United Services Golf Club, Mount Batten, Staddon Heights. (1893 - 1969)

Thanks to Michael Morrison for the early reference to golf at Staddon Heights, Plymouth, from Golf, 29 December 1893 – “GOLF AT PLYMOUTH. Lovers of the Royal and Ancient game, who live, or are quartered, at Plymouth have up to the present time been sadly at a loss for some suitable place to indulge in a round without having to go some distance from home for it. This difficulty has at last been overcome, and a little course of nine holes has been laid out on Staddon Heights, by the officers of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers Regiment, now quartered in the Citadel. The course, situated some 400 feet above the level of the sea, is of the inland type, and, although the green cannot at present be said to be in perfect playing order, there is no doubt the ground possesses the makings of an excellent and interesting little course, having all those conditions which go towards finishing off the charm of a day’s golfing, viz., fresh, bracing air, grand views of the surrounding country, and a fair sprinkling of banks, and other delightful hazards. Up to the present time there is no recognised club formed, but the idea talked of is to form a Garrison Club on the same lines as the United Service Golf Club at Portsmouth. An opening meeting, arranged by the officers of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was held on Monday last; invitations were issued 254 GOLF December 29, 1893. to all golfers in the neighbourhood and adjacent Golf Clubs; 1 his brought together a very fair field of players, which shows that (although Golf at Plymouth has been hardly heard of up to the present time) there are plenty of keen spirits ready to take it up now an opportunity offers ; and we must hope that now, through the hospitality of the Borderers, a fair start has been given to the game it will continue to prosper, and that we shall soon see a return of the monthly meetings of the United Service Golf Club of Plymouth. Open sweepstake, under handicap, played on Staddon Heights, 18 December Captain Pratt, K.O.S.B., 121-30-91; Major Claughton, K.O S.B., 123-27-96; Mr. C. H. Hext, 115-18-97; Lieutenant Goldfinch, R.N., 104-6- 98; Captain Marshall, K.O.S.B.,99 scratch; Surgeon W. M. Craig, R.N., 116-14-102; Mr. P I. Young-Jamieson, R.C.G.C., 117- 15-102; Captain the Hon. Forbes Sempill, 131-27-104; Lieutenant Welch, K.O.S.B., 147-34-113; Captain Verner, K.O.S.B., 144- 30-114 Lieutenant Caruthers, K.O.S.B., 141-27-114; Commander Startin, R.N./140- 20-120; Lieutenant Roope, R.N., 144-18-126; Lieutenant Hannay, K.O.S.B., 163-36-127 Lieutenant King, Rifle Brigade, 158-18-140 Surgeon France, R.N., 161-20-141. Other players made no returns. A very strong wind somewhat interfered with low scoring, but in other respects the day was a great success.”

The later club was instituted in 1904. Initially a nine-hole course near Jennycliff Bay the club eventually moved to Staddon Heights.

Became Staddon Heights Golf Club in 1969.

Club Professionals; L Daish, 1904 - 1907; B E Daish, 1907 - 1912; J B Fulford, 1912 - 1914; T W Higgins, 1922 - 1933; G C Smale, WW2 - 1969.

From the Western Morning News Tuesday 20 September 1904 - "UNITED SERVICES GOLF CLUB - Col. J C Dalton, C.R.A., presided at a special meeting of the United Services Golf Club held at the Garrison Gymnasium, Devonport, yesterday, when Capt. P L Holbrooke, R.G.A., was appointed hon. secretary. It was decided that the general committee should consist of the following; Col. Dalton as president; two representatives from the Royal Artillery; two from the R.N barracks; two from the R.M.L.I; one from the gunnery ship Cambridge; one from D.C.L.I; Major H D E Parsons, C.M.G., C.A.O., representing the staff; divisional officer Royal Engineers East Harbour, Col. G C Swiney; Capt. N Luxmoore, adjutant 2nd V.B.D.R.

It was decided to obtain tenders for the erection of a clubhouse on land rented from John Bayly above Clovelly Bay, Turnchapel, on the motion of Col. W Robyns, R.M.L.I., seconded by Capt. E H Haig, it was resolved to raise funds for erecting the clubhouse by using £5 debentures at 4 per-cent interest. The rules were ordered to be printed, with the amendment that ladies should be allowed to play on all afternoons except Saturdays. It was also decided that subscriptions for civilians be £2/2 shillings. The payment to caddies was fixed at 6d per round of nine-holes. The Dalton Cup will shortly be competed for by officers of the Royal Artillery."     

The following is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Instituted 1904; number of members - about 300; Hon. secretary - Capt. P L Holbrooke, R.G.A., Dursley, Mannamead, Plymouth; Captain - Col. Scott, R.A; number of holes 9 shortly to be increased to 18; professional, L Daish; professional record, L Daish, 69 (18 holes), 34 (9 holes); A rather short inland course, situated at the eastern side of Plymouth Sound, round the cliffs of Jennicliffe Bay. The bogey is 76. Lies are fair, but improving, and the greens small but true. The hazards consist of bunkers, small streams, springs, hedges, stone faced walls and big broad 15 foot high banks, with two roads.  


United Services Golf Club, Mount Batten, Stadon Heights, Plymouth. The course marked on the 1905 Ordnance Survey Map.

Above is the earlier course of the United Services club. Reproduced from the {1905} Ordnance Survey Map.


United Services Golf Club, Mount Batten, Stadon Heights, Plymouth. Picture of the United Services Golf Links, Plymouth.

United Services Golf Links, Plymouth.


From the 1933 Golfer's Handbook; United Services Golf Club, Mount Batten; Secretary, Lieut.-Com. John A S Potter, R.N; professional, T Higgins; green-keeper, W Avery; 18-holes; visitors' fees - gent's, 3s/6d a day; 7s/6d a week; 15s a month; ladies, 2s/6d, 6s, 14s.

Result of a stableford competition played at Mount Batten on Saturday 3rd May 1939; Class “A” – C L Jones (spoon winner), 35; W G Bevan, 33; J Windeatt, 32; R C Barker, 31; J L P Weekes, 31; A Fullbrook, 31; C J Mortley, 30; E T Heather, 30; Maj A Rendell, 28; E U Channon, 28; L J Whitby, 27; R R Mitchell, 25; W G Beattie, 25; Class “B” – B G Hawkings (spoon winner), 36; R Shambrook, 35; E T Foulkes, 34; F Oldfield, 34; J Harris, 34; A E Smith, 33; L A Webb, 32; A W C Lyddon, 32; E D Carwithen, 32; J F Knape, 31; H S Setter, 30; S J Taverner, 29; S Wadsworth, 25; C G Couldrey, 24; Paymaster Com H F Grundy Mayston, 23.

Below is the result of a match played against Looe Golf Club at Bin Down on Sunday 4th May 1939. 

Looe   United Services  
T P Murphy (3&2) 1 Maj A Rendle 0
R M Pullar (5&4) 1 R C Barker 0
W Angear (4&3) 1 C J Mortley 0
W A R Wilkinson (half) 0 T J Whitby (half) 0
S Ball (4&3) 1 A Fullbrook 0
D B Pengelly (half) 0 W G Bevan (half) 0
D W Tamblyn (4&3) 1 H Foster 0
L E Middleton 0 A A Collett (1up) 1
  5   1

From the 1947 Golfer's Handbook; Membership 300; Secretary - Major A Rendell, R.M, Mt. Edgcumbe Villa, Turnchapel, Plymouth; professional, G C Smale; green-keeper, W Avery; 18-holes, Par and SSS 70; course records; amateur - Fl. Lt. J H Neal, R.A.F., 67; professional, G C Smale, 62; visitors' fees as 1933.

Play resumes following WW2. 


United Services Golf Club, Mount Batten, Stadon Heights, Plymouth. Picture of the United Services Golf Links, Plymouth. Reopening of the golf course following WW2.

Western Morning News Saturday 19 June 1948. Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Result of the Palairet Memorial Trophy  played at Yelverton against Wrangaton Golf Club in April 1949.

United Services Golf Club   Wrangaton Golf Club  
J J Urell and P B Rodney (6 and 4) 1 F Rowlands and A L Johnson 0
W G Bevan and H Michell (2up) 1 F Bassett and T Foster 0
H Millett and C Mathews (1up at the 19th) 1 C Moysey and R Doidge 0
E Bradford and B Holley 0 E Canter and R Edgcumbe (1up) 1
J Hopewell and H Baker (2up) 1 1 A Ward and G Park 0
  4   1

Result of a Stableford  competition played in October 1950; Class One - F J Cross, 32 points; J J Urell and J Hines, 31 points; Class Two - W C Warne, 35 points; R Shambrook, 32 points; P Chislett, 31 points.

From the 1951 Golfer's Handbook; Membership 150; secretary - F J Cross, 36 Amherst Road, Plymouth; professional, G C Smale; green-keeper, S Mills; 18-holes Par and SSS 69; course records - amateur; Fl.Lt. J H Neal, 67; professional, G C Smale, 62.

From the 1966 Golfer's Handbook; United Services Golf Club; Membership 325; Secretary, L M Shillabeer; professional, G C Smale; green-keeper, R H Rendell; course records - amateur; J J Urell and B Bowden, 67; professional; G C Smale, 62; 18-holes, Par 67, SSS 66; visitors' fees, 7s/6d a day, weekends, 15s. 

Civilian membership eventually increased to outnumber those of the Services and in 1969 the course was purchased by the members and it became Staddon Heights Golf Club.

The Google Map below pinpoints the area occupied by the first course. (Staddon Heights is below.)



Became Staddon Heights when the members purchased it from the MOD in 1969.