History of the Course

Abbeydale Golf Club

Golf began at Beauchief in 1897 when Abbeydale Golf Club constructed a nine hole course.

A full 18 hole course was opened in October 1912.

The photo of that event is described as Abbeydale 8th Green - it could perhaps be the current 5th green (that's not the clubhouse in the background - it hadn't been built then).

In the photo are a number of the then top British golfers: H Varden, J Braid, H E Dean and W Furguson.

Harry Vardon (1870-1937) won the Open six times, in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914 and James Braid (1870-1950) won five times, in 1901, 1905, 1906, 1908 and 1910.

A copy of this photograph, presented by R Coffey, is on display in the clubhouse.

Perhaps the start of Beauchief?

The course became the property of Sheffield City Council in 1925 when Abbeydale Golf Club moved to its present location.

This photograph might have been taken when Beauchief Golf Club was formally established in that year.

There was no clubhouse so it might have been taken from somewhere near the current first tee - although it looks to be nearer the bridge, that may be due to a foreshortening of the image: we'll probably never be sure!

Early Years

The current third green with Beauchief Abbey behind.

At the time (1925-1935?) this was the sixth hole.
This is the current 10th green but was titled the 16th.

It continued to be the 16th until sometime after 1951.
This is the current thirteenth green.

But it might have been the 8th when it was taken (in 1925-1935) as the current "triangle" was then part of the front nine holes.
This appears to be of what is now the 15th green though it could be of the current temporary green there.

If it was taken between 1925 and 1935 it was then the 17th green.

The Pavilion

The very first "clubhouse" at Beauchief was a wooden shack on the Abbeydale Road side of the railway lines, in the grounds of the present day Beauchief Restaurant.

When first built, the county boundaries meant that the clubhouse was in Yorkshire whilst the course was in Derbyshire.

A request for the provision of a clubhouse was made to the Parks Committee of the City Council in December 1933.

They reacted remarkably speedily: the "Pavilion" was under construction by the 1934 AGM, at an estimated cost of £4,200, and was officially opened by the Lord Mayor on 11th April 1935.

Since that time there have been many changes to the clubhouse facilities including a major refurbishment in about 2007 to rebuild the locker rooms, to re-equip the kitchen and to provide a function room.

1935

The course plan here dates from about 1935 and was included in a booklet that was produced about the time of, and perhaps for, the opening of the clubhouse.

Note that, compared to today, there was no Pond Hole and the sequence of play was different.

The first hole was the current 17th and the round finished at what is now the 18th.

The fourth hole on the plan climbs from the current practice area close to the railway up to what is now the first green.

It remained in use until, perhaps, the 1960's.

Wartime

During the 1939-45 war, members called for conscription to the armed forces were invited to become Honorary Members during their year of conscription (this "year" turned out to be much longer for many!). When home on leave their green fees would be paid by the Club.

The Committee, AGM and other meetings in September and October 1939 were held away from the clubhouse - perhaps because the building was being used for some war purpose?

In 1940 it was decided that relief would be given when a ball struck a post installed for "National Defence" purposes. Then the decision was "struck from the record". It reappeared in 1942. The Parks Manager was asked to remove the posts in September 1944. It seems likely that these posts were gun emplacements sited on or near the perimeter of open spaces from which an arc of fire could be brought to bear on planes attempting to land.

Events were held, and other donations were made, in support of a number of war-related charities throughout the war. It was agreed that the Secretary/Treasurer would not be held responsible for any loss of Club money incurred during an air raid.

Rationing caused problems for the catering staff and a rise in membership was partly attributed to members of private clubs joining because they couldn't obtain the petrol to drive further.

Only a few weeks after his election, the 1942 Captain was called up to serve in the Royal Navy and was absent for much of his year of office.

The Parks Committee were asked not to close the locker room earlier than the national "black-out" time but lighting was not sought.

At the suggestion of the Council, competitions were arranged over the August Bank Holiday weekends for the "Holidays at Home" programme. The winner received the Bridgewater Cup, now awarded for a Rabbits event.

In 1943, the Club was asked if it could provide golfing facilities to "our American Allies" whilst on leave.

A promise was made at the AGM in October 1944 that there would be a special celebration when, as seemed likely, hostilities ended. It took place on VE-Day +1 (ie on Wednesday 9th May 1945).

1951

The layout of the course was varied later.

Changes made by the time of this 1951 plan altered the sequence of the holes.

The first hole was the current 17th and the round finished at what is now the 16th.

The current 12th, 13th and 14th holes were still part of the front 9.

There was still no Pond Hole so the challenging Hole 4, driving steeply uphill to what is now the 1st green, was still there.

1966

The third green.

This was taken on 6th October 1966 and was described as the third green so we can assume that the current numbering of holes was in place by then.

And that the earlier uphill hole to what is now the first green had been abandoned in favour of a new hole - the 11th, the "Pond".
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