John Hurst’s Corhampton and Exton, Hampshire

This is an extract from John Hurst’s 1980 “Corhampton and Exton, Hampshire” pp57-58 entitled “CORHAMPTON GOLF CLUB”

The course dates back to 1885, which the club claims makes it one of the dozen oldest in England In the early days it was a real downland course, with many natural hazards but no artificial ones, and the only attention that the fairways, such as they were, received was from the sheep which grazed on them. It was one of the duties of the groundsman to go round every morning with a long hazel stick swishing the sheep droppings off the greens.

Golf came to an end during the first world war, and when it was over the club was revived by the energetic work of the Rev. E. P. Mack who lived at Swanmore and Mr. Herbert Clark of Droxford.

Through the nineteen twenties it was a fairly easy course, but in 1929 it was made harder by a number of new bunkers, much to the annoyance of some of the older members, but they soon got used to it. Then in 1932, when A E. Dedman was professional-greenkeeper the course was replanned and altered and made very much as it remained till 1975.

Between the wars cricket was played in the middle of the course by a club whose members were drawn from Meonstoke, Exton and Corhampton but which was known as Wyndhams, having been founded as an estate club by the Wyndham Longs of Corhampton House. There is a photograph in the Womens Institute scrap book of a game of cricket on this pitch on New Years Day, 1929, between the Invalids and the Hampshire Eskimos, many of whom came from Corhampton. The game was interrupted by the Hambledon Hunt. For many years there was a derelict building on the course which had no golfing purpose but was in fact the old cricket pavilion. During the second world war part of the course was ploughed up for the growing of food, and the club house was destroyed by fire.

Col. Wyndham long was life president up till the time of his death in 1946 and then Mr. R P. Chester took over as president till 1964. Mr. F. Lindley has been president since 1970. When Mrs. Wyndham long died in 1948 the estate was sold and the club was able to buy the freehold of the course. A new club house was then built.

Through the fifties and sixties membership was steadily increasing, and various improvements were made. Water was laid on to the course in 1965 and electricity installed in the club house. Then in the early seventies plans were made for up-grading the course to 18 holes instead of 9. The committee would have liked to acquire more land but were unable to do so. However what they had got was just sufficient to allow for the extra holes. The work of laying them out was done in 1974 and left for a year for the new grass to get firmly rooted. In 1975 the club house was demolished and a new one built and the course reopened in its new state.

Membership was 200 in 1965, had increased to 350 in 1975 and was increased again to 450 when the new holes came into use.

The club has always been a popular one with its wide open views, and has drawn advantage from its position on the chalk. In wet seasons such as the winter of 1974-75 many people came to play there because their own courses were waterlogged

The club uses as its badge “a chevron argent, the chief azure two leopards heads erased. The base sable a cross crosslet argent”. This is a puzzle. It is not quite the Wyndham arms nor the Long. Maybe the Wyndham-Longs got a new coat of arms.