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'A great asset to the town': 1922 - Club founders toast the opening of Haywards Heath Golf Links

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 30 May 1922


For some years Haywards Heath has been unable to advertise golf links as one of its features but thanks to the enterprise of Major L. H. G. Stanborough and Mr Horace Finch this default has now been remedied, and in brilliant weather on Saturday the new links, set in picturesque surroundings at High Beeches, off the Ardingly Road, were opened in the presence of a large and represented ingathering of mid Sussex residents.

The Haywards Heath golf club, under which name the latest attraction of the district is named, has not been brought into being without difficulties, but the founders have successfully surmounted all obstacles, and on Saturday they were able to introduce visitors to what should be a favourite haunt of golfers from a wide area. What struck the visitors most was the charmingly situated clubhouse, nestling in a dell in the centre of the links. Not so long ago it was an old farmhouse with the usual barns etc but now it must be one of the best appointed clubhouses in the county.

It was interesting to hear the expressions of delight all the visitors on Saturday as they passed through the hall into the luncheon room, which was once a stable. The old oak beams and supports have been carefully left uncovered and the effect of the White panelling against the dark stained oak is preserved throughout the interior. The windows with their diamond shaped panes are hung with orange coloured curtains, and a large open brick fireplace is in keeping with the rest of the decorations. A large 17th-century barn has been reconstructed as a spacious lounge in the same style, and other accommodation in the main building includes a ladies sitting-room, kitchen, bar, ladies and gentlemen is dressing rooms comma Lockers and usual offices, and there are central heating, Electric light, gas and hot water installations throughout.

Credit for the artistic furnishing of the clubhouse must be given to Mrs Horace Finch and Mrs Stanborough. On the south side of the luncheon room is a veranda overlooking the lawn and some picturesque rock gardens laid out by Mr E. Seaplehorn of Lindfield. Beyond is a pretty woodland dell, now adorned in nature’s most becoming style. A separate building contains the secretaries office, professionals workshop, caddies’ room etc and near by the ground is being prepared for the laying out of tennis courts.

As regards the course itself only nine holes are open for play at present, but the extension to the maximum number is only a question time. The course has been laid out and constructed under the supervision of Major Stanborough, who has considerable experience of this work and the whole course of 18 holes has been designed with a view to making it a first class inland course.

Photography is undulating and there are natural as well as artificial bunkers. The distances any yards of the first nine holes are as follows: 1 344; 2 317; 3 424; 4 374; 5 317; 6 450; 7 278; 8 282; 9 423. From the second green a magnificent view of the Sussex Weald, stretching to the South Downs, is obtainable, and also includes a fine view of the course and clubhouse.

The committee of the club, major and Mrs Stanborough, Mr and Mrs Horace Finch and Mr Frank Finch entertained a small company to luncheon on Saturday in the luncheon room, where the presidents cup occupied a prominent position. Mr S. A. Hermon, of Staplefield, the first president, presided, others present being Lady Gertrude Lawford, major L. H. G. Stanborough (Captain) and Mrs Stanborough, Mr E.B. Lawford, Mr H. A. Ivatt and Mr Horace Finch (Vice Presidents). Mrs S. A. Hermon, Mrs Horace Finch, the Rev W. Johnson Jones and Mrs Johnson Jones, Mr W. T. C. Rust, D.S.O., Mr T. J. Pulling, Mr Frank Finch, Mr M. D. Bannister, and Mr E. A. Pawle (secretary and treasurer). Sir Herbert Morgan, K. B. E. (a vice president) was unavoidably absent. The luncheon was well served by Mrs E. Cole & son.

At its conclusion the chairman, in a brief speech, said he had rather hoped somebody would have proposed the presidents health (laughter) as it would have given him an excuse for a few remarks. He hardly knew how to thank Mr Lawford for the invitation to him to become the first president all that club, and he thought their selection an excellent one. (renewed laughter). He had been captain of three or four golf clubs. He was the first captain of the Lytham and St Anne’s club, he was at once Captain of the Royal Isle of Wight club, and have been five times captain of the Handcross club. He held the office in connection with the last named club because they could not hit on anyone else.. (laughter). But never until that day had he felt the importance of being a president. Mr Hermon said his first introduction to a golf club was on Wimbledon Common when he broke his brothers driver, and the latter gave him a hiding with the broken shaft (laughter). He thought that he would never touch a club again. The game had a strong fascination for him, however, and with three friends he started the Lytham and St Anne’s club. When he left Lancashire 10 years ago they had built a clubhouse costing £10,000 and the number of members had risen to 850. Mr Hermon said he hoped the same success would follow the Haywards Heath club (Hear, hear). He did not think it could be otherwise. The links were beautifully situated and the views from the hill unsurpassed, whist the club buildings gave one the feeling of home. Those who had displayed such taste in bringing the club premises to such perfection deserved the best thanks of the members. (Hear, hear). He was sure Haywards Heath golf club would prove a great asset to the town and that land and houses in the neighbourhood would steadily advance in value. Going back to his Wimbledon days, Mr Hermon remarked that he saw the late Queen Victoria fired the first shot on that common and the bullet went straight to the bull's-eye. He hoped when he drove off the first tee later his ball will go far and sure and prove to be the “fore caddie” of many a game which will bring health and happiness to hundreds of men and ladies in that neighbourhood. (Applause)

Mr Pulling rectified the little omission by proposing the toast of the President, and he coupled with it the name of his cousin, Major Stanborough and Mr Horace Finch, who had made to the club so much different to what it was when he saw it six months ago. It was remarkable what had been accomplished; they now had an exceptionally fine little nine-hole course and il would not be long before it was extended to eighteen holes.

The toast was enthusiastically drunk.

A company of about a hundred, which was continually added to followed the President to the first tee, where he drove the first ball straight and true towards the first green. Mr. Hermon handed the ball to G.H.Stephenson, the club’s professional as a memento of the occasion.

The visitors then interested themselves in an exhibition match over 18 holes between the Club professional and W.H. Wooller the Pycombe Club’s professional.The result was a win for the home player, he doing the double of the course in 74 against his opponent’s 79.

About two hundred guests were entertained to tea in the Club House during the afternoon.

The Club will open every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and there is every facility for meals in the Club house. The Committee desire it to be known that Rule 17, which states that ladies cannot play on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holidays and Competition days, has been considerably modified, and they will now permitted to play on those days provided the course is not crowded.



The fact that in the two years of its existence the Haywards heath golf club has built up a membership of 300 proves that there is a demand for golf in mid Sussex. During this period the members have had to be content with nine holes, but now the full course has been completed and this enlargement should not only give greater pleasure for the existing members, but also attract others and incidentally, new residents to the district.

The club buildings and course which are situated by the North East of Haywards Heath and less then 10 minutes by motor from the railway station make a great appeal to lovers of rural beauty, but their charm is so well known now that it is unnecessary to enlarge on this fact. Sufficient to say that from the new holes the view is one of the most picturesque in mid Sussex

The full course is now 6,092 yards longhand the bogey is 77. The individual holes are as follow: Out 4, 4, 5, 4, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 38. Home 5, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 3, 4, 39. The great interest taken by Mr E. A. Pawle, The Secretary, in the layout and construction has provided the residents of mid Sussex with a golf course equal to many in much larger centres.

The official opening of the 18 holes Took place on Saturday, when the members of the club had the opportunity all seeing the two leading professional golfers in the country Braid and Vardon in action, and it was an education to all who were privileged to be present.

Unfortunately the morning turned out very wet, and the golfers above named had no opportunity ongoing over the course prior to an exhibition match in the afternoon.

The sun made a welcome appearance soon after mid day, and many members arrived from 2 o'clock onwards. There was a large gathering, estimated at upwards of 300, when the match commenced at half past two. Burgess Hill, Cuckfield, Haywards Heath, Lindfield, Ardingly and Balcombe were represented among the spectators. James Braid (Walton Heath), Harry Vardon (Totteridge), H.Risborough (Littlehampton) and G.H. Stephenson (Haywards Heath) engaged in a professional four ball foursome over the 18 holes, and the result was win for Braid and Vardon by four and three. The best ball of the winners was 66 against 68 by the losers. Braid and Vardon played superbly, whilst Risborough and Stephenson also played extremely well and were unlucky at times in their putting. Stephenson gave the impression of being a really first-class golfer.

Braid told our representative that he thought the course was in splendid condition considering the wet weather. The greens were really excellent and he thought Mr Pawle was to be heartily congratulated on what he had done for the course.


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