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Littlehampton Golf Club and Littlehampton Golf Course
Littlehampton Golf Club and Littlehampton Golf Course
Welcome To Littlehampton Golf Club
Details Correct As Of 07/04/2015

Littlehampton Golf Club - Littlehampton
Address    170 Rope Walk
   Riverside West
Town    Littlehampton
Postcode    BN17 5DL
Secretary / Manager    Steven Graham
First Name / Manager    Steven
Telephone    01903 717170
Fax    01903 726629
Club Website Address   www.littlehamptongolf.co.uk
Email Address   lgc@talk21.com
Course Information Line Telephone    01903 717170 x226
Greenkeeper    Jeremy Silitto
Club Professional    Stuart Fallow
Telephone    01903 717170 x225
Fax    01903 726629
Pro's Website Address   www.milesharding.greensidegolfer.com
Pro's Email Address   proshop@littlehamptongolf.co.uk
Club Steward / Manager    James Appleton Head Chef
Telephone    01903 733405
Fax   No Information Given
Number Of Holes    18 Hole
Course Yardage    6258
Par    70
Yardage Markers On Course   yes
Changing Room Facilities   yes
Handicap Certificates Required   no
Driving Range   yes
Soft Spikes Required   no
Society Day(s)     Mon , Tue , Wed , Thur , Fri
Type Of Club    Members
Course Type    Links
Green Fees Weekdays    36.00
Green Fees Weekends    46.50
Green Fees Twilight    18.00 after 4.30pm
Green Fees Junior    15.00
Green Fees Society    28.00 18 holes 40.00
Green Fees Other   No Information Given
Joining Fee    200
7 Day Membership Fee    963
5 Day Membership Fee    n/a
Ladies Membership Fee    see 7 day
Junior Membership Fee    on application dependant on age
Country Membership Fee    620.50 (45 mile radius)
Other Membership Fees    Off Peak membership available
Membership Fee Information   No Information Given
Proshop Available   yes
Club Hire Available   no
Club Repairs Available   yes
Custom Club Fitting Service   yes
Trolley Hire Available   yes
Electric Trolley Repair   no
Buggy Hire Available   yes
Lessons Available   yes
Course Planner Available   yes
Bar Available   yes
Breakfast Available   yes
Lunch Available   yes
Afternoon Tea Available   yes
Dinner Available   yes
Accommodation Available   no
With early records of the Club irretrievably lost, snippets from the local and national press are the only means of establishing the events that led to the founding of the Club and its infancy. In the Clubs Centenary publication, George Seddon remarks that the local papers of 1888 and after are quite informative about the Clubs foundation. The Littlehampton and Arundel edition of "The News" dated 22nd October 1888, carried the following notice:

the Game, who would care to join in the formation
of a Club, would greatly oblige by communicating
who will be happy to afford all information.
Mr Upperton Lear, also a Solicitor, had promoted the idea of forming a Club among his friends and contemporaries and was well supported, especially by others in the legal profession, all of whom realised the potential of having a Golf Links at Littlehampton. Mr Lears initiative led to the following report being published in the issue of the "West Sussex Gazette" dated Thursday, 21st February 1889:

For some time past, Mr R.A. Blagden has been making strenuous efforts to establish a golf course at Littlehampton and there appears to be every prospect that his labours, which have been by no means small, will be rewarded with success. At a meeting held at the Terminus Hotel on Saturday afternoon, the Club was actually formed (i.e. 16th February 1889), about twenty-five members having enrolled themselves. The old rifle range, on the west side of the river, has been secured for the ground and experienced players are of the opinion it can be made most suitable. The annual subscription is fixed at one guinea, and the entrance fee is to be two guineas. Amongst those who have already joined are His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, Earl March and Lord Walter Gordon-Lennox. A provisional committee has been formed including Messrs U. Lear, A. Constable, H.E. Harris, Osborne and Moston with Mr Blagden as Hon. Secretary. Another meeting is to be held on the 2nd prox.

The Committee was formed with the following members:

The Duke of Norfolk

To be elected

Rev G Moor, A J Constable, U Lear, H E Harris, G B Robinson

Hon Sec
Richard A Blagden

Rowland Jones

Following the incorporation of the Club on Saturday, 16th February 1889, it was stated in the 7th March 1889 issue of the "West Sussex Gazette" that the Littlehampton Golf Club was now an accomplished fact. A reason for the speed with which this occurred could be attributed to the fact that the popularity of golf was partly due to satisfying the Late Victorian passion for open-air exercise, which unlike the enthusiasm for bicycling, combined skill and competition too.

Several more members joined and a 9-hole course was quickly laid out. So quickly, indeed, that the first medal competition was played for only a few weeks later on 2nd May 1889. It was won by Mr Osborne with scores of 44 and 45 = 89 (almost certainly after handicap had been deducted). It should be realised that that laying out a course in the 1880s and 1890s was a comparatively easy task. It should also be remembered that the Rules, such as they were, stated that the tee shot to the next hole should be played from "a position one clubs length away from the hole just completed." Indeed, often the sand used for teeing the ball was scraped out of the hole itself. With such casual and primitive arrangements it is not surprising that 9 holes could be laid out so quickly.

New golf courses were being laid out all over the country, a major reason being the ease and frequency of rail travel, with so many more local lines and nearly every small town and village having its station or halt. At this time, Littlehamptons railway station was at Lyminster and, as yet, there was no bridge across the river to Littlehampton.

When the early Clubs in England were formed, many landowners were impressive in their generosity as they appeared to either hand over their land free, or to charge only a peppercorn rent. The reason must be that land was cheap, many owned thousands of unused acres and the patrician benevolence of some landlords to the gentry did the rest. It was understood that only the local gentry, with the addition of their friends from London, would be accepted as members of the Club. This social barrier was marked in that the Professional and Greenkeeper, very often one and the same man, were the servants of members and in no way to be considered equals. At Littlehampton, although he was listed as a member of the committee, he was not recognised as such and would certainly not have attended any meetings. His name was useful if he was a good golfer and could add kudos to the Clubs reputation. This attitude to Professionals has really only changed since the Second World War.

The first three courses in Sussex were Royal Eastbourne, Brighton & Hove and Seaford (East Blatchington) in 1887; followed by Royal Ashdown Forest in 1888. Littlehampton can claim to be fifth in 1889; it also had an unusual, if not unique, feature. The only direct route from Littlehampton Town to the Club Room and first tee was by ferry across the River Arun. This remained the only access route until Henry, 15th Duke of Norfolk, opened the Swing Bridge on 7th August 1908. At the opening ceremony, the Duke was accompanied, amongst others, by Mr Upperton Lear and Mr Neville Edwards, both prominent members of the Golf Club. Neville Edwards was made Chairman of the Littlehampton Urban District Council Bridge Committee in 1903 and was the main driving force in steering the project through both Houses of Parliament, since an Act of Parliament was required to build a bridge. The bridge was toll-operated and produced much-needed revenue for the Council.

Two boatmen, "Jimmy" and "Peachey" had their own "rowing boat ferry" that operated from Pier Road to the Golf Club. The charge for this service was one penny single and tuppence return - somewhat cheaper than the toll over the Swing Bridge. Fortunately, with the "drain-pipe" golf bags, which had only just been introduced and which normally carried no more than four or five clubs, and unencumbered by any bad-weather extra clothing as all played in normal daily attire, more golfers could cross at one time. It must have been arduous rowing the clinker-built boat across Englands second fastest flowing river with fourteen passengers, six aside and perhaps to "Trim the ship", two in the bows.

Writing in the Clubs official handbook in 1932, Robert H.K. Browning described Littlehampton as being "a links of the true seaside type, but when it was first laid out, as long ago as the beginning of 1889, it was by no means entirely so". The original course consisted of nine holes, with the Club Room, a large hut positioned near the north-eastern part of the Fort. The Rifle Butt, which was on the sea-side of the original 2nd hole, now has to be encountered when driving off at our present 9th hole.

Sometime in 1893, it was decided to turn the 9-hole course into 18 holes. The 1st hole would start close to the new Club House, which was due to be built the next year. The original 18-hole course consisted of "an enjoyable, but tricky outward half played amongst the sandhills, but lacked interest and vitality on the homeward half in the marsh country that lies further inland." Later, however, the course was considerably improved by the taking in of fresh ground in the "tiger country" at the further end. The existing holes were lengthened and the bunkering "tightened up" by Messrs Hawtree and J.H.Taylor, Ltd. "And although there are even now two, or perhaps three, holes near the finish that lie in the marshland, there is not a weak or commonplace hole in the round."

For a long time while golf was burgeoning all over the country, the best and most experienced professional golfers were called in to advise on laying out new or altering existing courses. Among them were Tom Morris Snr., Willie Park Jnr., James Braid and J.H. Taylor. The Dunn brothers, Harry Vardon and later Alex Herd and Tom Williamson were also in demand. However, it has been established that when one of the first Golf Architects, F.G. Hawtree (1883-1955), took J.H. Taylor into partnership in the early 1920s, one of their first assignments was to alter nine holes at Littlehampton.

Robert H.K. Browning remarks that "in one respect the situation of Littlehampton is almost unique. The majority of the courses laid out in sandhill country have an air of remoteness and even of desolation, but Littlehampton has a pleasant nautical aspect that serves to remind us that the town is still a minor seaport, though it has lost something of the glory that it possessed in the days when the Earl of Arundel landed his prisoners here after the Battle of Crecy, and when eighty captured French vessels lay in the harbour at one time.

On the coast of Sussex we find many seaside resorts, some large and well known, and some smaller and in many respects more delightful in their naturalness. Littlehampton comes under the latter description and here we find a place of wide-open spaces, woods, river and harbour, and a vast expanse of golden sands."

In the distant past, it was from the top of the steps that led to the previous Club House that an entrancing panorama of shingle, sand and sea could be viewed. Now, the previous Club House is no more, but views of such can be seen from many of the tees of the holes that skirt the sand dunes.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Littlehampton became very much the invasion coast, both from the sea and onshore. "Along with many other courses, Littlehampton bore the scars of war, and to get the links into playing order, over 400 concrete blocks had to be removed, tank and lorry ruts filled and made smooth, greens re-laid and a military road made into a fairway, with the result that £10,000 had to be spent putting the links in order.

"Littlehampton Golf Course has enjoyed the visits of many notable players (including royalty), and although it suffered its trials and tribulations during the war, the Course is now playing well, providing a first-class test of golf without being too severe on the average player." Thus was how the Official Handbook of the Littlehampton Golf Club described things in 1965.

In his book, "Play The Best Courses Great Golf in the British Isles", published in 1973, Sir Peter Allen pitches the entry for Littlehampton between that of Royal Eastbourne and Hayling. Sir Peter describes the course at Littlehampton as being "bounded on its eastern side by the estuary of the River Arun and its yacht harbour, and along its southern flank by a line of dunes which effectively shut off all view of the sea and the fine wide sands on the shore.

He went on to describe the first view of the links as being like that of Hoylake, "a flat piece of grassland with its parallel mown fairways, grassy rough and a few greens, and away in the distance a line of sandhills which hold out more promise. And, as at Hoylake, the holes in or near the sandhills are certainly the more attractive while the holes in the meadows are long and tough but not easy to distinguish.

The club is of a good age, going back to the 1880s, but the course has been altered a good deal since its founding, first by the architects Hawtree and Taylor, whose trade marks, as at the Royal Mid-Surrey, are there for all to see in numerous contrived humps along the fairways and around the greens, with or without sand at their base.

The par is 70, but if anyone thinks that this course will give you a flattering score, he should consult the honours board in the clubhouse. Incidentally, these honours boards are often interesting and useful sources of facts about a course and club. Tragically, these and so much archive material was lost when the previous clubhouse was destroyed by fire on 18th June 1985.

Being a Club that is over 100 years old is not all about looking back. It is more about building on our past and heading into a better future. Many changes have occurred in the Clubs history, principally due to evolution rather than revolution.

No Course Reviews On File - Please Add One
Seaside links. 18 holes, 6258 yards. S.S.S. 70. Course designed by Hawtree, founded in 1889.

The only links course in West Sussex and fifth oldest (1889).

Amateur Course Record Holder Wayne Hawes (61) & Professional Course Record Holder Jamie Harris (61)

Littlehampton Golf Club - Littlehampton Spring 2011 Special Weekday Offer - Brunch and Green Fee for £36.00 per person - subject to availability.
Please contact Professional, Stuart Fallow, on 01903 717170 x225 for availability.

Society Green Fees from £28.00 (18 holes) & £40.00 (36 holes)

Twilight fee after 4.30 p.m. £18.00

County Cards welcome @ £25.00 per round

Membership currently includes reciprocal arrangements with seven other golf clubs - conditions apply.
Leave A259 one mile west of Littlehampton at signpost for beach and Littlehampton Marina. Approx 1/2m west of Tesco Superstore.
Local Ads Here
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