This year marks the Centenary at Saffron Walden Golf Club, with some major events planned throughout the year.
Two of the main events took place last week,the first being a Sporting Dinner, with guest speaker Steve Rider, who entertained over 130 guests, with stories from his days as a Presenter in top class sport.
The second was the Centenary Ball, with over 300 guests dancing to the sounds of Jumbo and the Jets, fireworks and superb lighting supplied by 3D Productions. Both events took place in the magnificent marquee put up on the practice area by Cambridge Marquees
Saffron Walden Golf Club – A Proud History.
How it all started In the year following the end of World War I, a small group of local people started the process of forming a golf club. After making successful overtures to the 7th Baron Braybrooke about using some of the Audley End Estate’s Deer Park to construct a course, fifteen founder members gathered in the Saffron Walden Town Hall Committee Room on 10th September 1919 to hold the inaugural meeting of “The Saffron Walden Golf Club”. The Audley End Deer Park was designed by and developed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown between 1763 and 1767 and we are fortunate to retain a significant number of his original plantings of oaks, limes and cedars, to this day.
The first course design here was of nine holes measuring 2210 yds. with no bunkers and no tee boxes. Today, you will be playing on one of East Anglia’s premier parkland courses measuring almost three times the length at 6608 yds. with some fifty five bunkers and thirty three tee boxes.
Famous Golfers to have played here Whilst playing the course today, you can reflect that you will, at certain times, be treading the same fairways and putting out on the same greens as some of the world’s famous golfers.
Harry Vardon - Henry William "Harry" Vardon (9 May 1870 – 20 March 1937) was a professional golfer from the Bailiwick of Jersey. He was a member of the fabled Great Triumvirate of the sport in his day, along with John Henry Taylor and James Braid. Vardon won The Open Championship a record six times and also won the 1900 U.S. Open. He is the originator of the overlapping “Vardon” grip. Harry Vardon was retained to assist with the redesign of the 9 hole Saffron Walden golf course in late 1929 and then played an invitation match in early summer 1930 to launch the new layout.
Horton Smith - Horton Smith was known in his time as a great putter, and is remembered today as the winner of the first Masters Tournament in 1934. He won the Masters again in 1936, was a member of the Ryder Cup team, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937. Horton Smith was the last golfer to defeat Bobby Jones in match play before Jones' retirement in 1930. During and after WWII, there were many United States Air Force (USAF) bases in the locality and a number of American personnel frequented Saffron Walden GC. Shortly after the end of the war, the club was approached by some of the USAAF top brass, who asked if they could stage an exhibition match for their men, between some top American professionals still serving in the military. Their request was duly granted and Horton Smith was one of those who played in the match.
Peter Alliss - Undoubtedly best known for his famous, if not infamous, golf punditry, in his commentaries for the BBC and other international TV companies. Peter Alliss, Peter Oosterhuis, Dave Thomas and Harry Weetman played in the 1969 Exhibition Match to celebrate the Saffron Walden Golf Club’s 50th anniversary.
In the mid 1990’s, the club held a number of Pro-Am’s, that attracted professional golfers then playing on the international circuit - Roger Davis, Ronan Raffery, Peter Mitchell, Peter Baker, Gillian Stewart and Katrina Douglas. Thus far in the Millenium, we have hosted visits by international professionals Alison Nicholas, Andy Sullivan and Becky Brewerton.