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.
[Above: Adrian Stiff looks out from the Halfway House across the young course]
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!
[Above: the original clubhouse (pre-extension)]
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.
[Above: this photo was taken from what is now the alternate 11th yellow tee, and that is the main lake/island green in front!]
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.
[Above: before the 12th tee had its sleeper bank fitted, and before the (now blue) bridge was finished]
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!
[Above: taken from a hot air balloon, the Badminton Course still under construction at this point]
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.
[Above: Tony and Graham, standing on what is now the 9th green]
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.
[Above: in what was the original incarnation of the downstairs bar, Richmond and Alison with Paul Barrington, Des Alexander and Mark Brookes]
Of course, Des Alexander was our first Marshal (and handyman), before Cliff Hill and now Peter Whitfield.
Our Chefs have included John Godfrey, Chris Fearnley, Simon Stevens, Mike Pattison and now Rich Guest.
Our Catering Managers have included Philip Bragg, Kelly, Fenella Paget, Alex King, Thierry David and Cherie Vowles.
Over the two decades we have suffered the loss of Adam and Ben Lloyd, Des Alexander, Trevor Amesbury and Hayden Langdon from the staff. And of course, Clive Farrow and Jenny O'Mahony from the past Captains.
Twentieth Anniversary Festival Week.
There will be a series of events through the year to celebrate the milestone, including our Festival Week in May. Entry forms can be downloaded via the blue links below...
Saturday 6th May - The Birthday Bucket - Members' competition.
Monday 8th May - The Singles Open
Tuesday 9th May - The Seniors' Bowmaker (Open) - NEARLY FULL, ONLY A COUPLE OF SPACES LEFT.
Wednesday 10th May - The Pairs' Open
Thursday 11th May - The Mixed Pairs' Open
Friday 12th May - The Festival Bowmaker (Open)
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.
Members can share memories and stories below...
Peter Whitfield, 8:40 pm, Tuesday 31st Jan 2017 Susan Johns, 1:02 pm, Monday 9th Jan 2017 John Pearce, 8:58 pm, Friday 30th Dec 2016
many frendships made then and to this day. Very very happy times, great set up & forsite.One of the best golfing desions i ever made when Mike H & I joined. well done all.
April Open Day 1997-watched Paul hitting over 11th, then remember being taken by Pat to the 9th tee! 3 ladies with no handicaps interested in joining "an equal opportunity golf club" being told just hit the ball!!! Then we were in!
But everyone joining HAD to learn how to repair pitch marks on the greens under Kevin's tutelage, then Sarah started her 30+ group sesions for the ladies(still remember her basic instructions).
Gaining that first handicap - the card that stands out in memory was marked by "brave" Des Walsh, (persuaded or coerced by Paul) to take 2 ladies around the 18 holes. And what a 20 years of golf I have experienced thanks to The Kendleshire and the support of Jenny and Clive initially, so many good memories.
Peter Whitfield, 8:40 pm, Tuesday 31st Jan 2017
Susan Johns, 1:02 pm, Monday 9th Jan 2017
John Pearce, 8:58 pm, Friday 30th Dec 2016
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...