Established in 1911, the club has seen many changes as it enters its second century. The land was originally leased to the club by Lord Francis Hope of Deepdene House, whose family had acquired Betchworth Park during the nineteenth century. Mr F.S.Phillips chaired a meeting of 16 gentlemen who promised sufficient financial backing and thus it all began. Harry S Colt was engaged as the course architect, which was an inspired choice, as Mr Colt would go on to design many great courses including Sunningdale and Wentworth. The course itself was opened in September 1913, with a clubhouse that was accessed from Punchbowl Lane, and with a limit of 200 men and 50 lady members.
12th Green, 1920
“Though the beauty of Betchworth has taken on differing aspects through the passage of time, as shown by the new vistas opened up by the great storm of 1987, its prevailing attraction will always be that of a mature parkland in a Wealden setting sheltered by the North Downs. The park has provided pleasure since 1449 and still affords delight to those fortunate to be able to walk its fairways and enjoy its downland and Wealden views, even when the standard of their golf may not match the setting.”
Quote from ‘A History of the Club 1911- 1991’ by Michael Hogan
The first change to the course was made in 1920, when the order in which the holes were played was changed to enable 4 balls to start on the tenth, and this remained until a new clubhouse was opened in 1966. The new clubhouse was positioned to give easy access to three starting and finishing holes, and to be nearer the practice area. Its location near the then seventeenth green meant a re-order of holes and the building of a new par 3 to replace the old seventeenth. Quickly, however, the new 2nd caused problems as those driving on the third had to wait for those putting on the second, so in 1969 a new 2nd was constructed and remains today. This is why there is a ‘spare’ par 3 at Betchworth, a hole that has proved very useful when the present tenth was re-constructed. The most recent change was the introduction of the two nines. In 2001 it was decided, after some considerable debate, to change the order of the holes to allow 2 nines, enabling members to play 9 or 18 holes and also to allow for 27 hole competitions..
17th Green, now putting green
Work on the course continues apace with recent work including a new white tee on the 12th, a new yellow tee on the first, all new tees on the 8th, new tee and green contours on the 10th and numerous areas of improvement including opening up the views of the river Mole on the 16th. It is interesting when viewing the photographs from 1912 during the construction of the course, to note that the river had virtually no trees on its banks at all, and must have afforded delightful views from the 12th green as well as the 15th and 16th fairways. The future holds even more developments for the club, with the purchase of the freehold in 2006, enabling the club to offer golf to all in this beautiful setting for many years to come. The centenary, celebrated in style in 2011, was a fitting celebration of 100 years of golf at this beautiful course.
Harry Colt – This beautiful oil painting was commissioned by Barry Thomson of Betchworth Park Golf Club.
The original was donated to the English Golf Union and this is the only other copy in the uk.