


Dover Golf Club. Club button.

Dover Golf Club button.


Winners of the monthly medal competitions in early 1901; January and February, Captain Bliss; March, V G Smith; April, L F Beatson; May, Col Caulfield-Stokes; June, L F Beatson.

Result of a match played at St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe on Saturday 2 November 1901.

St Margaret's Golf Club   Dover Golf Club  
A K Mackey 0 Capt Pigott 8
H S Cundall 0 Capt Bliss 6
Mr Wallis 0 Mr McGregor 5
A V Greenstreet 0 Capt Arnold 2
G A Lane 0 Col Curtis 2
F B Greenstreet 0 Capt Gorman 1
A H Howles (half) 0 L F Beatson (half) 0
V G Smith 1 H Bryan 0
P F Cripps 6 Capt Knocker 0
G A Sweatman 6 Mr Wynne 0
  13   24

Featured on the image below from 1902 are; L F Beatson, the hon. secretary; Lieut-Col. C M Davidson (H.M. Royal Body Guard,) the captain.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News March 1902.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News March 1902.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News March 1902.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Article from the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News March 1902.

Articles above from Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 1 March 1902. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


In 1906 the secretary was A R Smith, Godwynehurst, Dover and the assistant secretary P King, Mayville, Castle Avenue, Dover. The professional was L Job (1900 to 1907). Listed as a 10 hole course at this time. Course records were, amateur V G Smith with a score of 82 and professional L Job 80. Visitors’ fees on introduction were, 2/- a day, 5/- a week and 10/- a month. There were stations at Priory 1 ¼ miles, Harbour 2 miles and Town 2 ¼ miles.

In February 1913 the Dover golf course was damaged by the suffragettes. The movement was very active in the disruption of golf at this time and many clubs were taking out special insurance policies to cover the cost of the damage caused to courses and property by the suffragettes.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Competition spoons won by Miss Nancy Simcox in 1913/14.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Competition spoons won by Miss Nancy Simcox in 1913/14.

The above spoons were won by the same lady and inscribed; Dover Golf Club – Monthly Competition - Miss Nancy Simcox, June 1913, 3 up; July 1913, 4 up; February 1914, 5 down.


Result of the ladies medal played in November 1913; Mrs Caldwell, 130-3-100; Mrs Wiley, 122-18-104; Miss Williamson, 127-18-109; Mrs Wetherall 142-30-112; Mrs St John, 141-24-117; Mrs Atkinson, 163-30-133.


Dover Golf Club, Kent. A pre-WW1 image of the Dover Golf Course.

Pre-WW1 postcard of the Dover Golf Course.


In 1914 the secretary was V G Smith, 1 Castle Street, Dover. The professional was E Banks (1907 to 1914). Now a 9 hole course of about 2,650 yards. It was situated between the Deal and St Margarets Roads. Besides artificial bunkers the principal hazards were the bushes in the chalk pit, a high bank, an old farmyard and curiously the ditches of the “Dummy” fort. There was a membership of 150. There was no entry fee. Subs for gents were £2/2/0, ladies and juniors 10/6.  Sunday play was allowed with caddies.

Then, as explained earlier, there was a gap in the Dover clubs history, and it did not appear until the late 1920s.

In August 1928 it was announced at a committee meeting that the War Office were prepared to transfer the lease of the course on Castle Hill to the Dover Golf Club, subject to the approval of the Military Authorities at Dover. Later in the month a communication was received from the Military Authorities agreeing to the course being re-opened in September. The temporary secretary of the club was Mr C S Grieff, 21 Leyburne Road, Dover. The entrance fee would be £2/2/0 or £3/3/0 for man and wife, £1/11/6 for ladies and 21/- for school boys under 18. Green fees would be 1/- a round, 1/6 a day and 10/- a week. These tickets would be available at various shops in the town.  It was hoped to have a clubhouse available in the near future. Mr Burvill, the greenkeeper, would also be available to give lessons at a very reasonable rate.

The card of the course.

Hole Name Yards Bogey
1 Fort 257 4
2 Short 136 3
3 School 353 5
4 Chalk Hole 188 3
5 Spion Cop 330 4
6 Farm 281 4
7 Broadlees 378 5
8 Road 402 5
9 Home 297 4
Total   2622 37

The first tee was at the top of Castle Hill, handily near the bus stop. Not a particularly long course but a tough bogey. The course was laid out by H Brown for the Military Club. The erection of a pavilion near the first tee was started in October. The captain of the club at this time was Colonel Ogilvie, who presented two cups for competitions.

Result of the March medal in 1931. D R E Nurse (18) 74; F S Attwood (24) 75; O B Jones (12) 76; G Baynton (20) 76; W Slatter (7) 77; G R Stirling (24) 78; J P Calam (9) 79; O P Allcock (12) 80; E G Sharp (16) 81; J S Lewis (16) 85; A Tapley (24) 88. The course was in fine condition although putting was difficult on the fast greens. At the AGM of the ladies section Miss Davidson was elected captain and Mrs Dale vice captain.

Below is a picture of Miss Diana Fishwick, the Lady Open Golf Champion, playing in a four ball match on the Dover Golf Course on Saturday 9th May 1931 before a large crowd. The object of the visit was to set the par score for ladies. The Ladies Golf Union had fixed the par at 69. Mr Dunville of the North Foreland Golf Club partnered Miss Fishwick against the Dover pro/groundsman, Mr A Burvill and Mr Calam, who had recently the amateur course record with a score of 71.

The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Dover Express on the 15th May 1931. It gives an interesting insight of the course. "Most people were naturally more concerned in watching Miss Fishwick, at first, than the game, and the Dover players were not too certain at the start, but they improved and made the game interesting. The beautiful controlled swing of Miss Fishwick was an object lesson. She certainly missed Spion Kop each time , but the first time she took another ball as she was testing the course and hit it over the brow within mashie distance of the green and she got a three with a long putt. The second time she played the ball from under the front bank at the bottom and got the ball out of a very nasty place with a fine nibblick shot that took the ball close to the guide flag. From the ladies' tee she got on to the seventeenth green with her second shot, but here she made the only bad putt of the round missing a yarder, but most of those who know this green with its very deceiving slope which the adjoining ground so effectively hides, were not altogether surprised. Miss Fishwick went round in 76, Burvill who played very well 77, andMr Calam, 83. The course is to be lengthened at Whitsuntide when hole three for men will measure 450yards and the Spion Kop hole is likely to be lenghtened for both ladies and men. The new green will make this about 460yards. The great trouble is that a mistake on almost any hole on the Dover course is very costly."  


Dover Golf Club, Kent. Miss Diana Fishwick on the Dover course in May 1931.

Miss Diana Fishwick on the Dover Course. Photo courtesy of Dover Express, May 1931.


Result of a bogey competition played in May 1931; W W Baxter (24), 3down; O P Allcock, (12), 6down; T E Archer (18), 6down; G A Sheperd (24), 7down; S F Atwood (22), 7down; G R Baynton (20), 11down. There were four no returns.

Result of the monthly medal played in May 1932.

T E Archer 86 18 68
S A Bowhill 94 24 70
C S Grieff 87 17 70
O G B Jones 82 12 70
W J Pudney 94 24 70
R C Gubbins 94 24 70
A D F Dale 87 14 73
W Pearce 97 24 73
W R Slatter 81 7 74
J P Calam 80 5 75
J S Lewis 92 14 78
C Reid 103 24 79
W Baxter 97 18 79
A D Tapley 105 24 81

Result of a bogey competition played on Saturday 16 March 1933. F C Webb (18) 3down; G Colebrook (16) 5down; G H Werts (5) 5down; C S Grieff (14) 6down; G B Brown (22) 7down; W J Pudney (22) 10down. There were 14 no returns.

In the mid 1930s the secretary was Jas P Calam. The professional and greenkeeper was A Burvill. Course records were, amateur J P Calam with a score of 71 and professional A Burvill 65. Visitors’ fees were 2/- a round. Sunday play was allowed.

Following are a selection of club competitions held during 1939, does anyone recognise the names listed? With WW2 on the horizon it was to be the last full year for the Dover Golf Club and its members. The club was still listed following WW2 but golf was never played over the course again.

Winner of the monthly medal played in Feb 1939 was N Moorcroft, 98 – 22 – 76.

Also at this time a circular had been sent out by the committee to members to gauge support for an extension to the clubhouse.

Winners of the  greensome competition on Easter Saturday in April 1939; R J Briggenshaw & H Codner, 64 nett, W R Slatter & T Bryson, 72, Dr Kent-Jones & R Waters, 73, B Mason & S Parker, 74, F Shaw & D Tapley, 74, G Colebrooke & G R Smith, 74, J E Dixon & F G Licence, 78 ½

On Easter Monday there was fourball bogey; H Codner & R J Briggenshaw won with a score of 11up. During the competition H Codner had a hole in one on the 171 yard fourth hole. Other scores; F G Licence & S Parker, 5up, J E Dixon & W Pearce, 3up, R Waters & G R Smith, 3up, G Colebrooke & F Lockwood, 1up.

The 1939 Ladies April medal was won by Miss N Murch.

The Ladies medal in May 1939 was won by Mrs Bowhill, 94 – 22 – 72. The result of the Mrs Kent-Jones’ prize day medal was; first Miss Mennie, runner-up Miss L Cohen.

Result of the Gents medal for May; A E Coulson, 88 – 18 – 70 (won on bb9), N Moorcroft, 89 – 19 – 70, H Sawyer, 86 – 15 – 71, G R Smith, 96 – 24 – 71, A S Lewis, 85 – 13 – 72, S T Langley, 88 – 16 – 72, V Glass, 89 – 17 – 72.

May 1939, the leading scores in the Astor Trophy; winner - R J Briggenshaw, 136, G Colebrooke, 142, V Glass, 143, G R Smith, 143, J B Mason, 145, N Moorcroft, 147.

The Ladies Medal result for June; Miss M Merrie, 96 – 28 – 68, Mrs Robson, 99 – 27 – 72, Mrs Moore, 104 - 30 – 74, Miss L Cohen, 91 – 14 – 77, Mrs Bowhill, 99 – 22 – 77.

Gents medal played in June 1939; J Loxley, 97 – 24 – 73, B Epton, 94 – 20 – 74, A W Fifett, 91 – 16 – 75, F Shaw, 91 – 16 – 75, T E Archer, 82 – 6 – 76, V Glass, 93 – 17 – 76, H Cohen, 100 – 24 – 76, F G Licence, 93 – 16 – 77.

Result of the Kent Playing Fields Association Cup; R C Gubbins, 75 – 9 – 66, J B M Mason, 77 – 10 – 67, J S Lewis, 85 – 15 – 70, G Colebrooke, 74 – 3 – 71, F Shaw, 88 – 16 – 72, J Loxley, 96 – 24 – 72. Ladies section; Miss M I Mennie, 100 – 31 – 69, Miss N Murch, 100 – 30 – 71.

Mens greensome for the vice presidents prize played on Whit Monday; Rev C K Chadwick & W Ransom, 65 nett.

Ladies Granada Cup played on June 22nd ; Mrs Moore, 101 – 30 – 71, Mrs Mason, 86 – 14 – 72, Mrs Mellor, 90 – 17 – 73, Mrs Archer, 94 – 21 – 73.

Result of the 1939 July Gents medal; J Loxley, 89 – 24 – 65, V Glass, 85 – 17 – 68, A D Tapley, 89 – 21 – 68, A E Clarke, 82 – 12 – 70, G H Werts, 77 – 7 – 70, R J Briggenshaw, 84 – 14 – 70, F Shaw, 87 – 16 – 71, T E Archer, 78 – 6 – 72, G Colebrooke, 81 – 8 – 73, N Moorcroft,  92 – 18 – 74, G R Smith, 98 – 24 – 74, W Ransom, 95 – 20 – 75, J W Waters, 100 – 24 – 76.

The Gents August medal; Major de Carteret, 84 – 18 – 66, A Clarke, 78 – 12 – 66, G Colebrooke, 79 – 8 – 71, F G Licence, 85 – 13 – 72, G R Smith, 97 – 24 – 73, W J Waters, 97 – 24 – 73.

Greensome played 7th August 1939; R Sandercock & W Pearce, 62 ½ nett.

In November 1939 the committee decided to keep the course open and to introduce a reduced green fee of 1/- a day for members of the services. Owing to the difficulties of the time the AGM was postponed.

In 1940 and the last year in 1948 the secretary was T E Archer, 21 Harold Terrace, Dover. The 9 hole course had a SSS of 71.

The golf club committee held a meeting in the Council Chamber at the end of March 1946 to consider resuming activities and revive the golf club. In April the secretary of the golf club contacted the council and suggested the Town Clerk should approach the Military Authorities with a view to forming a municipal golf course. It was decided to go into the matter and obtain estimates of the cost of re-instating the course and maintaining it.

At the end of May 1947 a letter from the War Office stated that in regard to the proposed construction of an 18-hole golf course on the east side of the Deal Road, that the matter had been re-considered and in the light of the present national emergency and agricultural needs and in fairness to the tenant who had grazed the land throughout the war they could not agree, but they offered the land used before the war by the Dover Golf Club, sufficient for a 9-hole course, at a nominal rent of  £10 for three years and thereafter at £50, subject to reservation of training rights and grazing rights. The committee recommended that in view of restrictions and limitations precluding any possibility of the proposal proving remunerative the War Department be informed that the Corporation could not entertain the proposal.

In 1940 and the last year in 1948 the secretary was T E Archer, 21 Harold Terrace, Dover. The 9 hole course had a SSS of 71.

Dover Golf Club, Kent. View of the golf course 1920s.

Early postcard, dated 1920, showing the Castle and Golf Links.


Dover Golf Club. Location of the golf course.

Location of the Dover course.

Grid reference TR32910,42610, co-ordinates 632910,142610.