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London, England
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London, England
  • AddressDenewood Rd, London N6 4AH, UK

The following edited extracts are from The History of Highgate Golf Club 1904-2004 by John Chaumeton:

“According to a notice above the bar, Highgate Golf Club was founded in January 1904. But that does not tell the whole story. The 1904/1905 edition of The Golfer’s Annual refers to the ‘Highgate and East Finchley Golf Club’ – instituted in 1904. It was only in 1906 that ‘East Finchley’ was dropped from the club’s title.

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Golf Illustrated magazine of 26 February 1904 reported as follows: ‘A new club, to be called the Highgate and East Finchley Golf Club, has been formed to acquire a lease of 80 acres of very suitable land for an 18-hole course adjoining the Bishops Wood at Highgate. W.M. Winton, the well-known Acton professional, and authority on inland greens, is laying out the course.’

The Highgate Golf Club brochure, published in 1927, mentions that the course was ‘laid out by Billy Winton, who, at that time, was the professional to the (now defunct) Acton Golf Club’. Winton was no stranger to north London, having been the East Finchley pro from 1897 to 1900.

However, the curriculum vitae of Cuthbert S. Butchart, a golf pro and course designer, refers to the fact that he ‘remodelled’ the Highgate course in the period 1904/05. It is possible he acted as an adviser to Winton. Butchart was born in Carnoustie and was the professional at many clubs, including Berlin (1911-1914) and Baltimore (1921).

He ended his career in the USA but only after an unwelcome stay in Germany. At the outbreak of the war in 1914 he was, unfortunately for him, in Berlin, designing a course, and was interned by the German authorities for two years.

Since the end of the 19th century, and the rapid expansion of the population of London, the Metropolitan Water Board had sought sites for reservoirs in order to provide ever-increasing amounts of water to an unquenchable capital. In London, part of the Highgate golf course was one of the sits selected (there were others in Highgate Village and in Dartmouth Park Hill).

During the period of construction, the club lost a number of holes, and once building was finished, the layout of the course had to be changed to take into account the new topographical feature. When construction work was completed (1929), the Water Board agreed to put down a layer of earth and to grass over the whole structure. A new layout was brought into play and this more or less retained the first nine holes.

During the Second World War, the 7th and 9th fairways were ploughed for the growing of cereals, and this land was not leased back to the club until 1949/50. In September 1966, the course was re-measured, establishing an overall length of 6,005 yards. As a consequence, all handicaps were increased by one. Over the years, the course has been constantly improved. For example, in 2001 major reconstruction of bunkers on the 11th and 17th greens were carried out, and in 2003, the 1st, 5th and 18th tees were rebuilt.”.


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