Bushey Hall was a Jacobean-style mansion built in 1865 by Edward Marjoribanks, who came from a rich banking family. When he went bankrupt the estate of over 800 acres was sold off and the house was acquired by the Bushey Hydrotherapeutic Company c.1880. Eventually it became a hotel, but was requisitioned by the army in WWI and the RAF in WWII. Bushey Hall was owned by the War Department at the time it was demolished in 1955.
The golf course on the Bushey Hall Estate was built by local artist and engraver Robert Stewart Clouston in 1890. It was a nine-hole course and was named West Herts Golf Club.
First Club President- Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour
First Golf Professional – Hugh Kirkaldy
Ladies’ full membership – £2.2s
Men’s full membership – £3.3s
The course was so successful that in 1893 it was extended to 18 holes and a new club house was built – at Bushey Hall mansion they were getting fed up with golfers traipsing through their hotel!
In 1894 the mansion was sold, and tensions grew between the golf club and the new landlord. This led to around a third of the original members leaving to play at another new local course in Cassiobury Park, and this became what is still known as West Herts Golf Club. The remaining club took the name Bushey Hall Golf Club.
In 1902 a two-day professional meeting was held at Bushey Hall Golf Club, sponsored by club member Mr. Hildebrand Harmsworth. Sixteen professionals competed for the first prize of £40, including Harry Vardon, James Braid and J. H. Taylor. The meeting rooms in the clubhouse are named after these professionals, and a photograph of them all standing on the veranda at Bushey Hall Golf Club is displayed in the lounge.
The clubhouse was extended in 1907 to include a dining room and veranda upstairs. These have since been combined to form the restaurant as it is today.
During both World Wars the clubhouse was requisitioned by the government and was reportedly used for the Air Strategic Command Group of the Allied Alliance in WWII.
Over the years Bushey Hall Golf Club has been owned by landlords, individual proprietors and members. It was last bought in 1986 by Veladail Leisure Ltd.
On display in the clubhouse are photographs of the Bushey Hall mansion and the professionals who have played at the golf club, as well as plans of the original layout of the 9-hole course and competition boards dating back as far as 1898. Pop in and see them some time!
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