Once upon a time there was a large swathe of undulating farmland, just to the north of Bristol. It was inhabited mostly by sheep and cows, and tended-to by a well-known local character.
By the mid-90s the latest attempt at securing planning permission to transform this tranquil idyll into something magical had succeeded, and the area would soon be changed forever.
In May 1996 the livestock moved away, the heavy machinery arrived and topsoil soon started to be peeled back. Over the coming months a massive amount of reshaping was undertaken, hollowing out once-flat fields to make water features, opening gaps in hedgerows to uncover feature trees, and crafting fairways to Adrian Stiff's design.
The growing Bristol golfing scene had a new kid on the block, and by the end of 1996 the first Land Rover-guided tours of the (mostly mud) fledgeling course were being undertaken. Prospective founder members were persuaded with some imagination that this was going to become one of the best in Bristol, and they weren't to be disappointed. Along the tour route was a large mound of earth - "where the clubhouse is going to go"! The photo above is looking from what is now the 1st driveway, the water is now the 9th lake and the gap above is where the building now stands.
When the course first opened, in May 1997, the club was based at the Halfway House with the benefit of three portacabins (one for the pro shop, one for the changing facilities, one for the office). The first rounds of golf were played from what is now the 8th tee, using a 10-hole loop. And the people came!
That clubhouse was a tricky one to secure with the planners, and after much to-ing and fro-ing a design was agreed that gave us a modern, comfortable facility and an awesome position overlooking the 18th green. Work started in 1998, with a great deal of preparation required to avoid the pitfalls of local coal workings!
Before long we had a full 18hole course in play, including our now famous 11th Island Green and the infamous 16th dogleg! Of course, no course is ever 'finished', and over the years we have made improvements continually, including new tees on the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th, changes to the bunker layouts, drainage and irrigation improvements - it's never ending.
By the turn of the millennium it was time for a change of ownership, and the original local character who had farmed the land took the helm. In the mean time work had been under way to turn further former farmland to the north of the existing course into a new 9hole layout. The 'Badminton' course, designed by Peter McEvoy, opened in 2002, and increased our capacity as well as choice, allowing members and visitors the flexibility to try different holes and a new challenge. Including its own fair share of water and tricky holes, the "New Nine" as it was to be known by everyone soon began earning a reputation of its own.
Further land was adopted in the mid-00's to extend the course once more and another 9holes was laid. Alas, by now the golfing industry had started a decline so for the time being holes 28-36 are mothballed.
At the same time, with the clubhouse bursting at the seams, it was time for an extension to the rest of the facilities, and planning was approved for a host of modifications including a much larger golfers' bar, new ladies' changing rooms and more function space.
Practice facilities and the scope for growing in the game has always been a key consideration, so over time we have added to our Practice Ground with a DryRainge, introduced a 6-hole Academy Course, a second putting green and the regionally-renowned Zone - designed in partnership with Andrew Sherborne and Peter McEvoy. We have grown from having two privately-owned buggies to a fleet today of over 30!
Over time our Professional Staff has had many faces, including our three Head Pros - Paul Barrington, Mike Bessell and Tony Mealing - as well as the likes of Scott Richards, Sarah Claridge, Mark Brookes, Olly Ross, Andrew Sherborne, Terry Williams, Adrian Smith, Gary Smith, Justin Branton, Robin McGarr, James Taylor, Tom Motley, Rich Harber, John Morgan, Chris Lloyd, Fraser and the current crop including Tom Gillespie, Emma Brown, John Hansel and Jason King.
The Greenstaff has equally seen a raft of top lads, led by Kevin Green to begin with (but with a very young Craig Fudge as one of his assistants) and nowadays our much-loved Craig. Craig is the only one left of the original bunch, that including Tony Riddle and Graham (in the picture above). The current crop includes Gavin Rogerson, Paul Jenkins, Steve Bishop, Jack Bishop, Adrian Bennett, Will Budd, Jason Bryant and Jay Powell.
Of course, Des Alexander was our first Marshal (and handyman), before Cliff Hill and now Peter Whitfield.
There will be a series of events through the year to celebrate the milestone, including our Festival Week in May...
Saturday 6th May - The Birthday Bucket - Members' competition.
Monday 8th May - Singles Open - Qualifying stableford, £15 per person.
Tuesday 9th May - Seniors' Team Open - Bowmaker, teams of four, £60 per team.
Wednesday 10th May - Pairs' Open - Pairs stableford, £30 per pair.
Thursday 11th May - Mixed Pairs' Open - Better ball stableford, £30 per team.
Friday 12th May - Team Open - Bowmaker, teams of four, £60 per team.
Saturday 13th May - The Big 20th Birthday Party - Open to all members, double shotgun start, teams of four.
Plus throughout the week members can take part in our Three Nine Shootout, playing submitting a 9hole scorecard. The best card for each of our three nines across the week will win!
More details and news on other events will be added to this page as we move into 2017.
Thousands of happy customers
We are all about making people happy, whether that is ensuring the finest greens in the Bristol area are playing just so, or putting the sparkling touches to the Bridal Couple's ceremony room, or using carefully selected local produce to craft exquisite homemade dishes. We find the best commendation from the huge number of repeat visitors we entertain, and we'll let them tell you all about us...