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The remarkable story of Hampstead Golf Club stretches back over more than a century and a quarter, from a small, hopeful band of enthusiasts developing an empty plot of heathland to a thriving, 500-member modern-day club with a renowned course and an outstanding reputation throughout London and beyond. It’s a story worth reading…

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The sloping northern edges of Hampstead Heath – where HGC now sits – was common land owned by the church for hundreds of years before, in the late 1800s. A small group of golfers began playing there informally, cutting out a few holes into the land for their pleasure. In fact, there are reports of golf being played on the Heath as early as the 1870s. So when, as the end of the century approached and golfing was completely banned in this part of London’s heathland as “a menace to other users”, a group of regular players decided that a proper golf course was needed.

The 1890's

In 1893, HGC course designer Tom Dunn began laying out the original nine holes on a near-undeveloped part of Hampstead Heath using 38 acres leased from the church commission. The land, known as Spaniards Farm (named after the nearby Spaniards Inn), was situated between two woodland areas, Turner’s Wood and Bishop’s Wood and membership was limited initially to 125 golfers.

 

Tom Dunn was a fine golfer who had finished 6th in the 1868 Open Championship – Tom Morris Jr & Tom Morris Sr finished 1st and 2nd. HGC’s Tom was part of a famous Scottish golfing family from Musselburgh – father Willie Sr was a prominent golfer/greenkeeper and brother Willie Jr was runner-up in the inaugural US Open of 1895. Tom was also a renowned teacher and gave golf lessons to Britain’s Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in the early 1900s.

 

Once completed, HGC became – and continues to be – the nearest golf course to the centre of London, 5.5 miles from the statue of Charles I near Trafalgar Square.

 

The original 1st tee was over 100 yards away from today’s location – it was situated where Winnington Road (which did not exist at this time) would later meet Hampstead Lane. The 2nd ran close to parallel to where the current 1st is now played, while the 3rd and 4th were much the same as the modern-day 2nd and 3rd holes. Golfers used the Spaniards Inn (built in the 1580s and known as a haunt of the highwayman Dick Turpin) as their changing rooms.

 

An 1894 map of the HGC course shows both the original 1st and 2nd holes laid out on the east side of what would later become Winnington Road, while a 1903 course guide said that “hazards are hedges, ponds and bunkers”. (click here for the 1894 map)

 

On 9th June 1894, the first HGC captain – Francis Hoare, a member of the famous London-based banking family – led the club’s first official meeting along with a handicap competition won by John George Glover with a net score of 102. Glover’s prize was two guineas (£2.10).

 

Also in 1894, James Govan came from St Andrews to become HGC’s first golf professional; his duties described as “Groundsman, Club Maker and Mender, and Coach”. Govan stayed at HGC for five years before emigrating to the Philadelphia area of America. He took the job of construction foreman and then first pro at the renowned Pine Valley Golf Club, rated by some experts as the best course in the world.

 

James Govan made many golf clubs in his workshop on the site of the Club. One of his wooden drivers remains on display in the clubhouse today.

 

Church commissioners offered HGC members extra land to construct an 18-hole course in October 1895. Four adjoining fields of about 50 acres were available at a £150 annual rent. But plans for a course extension fell through, probably because the Club failed to double its current membership of 150 and so could not fund the project.

 

1895 – The Hampstead Ladies Golf Club was founded with as many as 50 members quickly signing up. The first ladies captain was Mrs W Scrimgeour. Her husband – wealthy stockbroker and founding HGC member Walter – donated a trophy that same year, The Scrimgeour Cup, that is the oldest in the Club’s history and is still contested annually as a competition for winners of the men’s monthly medals over a 12-month period.

The 1890's

In 1893, HGC course designer Tom Dunn began laying out the original nine holes on a near-undeveloped part of Hampstead Heath using 38 acres leased from the church commission. The land, known as Spaniards Farm (named after the nearby Spaniards Inn), was situated between two woodland areas, Turner’s Wood and Bishop’s Wood and membership was limited initially to 125 golfers.

 

Tom Dunn was a fine golfer who had finished 6th in the 1868 Open Championship – Tom Morris Jr & Tom Morris Sr finished 1st and 2nd. HGC’s Tom was part of a famous Scottish golfing family from Musselburgh – father Willie Sr was a prominent golfer/greenkeeper and brother Willie Jr was runner-up in the inaugural US Open of 1895. Tom was also a renowned teacher and gave golf lessons to Britain’s Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in the early 1900s.

 

Once completed, HGC became – and continues to be – the nearest golf course to the centre of London, 5.5 miles from the statue of Charles I near Trafalgar Square.

 

The original 1st tee was over 100 yards away from today’s location – it was situated where Winnington Road (which did not exist at this time) would later meet Hampstead Lane. The 2nd ran close to parallel to where the current 1st is now played, while the 3rd and 4th were much the same as the modern-day 2nd and 3rd holes. Golfers used the Spaniards Inn (built in the 1580s and known as a haunt of the highwayman Dick Turpin) as their changing rooms.

 

An 1894 map of the HGC course shows both the original 1st and 2nd holes laid out on the east side of what would later become Winnington Road, while a 1903 course guide said that “hazards are hedges, ponds and bunkers”. (click here for the 1894 map)

 

On 9th June 1894, the first HGC captain – Francis Hoare, a member of the famous London-based banking family – led the club’s first official meeting along with a handicap competition won by John George Glover with a net score of 102. Glover’s prize was two guineas (£2.10).

 

Also in 1894, James Govan came from St Andrews to become HGC’s first golf professional; his duties described as “Groundsman, Club Maker and Mender, and Coach”. Govan stayed at HGC for five years before emigrating to the Philadelphia area of America. He took the job of construction foreman and then first pro at the renowned Pine Valley Golf Club, rated by some experts as the best course in the world.

 

James Govan made many golf clubs in his workshop on the site of the Club. One of his wooden drivers remains on display in the clubhouse today.

 

Church commissioners offered HGC members extra land to construct an 18-hole course in October 1895. Four adjoining fields of about 50 acres were available at a £150 annual rent. But plans for a course extension fell through, probably because the Club failed to double its current membership of 150 and so could not fund the project.

 

1895 – The Hampstead Ladies Golf Club was founded with as many as 50 members quickly signing up. The first ladies captain was Mrs W Scrimgeour. Her husband – wealthy stockbroker and founding HGC member Walter – donated a trophy that same year, The Scrimgeour Cup, that is the oldest in the Club’s history and is still contested annually as a competition for winners of the men’s monthly medals over a 12-month period.

The 1890's

In 1893, HGC course designer Tom Dunn began laying out the original nine holes on a near-undeveloped part of Hampstead Heath using 38 acres leased from the church commission. The land, known as Spaniards Farm (named after the nearby Spaniards Inn), was situated between two woodland areas, Turner’s Wood and Bishop’s Wood and membership was limited initially to 125 golfers.

 

Tom Dunn was a fine golfer who had finished 6th in the 1868 Open Championship – Tom Morris Jr & Tom Morris Sr finished 1st and 2nd. HGC’s Tom was part of a famous Scottish golfing family from Musselburgh – father Willie Sr was a prominent golfer/greenkeeper and brother Willie Jr was runner-up in the inaugural US Open of 1895. Tom was also a renowned teacher and gave golf lessons to Britain’s Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in the early 1900s.

 

Once completed, HGC became – and continues to be – the nearest golf course to the centre of London, 5.5 miles from the statue of Charles I near Trafalgar Square.

 

The original 1st tee was over 100 yards away from today’s location – it was situated where Winnington Road (which did not exist at this time) would later meet Hampstead Lane. The 2nd ran close to parallel to where the current 1st is now played, while the 3rd and 4th were much the same as the modern-day 2nd and 3rd holes. Golfers used the Spaniards Inn (built in the 1580s and known as a haunt of the highwayman Dick Turpin) as their changing rooms.

 

An 1894 map of the HGC course shows both the original 1st and 2nd holes laid out on the east side of what would later become Winnington Road, while a 1903 course guide said that “hazards are hedges, ponds and bunkers”. (click here for the 1894 map)

 

On 9th June 1894, the first HGC captain – Francis Hoare, a member of the famous London-based banking family – led the club’s first official meeting along with a handicap competition won by John George Glover with a net score of 102. Glover’s prize was two guineas (£2.10).

 

Also in 1894, James Govan came from St Andrews to become HGC’s first golf professional; his duties described as “Groundsman, Club Maker and Mender, and Coach”. Govan stayed at HGC for five years before emigrating to the Philadelphia area of America. He took the job of construction foreman and then first pro at the renowned Pine Valley Golf Club, rated by some experts as the best course in the world.

 

James Govan made many golf clubs in his workshop on the site of the Club. One of his wooden drivers remains on display in the clubhouse today.

 

Church commissioners offered HGC members extra land to construct an 18-hole course in October 1895. Four adjoining fields of about 50 acres were available at a £150 annual rent. But plans for a course extension fell through, probably because the Club failed to double its current membership of 150 and so could not fund the project.

 

1895 – The Hampstead Ladies Golf Club was founded with as many as 50 members quickly signing up. The first ladies captain was Mrs W Scrimgeour. Her husband – wealthy stockbroker and founding HGC member Walter – donated a trophy that same year, The Scrimgeour Cup, that is the oldest in the Club’s history and is still contested annually as a competition for winners of the men’s monthly medals over a 12-month period.

PLEASE NOTE –
the club is open for golf from Wednesday 2 December.

Unfortunately no visitor green fees will be permitted. 

Winter Rules are now in operation.