The game of golf first raised its head in the Bentham area in 1922 when a group of local gentlemen played 5 holes at Park Foot situated between Bentham and Ingleton. These stalwarts moved the club to its present site at Bentham Moor later that same year and Bentham golf club was in being.
Bentham Golf Club Limited
In 1925 the same band of gentlemen together with a number of other men and those of the fairer sex purchased £1 shares and created Bentham Golf Club Limited. The greater part of the land was purchased outright, only the field for the first and ninth holes being rented. A greenkeeper was employed, who doubled as a clubmaker and who would nowadays be classed as the ‘professional’. Under his guidance the
Course was constructed by the members who also built and erected a wooden clubhouse that sported an elegant veranda, plus changing and locker rooms. On the formation of the limited company, Directors were appointed along with all the necessary committees required to run a golf club. Ladies were given equal voting rights and had to pay a slightly less subscription – nowadays the ladies pay the same as the male members.
Around 1941, the two rented fields were purchased by the club and were immediately commandeered by the government to aid the war effort. Half the field was ploughed up and much needed vegetable crops were planted. The clubhouse was moved further onto the course and doubled for an observer post for aircraft recognition. Rumour has it that a club member who served in the royal observer corp spent most of his duty time practicing his chipping and putting on the 8” green whilst keeping a eye on passing aircraft – one wonders what he would make of all the low flying jets passing at a great rate of knots over the course.
After the War
After the conflict was over the ploughed land was brought into play,with members again helping with the construction of the greens and tees and the clubhouse being returned to its original position. Over the years the club and course went from strength to strength and around 1960 an old Army hut was purchased and attached to the clubhouse thus forming a social room, kitchen and a much needed nineteenth hole – all made possible by the hard work being completed by the members.
With social amenities available, the membership increased and many social events were organised, catering for which was provided by the ladies.Around that time a farm and land adjoining the course came up for sale along with buildings which would have made an excellent clubhouse and tentative enquiries were made in an effort to purchase the land, but alas, nothing ever came of it.
By the early seventies the wooden clubhouse had “passed its sell by date” and was felt to be Inadequate to cope with the increasing number of members. Other factors, such as the highway authorit\es plans for a relief road through the middle of the dance floor, meant the Directors needed to find an alternative site. Not to be outdone, the directors decided to construct a new clubhouse and it was sited in its present position, being up and ready for business in the spring of 1975.
Membership continued to grow and golfing flourished. More machinery was purchased, a full time greenkeeper took over from the stalwart part-timers and over the years the greens have developed into some of the finest in the north of england. In the early 1980’s further land adjoining the course came up for sale, but sadly the opportunity to extend to 18 holes was again lost. Nevertheless the club has progressed,
Alterations have been made to the course, new greens constructed, tees pushed back to lengthen holes, trees planted and minor adjustments to the cosmetics of the course completed.
The End of 9-holes…
In the mid 1990’s it became obvious that to stay as a nine hole golf course would be the death of Bentham golf club. Members were leaving to join local 18 hole courses and although the club enjoyed a very strong junior section it was felt the club must attract many more new members and visitors to be able to survive. Ironically the land that the club could have purchased in the early 1960’s became available and the directors with endorsement by the members went ahead to create the much needed additional nine holes. It must be said that no grants whatsoever have been received from the lottery board or the royal and ancient golf club.
After many, many hours of meetings, debates, discussions and hard work by directors,committees, employees and members, Bentham Golf Club had now achieved their goal.
Acknowlegements : Vic Best
So where are we now?
On 18th December 2009 Bentham Golf Club became a proprietary golf club after being purchased by local business owners, the Marshall Family. Thomas and Jane had been successfully running Riverside Caravan Park, also located in Bentham, for almost 30 years and felt that the club would compliment the park perfectly. Since purchasing the course and it’s facilities, significant investment has been made in refurbishing the clubhouse, teaching facilities and the course itself.
Now, the ship is being firmly steered by Thomas and Jane’s daughter, Isabel, who is bringing a new outlook and revived sense of adventure to the club. In the last few years we have seen a variety of events hosted both on the course and in the clubhouse from night golf to wedding fairs and star gazing to get into golf beginners sessions.
There are hopefully many bright things to come for this welcoming and hearty club. Open to all sorts of suggestions, you’ll be surprised to find how 125 acres of land and a fabulous, flexible function room can be used. Watch this space to see how we grow and if you’re really interested, why not browse out latest news or find out what’s on at Bentham Golf Club.