Chipstead Golf Club

Chipstead Golf Club - History

Chipstead Links was laid out in 1905 and opened for play in 1906 in the heyday of Edwardian enthusiasm for 'manly' sport. The completion of the Purley to Tattenham Corner railway line in 1897 with Chipstead as the only intermediate station signaled the beginning of a rapid rise in housing development in the area. Many of those who took advantage of the opportunity to move out of smoky and insanitary London were men of means and their desire for a local golf course reflected their search for healthy exercise, social status and protected property values.

The oldest item of memorabilia owned by the club is a manuscript list of the first one hundred members set out over the names of the first joint secretaries.The list includes doctors, military men, bankers and journalists. Frank Goad, the captain from 1907 to 1910 was the principal fur auctioneer for the Hudson Bay Company. Several of these gentlemen were also members of the shooting club in Coulsdon Lane, also started in 1906 and many had close connections with Chipstead's cricket club.

Country Life magazine reviewed the course at Chipstead in 1907. "One of the inseparable needs of the time seems to be a local golf course in the neighbourhood of every spreading community", the article explained. The holes ran along the chalky ridge of the Downs overlooking "the valley at Chipstead (which) is one of the most picturesque strips of scenery in the whole county". Of particular note were apparently "the absence of monotony" and "an admirable opportunity to exercise the art of generous and deep breathing".  James Braid who won the Open five times and was professional form any years at Walton Heath is known to have completed design work for the course.  In September 1911 he played in a 36 hole exhibition match at Chipstead.

Charles Mayo was one of the early professionals to play at the club.  He partnered George Duncan in challenge matches at nearby Walton Heath against James Braid, Harry Vardon and J.H.Taylor. In 1908 W.G.Grace, the sporting giant of Edwardian England played at Chipstead in a team of prominent cricketers, needless to say winning his singles and foursomes matches.

During the Great War activity at the club was much restricted and records for the immediate post-war years are fragmentary. However membership must have slowly recovered and by 1923 the course was busy enough for the group of caddies serving the club to be separated into two categories - 1st class earning 1s 6d and 2nd class earning 1s 3d per round. In the 1930s Jack Hobbs, the county and Test cricketer, played several times and a club trophy celebrates this association.

Play was again interrupted by the Second World War. Craters on the course to the left of the 10th and 16th greens were made by bombs dropped from German aircraft returning from raids on Croydon or Kenley. Special exhibition matches were however held at the course to support the Spitfire Fund. Leading golfers of the period came to play at Chipstead - Percy Alliss, Charles Denny, Dick Burton, Alf Padgham and Reg Whitcombe. In the amateur ranks Ian Caldwell learnt the game here as a schoolboy and student. He won the Carris Trophy twice and the Boyd Quaich for students in 1954. He played Walker Cup golf in 1951 and 1955 and won the English amateur title in 1961.

In 1964 the layout of the course was changed and in 1977 the holes were each given names on the scorecard - 'Sheer Drop' and 'Damnation' being self-explanatory but 'Cleopatra' requiring a visit to the course to be fully appreciated.

In 1984 a Board of Management was introduced to supervise the administration of the club. This restructuring helped the club to withstand some of the competitive pressures of the time and also consider proposals to build a new clubhouse. Much hard work ensued and the new premises were opened in 1994 with the club acquiring the freehold of the land taken up by the course in 1996. Shelton drainage was introduced in 2001.

The amateur course record stands at 61, achieved by Daniel Kitteridge in 1999. Among its illustrious and friendly membership the club is pleased to have Josh White who in 2009 became the youngest ever winner of the Surrey amateur title.  He has gone on to become an England International player.  

The trophy cabinet in the club lounge matches any of those in the district and includes the magnificent Pine Coffin Shield  , presented in 1907 by the first lady captain who was also the wife of one of the first joint secretaries.  

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