Golfers will celebrate 100 years of famous course

An image from Goodwood's archives show how they used to dress for a round...
An image from Goodwood's archives show how they used to dress for a round...

Golf At Goodwood is celebrating 100 years of classic golf on the award-winning Downs course, originally designed by five-times Open champion James Braid, who played a challenge match against great rival Ted Ray at the official opening in 1914.

It was early in 1912 that Lord Bernard Gordon Lennox, third son of the Duke of Richmond, who owned the magnificent West Sussex estate, engaged Braid to design and produce a course of the highest quality.

The search for perfection has continued over the years as other major golfing figures have made their contribution to the status of the Downs course. Henry Cotton, three-times Open champion, was consulted on design aspects in 1964 as, in 1967, was Fred Hawtree, a member of the distinguished dynasty of golf course architects. They both played their part in the history of Golf At Goodwood.

Braid was undoubtedly one of the greatest golfers of all time and most influential figures in golf course design in the UK. He was part of the great triumvirate alongside Harry Vardon and JH Taylor and in 1912, Braid already had a formidable reputation in professional golf and was making a successful transition to a career in golf course design.

The classic downland course now measures 7,104 yards and displays many of Braid’s original trademark design features such as the ‘dog leg’. The shrewd Scot believed each hole should have two ways to play it, the more difficult of which rewarded the golfer with the opportunity to pick up a shot when played correctly.

Braid also introduced blind tee shots to test commitment and maintain the mystery of the hole and clever positioning of bunkers pulled forward of greens and landing zones still perplex golfers today when judging distance.

Braid’s layout stood the test of time for almost 90 years, then in 2003 the Club’s new chairman Lord March commissioned Howard Swan, former pesident of the British Institute of Golf Course Architects, to transform the Downs course to elevate it to a world-class test of golf.

The brief was to preserve the timeless features of Braid’s design and further enhance the course to make Goodwood one of the finest golf courses in England without compromising its natural beauty.

The transformation of the Downs Course included the creation of six new holes from one to three and 16 to 18 which lengthened the course to 7,104 yards from the championship tees.

Elsewhere, tees, greens and bunkers were rebuilt on the remaining 12 holes to incorporate a contemporary automatic irrigation system and improve sight lines as the course meanders through dips and hillocks of the downland below the world famous Goodwood Race Course.

Today, the Downs course is ranked by Golf World magazine as one of England’s top 100 courses, putting it in the top five per cent of courses in the country, and Goodwood is also been voted in the top 20 stay-and-play golf venues in the UK by Golf Monthly magazine.

To mark the 100-year celebration of the Downs course, there will be a series of unique one-day golf events throughout the season.

BOGNOR

Bognor ladies are the 2013-14 Arun League winners.

They finished top of the table with 28 points - ten ahead of nearest rivals Ham Manor.

Littlehampton were third, Worthing fourth.

Team members Nicki Vincent, Wendy Bell, Georgina McCormack, Berit Smallcorn, Marge Fenwick, Edwina Beresford, Chris Puddicombe, Ann Bushell, Sue Monger, Jane Russell, Lynn Miller, Sally Cameron, Gill Twyford, Jenny Phillmore, Denise Duquemin and Angela Allen were all congratulated by league team captain Lyne Watson.

She added: “Well done to you all! The matches started perfectly with a great win against Littlehampton and we kept the momentum going throughout the rest of the games. Many thanks for all your support and dedication on representing the club. May this winning streak continue next season.”

SELSEY

The outgoing captain of the Selsey GC’s veterans’ section, Graham Watson, presented a cheque to the chairwoman and co-founder of the Snowdrop Trust, Diana Levantine.

During his year as captain, £346.47 was raised in collection boxes passed among the veterans and a further £714.10 came from his captain’s day, raffles and auctions - giving a total of £1,060.57.

The Snowdrop Trust have been running for just over 20 years and are a unique charity providing care at home for local children who have life-threatening illness or may be terminally ill.

COWDRAY

Cowdray Park seniors managed to complete Stablefords in December and January - despite the prevailing bad weather.

Early leader, in both the Eclectic and Carter Trophy, following 11 pars, is Rob Doney, who has put in two solid performances. He has jumped from fifth to first to take the lead on countback from Dave Lucking.

Both have registered 68.5 points, with Lucking having jumped from 17th to second after January’s competition.

Many familiar faces from last year’s leaderboard are already making a statement of intent this year. One of last year’s high finishers, John Doran, is in third place with 69.5, followed by Gordon Kendall, already well-placed in fourth with 70.5.

Mick Nobes climbs to fifth with 71 while December’s Stableford winner, Harvey Terry, is poised in sixth with 71.5. Three other players also have 71.5 - Mike Burgess, Steve Tkaczynski and Wally Mitchell.

Completing the top ten, and lying dangerously in contention, is Dave Hirons, who has scored the most birdies so far - four - despite still recovering from a major stomach operation.

Biggest improver in January is Terry Adsett, leaping 32 places to 11th. Having joined the seniors only midway through last year, he could prove a force to be reckoned with.

Cowdray ladies braved ice and fog to play in a dovetail competition. This is a Stableford played with a partner over 18 holes, where each player must have their score recorded on nine holes only.

Both partners play the hole individually, then select whose score is going to be recorded on the card. This must be done after the completion of each hole and before teeing off the next hole.

The winners with 42 points were Wendy Street and Sally Williams. Second were Gail Blockey and Myrna Heustice on 41; third Anne Laver and Chris Sommerville with 40.

LITTLEHAMPTON

Jeff Parton produced a stunning round with a superb 44 points to claim victory in the seniors’ Howard Agar Stableford at Littlehampton, played over 17 holes.

He pipped last year’s order of merit winner Norman Francis by a solitary point as the links course stood up well to recent deluges.

Club general manager Ian Evans said: “Our greenstaff have worked tirelessly to keep the course open all through the Christmas and new-year period, throughout which we have remained playable.

“Unfortunately, a huge surge of sea water recently came over the dunes and has affected our par-three 11th hole which we have temporarily closed to carry out the reparations, but we hope to have it reinstated very soon.

“Jeff’s score over 17 holes was tremendous and he has clearly made a great start to the new golfing year.”

In the gents’ yellow-ball competition, where teams of three compete in the fun format with the golfer playing the yellow golf ball scoring double points, the winning aggregate score of 124 points was recorded by Sean Fitzpatrick, Howard Webb and Mel Minto.

They ended four clear of the field with the runners-up spot going to Doug Hill, David Drake and Mick Charman.

The club held their annual Burns Night supper, enjoyed by members celebrating in the traditional manner. The piping-in of the Haggis was followed by club member John Hastie, a proud Scot, performing the toast, with members reciting the Burns poems.

It promises to be a very busy year for the social committee, who are planning several events to mark the club’s 125th year. Along with frequent social lunches and Sunday carveries, the club plan a bingo night, casino night and summer ball.

Evans said: “We have a very full social and golfing calendar and with a number of wedding receptions already booked it is going to be a momentous year at Littlehampton.

“We are still actively looking for more members but hopefully with spring around the corner, and the thought of better weather, things are looking good for a successful and memorable year.”