The Magazine of Lenton Local History Society

Lenton Times Issue 1 - October 1988

Wollaton Park Golf Course

Photo courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Library Service

One of the golfers at the opening day in 1927.
Photograph courtesy of Nottinghamshire County Library Service

Where the idea of establishing a golf course at Wollaton Park came from is not known, but certainly by May 1925 the Estates Committee of the City Council was actively investigating the matter. They sought the advice of Tom Williamson, a well known golfing professional, who plumped for the area of undulating ground to the south east of the Hall. To this was added the land to the north of Lime Tree Avenue. By August the Committee had authorised Mr. Williamson to go ahead and make all the necessary arrangements for laying out the course. He was to engage such workmen as would be required but the Committee expressed the hope that he would recruit local men from the Nottingham Labour Exchange. The appointment of one outsider was agreed to. This was Williamson's brother Edmund, who was employed as foreman at a salary of 6 a week, a substantial sum for those times. Clearly a gifted player himself Edmund Williamson subsequently became the first golfing professional at Wollaton once the Club was officially established.

Tenders for the construction of a golf pavilion were sought and the Estates Committee entrusted the job to Messrs. Thomas Long & Sons who offered to build it for 9,145. An extra 926 15s was allowed for the laying of a section of road up to the pavilion.

A view of the golf club in the 1960s

A view of the golf club in the 1960s

A sub-committee of the Estates Committee debated the matter of what fees should be charged. But when their deliberations were presented to the full committee they were thrown out. The sub-committee had made the error of countenancing the playing of golf on a Sunday and the rest of the councillors were adamantly against such an idea. It was finally decided that both sexes could play there on Monday to Friday but that just gentlemen should have the use of the greens on a Saturday. The charges were supposed to be sufficient that all the costs of the construction and future upkeep of the course and pavilion would eventually be met by the golfers. As a result the fees were high. Men had to pay an initial entrance fee of 3 guineas while the ladies were admitted for 2 guineas. The annual subscription was 6 guineas for gentlemen and four for female golfers, while the green fees were set at half a crown, except on a Saturday when the men were expected to part with five shillings. Inevitably those who joined the newly formed golf club almost entirely came from the better off sections of the community. Many civic dignitaries and local businessmen were among the first to sign up.

To give the course a rousing send off the Council engaged four top professional golfers to come along to Wollaton on May 5th 1927. Harry Vardon, J.H. Taylor, Ernest Whitcombe and Tom Williamson spent the day playing exhibition rounds of golf much to the delight of the crowds who gathered to watch; doubtless many of them wishing that they too might have the means to enjoy a round or two there some day.

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