Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club

In The Beginning

The East Kent Mercury, still in circulation today, in their column of 26th April 1890 reported that the idea of creating a golf club had been mooted and many gentlemen were anxious to join. By October 10th of the same year it reported that promoters of ‘Sandhills Golf Club' had at last brought the project to light and that ‘This spring golfers might be plying their clubs at the newest and best links in Britain.' All of this was clearly a press scoop but, as is often the case with such reports, somewhat premature! Work was going on, however, and eventually a group of men met on the 12th February 1892 at the Union Club, Walmer, for the purpose of establishing a golf club at Deal and to issue a circular inviting gentlemen to become members.

Subscriptions were set at 2 guineas and 10 life members were created at £50 to establish necessary funds - no doubt to be used to negotiate the lease of the land to be used on the ‘sand hills north of the town' from the Deal Corporation, The Ordinance Department and Lord Northbourne. From here things moved with a rapidity which would have been an eye-opener to today's bureaucrats and surprising and refreshing to today's members.

On March 1st Henry Hunter, a local man 33 years old, was appointed greenkeeper. This was the start of nearly 50 years service, both as greenkeeper and professional. On March 8th the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava was elected president and on March 31st Major General JM Graham was elected Captain. Also at this meeting, instructions were issued for plans for a Clubhouse to be submitted.

These were accepted and instructions to proceed were given on the 18th May (it was to be opened on ‘the last Saturday in October' but was in fact delayed until Nov 12th). In the meantime two rooms were rented at Page's Farm for a period of three months for use of a club house until the new design was completed.

Richard Friend was appointed steward on March 18th and took over as the first steward in the new Clubhouse. Meanwhile Hunter was beavering away working on designs with Captain Urmston. He had the 9 holes open for play at the end of May - only 15 weeks after the club was formed and 13 weeks from the time of his employment! Four years later, by the end of May 1896 plans had been laid down again with Captain Urmston and land purchase placed under negotiation to extend the course to 18 holes.

By the time AJ Balfour (later to succeed his uncle Lord Salisbury as Prime Minister) became Captain in 1898 all was complete. The club had from the outset used the coat of arms of the Cinque Ports, including the Victoria crown, but did not assume the Royal Title until 1910, coincident with the election of King George V as patron.

This in fact needed reconfirmation, which King George VI bestowed on the club on the 5th September 1949. Thus the Club was set for a glorious march through the next 110 years and beyond.

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