Golf has been played in the Malvern area since the late 1800’s, initially mostly on common land.
The Worcestershire Golf Club itself was formed in 1879 and for several decades played on Poolbrook Common using several different course routings.
The old Clubhouse (pictured here) is located about one mile north of the current course on Poolbrook Common. The building is now a private residence.
Numerous famous players competed on the course including the likes of Harry Vardon, James Braid and JH Taylor. Composer Sir Edward Elgar (pictured here) was a member of the club. For a short period David Brown, a Scotsman who had won The Open in 1886 and would later finish second in the 1903 US Open, was the Professional / Clubmaker / Greenkeeper at the club.
In the 1920’s it was decided to move from the common and a local farm, Wood Farm, one mile south of Poolbrook Common, was purchased.
The Club invited golf course architects Harry Colt of Sunningdale fame, who as a youngster had himself played golf on the Poolbrook Common course, and Alister MacKenzie, later of Augusta National fame, to submit designs for the new course.
Shown is the layout of the original Alister MacKenzie course. MacKenzie tendered the lower price and was awarded the work. In reality MacKenzie’s price was well exceeded and when the club committee complained to him he apparently informed him that it wouldn’t have been any higher if they hadn’t tinkered with his design so much.
The new Wood Farm course opened for play in 1927 and play continued on the course until WWII.
During WWII the land comprising the 2nd 9-holes of MacKenzie’s course was taken over by the Ministry of Defence to build a hospital for anticipated D-Day casualties. In fact several such hospitals were built within a short distance of the Club.
This land was not recovered from the MoD until the early 1970’s by which time it was covered in brick buildings and concrete roadways (as shown in the accompanying aerial photograph).
In due course most of the buildings and roadways were removed or covered over. Residential housing however now covered some of the original 2nd 9-holes of MacKenzie’s original course. To make the course 18-holes again an additional 9-holes, designed by Hawtree and Co, were built and when incorporated with elements of the original MacKenzie 1st nine an 18-hole course was re-established.
The current composite MacKenzie-Hawtree course comprises the following:-
In 2000 the present clubhouse was opened. This replaced the original Wood Farm farmhouse that, with various modifications, had severed for 70 years as the clubhouse.
Photos of the clubhouse rebuild can be viewed by clicking here.
The Worcestershire Golf Club is proud to be a member club of the Alister MacKenzie Society. You can visit their website by clicking here.
Should readers wish to know more about the first 100 years of the Club then a copy of ‘A Centenary History of the Worcestershire Golf Club’ by Garnet Scott can be acquired from the club’s Office.