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Middlesex Golf

Inaugurated 1898

Architect - Tom Hogg (altered)

Length - 6,406 yards

When one is discussing the history of County Golf in Middlesex, Ashford Manor GC often dominates the conversation. It has been a cornerstone of Middlesex for a century. It was a founding member of the Middlesex County Golf Union when it was formed on 29th April 1924 and the club were champions of the inaugural Middlesex Champion Club title in 1927. In 2013, Ashford Manor donated the trophy for and hosted the inaugural Middlesex Mid-Amateur Championship.


No matter it be our designers - Braid, Colt, Mackenzie etc, or our professionals – Duncan, Whitcome and Beef from Nth Mid, or our founders as in Blackwell of Crosse & Blackwell at Stanmore or Mr H. B. Randolph of Wilkinson Sword at Ealing. Most of us in Middlesex can claim brushes with greatness, but, few, can claim the long-term association that existed between one of golf’s most successful men and Ashford Manor Golf Club

“Whilst small in stature, he was just 5 foot 6 inches tall, Harold Hilton is

unquestionably one of the giants in the history of British golf.”

Harold Horsfall Hilton (12 January 1869 – 5 May 1942), originally from Liverpool and a member at RLGC, Hoylake from the age of 8, would go on to claim The Open Championship twice, The Amateur Championship four times (three times runner up), and the U.S. Amateur Championship once. That Hilton is one of the game's greatest players is attested by the fact that the only other amateurs who have won the Open Championship are John Ball Jnr. and Bobby Jones.

But what of Ashford Manor the club Hilton made his southern home for so long?

Reasons to Play

December 1933, Brer Rabbit of Golf illustrated wrote;

 “ I like going to Ashford Manor. I have always liked going there from the very first day and that seems ages ago I was taken there. I forget now who took me, I rather think it was Bob Harris and we played with Harold Hilton, that, however, is matterless; the point is I like going there. I like it because it is such a cosy club and such pleasant golf.

About the place, there is such a friendly atmosphere. One is welcomed so wholeheartedly and made to feel so much at home. Even the members, complete strangers, who pass one casually in the dressing room take the trouble to say “good morning” or “good afternoon.” A little courtesy, I know, but it is little courtesies that count for so much in life. At any rate, I for one welcome it, and do not mind saying so

Having been a modern-day guest and a visiting competitor at Ashford Manor on many occasions I can only echo the above sentiment and confirm all of the above is still very much the case.

Our friend Brer Rabbit goes on to offer;

The course is a pretty one and offers pretty and pleasant golf. It is invariably in first-class condition. The fairways are good, the greens excellent, and the bunkers well-tended and tidy.

The course is always dry. Given the heaviest rains, the possibility of dry-footed golf is always on. In fact, the first few holes may be played at any time in plimsoles. The soil is gravel and well-drained: there we have the explanation.

The course measures 6,066 yards (6,406 today) and has been given a Standard Scratch Score of 72. Believe me, in winter especially, that represents very good golf indeed. It is a difficult course to score on because of the absence of fives—there are only two in the whole round. The rest are fours and threes, which means a superlative second close to the pin or one long or longish putt, if anything is to be picked up against S.S.S. I believe the amateur world record (and many very well-known amateurs are constantly playing at Ashford Manor) stands at 71. I am not surprised, and I believe the explanation to be as I have here suggested.”


Once again, I can confirm Ashford Manor has been able to perpetuate all of the above into the modern era, the course was originally laid out by Richmond greenkeeper Tom Hogg and it is recorded that Peter Lees of Royal-Mid Surrey GC advised and it is unthinkable that Hilton when acting as Club Secretary and latterly a long-term member was not asked to advise on the design of the golf course and influenced its course architecture. Surrey-esque in nature with pine trees a-plenty signposting the way, a visit to Ashford Manor is always a joy and to be highly recommended in whatever season of the year you may be wanting to visit.


Visiting

Visitors are welcome at Ashford Manor and tee times can be booked by calling the pro shop on 01784 424644.

4 miles & 16 minutes from Heathrow and 19 miles & 47 minutes from Marble Arch.


Further Reading

Club Website:  amgc.co.uk

H. H. Hilton: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Hilton


Author - Lee Patterson. Jan 2022

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