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Aldershot Command Golf Club. (1883 - 1974)

The club first appeared in 1883, it had six different names, including the current Army Golf Club. I could only use one title heading and I decided to use the much remembered and long lasting Aldershot Command, the club had been known as Aldershot Command Golf Club from 1907 to 1974. Below is a table showing the club names and locations.

Year Name Course location
1883 Aldershot Divisional Golf Club Rushmoor Bottom
1895 Aldershot Divisional Golf Club Smallshot Hill
1897 Aldershot District Golf Club Smallshot Hill
1903 Aldershot Military Golf Club Smallshot Hill
1904 First Army Corps Golf Club Cove Common
1907 Aldershot Command Golf Club Cove Common and Laffan's Plain
1974 Army Golf Club Laffan's Road, Aldershot


Aldershot Command Golf Club, Hampshire. Entry from the Golfing Annual 1888/89.

Entry from The Golfing Annual 1888/89.


As can be seen above the first course was at Rushmoor Bottom followed by Smallshot Hill it then moved on to Cove Common and Laffan’s Plain until 1974. The club had moved to Cove Common at the turn of the 20th century. The club underwent many moves and changes of location around Cove Common, Laffans Plain and the Danger Hill area, these courses can be seen on the maps below. The area that much of the Cove Common course was situated on was eventually used as part of the Royal Aircraft Establishment Airfield. The current Army club lies mostly to the south of Danger Hill, but it does take in some of the land used by a some of the former courses.

Below are the Club Officers, with curious gaps in the captain’s column particularly between 1908 and 1929 and 1938 and 1962.

Year Secretary Year Captain
1883 Major F W Bennett 1905 Major Gen The Hon A H Paget
1884 Major R H Bagot 1908 Major Gen T E Stephenson C.B
1887 Major F W Bennett 1929 Major F G Hyland
1897 Rev W Stevenson-Jeffrey 1931 Lieut Col C E Colbeck
1903 Major R A Henderson 1933 Major W A M Stawell
1905 Colonel J C Oughterson 1935 Major R D Keane
1908 Captain T G C Bliss 1936 Colonel F H Witts
1909 Captain E F Rowe 1938 Colonel F S Clover
1913 Major Seymour F Clarke 1962 Squadron Leader L Moore
1915 Mr A W Baker 1963 Wing Commander J S Palmer
1920 Mr W S Hyder 1964 Mr C Dyer
1922 Mr R J McAlister 1965 Mr G C Turnbull
1923 Lieutenant A Farbrother 1966 Mr W Thayer
1924 Captain W Pearson(s) 1967 Mr G C Turnbull
1930 Major J Donald M.C 1968 Captain J Hewlett
1936 Miss A J Parsons 1970 Mr J Pitman
1961 Mr T E Packham 1971 Mr J Allen
1964 Major J H J Williams 1972 Mr H A Collinge
1965 Major R Parrott 1973 Major G K Murphy
1969 Major G K Murphy 1974 Mr M C Jones
1970 Captain D Lacey    
1971 Major T Hale    


Year Lady Captain Year President
1911 Lady Olive Smith-Dorien 1903 Major Gen The Hon A H Paget
1912 Lady Haig 1907 Lieut Gen Sir John French
1923 Mrs P Wilson 1909 Lieut Gen Sir Horace L Smith-Dorrien
1926 Miss B Logan 1914 Lieut Gen Sir Douglas Haig
1928 Mrs King 1965 Major Gen P H Man
1930 Mrs Colbeck 1966 Major Gen C H Stainforth
1934 Mrs McLeod 1969 Lieut Gen R B Penfold
1936 Mrs Williamson 1972 Lieut Gen Sir Alan Taylor
1949 Mrs P Wren    
1955 Mrs McCallum    
1956 Mrs Clarke    
1957 Miss H Beeching    
1958 Mrs Parkin    
1960 Mrs Adye    
1962 Mrs N S Faragher    
1963 Mrs E Thew    
1964 Mrs B Knight    
1965 Sgt N L Faragher   Professionals
1965 Mrs H I Sandham 1905 James Merrilees
1965 Mrs E Marshall 1912 Douglas Rolland
1967 Major E Coombes 1915 Jesse Poulter
1971 Mrs S Kitto 1964/5 Roger Begbie
1972 Mrs M Waters 1970-72 Rod Wiseman
1973 S Sgt N L Faragher 1973 Arthur Row

From 1897 to 1902 the secretary was the Rev W Stephenson Jeffery, 4 Chuchill Terrace, Aldershot.

From 1906 to 1908 the secretary was J C Ougherson, Broadhurst, South Farnborough, there was no entry fee and subs were £1 for half a year. Visitors’ fees were 1/6 a day.

By 1911 the 18 hole course measured over 6,000 yards. The professional course record was stated to be held jointly by J Merilees and James Braid with a score of 73, E J North held the amateur course record of 75. There was a membership of 250 with 50 ladies.

By 1913 the amateur course record was held by Captain E P Blencowe 73. Sunday play was allowed with caddies.

The first course layout at Rushmoor Bottom was overseen by the club secretary Captain Bennett in 1883. The clubhouse was the Royal Aldershot Officers’ Club.

The second course at Smallshot Hill was laid out near the old race course in 1895 with a clubhouse on Farnborough Road

By the early 1900s the club had moved to Cove Common. Initially a 9 hole course it was extended to 18 holes in 1904/5. At about the same time James Merrilees had joined the club as professional from North Berwick, he set the course record of 66 in 1906. In August 1908 major alterations to the course were proposed, this would increase the length to over 6,000 yards, in fact the exact measurement was 6,010 yards, this extra 30 feet must have had a great psychological importance.

In May 1909 it was announced that James Braid was to be invited to play in two exhibition matches on the new extended course. In early 1909 Mr E G H North had set a new amateur course record of 85. Later in the summer of 1909 James Braid played alongside home professional James Merrilees in a match against Robson and Forrest. F Robson had recently been beaten in the final of the News of the World tournament by the great J H Taylor, Charles Forrest was the professional at East Berkshire, Braid and Merrilees won the morning match with a better ball score of 68. In the afternoon a large crowd gathered to watch the Braid versus Robson game, it was during this match that James Braid set the new course record of 72.

James Merrilees left the club in 1912 and was replaced by Douglas Rolland a Scotsman from Elie in Fife, unfortunately Douglas Rolland died in 1914. Jesse Poulter took up the position of professional after being invalided out of the Army in 1915, he had previously been caddie and assistant professional at the club and this was to be the start of a long and distinguished career for him at the Aldershot Command Club.

The golf course on Cove Common on the pre-WW1 Ordnance Survey Map.


Aldershot Command Golf Club, Hampshire. The Golf Course on the 1912 Ordnance Survey Map.

O.S. Map © Crown Copyright {1912}


Aldershot Command Golf Club, Hampshire. The "Golf Links Farnborough" at the time of WW1.

The "Golf Links Farnborough" on a postcard at the time of WW1.


Following WW1 the club moved to a new clubhouse near the Cockadobby Tumulus on Farnborough Road. It was soon on the move again when it moved to its fourth clubhouse in the mid 1920s this was situated in Shoe Lane. During the 1920s and 1930s the club settled down and members were enjoying their golf on the 18-hole Cove Common course The biggest problem seemed to be the clubhouse, although it was suitable for the normal after game drinks there were often issues regarding the size of the clubhouse for hosting larger social functions.


Aldershot Command Golf Club, Hampshire. Article from The Tatler March 1936.

From The Tatler March 25th 1936. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Below is the result of a return match for the Stoneham Cup played at Hayling on Wednesday 21st March 1938. Hayling Island Ladies’ won by 6 matches to 1.

Hayling Island   Aldershot Command  
Mrs Arnold (9) 1 Mrs Hawes (13) 0
Mrs Wadham (9) 1 Mrs Hamilton (16) 0
Mrs Benson (13) 1 Mrs Wren (16) 0
Mrs Lawson (13) 1 Mrs Seely (21) 0
Mrs Williams (14) 1 Mrs Bell (22) 0
Miss W-Vaughan (15) 1 Mrs Galloway (28) 0
Mrs Blake (16) 0 Mrs Hogg (29) 1
  6   1

In 1939 things were about to change, WW2 was about to break out. The now 6,200 yard par 74 course that had developed so successfully since the move from Smallsott Hill all those years ago was under threat. There was a proposal to extend the nearby RAF aerodrome which would have a devastating effect on the Aldershot Command Golf Club and Course. The club lost nearly 50 acres of its manicured greens and fairways to the Air Ministry in 1940 with a further 30 acres being requisitioned in 1942. It left the club with just 35 acres of its much loved course.

In 1941 the much reduced fourth course came into being, just 2,210 yards with a par of 33.

Following WW2 plans were being put in to place to revitalise the club. Jesse Poulter was still the professional he was also given the additional duties of head greenkeeper. In 1946 Captain Lawrence J Torrie a former serviceman and now a well respected golf course architect offered his services to carry out alterations to the course, which he did at no cost to the club. In 1947 an exhibition match was held between leading members of the club to celebrate the opening of the much praised Torrie 9 hole course. Nine hole courses were almost the norm at this time and this had little bearing on the status of clubs, but there was always a longing for a full 18 hole course at Aldershot.


Aldershot Command Golf Club, Hampshire. Article from The Tatler July 1947.

From The Tatler July 9th 1947. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1953 further extensions of the 1947 Torrie course were put forward. This was to be do done in a rather curious three holes at a time until the full 18 hole course was completed.

In 1961 Jessie Parsons the long serving secretary retired after 25 years loyal service to the club although she did seem to leave under rather acrimonious circumstances. Jesse Poulter the professional who had been involved with the club since 1904 had to retire in 1962 due to ill health, he died in October 1964.

The ongoing saga of the course extension, as explained earlier, was still in progress and in 1962 the 12 hole course was opened, it was extended to 14 holes in 1965. The club finally reached its target of 18 holes in 1967, the clubs seventh course was completed. Although it was a very wet course the head greenkeeper Neville Roe worked wonders to produce first class greens, but he was always fighting against the very soggy conditions on other parts of the course.

In 1964 Roger Begbie was appointed professional and greenkeper, his wife carried out the duties of Steward a role she wasn’t suited to, they both resigned in March 1965.

In 1969 a serious fire damaged the 46 year old clubhouse although it did go on to serve the purpose for another couple or so years.

In 1972 it was announced that a new clubhouse was to be built around Berkshire Copse, the construction of the fifth clubhouse started in 1973. In 1974 the Army Golf Club came in to being and by spring 1975 the completely re-designed eighth and current course was in play.

This is only a brief snippet of a very interesting history and I would like to express my gratitude to the Army Club, particularly Lance, for his help in compiling the above information. A full account of the clubs history can be found in “On Laffan’s Plain” by N S Nash.

Rushmoor Bottom course of Aldershot Command Golf Club.

Location of the first Aldershot course at Rushmoor Bottom.


Aldershot Command Golf Club Smallshot Hill course.

Location of the course at Smallshot Hill.


Cove Common and Danger Hill courses of Aldershot Command Golf Club.

The Aldershot Command courses on Cove Common to the north of Danger Hill, the current Army course is to the south. Locations of the old courses are shown in relation to present day features and landmarks.


The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the former course at Rushmoor Bottom.