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Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. (1902 - WW2)

The club was founded in 1902.

The original 9-hole course was situated on Slonk Hill Downs, a further nine-holes were added and a clubhouse was built shortly after opening. The course was requisitioned by the forces and used as a military camp during WW1. The course was devastated and it was impossible for golf to be played over the old course following the war.

Extract from a report that appeared in the Worthing Gazette Wednesday 19th November 1902. “It was known that a club was recently established at Shoreham and a representative of the Gazette went to investigate, and the result of his enquiries was eminently satisfactory. Saturday afternoon was chosen for the purpose, the links we were told, were to be found on the Downs. On arrival our representative immediately met Mr R B Dell, jun., the hon. secretary of the club, and all the necessary information was then available. It seems that Mr Dell had been in the habit of using the ground for his own pleasure, and, very properly to diffuse the pleasure to the greatest possible extent, he invited his friends to join him. The outcome is seen today in the vigorous existence of “The Southdown Golf Club, founded in June 1902.” Active operations have proceeded for about three months past and the membership is now considerably more than a hundred, there is to be a limit of 200. The officials; President, H Head, J.P; vice-presidents – H Bridger, Mr Forrester Britten, Sir Merrick R Burrell, Mr Wildman Cattley, R B Dell, G A Flowers, Hugh Gorringe, Major T B Gates, the Duke of Norfolk, E W Sim, Lord Henry Thynne; captain, Colonel O Cavenagh; hon. secretary – R B Dell, jun., Brighton House, Shoreham; hon. treasurer, E Cripps; committee – C A Baker, H J Burt, J E Dell, H Flowers, F J Frank, A G White, Major W R Pritckett, J W C Langfield, T I Gates, G Head. The entrance fee for ordinary members is two guineas and the annual subs two guineas and ladies one guinea and one guinea.

The nine-hole course now in use is on the portion of the Downs on Buckingham Hill, the full course of eighteen-holes is on the point of completion on land on Slonk Hill. The ground has been laid out by J H Taylor, the golfing champion, who speaks of it in the highest terms. The complete course extends over more than three miles and the situation and suitability are admirable. To negotiate the complete course a little hill climbing has to be undertaken. The turf is magnificent throughout. For the moment the actual accommodation, apart from the links, is very primitive, but hundreds of pounds are to be spent in the erection of a pavilion and clubhouse, and, once in possession of such a building, the pinnacle of the golfer’s happiness will surely be attained.”      


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. The early clubhouse.

Above the pre-WW1 Southdown Golf Club clubhouse. Image courtesy of


On Saturday 27th January 1904, Prime Minister, Arthur J Balfour, visited the Southdown Links. He was accompanied by Lord Stanley, M.P., Mrs Arthur Sassoon and Miss Kenyon-Stow and played a foursome. Mr Balfour and his partner won the match on the last green.

On Wednesday 20th April 1904 Golf Champions J H Taylor (Mid Surrey) and James Braid (Romford) met in a 36-hole match play competition on the Southdown course, Taylor won the match 3&2.

In August 1904 David Cuthbert junior of St Andrews was appointed Professional at Southdown. Whilst at St Andrews Cuthbert had worked for Old Tom Morris as a club-maker.

The following is from the 1905 Nisbet's Golf Yearbook; Membership 300; hon. secretary, R B Dell jnr., Erringham Lodge, Shoreham; captain, Major W R Prickett; professional, N Kettley; Entrance Fee, £3/3s and subs, £3/3s; 18 holes; professional record, J H Taylor, 74; amateur record, R B Dell jnr., 79; terms for visitors, 2/6 a day, 10/- a week and £1/10s a month.

Result of the December 1908 medal; Senior - J E Dell, 3down; Junior - J W Parker, 4down.

In 1909/10 the secretary was R B Dell jnr. The professionals were P Wake and C Johns. Amateur course record; D F S Smith, 72. Bogey score was 78. Entry fee was £3/3s and subs £3/3s. Visitors' fees 2s/6d a day. Good downland course, kept in fine order, all greens well guarded.  

Competition results from August 1911; monthly medal; Senior - V S Carter, 75 net; Junior - L Jones, 70 net; monthly bogey; Senior - F D Thorogood and V S Carter tied at 4down; Junior - S Barnes, 1down.

Below is the result of a home match played by the Southdown Ladies' against Crowborough in June 1913. 

Southdown Ladies   Crowborough Ladies  
Mrs J E Dell 0 Miss M E Stuart 1
Miss A Stanier 0 Hon. Mrs O Scott 1
Miss Bird 1 Mrs Kirlew 0
Mrs Vowell 1 Miss Hulme 0
Mrs Lloyd 0 Mrs Jacson 1
Miss V Stanier 0 Mrs Cordy 1
  2   4

In 1913/4 the secretary was Walter Cook and the professional J Johns. The 18-hole course measured over 5,280 yards and was laid out on best down turf. It was stated at the time to be essentially for the use of wooden clubs. A tight course with good fairways were accurate play was necessary. All greens were well guarded and the course was an excellent test of golf.  The greens were stated to “provide an object lesson in green keeping” There was a membership of 200 gentlemen and 75 ladies. Entry fees for gents were £3/3/0 and Ladies £2/2/0. Subs for gents £3/3/0 and ladies £2/2/0. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 10/- a week, £1/10/0 first the month £1 afterwards. Sunday play was allowed without caddies. The station at Shoreham-by-Sea was 1 mile away.

The March 1914 senior monthly medal was won by D F S Smith, 72 gross; junior medal W D Mellersh, 94-14-80. 

In August 1914 the eclectic competition was won by C Burt Brill.

It was reported in October 1914 that 25,000 troops were encamped on the course with the clubhouse being used as an officers mess. Huts were in the process of being erected, and the peaceful village will soon be a kind of downland Aldershot. 

It was not until the 1930s that Shoreham Golf Club re-appeared. A new site was acquired and an 18-hole course was laid out, it was reputed that an old Coaching Inn at Erringham Farm was used as the clubhouse. 


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. The clubhouse in the 1930s.

The Southdown clubhouse in the 1930s. Image courtesy of John Kilshaw.


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. Course layout 1930s.

Plan of the 1930s course. Thanks to John Kilshaw for supplying and allowing us to use the above image.


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. Scorecard and hole description.

Scorecard for the 1930s course. Image courtesy of John Kilshaw.


From the mid 1930s to its disappearance the course was located to the north of Shoreham between Erringham Farm and Beeding Hill. The secretary was H Hughes OBE. The professional was A D Thomson and the greenkeeper W R Grinyer. An 18 hole course with a SSS and Par of 76 and a membership of 270. Course records, amateur Miss Enid Wilson 79, professional Abe Mitchell 70. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, weekends 3/6 a round and 5/- a day. The station was 2 miles from the course.

In October 1935 the winner of the captain's (H E Brown) competition was F Sleigh, 100-21-79, runner-up S Cooper, 96-15-81.


Southdown Golf Club, Sussex. Opening of the course in 1935.


Southdown Golf Club, Sussex. Opening of the course in 1935.


Southdown Golf Club, Sussex. Opening of the course in 1935.


Southdown Golf Club, Sussex. Opening of the course in 1935.

Above images from The Bystander October 2nd 1935. Image © Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Results from the Whitsun meeting in May 1936; Capel Morris Bowl (36-holes) - W Lynn, 74+74=148; H J Paffard, 78+71=149; J Lucking, 77+77=154; J Miller, 78+76=154; Major F Sleigh, 83+74=157; G F Swales, 89+72=161; S Cooper, 84+77=161; Stableford Competition - S Cooper, (19,) 36 points; Lt.-Col. C B Camberlege (9) 32; Major P Sleigh (17) 32; W Lynn (12) 30; R J M Christie (24) 30; Com. J M Gordon (13) 28; A W Reeve (19) 26; Ladies' Monthly Medal - Mrs Z Brown, 108-31-77; Mrs G Purves, 111-33-78; Mrs E Sylvester, 90-12-78; Mrs G Stephenson, 95-15-80; Miss D E Norman, 104-23-81; Mrs M Reeve, 117-36-81; Mrs E Wise, 119-36-83; Mrs A B Duke, 119-36-83; Miss C M Harnett, 101-17-84; Mrs Dudeney, 109-24-85; Mrs K Batten, 125-36-89; Mrs M Braybon, 134-36-98.

Result of the Ladies' July 1937 medal; Mrs Z Brown, 101-30-71; Mrs G Purves, 108-33-75; Miss J E Brown, 108-33-75; Mrs E Herbert, 112-3-82; Mrs P Porter, 121-36-85; Mrs K Batten, 123-33-90; Miss J Tritton, 106-14-92.

Result of a match played at Hollingbury Park in September 1937.

Hollingbury Park Golf Club   Southdown Golf Club  
H H Ridge and F B Brodie 0 Lt.-Col. C B Cumberlege (captain) and S Watts 1
J H Heath and C A Riordan 0 W M Hodgkinson and H J Pafford 1
F C Carter and R E Fairman 1 R J Messent and A W Reeve 0
K G Trevet and E Perrin 1 F E Batten and W Batten 0
  2   2

Result of the Stableford competition played in February 1938; L E Thompson (20,) 38 points; W M Hodgkinson (9) 34; A F Holloway (22) 33; Com. L M Gordon (11) 32; S J Williams (24) 32; J Lucking (17) 31; A W Nye (21) 31; S Cooper (10) 30; J H Ross (22) 30; P E Batten (12) 27; R J Messent (14) 26.

On Sunday 18th November 1939 the Captain's Prize and and Club Championship were played. The Championship was won by M de J. Creswick with a score of 68. The Captain's Prize was won by A D Croydon, 92-18-74. 

It was reported in July 1942 that for some time the Worthing Golf Club had invited the members of the Southdown club the courtesy of their course. The Southdown course was given over for the war effort during WW2, the course was obliterated by tank exercises and the clubhouse was used for target practice.

In December 1947 Harold Ellman-Brown, secretary of the Southdown club, said that the clubhouse had just been derequisitioned and was subject to restoration by the Army.

The Southdown members continued to play golf on a society basis on local courses until the mid 1950s.

The club continued to be recorded in the Golfer's Handbook into the 1950s but the Southdown Golf Club course never re-opened following WW2.

Thanks to John Kilshaw for his help with the Southdown Golf Club research and confirming the closure date of the later course. 


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. The golf course on Slonk Hill.

Course location on Slonk Hill. Grid reference TQ22300,06805, co-ordinates 522300,106805.


Southdown Golf Club, Shoreham-by-Sea. The golf course at Erringham.

Location of the later course at Erringham. Grid reference TQ21585,08410, co-ordinates 521585,108410.


The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the later course at Erringham.