Amidst the recent celebrations at Marlborough Golf Club – a new vehicle has appeared. It’s the club’s golfball collecting vehicle for its new practice ground.
It’s been an exciting few days for the club: their Juniors’ Captain, Ben Amor, won a prestigious international trophy, it’s their 125th birthday year and they have just opened their new practice ground.
Marlborough Golf Club rents the land for its course on the Common from the Town Council. The Club is run by the members and is a non-profit organisation. Effectively it is a charity and has to be open and affordable to the general public.
So its bar – with some of the best views in the area – has a general rather than a club licence. And the club house serves popular Sunday lunches to all comers.
The new practice ground with eight tee mats is also open to all comers. A basket of golf balls costs £2 and a bigger basket costs £3.50. And there’s that machine for collecting the balls with strong protection for its driver in case anyone’s too enthusiastic driving from the practice mats.
This practice ground joins the club’s practice chipping area and putting green as a first rate encouragement to youngsters and more mature golfers alike.
The club has 750 members – of which 80 are women. It has 70 junior members – of which two are girls. The membership fee for each adult member includes free golf for one child up to the age of sixteen.
The Club is currently working on a special offer for junior girl members. Golf is not considered too cool among teenage girls: “You need a few,” says Les Trute, the club’s general manager, “to encourage a few more.”
The Marlborough's Junior Open Championship has a top prize of a year’s free membership – regardless of where the winner is from.
The eye-catching club house was opened in 1988 – in time for the centenary celebrations. Two years ago they set out on a three stage modernisation programme. They’ve achieved all three ambitions: they have proper disabled access; they’ve brought the toilets up to spec; and now they have their properly equipped driving ground.
Simon Amor is the Club’s resident professional providing individual or group tuition. The club employs five green staff. The Head Green Keeper is Robin Greaves who before joining Marlborough Golf Club had designed two courses near Bristol and sometimes goes as a consultant to other clubs.
General manager Les Trute describes Greaves as a ‘wizard’ who keeps the grass good and the greens true.
There are 27 golf clubs in Wiltshire and in a survey five years ago the Marlborough Golf Club was named as the friendliest club in the county - by its own members. And that’s a record they are very keen to keep up.
The Club was founded in 1888 and members are proud of their Victorian heritage. So much so that on one of July’s hottest days they held a Victorian Ladies day sponsored by Hills – see below for a photograph of the full Victorian turnout.
The costumes were spectacular – and fines were imposed for any of the ladies who thought their swing might be better without a cartwheel hat or a ground length skirt and removed some of their costume.
The winner of the 18 hole competition was the team of Gwen Stuart, Sue Lyons and Jilly Hunter.