A WARM WELCOME
We are very proud of our club, with 2 fine golf courses and social facilities to match. There’s a welcome to members and guests alike.
Our 18-hole championship course often hosts regional competitions by virtue of the test of golf, all year round playability and our commitment to maintaining the high quality of the course. Indeed, as a member-owned club all ‘profits’ get re-invested back into the courses and facilities, and we have an on-going programme of course and club improvements.
Our 9-hole course enjoys the same high quality, and is a popular Pay-&-Play facility used by many in mid-Suffolk to learn and hone their game before taking the next leap. Our coaching staff are highly regarded and can teach individually or in groups in structured learning. We have a thriving ladies section, as well a Junior Development Programme priced to encourage a wider take up of the game.
And so, whatever your standard of golf, there’s a welcome at our club. Just drop by and see for yourself.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BURY ST EDMUNDS GOLF CLUB
When the course at Bury St Edmunds was created in 1924, the world was a very different place. Huddersfield Town were the football league champions, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell were taking gold for Britain in the ‘Chariots of Fire’ Olympics in Paris. King George V had opened the British Empire Exhibition at the new Wembley stadium, Ramsey MacDonald was the first Labour prime minister. The Thief of Baghdad, with Douglas Fairbanks, was movie of the year and Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue the hit song.
The golf course’s original design was by the first British Ryder Cup team captain Ted Ray, winner of an Open and a US Open. It measured 6,087 yards, which was regarded as long for a non-links course. Today’s measurement of 6,676 off the white tees is still the second longest in Suffolk
In an era when golf was largely the province of the wealthy aristocratic and professional classes, the club was created with a deliberate policy of being open and available to the townspeople of Bury St Edmunds, with the admirable tagline “No swank and no bunkum”.
The first pro was Arthur Matthews and a splendid link with the past (for any sport is nothing without its roots) in the form of one of his clubs – an ancient hickory-shafted mid-iron stamped with his name – hangs above the bar, the prize for the annual President’s Mashie competition.
Matthews (who earned 50 shillings a week) was also in charge of the clubhouse, which was then lit by oil lamps, for mains electricity was not connected until 1937. He had an assistant, Miss Nellie Baldwin, who was paid 12s 6d a week to provide food and (crikey!) “anything else necessary”.
During World War II the course, like many other sporting venues (racing and football grandstands, for instance, were commonly used as troop billets or hospitals), did its bit. The humps and hollows in the belt of woodland between the 7th and 8th fairways are reminders of an assault course built by the Suffolk Regiment. The ladies’ section held regular competitions to raise money for causes such as the Red Cross.
A wholesale redesign of the course (by noted golf architect Frank Pennick) and a new clubhouse became necessary during the sixties because of the construction of the A14. New holes were built, original ones renumbered – what was the first is now the sixth, for example, and the old sixth now the fourteenth – and many greens became multi-tiered. The new-look Bury St Edmunds was formally opened in May 1969
Another step forward was the construction of a nine-hole course, opened in October 1991 and now a thriving pay-and-play facility, a boon for beginners and casual golfers but no ‘gimme’ for the more experienced player either.
Both courses benefit from ongoing upgrading. Bury St Edmunds not only has a proud history (the competition boards in the newly-refurbished clubhouse stand tribute to significant names in its development) but – in the era of the forthcoming London Olympics, the Wembley arch and reality TV – an active commitment to its future, and to that of the game.