Bramley Golf Club
A brief look at the last 100 years
The club was founded in 1913 by local landowner and owner of Bramley Grange, Lt. Colonel Fox Webster. He commissioned Charles Mayo, the Professional at Burhill Golf Club in Weybridge to design and construct the course at Gosden Hill. Colonel Webster leased the land on generous terms to the newly formed limited company consisting of well known local residents. A spacious and handsome clubhouse is erected (sketch below) and the opening of the course is fixed for August 1914.
With the outbreak of the First World War the official opening of the Club is postponed. Not surprising in itself, but obvious when revealed the guest of honour, was to be none other than, the German Crown Prince! To this day the Club has not been officially opened.
WW1 naturally had a huge impact on the establishment and maintenance of membership levels, ultimately resulting in the Club being wound up in 1918, as recorded in the London Gazette on 30th August. As a result of the Great War, three of the holes were turned over for food production. The benevolent Colonel Webster then steps in and becomes the proprietor with the old shareholders being elected life-members of the Club ensuring the Club and its land remains as a Golf Club. This marked the beginning of a new era of prosperity for Bramley and steady progress was made through the roaring twenties so much so that the Club was able once again to take over the course.
Mr J Crosbie, who had been secretary of the club for 10 years, is presented by members with a grandfather clock and an illuminated book recording all the members who had subscribed to the gift. Over £120 had been raised, a considerable sum in the 1920s. The clock stands in the main bar today and the illuminated book remains part of the club's limited historical artefacts still in its possession.
An exhibition match is held between Bramley's famous Faulkners: Father Gus and son Max - together with Percy Allis (father of famous TV commentator Peter Alliss) and Bert Hodson.
Gus Faulkner was the Club Pro at Bramley from 1929 to 1939, and in 1931, son Max, aged 15, won a Junior tournament at Bramley by 15 strokes with a score of 68, signalling his talent. Later that year, Gus wangled his son a place in The Open Championship at Royal St Georges, but he sadly missed the cut. Twenty years later, in the summer of 1951, he achieved the dream, and won The Open Championship at Royal Portrush and is still today the only member of Bramley Golf Club that has gone on to win The Open.
The course was remodelled in 1935 by the resident Professional at Walton Heath Golf Club, 5 times Open Champion and now world-renowned golf course architect, James Braid, pictured above. Braid along with J. H. Taylor and Harry Vardon (the "Great Triumvirate") dominated competitive golf during the first two decades of the 20th Century. Braid wrote about golf course design as early as 1902, but it was not until after his active competitive days that he devoted his time to course architecture.
The layout of holes 12 (today's 8th); 13 (today's 14th); 16 & 17 were revised and updated by Braid. The shortening of the 12th, which was some 500 yards long, running from the current 8th tees down to the current 16th green, was heralded as a great improvement. A further two holes were considerably lengthened, which are difficult to relate to the current layout but roughly occupied the area of the current 9th and 13th. The significant construction works were undertaken by well known golf course constructors Messrs. Franks Harris, the Managing Director who became a member of the Club in the mid 1960s.
In addition to the work on the course, the Clubhouse was extended at around this time to provide a new lounge, bar and men's smoking room.
The large depression on the left hand side of the 6th fairway, just in front of the greenside bunkers, is formed by a German bomb dropped indiscriminately by an enemy bomber returning from a raid on London.
Former Bramley GC Junior Member Max Faulkner wins The Open Championship at Royal Portrush GC in Northern Ireland
An exhibition match is held with Open Champion Bobby Locke, Club Professional Wilfred Henry and local professionals Alf Padgham and Ken Bousfield.
Another exhibition match. This time with Bramley's Open Champion Max Faulkner, this time playing with John Sharkey (Club Professional) against Ryder Cup Players Neil Coles and John Jacobs. Faulkner and Sharkey as the "Bramley Boys" shared a half with Coles and Jacobs. By now, the course layout had changed further. The match was the inaugural game to open the new layout which included the new 12th hole, 35 new bunkers and a re-ordering of the back nine.
The members purchased the freehold of the course and clubhouse by raising funds from a members' levy, or interest free loan. The amount was £58,000 and secured the future of the golf club for its members.
By now a covered 8-bay driving range was much in use by the members. Fairway watering was installed throughout the golf course and strategic water hazards were built to act as holding reservoirs.
Major refurbishment of the clubhouse is completed, and is opened by Jamie Spence, the Chairman of the European Tour, pictured above is the plaque at the fron of the Clubhouse commemorating the event.
Our Centenary Year! As part of a number of Centenary projects, new tee signs sponsored by members are a major enhancement to the course. New drinking fountains and landscaped areas mark the occasion.
We embark on a project of redesign & renovation of the bunkers. Funded by a membership levy the project is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
Bramley Golf Club incorporates providing a new company structure to take us forward.