The stereotypical “Essex Girl” and the political “Essex Man” have nothing in common and, from a golf course perspective, those who think that Essex is flat have never teed it up at Chelmsford or Boyce Hill. The reality is that Essex is not only diverse topographically, but also an important and historical golfing county.
In 1896, James Braid became the professional at Romford Golf Club and the five-time Open Champion should take much credit for popularising golf and designing many fine Essex courses. Sir Henry Cotton designed numerous courses in his lifetime too, but his first and last legacies are here in Essex. Incredibly, two members of Thorpe Hall Golf Club, Sir Michael Bonallack (perhaps England’s finest amateur) and Peter Dawson became secretary of the R&A.
The Essex Golf Union was inaugurated in 1924 with twenty-three founding clubs. Today, there are 80 golf clubs affiliated to the Essex union, playing over approximately 90 golf courses. Essex won the Boys County Championship in 1997 and then tied with Yorkshire in 2004. In 2009, Essex won the English Men’s County Championship.
Essex Ladies’ County Golf Association celebrated its centenary in 2000, so it was looking after the interests of female golfers in the county some twenty-four years before the men’s Union was formed. Nowadays, the association runs a number of competitions throughout the year, including the Silver Shield, Bronze Shield, Silver Trophy and Munroe Foresomes. Inter club matches are played in the Harris Bowl leagues and the ECGA operates very active Senior and Junior sections.
Our Essex Best in County golf course rankings were updated in 2015. Click here to read the story.