Crews Hill Golf Club 1913-1950
A golfer standing eagerly on the first tee is unlikely to be considering the history of the course that confronts them. As you come off the 18th green after battling with bumps, hollows, furrows, trees and streams you may well have varied thoughts about the course you have just played. Standing on the balcony of the now well appointed Clubhouse and looking west into the setting sun you may just wonder how the "jewel" of a course you played came about
Consider then the thoughts of the seven founder members of the club who in 1913 stood on the muddy footpath that still divides the course. They had previously endeavoured to construct a course in nearby Cuffley but had failed. Could these intrepid men hold their dreams and afford to start again?. Would it be worth it and could they attract a membership?. We know little of the golfing skills of these men nor about their status in the community nor their finances. We do know that with decisiveness they persevered.
They first asked Harry Vardon, a very senior professional then at South Herts Golf Club for his opinion on the land they had founded and he replied in glowing terms. They then took a lease on the land from Trinity College, Cambridge at £200 p.a. for 5 years and somehow they managed to obtain the services of Harry Shapland Colt, then the Secretary of Sunningdale Golf Club who was already a world renowned golf architect, to provide them with a design and to supervise the works
The result was a course that utilised all the natural attributes of the land with the minimum of earth moving construction given that there would be no mechanical equipment available.
How much Mr Colt was paid or the overall cost of the works we do not know but their perseverance at a time when the Great War was raging says much for their courage.
The founders carried much of their expenditure into the 1920's by which time they had attracted enough members to form a Club and they were then able to recoup their costs and sit back and allow an elected Committee to drive the project onwards.
The layout of the course has little changed since completion in 1922 but the predominate gorse has given way to tree lined fairways and the finer grasses- the product of grazing, have been overtaken by a courser grass. Modern cultivators have however allowed the Head Greenkeeper to produce magnificent greens.
Charles Whitcombe and the Ryder Cup
The clubs first Professional was Mr E.A Hooker about whom we know little. Then in 1925 the Club was able to appoint Mr Charles Whitcombe one of three well known Professional golfing brothers to the course. Charles still holds the course record 59 to this date. His card is shown in the gallery below.
Charles would go on to represent England in three Ryder Cups and to be Captain of the PGA in 1936. His close relationship with Abe Mitchell at nearby Verulam Golf Club enabled the Club to appoint Abe's son Len Mitchell on Charles retirement in 1950 maintaining Crews Hill Golf Club on the golfing map.