Where falling in a hole is considered good fun…….

 

Camberley has had two golf courses,  the first, a nine hole course, was built on Barossa Farm and opened in 1893.    According to Ken Clarke (Clarke’s View of Camberley) Harry Vardon, who won the British Open Golf Championship numerous times gave an exhibition , with James Shurlock (formerly the professional at Oxford and now at Stoke Poges) in aid of the Cottage Hospital Fund and the Local Nursing Benefit Association.  A professional was employed and during 1912/13 this was Charles Mothersele who designed golf clubs and emigrated to the States.  You can see him in action here: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/golf-pro-charles-mothersele-attempts-a-difficult-shot-on-news-photo/140431317

There was a membership of 150 and the course lasted until 1948 when the pressure on post-war rental accommodation  meant that the land was needed for the Staff College housing.

Already by 1909 there were letter in the local press calling for the setting up of another golf course, as the sport was so popular.  By March 1913 the scheme had found a Royal Patron in the Duke of Connaught who lived at Bagshot Park and the new Camberley Heath Golf Club was opened on 1 January 1914 with the opening drive being taken by HRH Prince Albert of Schleswig Holstein.   There was a smart new club house designed by the Poulter brothers as well as tennis and croquet lawns and a bowling green.  The course itself was designed by the famous Harry ShaplandColt,  (for a fee of £72).  For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Colt

For a considerable amount on the setting up of the golf course, see Gordon Wellard’s work The Story of Camberley, pages 83-86.

At the AGM in March 1914 it was announced that there were 528 members and up to World War II the club was the focal point of Camberley Society life.  It was not until after the war that ‘tradesmen’ were allowed to join, but the club did allow other clubs to use the links, including the Heatherside Artisans Club which was formed in 1932.

According to the club’s website,  famous names to have played the course include James Braid, J. H. Taylor, Harry Vardon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Vardon) and double Open Champion Tommy Armour.   In 1929, a match was arranged between the Admirals and the Generals to celebrate the Club’s association with the Staff College and Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in which both the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII) and the Duke of York took part, appearing alternately for both sides.

By the early 1990s the club buildings were in need of costly attention and, taking other considerations into account,  the Director’s took the step of putting the course up for sale.  It was bought by a Japanese consortium who rebuilt the club house and even, I believe, built a Tea-House in the grounds.  With the withdrawal of Japanese companies such as Toshiba from the area in the early 21st century the club has been returned into its members hands and further fund raising activities have put it on a firm financial footing, I believe.

 

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