The Ploughing Up of Corhampton Golf Course

Hampshire Chronicle 1942 – Editorial Archive

To the Editor of the Hampshire Chronicle.
FROM SIR GRIMWOOD MEARS, K.C.I.E 

Sir, – It may interest your readers to have a short account of the history of Corhampton Golf Club, and of the use to which the club has been put since the war. 

It is one of the oldest golf courses in the country, and it was established in 1890 by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Wyndham-Long for the purpose of giving recreation to the residents of Droxford and the surrounding villages. To-day it is one of the best nine-hole courses in Great Britain. On an annual subscription of, in some cases, 10s. 6d., and in most cases, one guinea, the Club has, with the addition of green fees, been able to spend since 1920 not less than £2000 on the upkeep of the course and particularly on the maintenance of the greens. All residents within 10 miles are eligible for membership and we had more than 200 members in 1938. There is no other golf course within 12 miles, and, incredible as it may seem, the Club in1938 received no less than £283 4s. in green fees. The public need that it filled can be judged by from the above figures. The smallness of the subscription enables persons of all classes to join, and it is an immense boon to the neighbourhood. The Club has always recognised with gratitude the benefit conferred on it by the owners of the Down. There is scarcely a family in Droxford, and for miles around, who do not, as members or occasional visitors, make use of and enjoy the course. 

The Club, however, has now, to a great extent, ceased to exist for the pleasure of its members. About 100 of these are on active service. About 80 percent of the other members – the older people – cannot now get to the Club, and few who can get there for an occasional day or two are negligible in number.

Shortly after the outbreak of war a small Army unit was stationed near. They had no recreation and were far away from any entertainment. The Committee got three bags of clubs, gave many single clubs to individual men, provided about four dozen balls and invited them to use the course. Some of the members went round with them and taught them to play. They stayed for some months and were most grateful for what we did for them. then we put up a notice board saying that “all ranks of His Majesty’s Forces are invited to play on the course free of charge.” This, of course, included women. We sent notices to the camps and to the Naval people at Portsmouth. At the annual general meeting, held on February 19th, 1941, the Committee, speaking of the year 1940, said in their report :- “A pleasant feature at the club this year has been the daily presence of Service men, who have very gladly and gratefully taken advantage of the privilege of playing upon the course, free of charge. The Committee estimate that at least 500 men have used the links in the past year, and appreciation of the way in which the Club has been put at their disposal has been frequently expressed.” These 500 men were exclusive of the army unit mentioned above, and many came to the course whenever they could get away. An estimate that 2000 games have been played by men and women of the Forces since the course was thrown open is certainly an under-estimate. 

The course is open to the to-day; the Club house is at their service, and it is the determination of the Club to meet whatever expenses this may entail. we pay the late professional and his wife to maintain the greens and we shall continue to do so. The great majority of members will, no doubt, loyally continue to pay their subscriptions, though a fraction of them only are able to play. 

The course was in existence when Mr. Silvester became tenant of the Down, but as many more people began to play upon it the Club, many years ago, began the practice of making him a small payment. We have for some five or six years past paid him £50 a year as “compensation for increased user of the Down,” and although the user of the Down by its members, has almost ceased, this payment will be made as usual. 

By order of the H.W.A.E.C. the Club have to give up portions of three holes out of nine. This we have readily agreed to do. As the greens are not going to be destroyed we can construct a provisional nine-hole course. 

My reason for writing is that I have been a member of the Committee of the Club for ten years and am Captain of the Club this year.

Yours, &c.,
GRIMWOOD MEARS

Read related correspondence published in the Hampshire Chronicle here