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Last updated: 07.05.2013 09:28
Golf was played at Barton-on-Sea Golf Club for the first time in 1897 over a 9 hole course situated on the cliff top to the west of the present course. The game was becoming very popular at this time and the course was built as an amenity for the guests at the Barton Court Hotel a converted manor house. By today’s standards the condition of course was rather primitive and the cost of a round was half-a-crown (12 ½ pence). A group of local golfers led by Sir Robert Affleck had permission to play the hotel course and hold a few competitions and a club was formed. This course remained in play until 1909.
At about this time a property developer acquired a large area of land, the Barton Court Estate, with ambitious plans for high quality houses and an 18 hole golf course. Much of this scheme never came to fruition, but the 18 hole course over meadows situated a little inland of the first course was built and played for the first time in 1910. The course architect was Harry Vardon, one of the best known golfers of his day. In the years that followed the expanding community of Barton-on-Sea required building land, and by 1922 the meadows course gave way to this pressure.
Fortunately, one of the developers Mr Musgrave, owner of the Grand Marine Hotel was persuaded by members of the meadows course that a golf course would add prestige to his hotel. So golf returned to the cliff top partly over the land occupied by the first course. This was a 9 hole course designed once again by Harry Vardon. It opened in 1922 and served local golfers well until 1932.
In 1927 the Grand Marine Hotel was acquired by Mr A S Clarke who proved to be a major benefactor of the club. His wife was also instrumental in the formation of the Ladies Section in 1911. Mr Clarke leased an area of land to the east of the existing course and commissioned Harry Colt, probably the leading golf architect of his day to design an 18 hole course which came into play in 1932. Most of these holes are still played today within the 27 hole layout. A much larger clubhouse was built which also indicated the value Mr Clarke attached to a good relationship between owner and club. He retired in 1944.
1956 brought changes which threatened the existence of golf in Barton-on-Sea when the clubhouse and course were sold to a property developer. Fortunately for the golfers, these plans were strongly opposed by the local community, which did not warm to further housing development along Barton’s cliff tops. A talented team was assembled around the Club President, Wilfred Hasseldine and they overcame many hurdles to raise capital and buy out the property developer making Barton-on-Sea Golf Club a members club.
For many years the long-term future of the course as an 18 hole layout was under threat from coastal erosion. In 1986 the opportunity arose to eliminate this threat for the foreseeable future when the farmland adjoining the course became available for leasing. A development of this magnitude presented formidable difficulties but a strong team assembled round Sir Leslie Murphy overcame these. Today we have a fine golfing layout of 27 holes and a new clubhouse with views across the Solent to rival anything on the south coast.