Denham Golf Club Denham Golf Club

Telephone: 01895 832022

Course Status:
Course Open
History

2010 was Denham’s centenary year. Here are a few choice historical morsels from our golf club’s rich history

Extracts from “Denham Golf Club, A Centenary Portrait” written and compiled by Nigel Hague

Incorporation

The Denham Golf Club Limited was incorporated in December 1910.  A total of 300 £1 shares were issued among seven original shareholders. At that time Lieutenant Colonel Way granted a lease to the club, with an obligation to construct a golf course and convert existing farm buildings into a clubhouse. Despite being legally owned and run by a limited company, the club is and always has been a “members club” in every practical sense. In 1943 the freehold was purchased and the capital structure was reorganised so that now all full members have one (and only one) share.

     

A Harry Colt Design

 

A Harry Colt design

The golf course was originally laid out by Harry Colt, and was opened for play on the 29th of May 1911. His two experiences as a golf club Secretary doubtless led Colt to appreciate the advantages of a golf course having two convenient starting places. Up to that time, few courses had this feature, having only the 1st and 18th holes near to the clubhouse. The first of such courses designed by Colt after Rye was Stoke Poges (now Stoke Park), designed in 1908. But the second was Denham, which is therefore one of his earliest examples. The direction of the holes is varied to avoid the monotony of the wind direction and the course is designed to be enjoyed by duffers as well as good golfers. In addition, although Denham is not a flat course, it could not be described as hilly. Colt wrote:

“The middle aged golfer is disinclined for mountaineering in the morning, and if the house committee know their business, he is even less inclined for it in the afternoon.”

Donald Steel, the distinguished golf course architect and a member of Denham since boyhood, describes the course today:

“For those enjoying a day out, the course has no daunting carries, no hidden terrors and no endless searching for balls. It teases rather than torments, but it cannot be overrun and … it chooses its victims carefully.”

     

The Railway Station

 

The Railway Station

At the request of the club, a railway station was opened in August 1912, just over a year after the opening of the course, with the name “Denham Golf Club Platform”. In the 1950s, a dastardly attempt was made by some faceless bureaucrat to change the name to a dreary “Higher Denham”. Happily this was defeated (helped, it is said, by a member of the club who was then on the Railways Executive), and the name of the station remains simply “Denham Golf Club”

     

Hollywood Comes To Denham

 

Hollywood Comes To Denham 

Denham was used as the location for a golf scene for the 1963 film Call Me Bwana, starring Bob Hope.

In the scene, Arnold Palmer, playing a cameo roll as himself, tells Hope that the golf clubs he is going to use belonged to an old friend of Hope’s. On seeing that the clubs are bent, Hope remarks: “Yep … Those are Crosby’s all right”.

During a pause in filming, Arnold Palmer is said to have strolled over to the 17th tee and (with a straight club) to have hit the ball from there over the trees to the 17th green.

     

Dining Room Animal Heads

 

Dining Room Animal Heads 

In 1921 Lt-Col Way, then the Club’s landlord, went on a big game hunting expedition to Bechuanaland and Nyasaland (now Botswana and Malawi).

On his return he presented the Club with numerous stuffed heads of animals he had shot. These now decorate the dining room. They range from small species of antelope to a large Cape Buffalo, and there are 45 of them. They make the Denham dining room unique and memorable.

Moreover, in the Conveyance, which effected the purchase in 1943 of the freehold, the Club entered into an obligation to maintain the heads in perpetuity.

     

Sheridan Of Denham

 

Sheridan of Denham

On Derby Day 1946 a subcommittee conducted the first interviews to select a new professional. 32 applicants were shortlisted. The third applicant was John Sheridan. After the fourth had left, one member of the sub-committee said: “Well, we want that chap Sherridan don’t we?”All the other members of the sub-committee immediately agreed, and that was that. John remained the much loved and respected Denham Professional for the next 52 years.

John was the son of Jimmy Sheridan, the legendary caddie-master at Sunningdale Golf Club for 56 years, whose influence on that club extended far beyond the caddie-shed. So too John’s influence at Denham was immense, and extended well beyond the professional’s shop. Much of what the members now enjoy about the club can be traced back to him. In time, and largely through John’s influence, it became a Denham tradition that nobody is left in the Clubhouse without a game.

One of John Sheridan’s favourite pieces of advice:

“Golf is a game played from behind the ball”

DENHAM GOLF CLUB
Tilehouse Lane, Denham, Buckinghamshire, UB9 5DE
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