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Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. (1873 - WW2)

The club was founded in 1873.

A 9-hole course situated on the common. Sunday play was never allowed. The secretary from 1906 to 1914 was Charles P Hayllar of 64 Lessar Avenue, Clapham Common and the professional J Knott (1889 - 1914). Play had to cease on the course at 9am from 1st March to 31st October and on Boxing Day, 11am during the rest of the year. The Railway stations were at Clapham Road and Clapham Junction 1 mile away.

The club was established in May 1874. At this time the club had about 25 members, the entrance fee was £1/1/s and the subs ten shillings (50p). Founder members were; Alexander Grace and Mr Liardet.


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. Club button.

Clapham Common Golf Club button. 


The annual meeting was held at the Alexandra Hotel, Clapham Common, on the 20th November 1875, Eugine Cronin, Esq., M.D, president of the club, chaired the meeting, a vote of thanks passed to the retiring captain, James Kerr. Alfred J Siordet was elected captain for the ensuing year. Mr George W Lewis resigned as secretary due to work commitments abroad, he was succeeded  by Mr G N Molesworth. The following were elected on to the committee for the coming year; John Taylor, Charles E Cundell, George N Molesworth, Robert Morton, Alexander Grace, James Kerr and Alfred J Siordet.

In 1878 the club produced its new rule book, there was also a clubhouse, which the committee hoped would attract new members, and the club had invested in a hand mower for John Knott (see picture below), “keeper of the green”. The new president, Robert Fairlie, presented a gold medal for a scratch competition.

The following is from the 1888/89 Golfing Annual; Entrance Fee £1/1s and annual subscriptions 10s; Membership of 45; Captain - T R Pace; Secretary – J B Wood, 2 The Chase, Clapham. Competitions; The Fairlie Gold Medal (scratch) played for half yearly; Cronin Monthly Handicap Medal, and a Challenge Handicap Cup, played for on December 26th. In 1888 the Fairlie Medal was won in April by A Lubbock, with a score of 89and in October by J B Wood with a score of 98. The course is situated at Clapham Common and consists of nine-holes. Club competitions are two rounds.

The 1888/89 Golfing Annual continues with a description of the course. In the bottom paragraph there is mention of changes to the course.


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. Entry from the 1888/89 Golfing Annual.


In 1890 the secretary was J B Wood, 2 The Chase, Clapham, London SW.

Competition result from December 1892


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. Competition result from December 1892.

Field Saturday 17 December 1892. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


As can be seen elsewhere on this website when golfers are sharing common land with the general public conflict often arises. Time restrictions were often put into place for golf, and play was often only allowed during certain periods of the year. The club received a letter from London County Council on the 28th June 1892 stating that as from this date until 6th July the hours of play will be restricted to the early portion of the day, before 10am. After that date however the game will be prohibited altogether on the common. This obviously came as a shock to the members and various measures were quickly put into place in an attempt to re-instate golf on the common. A compromise was eventually agreed with the council in September, although this meant playing at set times on the common.


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. Competition results from November 1893.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 18th November 1893. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. Notice of the EGM in 1905.

This would not be the last time that conflict would arise, as can be seen on the above circular from the golf club.


Things seemed calm down after this and membership started to increase, by WW1 there about 120 members.

In the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook the secretary was Geo H Seward, 12 Battersea Rise, Clapham Common, the captain was A E Rowarth, green-keeper, J Knott; club membership 100; entrance fee 10s/6d and subs 10/6; amateur record, A E Rowarth 37; terms for visitors 2s/6d a month; nine-hole course; competitions, Cronin Medal (monthly), Fairlie Medal (bi-yearly), Compton Cup and Club Medal.


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. Competition Medal from 1905.


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. Competition Medal from 1905.

Competition Medal from 1905. Image courtesy


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. John Knott the Clapham Common green-keeper.

John Knott the Clapham Common green-keeper.


In 1906 amateur course record held by A E Rowarth with a score of 37. Visitors’ fees, on Introduction, 5/- a month.


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. Golf Club Spoon.

Clapham Common Golf Club spoon hallmarked Birmingham 1912, Vaughtons. Image courtesy Dixon Pickup.


In 1914 the club had a membership of 120. Entry fees and subs were 10/6.


Clapham Common Golf Club. Postcard of pre-WW1 Clapham Common.

Above is a view of Clapham Common on a preWW1 postcard.


Part of the course was turned over to allotments for the growing of vegetables during WW1 but play was still carried on by those members who were not called to serve in the conflict.

The annual meeting in 1918 was held at “Stonehurst”, The Chase, the home of Mr T Mugford. The president, and the vice-presidents, Dr E Cronin and Professor Sims Woodhead were among the leading lights at the club at this time.

In 1922 the secretary was E J Morgan, 6 The Gables, Old Town, Clapham SW. Telephone Avenue 307.The  professional was R McGrath and the greenkeeper J Knott. The club had a membership of 50.

Report on the Jubilee Year in 1923.


Clapham Common Golf Club, Greater London. Report on the Jubilee Year in 1923.

Report from the Sportsman Wednesday 2nd May 1923.


Although playing times were again restricted the club continued to prosper and the 50th Jubilee Dinner was held Stanley’s Restaurant, Lavender Hill on the 9th December 1923. The Fairlie scratch medal was presented to Mr J Dow. Presentations were also made to the retiring secretary Walter Morgan and to the long serving green-keeper John Knott.

Result of a match played at Mitcham against Streatham in May 1928. Singles result below, Streatham also won the foursomes by one match.

Streatham Golf Club   Clapham Common Golf Club  
W A Greig capt (3&2) 1 W S Soar 0
Euan Thorne (half) 0 T P Ellis (half) 0
J E Monaghan (half) 0 E J Morgan (half) 0
L H Bell (3&1) 1 C B Irvine 0
J Pritchard (3&2) 1 W Morgan 0
W Tinson (half) 0 J A Fage (half) 0
F E Cain 0 J Dow (5&4) 1
A G Saunders 0 F Pratt (3up) 1
W J Spivey 0 C W Cave (3&2) 1
W B Greig (3&2) 1 T J Denny 0
  4   3


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. A competition spoon played for prior to WW2.


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. A competition spoon played for prior to WW2.


Thanks to Keith Stevens for the above images. It’s thought that the spoon was the last ever scratch prize played for at the club prior to WW2.

The club was still listed in 1940 when the secretary was W R Terry, 282 Wandsworth  Road, London SW8. The professional was still R McGrath and the green-keeper R Wright. Membership was still 50.

With the onset of WW2 the common was again requisitioned for the war effort being used for food production and military exercise.


Clapham Common Golf Club, London. The golf course at the time of WW2.

The Common at the time of WW2.


Following WW2 the Clapham Common Club course did not recover. The club carried on and now play their golf over the Mitcham Common Course.

The Google Map below shows the location of the former Clapham Common golf course.