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Heathfield Golf Club, Sussex. (1913 - 1945)

Below is a report on the formation of the Heathfield Golf Club in May 1913.


Heathfield Golf Club, Sussex. Report on the formation of the golf club in May 1913.

Sussex Agricultural Express on Friday 23 May 1913. Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Sussex Agricultural Express on Friday 17 October 1913. "A general meeting of the Heathfield Golf Club was held at the Recreational Hall, Heathfield, on Wednesday, and was presided over by Mr W F Beauford, J.P. He stated that since the public meeting, held on May 15th 1913, Mr Rowe, the professional of the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club, had inspected the land at North Down Estate, Heathfield, which had been offered to them, and he proposed that additional land should be secured. If they did that, they could then construct a good playing nine-hole course. He was pleased to say that Mr Hare had agreed to let them have the necessary additional land, They had now a membership of 95, of whom 55 had expressed their willingness to pay an additional subscription of 10shillings, to the ordinary subscription of £1/10s, if necessary. The estimated cost of constructing the course was between £300 and £400, and they proposed to raise that amount by issue of 5% debentures. Thanks were passed to Mr H Y Hare for his generous donation of £50 to the club's funds. The following officers were elected; proposed by Mr Francis and seconded by Mr Swann, W F Beauford was elected captain; O H Swann was elected as hon. secretary; Mr Francis, treasurer; committee - Major Young, Captain Field, Mr Hare, Mr Stewart-Brown, Mr Hill and Mr Hughes."

It was reported in September 1919 that the club, which had been dormant for three years due to the war, was to be revived. Mr O H Swann, secretary, arranged a public meeting at the Recreation Hall on Saturday 27 September for anyone wishing to join the club.

At the above meeting, which was chaired by Mr B F Watson J.P., the Rev A P Spelman moved that the Heathfield Golf Club be re-started. This was seconded by Mr M J Hart and carried unanimously.  Mr P Lennox-Wright was appointed secretary of the club. It would be next year before play would be possible on the course.

A meeting was held at the Golf House in May 1920 to set out the rules of the club. The Rev A P Spelman presided, amongst others present were; Mr H Y Hare, Mr H W Stone, Mr Fletcher, Mr M J Hart, Mr J H Robinson, Mr G C Colville, Mr Sanderson, Mr Baines and Mr P Lenox-Wright. There were 97 members but more members were needed to bring the figure up to 150.       

In October 1920 the draw was made for the Brodie Cup Competition.

In December 1921 it was proposed to extend the course to eighteen-holes, if passed, it was hoped that the work would be completed in June. Some of the common land in Newick Lane would be utilised for the extension.

Following is the result of the February 1922 monthly medal, the prize was a silver spoon; Rev A P Spelman, 92-8-84; Captain Lichenrood, 100-6-94; Major A J Bonsor, 103-6-97; T P Campling, 113-12-101; L R Hogben, 118-14-104; Dr Flanagan, 119-14-105; F J Parker, 126-16-110; G H Coates, 128-16-112.

In June 1922 the membership of the club was 146. A match was arranged with Burwash Golf Club, the team was; O H Swann (captain), Major A J Bonsor, Captain Gould, Captain Lloyd, T P Campling and Ivor Hare.

In 1922/3 the secretary was P Lennox-Wright, South Ridge, Heathfield, telephone Heathfield Tower 11. The professional and greenkeeper was T Buss.  Still listed as a 9-hole course off Muuton Hall Lane and Vines Corner with a membership of 150. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day.

Result of the bogey competition played at the spring meeting in May 1923; G D Coates, 2up; Ivor Hare, 3down; D Anderson, 6down; A P Spelman, 6down; J P Massey, 8down; M C Cobbold, 8down; T W Martin, 14down. There were 12 entrants.   

The winner of the 1923 April Monthly Medal was G D Coates, he also won the bogey competition at the spring meeting in May 1923. The winner of the May Medal was Mr Ivor Hare, the best gross score was achieved by Mr D Anderson.

Result of the June 1924 monthly spoon competition. Interesting to note that the two ladies were awarded 10 strokes extra; I G Crump, 89-23-66; R C Watson, 94-20-74; A P Spelman, 89-12-77; Mrs Edge, 109-29-80; M C Cobbold, 104-22-82; H G Whie, 110-27-83; Mrs Crump, 110-24-86; Ivor Hare, 104-18-86.

In October 1924 the following five ladies competed for Mrs Edye's prize; Miss K Lennox- Wright, 4down; Miss Leslie Walker, 6down; Miss Walker, 7down; Mrs Edye, 9down; Mrs Crump, 9down.

The annual meeting was held in Messrs. E Watson & Son's offices in February 1927, Major Frank Young R.A., J.P., retiring captain, was in the chair. The most important item on the agenda was the request for a license to sell beer and spirits, it was unanimous that an application should be made. The following officers were elected for 1927; captain, C R S Payne; Bernard Fletcher, treasurer; Ivor Hare, secretary; Mrs Edye, lady secretary; following were elected to the committee, G F M Camroux and Donald Coates. The secretary's report stated that the work on the course had been straightforward, apart from when the horse fell ill, even then the mowing was kept in good order. Ditches and drains had been added to take away surface water off the course. Results for the year; Captain's Prize, Mr Camroux; Rev A P Spelman and A Palmer were joint runners-up; Brodie Cup, Mr Camroux; Hare Cup, Miss M L Walker; Five monthly medals had been held, Mr R C Watson had won two, Miss L Walker one, Mr F J Beckley one and Ivor Hare one; At the Easter  meeting Mr Tyrill Young won the morning bogey competition; Mr L A H Stone and Mr M C Cobbold were the winners in the afternoon. At the autumn meeting Mr T P Campling and Mr M C Cobbold were the winners.       

From 1926 to 1930 the secretary was Ivor Hare, Markly, Heathfield the professional and green keeper was still T Buss. Membership at this time was 130. Amateur course record was 74 and professional 73, no names found. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day and Sunday play was allowed without caddies.

On Wednesday 15 May 1929 Spencer Glazier, the Burwash green-keeper, visited Tom Buss, the Heathfield green-keeper, for the first of their two annual games. Buss won the match by 2 and 1.

The golf course and clubhouse can be seen on the Ordnance Survey Map below.


Heathfield Golf Club, Sussex. The clubhouse and course on the 1930s O.S. Map.

O.S. Map Revised 1929;© Crown Copyright {year of publication 1932.}


The annual meeting was held in the Recreation Hall on Friday 7th February 1930, B F Watson, captain, was in the chair. Before making his report the chairman referred to the great loss the club had sustained by the death of Mr H Y Hare, who, he said, was really the founder member of the club. The club had had a successful year all round, in particular  with an improvement in finances. Mr Ivor Hare was to retire as secretary, Mr N N Johnstone was elected to replace him. Mr Robinson was elected captain. Mrs Camroux and Mrs Edye were elected ladies captain and secretary respectively. Mr D Coates was re-elected as treasurer, and Major G W I Learoyd and Mr H J Adair Swann were elected to the committee in place of Mrs Addison and Mr B F Watson.

On Wednesday 4th June 1930 Burnham Beeches Golf Club visited Heathfield. The match was preceded with lunch in a marquee near the clubhouse.  

Heathfield Golf Club   Burnham Beeches Golf   
Major G W I Learoyd (half) 0 T W D Turner (half) 0
Admiral H R Godfrey (3&2) 1 B Conron 0
E A Atkinson (1up) 1 C J U Hussey 0
C H Grindrod (3&2) 1 E Stephenson 0
N N Jonstone (6&4) 1 Captain Gardener 0
J H Robinson 0 H S Spink (1up) 1
  4   1

Below is the result of a match played against Heathfield Artisans Club on Sunday 13th October 1930.

Heathfield Golf Club   Heathfield Artisans Golf Club  
Major G W I Learoyd (3&1) 1 W Duncan 0
N N Johnston 0 Charles Dann (1up) 1
A M Jacobs (7&6) 1 Cecil Dann 0
C H Grindrod (9&7) 1 R R Turner 0
H G White (half) 0 W Bean (half) 0
P Heath (3&1) 1 B Eldridge 0
  4   1

On Tuesday 15th October 1930 Heathfield entertained Burwash Golf Club (now defunct).

Heathfield Golf Club   Burwash Golf Club  
Major G W I Learoyd (3&1) 1 Rev A P Spelman 0
Rev H F Severn 0 Lt-Col H A Hanley (8&7) 1
N N Johnston (2up) 1 H H Holland 0
Major-Gen G F Davies 0 Sir H Mitchell (2&1) 1
B Fletcher 0 H B Willett (6&4) 1
M L Walker 0 H Shipman (6&4) 1
Major H Clark 0 Capt G S Holmwood (6&4) 1
Major G W I Learoyd & N N Johnston (1up) 1 Lt-Col H A Hanley & Sir H Mitchell 0
Major-Gen G F Davies & Major H Clark(e) 0 H H Holland & J E B Wilson (6&5) 1
Rev H F Severn & B Fletcher (2&1)  1 H Shipman & Capt G S Holmwood 0
  4   6

In February 1931 the annual meeting was postponed for a week owing to the death of the captain, Mr J H Robinson. A report was given on the improvements made on the course and on the increased membership from 122 to 157. Following a very sombre meting the following officials were elected; captain, Rear-Admiral H R Godfrey; secretary, N N Johnstone; treasurer, C D O Coates; ladies' captain, Miss M L Walker; ladies' secretary, Miss L Billson. Mr B F Watson and Captain A H Gardner were elected to the committee.


Heathfield Golf Club, Sussex. View from the Heathfield Golf Links.

A view from the Golf Links, Heathfield. Camburn Wells Series postcard courtesy of Frank Accleton.


It was announced in March 1932 that the club professional, William Duncan, was leaving to take up a similar post at Kingsdown Golf Club.

Below is the result of a match played at Heathfield against Burwash Golf Club in September 1932.

Heathfield Golf Club       Burwash Golf Club      
Gentlemen   Ladies   Gentlemen   Ladies  
Major G W I Learoyd (5&4) 1 Miss M L Walker (half) 0 H B Willett 0 Miss Stevenson (half) 0
Rev A P Spelman (2&1) 1 Mrs Learoyd (5&4) 1 H W Shipman 0 Miss Lovelace 0
N N Johnston (2up) 1 Miss Cummings (2up) 1 Captain Holmwood 0 Miss McKnight 0
H H Jackson (4&3) 1 Miss Christian (2up) 1 J B Wilson 0 Miss Edye 0
Rev H F Severn (3&2) 1 Miss Billson (2up) 1 W W Kilby 0 Miss Hodgkinson 0
Major H J Clark 0 Miss M Johnston (7&6) 1 W Maude-Roxby (2up) 1 Miss Marsh 0
  5   5   1   0

The annual meeting was held at the Heathfield and Waldron Constitutional Club in March 1933. Major G W I Learoyd, retiring captain, presided. Mr N N Johnstone retired as secretary, and he was elected captain. Major Learoyd took over as secretary, Mrs Learoyd was appointed ladies' captain, with Miss Billson, secretary. The chairman referred to the improvement at the clubhouse were a smoking room had been added, designed by Alan Gardener. 

In 1935 the amateur course record was held by Major G W I Learoyd 73. Membership was 160. Local hotel was the Tavistock.

The annual meeting of the club was held in December 1937, Captain C H G Leaver, club captain, in the chair. The committee's report was very satisfactory, They thanked Mr Comper, the green-keeper, and Mrs C Dann, the stewardess, for her excellent catering. The officers were elected as follows; captain, E J Talbot; vice-captain, Major H J Clark; treasurer, P Mitchell; secretary, Major G W I Learoyd; assistant secretary, Dr Graham Stevenson. Mr H Evans and Mr G D O Coates were elected to the committee. Miss Thomas and Mrs Learoyd were elected captain and secretary respectively of the  ladies' section. 

Below is the result of a match played at Culverden (Artisans’ Section) against Heathfield Golf Club in June 1939.  

Culverden Artisans' Club   Heathfield Golf Club  
E Hohl & M Littlechild (4&2) 1 G A Dann & C Dann 0
R Hinchcliffe & G Mitchell (5&3) 1 C E G Dann & A W Dann 0
A Williams & W Williams (half) 0 V Blackford & R Pilbeam (half) 0
G Baker & J Fowler (4&3) 1 R Pilbeam & R O Bailey 0
W Edmonton & R Pitts (4&3) 1 J Bailey & G Mepham 0
W Piper & R Mercer (9&7) 1 A Frost & A Bailey 0
  5   0

The annual meeting was held at the Heathfield and Waldron Constitutional Club in December 1939, Mr E J Talbot in the chair. The following officers were re-elected; secretary, Captain C H G Leaver; treasurer, P E Michell; auditor, G D O Coates. The financial statement showed that the year started with a balance in hand of £35/12s/7d and finished with an adverse balance of £57/8s/11d. There had been a large drop in green fees and subscriptions, a sad reflection of the times.

In 1940 the secretary was Captain C H G Leaver, Haeham Roard, telephone 65. The greenkeeper was G Comper. The 9-hole course had a SSS and Par of 67 and a membership of about 130. Amateur course record was held by Major G W I Learoyd 71. The station at Heathfield was ¾ mile away. Fees as 1930.

The club, unfortunately, had reached a sad end. At the Heathfield Weekly Market in December in 1946 the following lots were for sale - Household furniture and effects, the property of Heathfield Golf Club; 12 inch lawn greens mower; 16 inch side wheel mower; triple gang roller; 3 garden rollers; garden tools; writing desk; office chairs; Windsor, Brentwood, rush and other chairs; cottage mangle; quantity of wine glasses, tumblers and decanters; kitchen cabinet; enamel top tables; painted dressing chest and wash stand; three wireless sets; 8-day kitchen clock; two silver pocket watches; four 6-division golf lockers, cupboards, etc.    

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the former Heathfield Golf Club course.