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Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. (1905 - WW2)

It was reported in November 1905 that the chairman of the council would be presiding at the inaugural meeting of the Great Orme Golf Club.

From its formation Mr Harry Parker was honorary secretary until 1918.

The course was originally laid out by John Morris of Hoylake. It was intended that the club should be just a small venture, but within a few weeks there were 40 members, and over 100 in the first year. Lord Mostyn was elected as President, with Mr Jas Haworth as Chairman, Mr W Wood, Treasurer, and Mr H Parker, Hon Sec. The old Telegraph Station on the Orme was used as the clubhouse but this proved to be inadequate. A new hotel was built and the clubhouse formed part of this building from 1908, at which time Sunday play was permitted, and many improvements to the course were carried out under the supervision of the club professional, Tom Shannon. The course closed for the duration of WW1 reopening in 1919 with Lord Mostyn re-elected as President. Great Orme Golf Club proved popular for the next twenty years. A proud boast in 1923 stated that “The Great Orme Hotel adjoins Great Orme golf links which is undoubtedly the finest holiday course in Wales. Hotel entrance is 15 yards from the first tee” With the onset of WW2 the hotel was requisitioned by the RAF and used as a radar station.

Below is the result of a match played at Great Orme against Gwydyr Castle Golf Club (also now defunct) in May 1906.

Great Orme Golf Club   Gwydyr Castle Golf Club  
A Dunphy 0 R B Moulsdale 1
H Parker 1 H E Blackwall 0
C Dunphy 1 H H Smith 0
S Crockett 0 A E Parry 1
H Holt 1 C Cooper-Morris 0
H Crockett 1 E Bickers 0
  4   2

 

 

Secretary

Professional/green-keeper

1906 -1911

Harry Parker, Mostyn Estate Office, Llandudno.

Arthur Joseph (p) 1904-1909 - Tom Shannon (p) 1909 -1911.

1911-1914

H Parker, Great Orme Golf House, Llandudno.

Tom Jones (p) 1911 -1914.

1923 - 1940

H Sutcliffe.

A Shields (g)

1914-1925

 

Herbert A Berry (p)

1925-1927

 

W H Sutton (p)

1927-1940

 Harry Sutcliffe.

William R Stockton (p)

 

Course Records

1906 A Joseph (p) 72.

1923 J Horne (p) score not recorded.

1925 H A Berry (p) 68. E R Cooper and L E Richards (a) 74.

1926 I Smith-Owen (a) 72.

1927 W H Sutton (p) 68. R Morris (a) 69.

 

Article from the World of Golf  June 1906. “Great Orme’s Head, links that are described as follow – An inland course with sound springy turf, 600 feet above sea level, which ebbs and flows immediately beneath, now open to the breeze and anon sheltered from the prevailing winds, the Great Orme will charm any golfer who seeks a sporting round. Some of the short holes are of the kind you want to go back and play over again, and the long holes will permit of a swipe without fear of lost balls. There is one hole called “The Monument.” As a matter of fact, there is no monument, but it would be befitting that there should be one to the man who inspired golf on the Great Orme. Many may claim this distinction, but the one to whom the most credit is due, and from its conception the honorary secretary of the club, is Harry Parker, who has worked indefatigably to assist nature in providing for the ever increasing army of golfers an ideal links. The links can be reached by the Great Orme tram or on foot, the distance from the town being about three quarters of a mile, whichever way of ascent is chosen, the magnificent panorama which stretches before your gaze as you look backwards is unequalled in the British Isles.

The course itself covers close on 160 acres of land, surrounded by a wall seven feet high. It was laid out by John Morris of Hoylake, and has a total length of 5,128 yards, varying in length from 165 yards to 520 yards, plentifully supplied with natural bunkers of almost every description. The bogey is now 82.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Article from World of Golf in June 1906 showing a bunker on the course.

 

First hole, the Paro (267 yards) is one that may possibly strike terror in the heart of a young player, as there are is a large quarry almost facing the tee, which waits to receive any foozled drive, and later a pulled shot will find out of bounds.   

Second hole, St. Tudno (184 yards) may be reached with a drive, but if one overruns the green there are difficulties in store.

Third hole, the Lighthouse (350 yards) may be reached with a good drive and brassy, but a slice will find one in the gorse.

Fourth hole, Hades (440 yards) is well named, as it requires good straight work all through the green.

Fifth hole, Puffin (520 yards) this is the longest hole on the course and affords good brassy work, the danger is being a sliced ball, which will find out of bounds.

Sixth hole, the Rough (210 yards) is a blind hole with a sharp drop onto the green.

Seventh hole, the Long (450 yards) is a fairly open hole, but with plenty of rough ground for any sliced or pulled shots.

Eighth hole, Gogarth (275 yards) being on the top of the hill, makes one very careful, as a mistake here may easily prove fatal.

Ninth hole, the Short (165 yards) requires a straight ball, as a slice will find one over the boundary wall of the course.

Tenth hole, the Farm (320 yards) is made difficult by a quarry to receive a foozled second and gorse for a bad slice.

Eleventh hole, the Town (210 yards) a blind hole with a good hill to drive over. A badly pulled ball will find the quarry.

Twelfth hole, the Valley (200 yards) a good drive across the valley and a nice approach will find the green. A pulled ball will get one into difficulties.

Thirteenth hole, the Monument (360 yards) this is a splendid hole with two large hills guarding the green.

Fourteenth hole, the Circus (338 yards) the danger to be overcome here is the gorse, which will take a badly sliced or pulled ball, and on the far side of the green is a bunker, which a fast approach may run over and find the quarry.  

Fifteenth hole, the Quarry (210 yards) this green is well guarded on the right by the quarry, and if a ball is badly pulled it will find the gorse.

Sixteenth hole, Paradise (250 yards) this is a splendid hole with the green on the slope and an upward approach.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Article from World of Golf in June 1906 showing the 16th green.

 

Seventeenth hole, Punchbowl (160 yards) this is a good iron shot, if one gets on top of the hill the ball will run down on to the green. It is a hole one wishes to play over again.

Eighteenth hole, Summit (240 yards) a good straight drive will overcome the most difficult parts of this hole and will give one a nice approach on to one of the finest greens he ever saw, and it is with regret he finds his way to the clubhouse as he feels that he could go on playing such delightful holes without wishing to participate in any other delights in this world.”

In 1914 there was a membership of 150. The entry fee was £2/2/0 and the subs £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/- a day, 10/- a week and £1/10/0 a month. Sunday play was allowed without caddies.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno. Ladies club button.

Great Orme Golf Club (Ladies) button. Hall marked Birmingham 1913 by Vaughtons. Image courtesy Dixon Pickup.

 

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Pre-WW1 course layout with yardages.

Pre-WW1 course layout with yardages.

 

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Later course layout with yardages.

Later course layout with yardages.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Great Orme Golf Links aerial view.

Aerial view of the Great Orme course.

 

In 1923 the club had a membership of 220. Visitors’ fees were 3/6 a day and 15/- a week.

Below is a description of the course written by Eleanor E Helme.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. From Illustrated Sporting Dramatic News August 1930.

From The Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News August 16th 1930. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Article from The Bystander in September 1937.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Article from The Bystander in September 1937.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Article from The Bystander in September 1937.

Above articles are from The Bystander September 29th 1937. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Personalities photographed above from top left to right - Bertram H Morgan (ex-captain), R Walker (ex-captain), Harry Sutcliffe (secretary). Middle row - H Dunn, J G Willey, G W Thorndill (committee), W H Lester (captain); Bottom row – T McDonald (proprietor), T N Jackson, W R Stockton (professional), A E Evans, H Meredith, E C Agg (longest membership.)

In 1940 the 18-hole course had a SSS of 72 and a membership of 200. Visitors’ fees were, 3/6d a day, 2/6d per afternoon, 1/6d evening, 12/6d a week, 21/- a fortnight and 30/- a month.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno, Conwy. Driving off the first tee.

Driving off the first tee.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno. On the first tee.

Early view of players on the first tee at Great Orme, the clubhouse is in the background.

 

Great Orme Golf Club, Llandudno. The Great Orme Hotel.

Great Orme Hotel with golfers putting on the green.

 

The club did not appear following WW2.

Memories of Great Orme from Frank Bailey. “My mother who was born and bred on the Orme used to watch the well to do men drive up to the summit hotel to play golf. Tom Jones who was the professional at Maesdu for more than 50 years was the assistant professional at Great Orme before WW1. After army service in the Great War he came to Maesdu. I remember him telling me how nice the natural turf on the Orme was to play on. I believe the War Department took over the hotel during WW2 and all public access was denied. The course never re-opened. Many times in the 1950s and 60s I have stood on the summit and looked out over the old course. It was still possible then to pick out the odd tee or green”