1880 Kingsdown

Course Start 1880
Initial Holes 18
Date 18 holes 1880
Course management

Owned and managed by Kingsdown Golf Club

Home Clubs Kingsdown Golf Club (1880)

The three crowns on the shield of Kingsdown Golf Club refer to a fabled burial ground of three kings on the course, which led to the area being called Kings Down on early maps.

The course and club date to 1880 when 18 holes were laid out under the direction of John Allen the professional at Westward Ho!. There is no reference to earlier golf.

The idea was a business plan of six local gentlemen who met on 28th February 1880 at the Swan Inn in Kingsdown and who put an announcement in the “The Field” magazine.

“A Golf Club under the title Kingsdown Golf Club has been established at Kingsdown, distant five miles from Bath and a few minutes’ walk from Box station, GWR main line. The committee have marked out a round of eighteen holes under the personal supervision of Mr. John Allan, the Westward Ho professional, a copy of whose report is appended. The Club has already obtained a considerable amount of local support.”

John Allan reported that “As there is abundant space for 18 holes, the lines between which do not cross each other, these links are particularly well suited for medal play”. Crossings were a major bane of early courses and the absence of these would be very appealing, as it greatly speeded play when the course was busy. Even today many early courses have places where golfers need to wait until other greens or tees are clear before they can play. It was worse in two hundred years ago.

Kingsdown 01

Kingsdown, picture courtesy of Kingsdown Golf Club

With excellent railway connections, Kingsdown drew members from all over the country, including Horace Hutchinson, renown author and champion amateur golfer.

Unfortunately, the ‘distant five miles from Bath’ proved to be more of an obstacle that the six gentlemen had envisaged and the ‘considerable amount of local support’ was not sufficient to sustain the initial golf interest at Kingsdown.

Therefore in 1881, the Club opened another 9-hole course at The Warren, nearer Bath, and changed its name to the Bath and Kingsdown Golf Club.  A Ladies Club and course opened a couple of year later and the Bath course was extended to 18 holes. This has given rise to the impression that the golf club migrated, though it is believed the course at Kingsdown remained throughout. By 1890, local support for golf at Kingsdown was sufficiently strong that the Kingsdown club re-established itself and it and the Bath club went their separate ways.