St Margaret's Golf Club
It’s true! For just over forty years from 1899-1940 this village had a thriving 18 hole golf club with 250 members, its own club house, golf professional and other staff as well as a thriving Ladies section. Nothing now remains of the course or its magnificent club house.
Where was it?
The golf club was founded in 1899, originally as a nine hole course, on land leased from Townsend farm. It covered 180 acres of land along the Dover road, divided by the road into nine holes in the fields behind Wallet’s Court and nine holes behind Westcliffe Farm stretching towards Swingate. A new, large and very comfortable club house was built in 1906/7 at a cost of £1500 on the corner of Station Road and the Dover Road.
The History of the Course
The St Margaret’s course was founded with a membership of forty by local resident Mr GH Cotton-Stapleton in 1899, who was also the first Captain. The village’s growing tourist industry cried out for a local course and in 1899 the nearest courses were at Dover (near the castle), Royal St Georges at Sandwich and the Royal Cinque Ports course. Prince’s (1906) and Walmer and Kingsdown (1909) followed. All except Dover were reported as ‘difficult to get into’.
In 1906 the Club Committee agreed to extend the course to 18 holes and to build a new club house. Subscriptions were doubled to pay for this, and the cost of the clubhouse was met by a loan at 5% from wealthy local resident Mr Walter Emden. The clubhouse contained lounges, dressing and smoking rooms, a luncheon room and a refreshment bar.
By 1914 the club had 120 gentlemen and 80 lady members. In 1915 military officers were able to join the club without paying the usual entrance fee and it was noted in the press that ‘the inauguration of the use of girl caddies through the dearth of youths owing to the War, is proving a success’
By 1933 the club was in its heyday. Club President was the Rt Hon. Earl Granville and its three Vice Presidents, all residents in the village were Major Astor, the local MP, and George Arliss and Sir Johnson Forbes-Robertson, both very famous actors of the day. The brochure describes the club as ‘easily the most important institution of this little Kentish Village’
The Club closed in 1940 when the army requisitioned the course and built a cross channel gun (‘Winnie’) on the green. When the Marines turned up to start work, a game was in progress! The club house was taken over as an Officer’s mess and after the war became a private house known as the Maze, before being demolished in 1968/9 for road widening.