Fernie’s 1906 Course

When the decision was finally taken to site the clubhouse at its present position Fernie presented the Committee with fresh designs. This is the accepted layout for the course as at 1906 and totalled 6,900 yards.

The following descriptions of the holes, as compared with these of more recent times, are based on handwritten pencil notes of Horace “The Red” Davies, who was a member of Southerndown from 1907 onwards.

Holes 1 & 2 (380 & 490 yards)
These are almost identical to the present day - the only change of note has been allowing the sand traps to grass over. The second tee was to be located at the rear of the 1st green but it would have been directly into the wind and would have brought the gorse on the right on the 2nd fairway into play. The tee was placed where it is now.

Hole 3 (540 yards)
Prior to the decision to make this hole 540 yards, it measured 600 yards as confirmed by Walker, the first professional at Southerndown. At that distance the green was situated approximately where the 10th green is located at present. At its final distance, the green was situated approximately 60 yards short of the present 10th green. As this often involved a blind final shot, the relocation of the green gave more safety to golfers on the then 18th tee. This hole was a frightening sight - a huge bunker, 25 feet high, with a sleeper face and wooden steps, was situated in the middle of the fairway. A huge lateral bunker on the right cut into the bank, two more fairway bunkers and six bunkers guarding the green.

Hole 4 (360 yards)
This hole ran parallel with the present 11th to a green near the present 12th tee.

Fernie’s 1906 Course

Hole 5 (440 yards)
A long hole, to a green on the right of the present 9th green.

Hole 6 (350 yards)
As the present 4th hole to a green beyond the present 4th.

Hole 7 (180 yards)
A short hole down to Pant y Cwteri, crossing the sand road in the valley.

Hole 8 (320 yards)
A long pull up from the Pant y Cwteri valley to a green below the present 5th.

Hole 9 (520 yards)
Very little change to the present 6th except that the road bunker has been removed.

Hole 10 (200 yards)
From a tee to the right of the present 6th green to the green located near the current 12th tee.

Hole 11 (320 yards)
Along the fairway of the present 12th to a green to the right and short of the present green

Hole 12 (520 yards, later 120 yards)
A long hole bearing a little right of the present 13th fairway to a green right and further on than the present 13th green. This hole was used for less than a year and was changed just prior to the official opening. It then became a short hole to a green guarded by sand in front and to each side, the location near the greenkeepers’ tool shed.

Hole 13 (130 yards, later 395 yards)
A short hole approached from an angle parallel to the present farm wall and roadway. This hole was changed at the same time as the previous hole - it became a long hole from a tee in front of the 12th green. This meant that the carry was over the grass mounds that are now seen to the left of the present 13th fairway. The green was situated short and left of the present 14th green, guarded by one sand bunker.

Hole 14 (460 yards)
This hole ran parallel with the current 15th fairway but to the right, with a drive over the huge grass mound on the right of that fairway. After pacing the yardage it would appear that the green would have been on the brow of the present practice range.

Hole 15 (310 yards)
From a tee to the right of the present 18th tee, this hole was played along the present practice area to a green near the 18th, between the current winter green and the old chipping green.

Hole 16 (540 yards, later 385 yards)
The hole was played directly up the present 18th fairway to a green half way up the present 15th fairway. Horace’s notes refer to a green which has become part of the present 17th green but once again this was not changed until the official opening when the yardage was changed to 385 yards.

Hole 17 (520 yards, later 355 yards)
The original tee was sited, approximately, at the grass path, 130 yards from the present 15th green. The hole was played along the present 16th fairway. It had a huge bunker and, in driving range, sand traps on each side of the fairway - a very narrow entrance to the green which was part of the present 16th green.

Hole 18 (310 yards)
From a tee sited between the present 10th and 16th greens, this involved a drive down the hill to a green smaller than the present 18th green. The new greens and tees were in play for the official opening day on 23rd May 1907. A newspaper report at the time stated that most of the play in future would take place on the altered course, especially in friendly games, but the longer course remained available for matches

 

The original local rules of 1906

1. A ball over the following boundaries is out of bounds: - 10th hole - the allotment fence to the right of the course; the 15th hole - the wall and fence of the field to the right of the course. Penalty in match or medal play, distance.

2. If a ball lodges in a wall or a fence, it may be taken and dropped a club’s length from where it lay (but not nearer the hole) the player standing facing the wall or fence, the penalty being loss of a stroke.

3. A ball lying on the green other than that of the hole played for, unless the following stroke shall be played with a putter, must be lifted and placed on the course not nearer to the hole played for without penalty.

4. A ball lying in a hole on the course, if unplayable, may be lifted and dropped without penalty. A ball may be considered unplayable if the shaft of the club can, in all directions, be placed over the hole and not touch the ball. A ball lying in a rabbit hole in a hazard may be lifted and dropped in the hazard without penalty.

After reading the description and placements of the holes, one can understand the significance of the walls and fences - the 10th hole lay beyond the 6th hole, close to the allotment fence, and the 15th hole was played downhill from near the top of the present practice range. Rule 4 should solve any doubt as to whether one gains relief from a scraping but is perhaps a little too Draconian for today’s game.

“The first important match on the new course of Southerndown Club took place on Saturday, when Mr GA Riddell’s Walton Heath team played a return game against Mr Lewis Gottwaltz’s team of local golfers. Mr Riddell’s side was perhaps not so strong as the one which easily won the match at Walton Heath, and Mr Gottwaltz had considerably strengthened his by the inclusion of Mr James Hunter. With their knowledge of the course to assist them, the home players had thus little difficulty in scoring a decisive win by 9 points to 3 on the full day’s play. The visitors expressed themselves very well pleased with the condition of the course which, having regard to its immaturity, was in remarkably good order. The Green Committee had, indeed, gone so far as to have every hole brushed by hand during the preceding week. Dr WG Grace, the veteran cricketer who, in his later years, is not so useful off the tee as he still is at the batting crease, was expected to take his place in the tail of the visiting team but, unfortunately, the doctor’s cheery presence was missed by the party.

Press Report, dated 2nd August 1907

 

 

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