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Cambridge University Golf Club. (1869 - WW2)

The beginnings of Cambridge University Golf can be attributed to two graduates Andrew Murray and George Gossett. Armed with golf clubs and a hole-cutter they ventured to the common at Royston in 1869 and set about laying out an 18-hole golf course, cutting holes as they played. The course was quickly established and a further 17 undergraduates were enlisted as members, each paying 2s/6d subscription fees.

Due to the travelling distance from Cambridge golf on Royston Common was a short lived affair and in 1871 the first Cambridge University course closed.    

The University course on Coldham's Common, just off the Newmarket Road, was established in 1875 by W T Linskill. Originally a nine-hole course it was eventually extended to 18-holes.

The prize meeting took place on Monday 15th November 1880 on the University Green, Coldham Common. Rain fell heavily all afternoon making play difficult. Results as follows; Linskill Cup – W Welsh, Jesus, 90 scratch; Pirie Medal – A Reid, Trinity Hall, 96-6-90. A meeting was held on the same evening at Trinity to elect officers; W T Linskill was re-elected captain, R C Faithfull, treasurer and F E Ainger, secretary.


Cambridge University Golf Club. Cambridge golfers in 1883.

Cambridge Golfers in 1883. Image Courtesy of Donald Cameron.


Below is the result of a return match played at Great Yarmouth in February 1884.

Great Yarmouth Golf Club   Oxford University Golf Club  
John Penn 3 W T Linskill 0
W de Zoete 1 F H Pattison 0
F Gilbert 6 E Armitage 0
C E Boyd 0 L H Evans 9
Captain W Morris 4 A Clark 0
G C Snelling 2 Rev. G Jones 0
Dr. T Browne 1 A Cowan 0
Dr. J Adcock 2 R S Barker 0
  19   9

Below is a report on a match played on Coldham Common in March 1884. 


Cambridge University Golf Club, Coldham Common. Report on a match played in March 1884 at Coldham Common.

From The Referee Sunday 9th March 1884. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


In the late 1890s the Coldham's Common course was threatened with the laying of a railway line which would bisect the course. 


Cambridge University Golf Club. Map showing the proposed railway line.

Image showing the proposed railway line on Coldham's Common. Golf Pavilion marked to the left. Image courtesy of Donald Cameron.


It moved location in the early 1900s to a new site on Whitwell Hill between Coton and Barton. The station at Cambridge was 3 ½ miles away.


Cambridge University Golf Club. Club button.

Cambridge University Golf Club button.


The following is an extract from The Golfing Annual 1889-90; Entrance Fee £1 and Subs 10s; Membership about 160; President - Rev. A Austen Leigh, Provost of King's College; Captain - Charles W Burn; Treasurer - R H Adie; Committee - G Townsend Warner (Jesus), H S Colt (Clare), C T Montgomery (Pembroke), C J Dedham (Jesus), R J Younger (Jesus), H T Wright (Trinity), L E G Abney (Trinity); Hon. Secretary - W T Linskill, 48 New Square, Cambridge; Green-keeper - J Tabor. "The course has been greatly extended and consist of eighteen-holes, and although the soil is clay, the putting greens are excellent and true in dry weather. The drainage of the Common, and sanding and sowing of the greens, have greatly improved the links. There are no very short holes. The ground is undulating, and the hazards a road, several footpaths, dry ditches, two running burns, and bushes, etc. The professionals are John Lambert of Musselburgh, and James Gourlay of St. Andrew's. The University Golf Pavilion is situated close to the first hole, has two large rooms, and capital box accommodation for members. The professionals' shop is connected to the pavilion. The links are open from October 1st to May 12th, and the professionals are always ready to instruct beginners." 

Below is J L (Johnny)Low the C.U.G.C. Captain in 1892.


Cambridge University Golf Club. J L Low Captain of the C.U.G.C. in 1892

From the Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News Saturday 12th March 1892. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


On Thursday 9th November 1893 in cold and damp weather, with a stiff breeze blowing across Coldham Common the competitions for the Linskill Cup and Pirie Medal took place. There was a good field and “The green was in capital order” Result; F R Upcher won the cup with a score of 87, F W Beckford won the medal, 91-12-79.

Result of the St Andrew’s Medal competition played on 31st October 1893; E E Eddowes, 99-25-74; P H Latham, 91-15-76. The best scratch scores were; A M Chance, 90 and W T Linskill, 92.

The competition for the “Barrow” medal took place on Coldham Common on Tuesday 21st November 1893. The day was cold and wet, but a large field started in the bogey competition, result; W B Knobel (9) all square; W Watson and W Waterhouse tied second with a score of 1down.

The result below appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on Tuesday 27th February 1894. The match was played at Cambridge between the University and it’s interesting to note that the away team was called the “ROYAL YARMOUTH GOLF CLUB”. 

Cambridge University   Royal Yarmouth  
J L Low 6 P M Lucas 0
A M Chance 3 F S Ireland 0
D D Robertson 0 J G Gibson 0
H Glasier 0 L Horner 3
F R Upcher 0 "L De Maurice" 6
C Pigg 3 R Whyte 0
H M Siddall 6 E G Ashton 0
H M Marshall 0 H Mann 0
E K Le Fleming 0 W E Hughes 0
F E G Johnson 2 Charles Hope 0
W L De B Thorold 0 C Young 0
  20   9

On the 12th November 1896 the weather was fine and the course was in good condition for the Linskill Cup scratch competition which was won by B Darwen with a score of 76. A R Heathcote won the St Andrew’s medal with a score of 78-3-75.

Result of the weekly competition played on Thursday 1st December 1898 at Coldham Common; first class G H Hardie, 84-4-80; P W Leathart, 82 scratch; E E Apthorp, 84-2-82; G G Hirst, 92-7-85; H G Neirle, 90-4-86; F H Churchill, 95-6-89; second class A B Wilson, 91-10-81; J C Lucas, 101-20-81; N H Haggie, 97-15-82; A A Trinder, 95-10-85; G H Wilson, 110-25-85; G Stapleton, 95-8-87.

Below is the result of a match played on Saturday December 3rd 1898 at Cambridge between Cambridge University and Oxford and Cambridge Golfing Society.

Cambridge University   Oxford and Cambridge Society  
P W Leathart 0 B Darwen 0
A C Lawrence 1 J L Low 0
E E Apthorp 0 W A Henderson 2
N F Hunter 0 H W De Zoete 5
A F Dudgeon 0 J E Pease 6
W F Lumsden 0 A C M Croome 1
W G Howarth 0 R H Mitchell 8
C D Mathias 0 D F Ranson 1
H M Smith 0 K McL Marshall 1
G H Hardie 0 C N Day 5
  1   29

Result of the weekly competition played on the 9th March 1899 at Coldham Common, results; first class G H Hardie, 81-4-77; C B Hudson, 84-7-77; G H W Dawson, 86-7-79; W G Howarth, 83-3-80; E V Soames, 88-7-81; J B Escoline, 88-7-81; J S Bookless, 88-6-82; E H Timms, 89-6-83; F W Eddison, 88-4-84; second class E F Penn, 86-13-73; E C Miller, 94-20-74; L G Davies, 89-14-75; A A Trinder, 89-10-79; A N Lee, 95-16-79; R B Wright, 93-11-82.

Below Past and Present match played on the Coldham Common course in March 1900.

The picture shows, from top left to right; C D Mathias (Old Cantabs) putting on sixth green; E W Hill-Thompson (Cambridge) at fifth hole; Mr Darwin (Old Cantabs) putting on eighteenth green;  G H Hardie (Cambridge) a drive from the second tee; F H Newnes (Old Cantabs) on third green; E E Apthorp (Cambridge Captain) putting; B Darwin and E E Apthorp; Rev. E F Wood (Old Cantabs) a drive from the third tee; A Little Exercise by W Duncan, The University Professional.


Cambridge University Golf Club. Past and Present Golf Match March 1900.

From the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News March 10th 1900. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


The following is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Membership of 350 (including life members); Joint Hon. Secs. - Charles Pigg, 11 Queen Anne Terrace, Cambridge, and R C Simpson, Trinity College; Captain - G Hoffman, Caius College; Entrance Fee 21s and Subs  £2/2s; 18-holes; Professional - Robert Glass (North Berwick.) "The course is situated on Whitwell Hill, and has a great advantage over the old course at Coldham's Common, in that it is situated in pleasant country far  from the streams of Barnwell. The course is still young, and there is much yet to be done. The chief failings at present are a lack of length and legitimate incident" - B DARWIN.

In 1914 there was a membership of 450, which included life members. Amateur course record holder was J F Ireland with a score of 72. The entry’ fee was £1/1/0 and subs £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 10/- a week and £1 a month.

Below is the result of a match played at Oxhey Golf Club (now defunct) on Saturday 1st December 1934.

Oxhey Golf Club   Cambridge University  
J McKay (7&5) 1 J S L Lyon (Trinity Hall) 0
R G D Riddell (1up) 1 P B Lucas (Pembroke) 0
C K Cotton (2&1) 1 H A Pope (St John's) 0
R Egerton Johnson (3&2) 1 P T Dickinson (St Catharines) 0
M F Darke (5&4) 1 H C Neilsen (Clare) 0
W B Pilling (1up) 1 G O Peake (Pembroke) 0
E Homberger (2&1) 1 P J Gold (Jesus) 0
C G Melrose (halved) 0 C M Bell (Trinity Hall) 0
P W D White (halved) 0 E C Pemberton (St Catharines) 0
B O Babb (halved) 0 R Pattisson (Pembroke) 0
Riddell & Cotton (5&4) 1 Neilson & Lyon 0
McKay & Pilling 0 Lucas & Dickinson (3&2) 1
Johnson & Darke 0 Pope & Peake (3&2) 1
Melrose & Homberger 0 Gold & Pemberton (1up) 1
White & Babb 0 Bell & Pattisson (5&4) 1
  8   4


Cambridge University Golf Club. Match played on the now defunct Oxhey course in December 1934.

From The Bystander Tuesday 11th December 1934.Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Below a match played on the now defunct New Addington golf course In February 1939.


Cambridge University Golf Club. Match played on the now defunct New Addington course in February 1939.


Cambridge University Golf Club. Match played on the now defunct New Addington course in February 1939.

From the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News Friday 10th February 1939. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


1890 W T Linskill, 48 New Square, Cambridge.
1906 Charles Pigg, 11 Queen Anne Terrace, Cambridge and R C Simpson, Trinity College.
1914 Charles Pigg and R B Vincent, Trinity College, Cambridge.
1924 J A Bourn, Pembroke College, Cambridge.
1925 J S C Maughan, Trinity College, Cambridge.
1920s-30s G Illingworth, Trinity College.
1940-47 G G D Carter, Trinity College, Cambridge.


1902-07 Robert Glass
1907-16 C Hodges

The club no longer has its own course; it now plays its home golf over the Royal Worlington & Newmarket Golf Club.

The Google Map below shows Coldham's Common.