Club profile: Ashbourne Golf Club

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire August 1, 2019 13:23 Updated

Derbyshire’s oldest golf club, at more than 130 years old, has, unsurprisingly, a long and acclaimed history. However, it also has an exciting future to look forward to, thanks to an investment programme.

Founded in 1886, Ashbourne GC is Derbyshire’s oldest private members’ club and enjoys an illustrious history as well as spectacular views into Dovedale and the Peak District.

Situated just outside the splendid historic market town, it started life as a mere six-hole layout known as the Ashbourne and Dove Valley Golf Club.

It soon relocated to a more accessible site and moved again in 1909 where a nine-hole course was constructed on former farmland.

The club’s fortunes were boosted in 1928 when a further 38 acres of land were rented and the famous James Braid was brought in to redesign five holes. The Scot modelled the new 4th hole on the famous Road Hole at St Andrews and his involvement has given the club the right to be a proud member of The Association of James Braid Courses.

The Second World War created a nationwide hunt for more farming land, and like many courses across the country, Ashbourne donated fairways for the war effort.

After the war the club lost further land under compulsory purchase by Derbyshire County Council for the construction of the A515 Clifton bypass.

Another chapter in the evolving history of Ashbourne Golf Club began in 1996 when a former hunting lodge of the Cockayne family was purchased with an additional 158 acres of land.

The Cockaynes, whose family crest, a cockerel, forms part of the club’s logo, were hugely powerful and wealthy mediaeval landowners who held a strong influence over the development of Ashbourne and played a pivotal role in English history.

With the purchase of the new land, David Hemstock, a locally-renowned golf course architect, was employed to design an 18-hole golf course and practice ground. A modern clubhouse was constructed to complete the club’s facilities.

The course, with greens built to modern USGA specification and a 70 per cent sand base featuring fescue and bent grasses, soon won acclaim among the members and has proved to be a challenge for both high and low handicaps.

Since the opening of the new 18 holes, the course has hosted the Derbyshire County Golf Boys Championship and the ladies’ Derbyshire County Golf County Foursomes. The Derbyshire Alliance has also resumed its close association with the club and staged fourball, better ball competitions.

Off the course the club maintains a lively social scene in its well-equipped clubhouse with a bar, restaurant, snooker room and private committee room. These are open both to golfers and non-golfers seven days a week. Facilities can be hired for weddings, family events, private parties, meetings and other functions.

It has a splendid setting, with excellent views over the course and towards Dovedale, Thorpe Cloud and the Weaver Hills, making it a popular community asset.

Last year the club employed Ridgeway Furniture to fit an additional 14 lockers in the gents’ changing rooms to complement the lockers and benches the company fitted in the gents’ and ladies’ locker rooms six years previously.

 

Duncan Renshaw, club secretary said members and club officials were very satisfied with the results overall.

“Ridgeway did a very good job; the locker rooms look very well finished and I can recommend the company to other clubs seeking to upgrade their changing facilities,” he said.

Since its inception Ridgeway has manufactured tens of thousands of lockers that have been installed in some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.

The company has seen turnover increase by more than 100 per cent over the past six years and has invested more than £500,000 in a new factory increasing its capacity by over 50 per cent. The facility, at more than 18,000 square feet, means the company is now the UK’s largest dedicated manufacturer of wooden lockers.

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire August 1, 2019 13:23 Updated
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