Acton Golf Club, Greater London.
The club was founded in 1896 and laid out on land belonging to the King Church family.
Following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Dundee Courier on Thursday 3rd December 1896. " A New Sunday Golf Club - The latest addition to the metropolitan golf links is that at East Acton. An 18-hole course, laid out by Tom Hogg of Richmond Golf Club, was opened last Saturday. Sunday play will be allowed as a matter of course, except by ladies, 100 of whom are to be admitted to the club. So many applications have been received that there is little chance of joining without an entrance fee. The Hon. Secretary is Mr C E Melville, Acton Golf Club."
On Saturday 3rd July 1897 a 36 hole professional match took place over the Acton course between J H Taylor, Wimbledon, the Open Champion in 1894 and 1895 and James Braid, Romford, the Open runner-up in 1897. The match was reported in the London Standard, it’s interesting to see the professional scores and the reporting style of the time “Braid was a little the stronger driver, but Taylor approached the better. The putting on both sides was rather poor. The Wimbledon representative was one up at the end of the first round, and, with one hole to play, he held a similar advantage. The excitement at the home hole was intense. Braid’s drive landed him some distance to the right of the green. Taylor’s was straighter. Braid approached in better style than his opponent. Taylor putted poorly, and losing the hole the match was halved”
Although the game was match play the hole by hole scores were also recorded.
|Taylor First Round||Out||3||3||4||5||4||5||4||4||4||36||Home||4||3||6||5||4||3||4||4||4||37|
|Taylor Second Round||Out||4||3||6||7||3||4||4||3||5||39||Home||4||4||5||5||4||4||3||4||5||38|
|Braid First Round||Out||5||4||5||5||3||4||4||4||5||39||Home||4||3||6||4||6||4||3||3||4||37|
|Braid Second Round||Out||4||4||4||6||4||4||4||3||4||37||Home||4||3||5||4||4||6||3||4||4||37|
The London Standard report then went on to give information regarding the Acton club “A word of praise is due to Mr Charles E Mieville, the honorary secretary of the Acton club. Although this organisation is only six months old, it possesses a clubhouse and course which would compare favourably with the best. After the professional match a concert, under the direction of Mr Bantock Pierpoint was held, with great success”
The Acton clubhouse was a building called "Glendun" a 17th century family mansion. It stood in the middle of what was then a village along with its own blacksmith's forge. The view from the clubhouse would have been one of uninterrupted countryside. The parkland golf course covered nearly 60 acres and measured 5,870 yards with a bogey score of 78; holes ranged from 115 to 465 yards.
Club prizes included monthly medals and bogeys with several challenge cups and annual prizes. Trophies were donated by Lord George Hamilton, the President and also by the Captain’s. Following are a selection of the results from the 1890s. The senior and junior results have nothing to do with the age of the competitors it’s what we would now call a first and second division.
From 1896 to 1901 the professional was G Hogg.
In August 1897 W Merry and A St George Sargeant tied at 2 down in the bogey competition. In the monthly medal the winners were; senior, W F Mapleston, 77net; junior, C S Weir, 83net.
In September 1897 H Veasey won the bogey with a score of 1up. The result of the monthly medal; senior, Mr Horace Chamberlain, 92-15-77; junior, Mr W J C Merry, 96-16-80.
Result of the October 1897 bogey competition; G F Handley, all square; S A Harding, 3down. The October 1897 medal; senior, E A Hollinberg, 89-12-77; junior, A E Bishop, 114-30-84.
In the clubs autumn meeting in October 1897 fifty competitors turned out for the first days play. Mr C L O’Malley won the senior division with a score of 1down, J R Townsend and K Macdonald tied for second place on 3down. In the junior division the winner was A R Davies, 1down, S A Harding and C E Mieville tied for second on 4down. In the following day’s play the Silver Scratch Cleek was won by C H Byers, 88; the senior medal, B P Hughes, 90-15-75; junior medal, S A Harding, 95-16-79.
The November 1897 bogey; W H Brettell, 3up; J R Townsend, 2down. Monthly medal; senior, H R Chamberlain, 84-10-74; junior, J C Dollman, 96-19-77.
December 1897 bogey; G Brooke Alder, 1down; C P Duncan, 2 down; H Higgs, 5down. Monthly medal; senior, F G Hook, 83-7-76; junior, A Lawson, 94-18-76.
Result of the monthly bogey for February 1898; J R Townsend, 3down; Dr Thornton, 4down.
Result of the monthly medal for April 1898; senior, C H Byers, 81-7-74; junior, S H Auld, 94-18-76. The bogey was won by W F Leach with a score of 2down.
The 1898 July medal result; senior, S C Bignold, 80net; junior, W G Jeffery, 84net. In the final of the Allan Challenge Cup A S Keeling beat Mr Bantock Pierpoint by 1up.
Result of the September 1898 medal; senior, A S Keeling, 87-8-79; junior, W F Leach, 99-18-81.
Result of the monthly bogey played on Saturday 1st October 1898; J W Pilkington, all square; Arthur H Bonnin, 1down.
In the final of the Bonnin Challenge Trophy in December 1898 Mr Leslie Kenyon beat Mr W E Townsend by 6 and 4.
At the AGM in January 1899 Charles E Mieville announced that there had been an increase in membership, bringing the total up to 326. Mr Bantock Pierpoint was thanked for his successful year as captain. The captain for the coming year was to be Mr George Struthers. Result of the January medal; senior, S Hamlyn Moyle, 99-15-84; junior, T H Hemmerde, 107-19-88, there were 46 competitors.
Result of the April 1899 medal; senior was a tie between Mr O’Mally and J Puzey, 76net; junior medal was shared between Mr Dennis, Mr Neale and Mr Hollis all with 71net.
Result of the September 1899 medal; senior, W E Townsend, 73net; junior E S G Malins, 73net. The bogey competition was won by H B Stockton 1up.
In the early 1900s course measured 5870 yards. The clubhouse was Glendun House, an old-fashioned mansion on the village green of East Acton, and there was a separate club and clubhouse for ladies.
In the senior medal in August 1900 A Bonnin and G C Hindley tied on 79net.
Mr W L Leggatt won the September 1900 medal with a score of 78 net. On Saturday 15th September 1900 Mr Arnold Spence set a new amateur course record of 71.
The November 1900 junior medal was won by James B Fagan, 98-16-82.
From 1901 to 1909 the professional at Acxton was William (Billy) M Winton, designer of the Highgate golf course.
David Baxter from Dundee, a leading vocalist of the time, was a member of Acton Golf Club and played off a handicap of plus one. It was reported in June 1902 that he shared the amateur course record with a score of 71.
Mr T B Earle was appointed secretary in February 1903.
In August 1903 a group of Acton golfers, most of whom were members of the musical profession, visited Carnoustie to play a match against a group of well known locals, result below.
|David Robertson||1||Robert Harris||0|
|Allan W Bell||1||David W Baxter||0|
|Captain Ramsay||1||R Whitworth Mitton||0|
|William Harris||1||Charles H Byers||0|
|Donald Stewart||0||Lawrence Rea||1|
|James R Allan||1||Charles Melville||0|
|W Harris junior||0||W Henri Zay||1|
|W E Methven||1||David Symon||0|
|David Taylor||1||Alf Bishop||0|
|John D Mitchell||1||Geo Northcroft||0|
In the evening the players sat down to a meal at the Panmure Arms Hotel.
On Tuesday 29th September 1903 the Acton course was the venue for a southern qualifying competition for the PGA. The16 leading players would compete in the “News of the World” match play tournament which was to be played at Sunningdale in October. In the afternoon Jack White had a splendid round of 66, a course record. Details of his card; Out – 4,4,3,4,3,3,4,3,4 = 32; In 3,5,4,4,4,3,4,3,4 = 34. J H Taylor also played steady golf, his afternoon round of 68 included a six at the third hole where he drove three successive balls on to the railway.
Leading scores; J H Taylor (Mid Surrey) 72+68, 140; James Braid (Romford) 72+69, 141; Rowland Jones (Wimbledon) 73+68, 141; James Hepburn (Home Park) 72+69=141; J Milne (Neasden) 71+71=142; J Rowe (Forest Row)73+70=143; Tom Vardon (Sandwich) 74+70=144; J Ross (Sutton) 73+71=144; Jack White (Sunningdale) 78+66=144; W Wynn (Tooting Bec) 74+72=146; Ralph Smith (West Middlesex) 71+65=146; G Carter (Mitcham) 72+74=146; A Gray (Gravesend) 76+70=146; D Herd (Littlestone) 74+72=146. The following players finished on 147 and would play off for the final two places; A Bellworthy (Princes), A Denholm (Hove), Ernest Foord (Burnham), H Cawsey (Ashford Manor), W Mitchell (St Leonard’s-on-Sea) and B S Calloway (United Services).
In 1907 the course was redesigned and enlarged by Park, with holes ranging from 115 yards to 465 yards. The course occupied old pasture land, and hazards consisted of ditches, ponds and artificially constructed bunkers. The putting greens were reported to be large and of good quality, the bogey for the enlarged course was 78.
The Eastern and Southern sections of the professional golfers decided their qualifying competitions on Wednesday 19th July 1911 for places in the match play stages of the £400 tournament. The southern section competed for 12 places, half of the entrants playing at West Drayton (also now defunct) and the other half at Acton. The eastern section was played at Woodbridge, Suffolk.
The competition at Acton brought many of the leading professionals together. The best golf of the day was played by James Sherlock of Stoke Poges who returned an aggregate of 144. Sherlock’s morning round of 68 created a new competition record for the course, score as follows – out – 3,4,3,4,4,5,4,4,4 = 35; home – 3,4,5,4,3,4,3,4,3 = 33.
The qualifiers were; James Sherlock, Stoke Poges, 68+76=144; Joshua Taylor, Acton, 70+76=146; James Braid, Walton Heath, 74+74=148; Harry Vardon, South Herts, 71+77=148; George Duncan, Hanger Hill, 73+76=149; Fred Leach, Northwood, 78+73=151.
The following six players divided £10; A Gray, Colchester, 152; C Johns, Ashford Manor, 152; A F Kettley, Edgware, 153; G Ockenden, Wembley, 153; E Banister, Sandy Lodge, 153; P G Wyatt, North Middlesex, 153.
The Acton professional was Joshua Taylor, brother of the great J H Taylor.
In 1914 the secretary was Arnold Spence at the Clubhouse, East Acton and the professional Josh Taylor (1909 - 1920). An 18 hole course the club had a membership of 600 at this time. Entry fee for gents was £5/5/0, five day members paid £3/3/0 and Ladies £2/2/0. Annual subs were £5/5/0, £3/3/0, £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, weekends and bank holidays 5/- a day, 12/6 a week, 30/- a month. Sunday play was allowed with caddies. Ladies were not allowed to play at weekends.
On Saturday 14th November 1914 two four ball foursomes were played at Acton for the benefit of the Princess Mary Christmas Fund to provide gifts for soldiers and sailors. The splendid sum of £60 was raised at this event. At this time many leading professionals who were not serving in the forces were giving their time to play exhibition matches to raise money to support war funds. The matches at Acton had an international flavour. J H Taylor and Joshua Taylor were opposed by Braid and Smith with the Englishmen winning on the final green. The following scores were recorded:
J H & J Taylor; out - 4,5,3,3,3,5,4,4,3 = 34; home – 4,4,4,4,4,5,4,4,4 = 37, total 71.
Braid & Smith; out – 4,5,3,4,4,4,4,3,4 = 35; home – 4,5,5,5,3,4,3,4,4 = 37, total 72.
In the second match the English representatives, Ball and Mayo, who struggled on the greens, were beaten by Herd and Duncan (who played brilliantly) by 5&4.
Herd & Duncan; out – 4,4,2,4,4,5,5,3,4 = 35; home – 3,4,4,4,3,4,4,4,4 = 34, total 69.
Ball & Mayo; out – 5,4,3,4,4,5,5,3,5 = 38; home – 4,5,4,4,3,4,3,4,4 = 35, total 73.
In 1919 Acton UDC made a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of 59 acres of land owned by Major F W King-Church and used as a golf course by the Acton Golf Club. The area was to be developed for housing and was eventually completely built over. As with many former golf course sites the roads on the estate have golf related names e.g Long Drive, Brassie Avenue, The Approach, The Fairway, St Andrews Road etc. The A40 also cuts across the site of the old course. (Thanks to Joyce Holder for her contribution in 2004)
In early March 1920 it was reported that - "Sunday marked the closing down of Acton Golf Links after 24 years. There was a big muster of members for the final days sport in ideal conditions. Afterwards, members were seen packing up their belongings and taking them home. It was estimated that over 200 removed their clubs on Sunday.
On Saturday night a final dinner was held to mark the occasion, the chair being occupied by the captain G W Hall. About 58 members thoroughly enjoyed the items of an excellent menu provided by Mr & Mrs Hitchings, club stewards. During an interval the whole party adjourned to the links to vent their feelings. Effigies representing the "Superior Landlords" were lit amid cheering. The party then returned to enjoy a capital programme of music."
An acrimonious end.
It seems that the clubhouse remained open for a while. A later report states that "Acton Golf Club closed its doors for the final time on Sunday 30thApril 1920."
The club was eventually reformed as Sudbury Golf Club.