The Mendip Golf Club

Club History

The possibilities are endless here at Mendip Golf Club


This History of Mendip Golf Club has been compiled by reference to
The Clubs old records and archived items:
Using items submitted by Members:
Relying on Members memories:
Examination of historic newspaper reports:
Using the information contained in the original history book written by Mr Len Rickards in the late1970’s:
My thanks go to those Members who have provided items and information particularly Brian Smith. Also to Tony Taylor and Colin Davies who researched the historic Newspaper items. And to Head Green Keeper Richard Gregory who provided some excellent memories and photos.
Tony Williams 2022 

Below is an extract from the book that Tony Williams has written....

It is generally accepted that Mendip Golf Club was formed in 1908. That is true whilst at the present site. However the Original Mendip Golf Club came into being in 1895 on a site in Doulting.

1895 In October it was reported in the local paper, the Shepton Mallet Journal that a meeting took place at a local hotel, the Hare and Hounds, with a view to creating a Golf Club to be called The Mendip Golf Club. Land was found at Doulting on the South side of the Great Western Railway called “The Sheep Sleight”. This land was owned by Sir Richard Paget of Cranmore Hall and was tenanted by Mr Hodges, a farmer. Mr R Norton was named as President, a Mr E Hyde as Secretary and Treasurer and there were three further Committee members. They required to find 20 Members to start ground preparation.
Popularity of golf was on the increase and by 1897 local papers were advertising golf clubs for sale from local stores at 2/6p each (12½p in current terms).

The 1895/96 membership book confirms that there were 20 members in addition to the Committee. Club days were Wednesdays and Saturdays.
For the season 1897/98, Mr Norton was still President, Mr Hooper was Secretary/Treasurer and Messrs Clifford, Budd and York were on the Committee. A separate Handicap Committee was formed but there is no evidence that any competitions were held. The Course was 9 holes with a Par of 36, hazards being ditches and hedges with no bunkers. The project did not run smoothly; the tenant landlord required increased rent, the Club lost Members and ceased to exist at some stage between 1898 and 1907.

1907 - A meeting was called on the 22nd October by a Mr Griffiths and 18 people attended. Promises of support were received from 19 others. And so The Mendip Golf Club reformed and for a while continued to play on the old links at Doulting. Mr Griffiths was appointed Hon Secretary and Mr A J Hooper the Manager of Stuckey’s Bank (became the NatWest Bank) in Shepton Mallet was appointed Hon Treasurer. It is interesting to note that the Manager for the time being of that Bank was Hon Treasurer of the Club from that time until 1960 when Mr Max Giddings retired from the Managership. At the Meeting a discussion took place whether the Golf Course should remain at Doulting or move to a site at Maesbury. A vote was taken and by a large majority the decision was made to remain at Doulting. The Meeting appointed a Ground Committee tasked with getting the links in order then after one month’s play a General Meeting was to be called. It is unclear what standard these original links were but at a meeting held on the 11th November it was resolved to offer a Mr Gane £3 in settlement of his bill amounting to £4.10s.0d for preparing the Greens. The Annual Subscription was 10/6d and the Entrance Fee was also to be 10/6d. The Committee authorised the purchase of a pavilion at a cost not exceeding £10 although it actually cost £13!

1908 At a Club meeting in April attended by some 25 members, Mr Hooper reported that total membership was now 50. On 1st October a special General Meeting was called. Mr Hodges, the Tenant of the Sheep Sleight, would not grant the Golf Club security of tenure. His best terms were that the Club could mow nine acres, fence the greens with barbed wire, one strand only and put in three bunkers for £11 per annum rising to £15 per annum if there were more than sixty members. This proposal was not considered satisfactory.

A further meeting was called on the 8th October with Mr C E Burnell in the Chair and the subsequent move to Maesbury was confirmed 13 votes to 11. A Resolution was then put to the meeting to support the Club at the new site and this was passed with 21 votes for, none against and five abstentions. It was reported to the meeting that the present tenant of the Maesbury land, a Mrs Hill, was willing to give immediate possession with the Club paying 6 months rent of £10 to March 1909. This was agreed.

Mr Burnell was elected President and Chairman, Mr O’Callaghan Hon Secretary and Mr Hooper Hon Treasurer. A Ground Committee was elected to oversee the move. Over the next few months several meetings took place to finalise arrangements. At a meeting held on 19th October, Mr York, a Ground Committee member, reported that in addition to Mrs Hill’s tenanted land, he had made arrangements with a Mr James to rent Duchy ground and also allow the Club playing rights over two adjacent fields. Members were sent a Circular stating that the Club had secured a Lease from the Duchy of Cornwall and that the estimated cost of laying out the course was £30 to be raised by issuing shares of ten shillings each to members with interest at 5%. The Circular also contained a copy of the accounts for 1907/08. Income was stated at £56, Expenditure £51, the groundsman’s wages were £12 and course upkeep just under £6. This of course relates to the year spent at Doulting.

It was proposed that Mr Vardon of Weston (brother of Harry Vardon) or Mr Ford of Burnham on Sea be engaged to lay out the links. The Shepton Mallet Journal in their 30th October edition reported that The Mendip Golf Club were moving to Maesbury and that Mr Vardon of Worlebury Golf Club was to be involved in the laying out of the course.

From the Minutes of subsequent meetings it shows that a number of Members provided loans. Mr Frederick Spencer, Chairman of the Oakhill Brewery offered the Club a Loan of £150 at 4% to finance the building of a pavilion (actual cost was £122). 

The first mention in the Shepton Mallet Journal of competitions being played; a Cup presented by a Mr Finch was won by E E Brighton with a score of 84. In November there was a grand opening ceremony of the new pavilion.

An Exhibition match took place between Mr Vardon (Professional at Worlebury) and Mr Donald (Professional at Weston) and lunch was provided by Mr Brighton who was the Proprietor of the Hare & Hounds Hotel in Shepton Mallet and a prominent member of the Club. It should be stated at this stage that Mr. Burnell, the Managing Director of the Charlton Brewery of Shepton Mallet was the moving spirit of Mendip Golf Club from its inception until 1958. From the time that he took the Chair at the October meeting, he was President of the Club until he died in 1959. In those days the President was also Chairman and therefore had a great influence on matters. He was also very generous to the Club.

Gurney Slade, Somerset BA3 4UT

tel: 01749 840570

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