Golf Ilustrated

Buxton and High Peak Golf Club: Golf Illustrated - the first review
On going through some old papers given to me recently, I came across this
review of Buxton and High Peak Golf Club which was published in Golf
Illustrated (11/08/1899).
I have reproduced the pages (which were old photocopies) as best I can and
will now seek to acquire the original article if it is still available. I trust that any
issues of copyright are addressed through this acknowledgement.
Nevertheless, in spite of its age I think it is still quite legible and I encourage
you to read it at your leisure. In the spirit of saving time, I draw your attention
to number of points of interest (at least, I thought they were interesting).
To set the context, the Club will have been 13 years old at this time. This is the
same year as the H.Varden beats J.White in the British Open (by 5 shots), the
Gideon Society is founded, Carnation invents evaporated milk and Humphrey
Bogart is born. Robert Bunsen (of burner fame) dies this year.
The world is about to be introduced to B&HPGC in this little review. Hooray!
Page 1
 The typeface of the heading: what a wonderful gothic style.
 The photograph of the Clubhouse was Fairfield Liberal Club (formerly
Ash Cottage) on Town End, Fairfield. The Club was based there from
1892 - 1905. This is near to the site of the present Clubhouse, built in
1905 with money raised through the selling of Debentures. (The story of
this fundraising is covered in an earlier article on this website).
 There are at least 5 men standing outside the Clubhouse: who were
 The Narrows and The Alps are almost devoid of trees.
 William Wordsworth did indeed visit the River Yarrow (the “bonny
holms” of Yarrow is a fine river in Chorley, Lancs) eventually, with it
exceeding his expectations in both beauty and form; the expectations
the author had were exceeded. I am interested in any other articles he
wrote – did he have a lexicon of expletives? Not very often that the work
of a renowned poet is used to introduce a Golf Club review these days.
 The author experienced
1. A perfect June day
2. A cool breeze tempering the heat
3. A host who was the soul of hospitality
4. A well balanced fourball and
5. The course in perfect order.
Sounds like a normal day at Buxton and High Peak Golf Club!
Page 2
 I am particularly impressed by the description of the turf: “clean, close
grown and springy, with the lies throughout leaving nothing to be
A limestone substrate still provides excellent drainage and grows great grass.
This seems entirely reasonable, unlike the next claim that “a report of a bad lie
on the straight supplies the town with talk for a month”. Not really sure about
 The quarries, pond and hillocky round which still feature on this course
120 years later are a testimony to the historic activities in the High Peak
– an area extensively mined over generations.
 There is a reference to Mussleborough: this is the oldest continuously
played Golf Course in the world (1672). Really?
 Any B&HPGC member will agree with the observation that erratic play is
punished. This is a great course, but it presents challenges with the
natural features and the prevailing wind: at 1200 ft, golfing here can be
a bracing experience.
 The illustrations here are of the course as it was (barely recognisable
without the trees) and of the suitably terrifying Colonel Sidebottom
M.P., (Vice-President) and Mr W. Horn, Club Secretary. They present
images of a particular type of golf club member and it is noted that this
stereotypical image of the Victorian golfing gentleman is no longer
applicable at this inclusive and friendly Golf Club.
 There remains an annual competition for Duke of Devonshire’s Vase
Page 3
 The Cliff (10 th hole) is much changed although the quarry face in the
illustration will be familiar to all members now as a feature of the 11 th
and 12 th holes. The rough steps leading down to the green appear to
have made it necessary to leave golf bags at the top.
 I particularly noted the recommendation to dine in the Clubhouse as it
is known for the excellence of its catering. No change there!!
 There is a reference to a Ladies Golf Club. I believe that this is the Club
established in Burbage, a suburb of Buxton. This had a connection with
B&HPGC in the years 1895 – 1900. However, records show that it was
only from 1928 that a full Ladies Committee was formed and that there
was a new extension added to the Clubhouse for their convenience.
There has been a thriving Ladies Section ever since.
 Caddies were usually recruited from Fairfield School. In 1895 a caddy
master was appointed by the Club following reports of caddies running
wild in their enthusiasm to earn a few pennies from visitors. Eeek! It
appears that they were well trained and were rewarded with holiday
treats and even waterproofs. Both girls and boys were caddies until
1900, from which time it was restricted to boys. Some of the more
senior members of the club have reported learning golf by caddying in
the 1930s.
Page 4
 This begins with a very brief mention of the Artisan Section. This was
open to local men who played golf and were willing to do some work on
behalf of the club. Without doubt, the Artisan section has produced
some of the finest golfers that have ever come from Derbyshire. (Please
see another article on the Artisans).
 I particularly note the enthusiasm shown for Buxton as a tourist
destination. The 4hrs 45mins from London seems quite reasonable for
1899 (now it is about 3hrs 30mins by train via Stockport). However, I am
intrigued that the author did not consider it worth mention the travel
times from Sheffield or Manchester: is this evidence of a London bias?
In conclusion, the article cites Buxton as a place for hill and dales scenery,
breezy heights and reposeful valleys, nature’s medicinal springs, a place for
artistry and antiquary, for riding, driving, angling, golfing and cycling and for
cure of all the ills the flesh is heir to.
The greatest of these is its GOLF!
Buxton and High Peak Golf Club welcomes visitors!!
Have a look at our website and find out more!!!
Jon White
May 2019


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