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Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes. (1890 - 1950)

The course at Barn Elms was opened on Saturday 3rd May 1890.

An open competition was held to celebrate the occasion, the first prize being a “massive silver cup”. The Right Hon A J Balfour was present for the majority of the competition. There was a tie for first place, result as follows; Mr W Laidlaw Parsons (Purvass,) Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, 98 points; A J Robertson, Tooting Bec Golf Club, 98 points; Captain Brooke, Aberdeen Golf Club, 99 points; G H Grant, 107 points; Dr Leggatt, 112 points; J Ramsay Robertson, 113points . Can anyone explain the “points” scoring system used? could it be the gross score?

The 18-hole course at Barn Elms had holes varying in length from 100 to 575 yards with good  well guarded greens. Other hazards included water, ditches, roads, pits and artificial bunkers.

The secretary from 1906 to the beginning of WW1 was John H Neat. 

There were stations at Barnes L&SWR 1 mile and Hammersmith & Putney Tube 2 miles. Buses passed the entrance to the club.

Charles Clay was the long serving professional from 1901 to the clubs final year in about 1947. The hickory club below is stamped C Clay, Ranelagh.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Hickory golf club stamped C Clay, Ranelagh.

Image courtesy Éric Verspieren.


Following is an Article from a Press report from October 1892. Many people think that the healthiest and sanest thing to do on a Sunday afternoon is take the train to Barnes, and play golf on the magnificent meadows of the Ranelagh Club, now converted into golf links, the whole club having suddenly become enthusiastic about the game. Last Sunday the place was looking its very best. The turf was soft and elastic; the storm of the previous night had made the air strangely pure. There were perhaps twenty men on the links, though only one wearing scarlet. And there were ladies to welcome the victors to tea.

Interesting note: Merion Golf Club hosted the 2013 US Open with its unique wicker basket flagsticks. It is the only club authorised by the USGA to display something other than a flag/penant/bunting from the flagstick. In Golfers at Law, by Geoffrey Cousins (Alfred Knoff 1959) reference is made to “egg-shaped wicker baskets” at the Ranelagh Club, Barnes. It would be interesting to know the origins of the Merion Golf Club wicker basket flagsticks. Does it have any association with Ranelagh? The only other club found so far that used "basket" flags was West Kilbride.

Below is one of four silver medals won by one of the club's leading enthusiasts for many years, Sir William Russell, (the 3rd and last Baronet, 'Russell of Charlton Park, Gloucester'). He also won three bronze medals and a gold medal.

This silver example is the only one he bothered to have engraved, 'Sir William Russell 4-1-02'. Thanks to Dixon Pickup.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes. Medal won by Sir William Russell.

The Silver medal won by Sir William Russell. Image courtesy of Dixon Pickup.


Winner of the January 1893 monthly medal was Sir H Bergne, 101-24-77. 

Result of the November 1893 medal; Sir W Russell, 87-7-80; Dr J Lynes, 94-13-81; Sir H G Bergne, 107-18-89.

Also in November 1893 Ranelagh entertained Seaford at Barn Elms.

Ranelagh   Seaford  
J E Peat 0 C A S Leggatt 3
A E Peat 8 F G Bamfylde 0
A R Kenyon Stow 3 J C Fowlie 0
G C McFie 2 Norman Fowlie 0
Sir W Russell 0 H Tanner 6
Lord Hay of Kinfauns 0 W E Beak 6
W H Miller 3 F C Ludor 0
J Lynes 5 P C Anderson 0
  21   15

The clubs December monthly medal was played on Boxing-day in 1893, result; Dr W J Sheppard, 101-12-89; A E L Slazenger, 104-11-93; W Jackson, 104-10-94. A three day bogey competition was also held and this was won by W H Miller, 1up.

Result of the monthly medal for February 1894; Dr J Lynes, 95-13-82; F Keen, 103-16-87; E Britten-Holmes, 102-14-88.

R Hepburn won the 36-hole Club Cup competition played on Saturday March 17th 1894. Result of the 36 hole Filmer-Dennett competition; L E Guy Abney, 190-20-70; H R Payne, 195-24-171; E Lehmann, 180-6-174; Sir W Russell, 183-8-175.

On Saturday 28th April 1894 the final of the Silver Medal was played; Mr Waldy, 87-10-77; Sir W Russell, 83-4-79; Mr Shepherd, 97-18-79; Mr Leonard, 97-18-79.

December 1894 monthly medal; Alfred J Davies, 94-15-79; Arthur F Pearson, 100-18-82; Sir W Russell, 91-5-86. There were 22 competitors with 9 no returns.

April 1897 foursome medal was won by J H Neat and Montrose Cloete, 86-6-82 prizes presented by F J Filmer Bennett.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Ladies Open Meeting 1897.

Ranelagh Ladies Open Golf Meeting April 1897.


January 1898 monthly medal result; silver, Montrose Cloete, 84-7-77; bronze, W P Wincott, 91-14-77; best gross, J H Neat, 81-2-79; other scores, Onslow Traherene, 83-2-81; E M Rendall, 97-16-81; Rev C Bradshaw Foy, 92-9-83. There were 32 entrants with 19 no returns.

Result of the December 1898 medal; J H Neat, 78 scratch; R Bramwell-Davis QC, 88-8-80; Mr Onslow Traherne, 81+1-82; Sir William Russell, 86-3-83; Mr Montrose Cloete, 87-4-83; E M Shepherd, 95-12-83. There were no cards returned for the bronze medal, 25 cards were taken out in all.

Result of the January 1899 medal; senior (first division) Montrose Cloete, 79-4-75; Sir William Russell, 86-3-83; J C Moreton Thompson, 93-9-84; Foster MGeagh MD, 96-12-84; R F Ruthven Smith, 94-7-87; Wodbine Parish, 95-5-90; junior (second division) H Taylor, 100-18-82; H Williams, 103-18-85; A Larcom, 105-18-87; A E Bateman CMG, 110-20-90.  There were 25 entrants.

Result of the February 1899 medal; senior, E M Shepherd, 90-12-78; John H Neat, 79 scratch; onslow Traherne, 82+1-83; M Cloete, 89-3-86; Major G Rumsey, 93-6-87; Woodbine Parish, 96-5-91; junior, R H Williams, 99-18-81; A Larcom, 102-18-84; H Taylor, 103-18-85; John Clark, 109-24-85; T C Mundey, 103-16-87; A Warren Melhuish, 106-18-88; John Fulton, 115-24-91. There were 44 entrants.

On Saturday April 1st 1899 several of the clubs competitions were concluded for the season. Results; Gold Medal, Montrose Cloete, 80-1-79; Silver Medal, C Harrington Fry, 111-20-91; Foursomes tournament with prizes presented by Mr J H Plat and Onslow Traherne; semi-final, W J Sheppard MD (8) and F H Carter MD (6) beat Guy Abney (7) and E M Shepherd (10) by 2 and 1, Montrose Cloete (3) and Onslow Traherne (plus1) beat W Evans (12) and A W Melhuish (18) by 4 and 3. In the final  W J Sheppard and F H Carter beat Montrose Cloete and Onslow Traherne by 1 hole. Singles tournament for the Polo Challenge Cup and the captain’s memento; semi final, T C Mundey (16) beat F B Maddison (5) by 4 and 3, Montrose Cloete (3) beat H P Mundey (9) by 2 holes. In the final M Cloete beat T C Mundey 5 and 4. “Kit Kat” Challenge Cup for the best three medal cards returned, Montrose Cloete, 76,75,79 – 230. Having won the competition on two occasios, Mr Cloete was now the owner of the cup.

Result of the annual match against the House of Commons played at Ranelagh on April 28th 1900.

Ranelagh Golf Club   House of Commons  
H P Munday 0 James Heath 8
Montrose Cloete 0 John Penn 2
R H Pringle 0 J L Wanklyn 5
Woodbine Parish 9 A J Balfour 0
W Brodrick Cloete 4 Herbert Gladstone 0
J H Neat 2 H W Forster 0
Sir W Russell 3 Guy Pym 0
F B Maddison 0 Hon A Lyttleton 7
Dr F H Carter 0 H Seton Karr 9
  18   31

Below, picture of the House of Commons v Ranelagh match in April 1904.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Article from The Tatler in April 1904.

From The Tatler April 27th 1904. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


The following is taken from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Number of members, 2,200 (over 500 golf playing members); Hon. Secretary, J H Neat; Captain, The Marquis of Dufferin and Ava; Entrance fee, £21 and Subs £10/10s; Professional, C Clay; Professional, C Clay 64; Amateur Course Record, R H Pringle 68; Spring Meeting 1904, Gold Medal (scratch), Montrose Cloete, 79; Terms for visitors, by members vouchers. A good sporting inland course of 18-holes, varying in length from 100 to 575 yards. The greens are good and well guarded. The hazards are water, ditches, roads, pits, and also numerous artificial bunkers.  

Below is the result of the annual match against the House of Commons played on Saturday April 15th 1905. The weather was glorious, a perfect day for golf. 

Ranelagh Golf Club   House of Commons  
Mr Johnston 1 Lord Dunedin 0
Mr Cloett 1 H W Forster 0
Mr Neat 0 Osmund Williams 1
Mr Taylor 0 A J Balfour 1
Mr Platt 0 J L Wanklyn 1
Mr Pringle 1 Guy Pymm 0
Mr Pinch (half) 0 Marshall Hall (half) 0
  3   3

In 1906 the course records were, amateur R H Pringle 68 and  professional Charles Clay 64. Visitors were allowed on receipt of members’ vouchers.

Result and pictures of the match played on Saturday 24th April 1909 between a House of Commons team and Ranelagh Golf Club at Barn Elms. This was an annual event with Mr A J Balfour a notable competitor in this match.

House of Commons   Ranelagh Golf Club  
Mr H W Forster MP 1 Mr S H Petre 0
Mr F H Newnes MP 0 Mr H Fisher-Smith 0
Dr A R Rainy MP 0 Mr J H Neat 1
Mr J M Henderson MP 1 Mr C E Pearson 0
Dr A V Rutherford MP 0 Mr Montrose Cloete 0
Mr A W Wills MP 1 Mr F L Callender 0
Mr O Partington MP o Mr C J Didham 1
Mr A W Soames MP 0 Mr Woodbine Parish 0
Mr A J Balfour MP 0 Mr R H Caird 1
Mr J A Pease MP 0 Mr R H Pringle 1
Mr H Pike Pease 0 Mr J H Bullevant 1
  3   5


House of Commons   Ranelagh  
Forster & Newnes 1 Petre & Smith 0
Rainy & Henderson 0 Neat & Pearson
Rutherford & Wills 0 Cloete & Callender 1
Partington & Soames 0 Didham & Parish
Balfour & J A Pease 0 Caird & Pringle 0
H Pike Pease 0 Bullevant 1
  1   4


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Match played at Ranelagh against House of Commons April 1909.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Match played at Ranelagh against House of Commons April 1909.

Above images from the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News Saturday May 1st 1909. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Playing from the "Cop Bunkers".

Image from "The Bystander" dated 1911. Thanks to Golf Heritage London - @LdnGolfHistory.


The Ladies’ Parliamentary Handicap was to be played over the Ranelagh course on March 26th and 27th 1912, draw as follows; Lady Willingdon against Mrs Cecil Norton; Lady Helen Brassey against Mrs Robert Fleming; Countess De La Warr against Miss Mirian Pease. 


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Article from The Tatler in April 1913.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Article from The Tatler in April 1913.

From The Tatler April 9th 1913. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1914 there was a total membership of 2,350  of which 780 were playing members. Entry fees were £31/10/0 and subs £10/10/0. Again, as in 1906, the member voucher system was used for visitors. Sunday play was allowed with caddies. Ladies were instructed to allow gentlemen to pass, and at weekends they had to play with a member.

In July 1915 a number of prominent lady golfers played in a fund raising match at Ranelagh for the benefit of the British Red Cross Society. Amongst those taking part;British Champion, Miss Cecil Leitch, (Walton Heath); ex British Champion, Miss Ravenscroft, (Bromborough); Scottish Champion, Miss Eva Anderson, (Macharanish); ex British Champion, Miss E Grant-Suttie, (North Berwick); British Championship runner-up, Miss Stella Temple, (Westward Ho!); English International, Miss May Leitch, (Bushey Hall); British Championship runner-up 1913, Miss Chubb, (Mid Surrey); Indian Champion, Miss Doris Chambers, (Wirral).


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Putting on the thirteenth green in 1919.

From the Bystander Wednesday 29th October 1919. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Ranelagh Golf Club, London. Miss E Grant-Suttie at Ranelagh.

Miss E Grant-Suttie playing a chip shot to the green on the Ranelagh course. Although this is not the clearest of images the famous Ranelagh “egg shaped basket” on the flagstick can just about be made out.


During the early and mid 1920s the secretary was C C Aylmer, telephone Putney 1704/5. The professional was still Charles Clay and the greenkeeper P Shoesmith. Membership of 2,500. Course records were, amateur C C Alymer and professional Charles Clay 64. All gentlemen visitors had to be accompanied by a member and were required to pay the green fees money on presentation of their vouchers. All new members playing golf were required to pay green fees at the rate of 2/- a day and 3/6 at weekend and at weekend had to play with a member.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Article from The Tatler in April 1921.

From The Tatler April 13th 1921. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Article from The Sketch May 1921.

From The Sketch May 18th 1921. Image © Illustrated London News Group.


Result of the April 1923 monthly medal; Class 1 - F A Wood, 75-6-69; Class 2 - R W Ironside, 84-18-66.

In August 1929 Mr Colin C Aylmer the international player who had represented Britain in matches against the USA announced his resignation as secretary of the Ranelagh Club. Mr Aylmer held the record for the Ranelagh course with a remarkable score of 56. He reached the final of the Amateur Championship in 1910, when he was beaten by Mr John Ball, he was also beaten in the semi-final in 1913 by Mr Harold Hilton.


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. The short eighth hole at Ranelagh.

Miss Wanda Morgan partnered by Miss Diana Fishwick playing the short eighth hole in October 1929.



Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. 1930s scorecard front cover.

Above is the Ranelagh scorecard from the 1930s. From the archive of C Meister, Hamburg


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News April 1930.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News April 19th 1930. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


In 1933 the Ranelagh committee decided to add a swimming pool to its list of attractions which already included polo, golf, tennis, squash croquet and boating on the lake etc. Some of the more conservative members of the club were not too sure about this “American style country club” theme, but the committee was sure that the pool, with its sloping banks, would be a success with the modern day sun-bather.

In March 1933 Ranelagh entertained a team from the House of Commons, Ranelagh won the singles by 13 to 5 with two matches halved. The Duke of York, representing Ranelagh, played particularly well, he defeated Lord Castlestewart by 7&5.   

On Wednesday 5th April 1933 the Women’s International Golf Meeting was held at Ranelagh. England made a good start in the defence of their tile, which they had held since 1913. Miss Joy Winn, Aldeburgh, returned a score of 68, only putting prevented her from beating the course record, which was held by Miss Diana Fishwick (66). Other scores; England – Miss Brown, 71, and Miss I Wosley, 75; Scotland – Miss P Russell-Montgomery, 73, Miss V Lamb, 75 and Miss S M Millar, 78; Ireland – Miss E Pentony, 70 and Mrs R Philison, 83; Wales – Mrs M Bridge, 86.     

In May 1933 Mrs Hugh Smith, Berkhamsted, beat Mrs Beard of Ferndown by 2 holes in the final of the Champion Lady Veteran competition. In the semi-final Mrs Smith beat Mrs Arnot, St George’s Hill (winner in 1927), by 6&4, in the other semi-final Mrs Beard beat Mrs Martin, Wilderness, 4&3.  


Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Appeal that Ranelagh must be saved in November 1935.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News November 8th 1935. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


On Tuesday 24th March 1936 a record entry of 64 golfing “grandmothers” from all over Britain gathered at the picturesque course for the Veteran Women’s Championship. Fifty years and over was the age stipulation, with no limit to the “over”. The oldest competitor was 70, and the ladies’ took the game very seriously. One official was shocked when asked if it was a handicap competition; “Indeed not” was the reply “This is a championship, and we play decidedly from scratch”. Some first round results; Mrs Garnham, Naze, beat Mrs Wootton, Wimbledon Park, 9&7; Mrs C Rabbidge, Ashford Manor, beat Mrs Ferguson, North Wales, 4&3; Mrs Riddell, Windermere, beat Mrs R F Baker, Wimbledon Park, 5&4; Miss Ross, Guildford, beat Mrs Dykes, Troon, 2up; Mrs W Neilson, Bournemouth, beat Mrs Vick, Leatherhead, 7&6: Mrs Paton, Bishops Stortford, beat Mrs S Cole, Gog Magog, 6&5; Mrs Holt, Frinton, beat Mrs Hatrick, Worplesdon, 4&3; Mrs Lewis Smith, Sandy Lodge, beat Lady Fell, Ulverston, 3&2; Mrs Morten, Luffenham Heath, beat Miss Lloyd Williams, Newton Abbot, 4&3; Mrs Reading, Malden, beat Mrs Brooker, Hayling, 1up; Mrs R G Thomson, Leeds, beat Mrs Wilson, Chislehurst, 5&4; Mrs Jenkin, Middlesbrough, beat Mrs Tucker, Royal Blackheath, 8&7; Mrs Lee White, Sandown, beat Lady Bell, Roehampton, 4&2.

In April 1939 members of the Ranelagh club entertained the House of Commons golfers. In one of the foursome games Captain Angus V Hambro and Sir John Simon beat the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Frank Bowater, and Robert Behar by 4 and 2. The Ranelagh club won the match by 11 games to 7.

In 1940  and 1947 the green-keeper was E Peters. Revised course records were, amateur Colonel R H Brand 66, and professional Charles Clay 64. The 18 holes now had a SSS of 65. Visitors fees etc as before.

The Barn Elms course can be seen on the Britain From Above link below.

Ranelagh Golf Club, Barnes, London. Location of the former golf course.

Ranelagh golf course location

Ranelagh Golf Club had disappeared by 1951.