From a club founded out of the desire of a small group to play on Sundays to a proud Top 100 Club today, the fascinating history of Tandridge GC is chronicled by our club historian from the initial trip made by Harry Colt to scout a venue, to the current work being carried out as part of the Centenary Irrigation Project.
The Early Years
"A good 18 hole Golf Course is much needed in this neighbourhood."
In 1922, as the Golden Age golf boom of that decade and the next gathered pace, a group of golfers at nearby Limpsfield Chart Golf Club, led by Sir Henry Gibson, decided the time was ripe for a new 18-hole golf course in the area. Golf on the Chart was limited to 9 holes, and worse, banned on Sundays. They invited world-renowned golf course architect Harry Colt down for a few days to scour the district for suitable land. Colt was at the height of his powers. His courses at St. George's Hill and Swinley Forest were well-known, and he had just designed the New Course at Sunningdale. His redesign of Muirfield was soon to follow.
1945 to 2000
Normal service was resumed very quickly after the end of hostilities. Good golfers continued to visit; Peter Alliss, like professionals before and since, managed to drive the par-4 16th. One not-so-welcome visit in 1946 was the Old Surrey and Burstow hunt who rampaged over the course in hot pursuit of a fox.
Another exhibition match marked Tandridge’s 50th anniversary with four famous Ryder Cup players. Brian Barnes beat Brian Huggett, Neil Coles and Guy Hunt to win 12 bottles of Teachers having refused the offer of gin and said the hardest test at Tandridge was reading the greens. Many would agree. What changes would the early members have seen had they returned in the late 1940s and 1950s? Comparatively few really, but change was to come on and off the course.
Into the New Millennium
The retirement of our long-serving head greenkeeper in 2006 prompted a review of the way the club managed its prime asset, the course.
Out went the annual change of Greens Committee and in came a Course Director, out went Head Greenkeeper and in came Course Manager, a title reflecting the greatly-changed demands of modern greenkeeping. Out went annual ad hoc tweaks to a tree here and a bunker there, and in came the desire for a strategic plan for the evolution of the whole course. And a plan for the club as a whole.