History of Mannings Heath Golf Club in Horsham

Golf Club & Course History

Golf started around the town of Horsham in 1905 when a 9-hole golf course was built at Broadbridge Heath to the west of the town and the Horsham Golf Club formed.

The original course at Mannings Heath consisted of 18 holes and was laid out in 1914 on the initiative of some members of the Horsham Club including Mr J.T. McGaw who owned the land. Almost immediately after the course had been laid it was ploughed up for agricultural purposes owing to the demands of the war.

A new club emerges...

After the war, the course was re-established and a nucleus of members of the former Horsham Golf Club formed the new Mannings Heath Golf Club in 1919.

In the early days, the course was poor but the Club made substantial efforts to improve the playing conditions. Indeed, records show that the Club bought a horse for £16 in April 1924 and a tractor for £125 in April 1926 and that by 1928 it was employing six full-time grounds-men plus part-time help.

In 1929 a ‘Town’s Section’ was formed of approximately 50 artisans who undertook work on the course instead of paying subscriptions. On the 15th and 16th June 1930 the artisans had improved the course construction and development to such a degree that the Sussex Professional Championship was held here and the course has been used for prestigious events ever since.

New owners put their name to the club forever...

In 1953 the land owner, Mr J.T. McGaw passed away and the freehold of the course was bought by the daughter of Mr H.G. Latilla (a former Club President in 1933 and a strong supporter of the club), a Mrs Gwen Latilla-Campbell. Several of the private dining and meeting rooms in the clubhouse bear the names of the family today. Gwen subsequently sold the freehold to her own company in 1985, probably for tax reasons.

The course has been consistently improved with major extensions of the 4th, 5th, 7th, 17th and 18th holes in the early 1920’s, of the 9th and 10th holes in 1974, and of the 8th hole in 1978. The tees and greens have been substantially improved with automatic watering installed in 1979.

In 1988 the Fullers Estate consisting of two farms, Hawkings Pond, Fullers House (now the Clubhouse) and the Course was sold and now sits proudly within the Exclusive Hotels portfolio. A second course, the Kingfisher, was added in 1996 - a beautiful par 70 green fee course set in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.

Moments in time

Extracts from early Committee Minutes…

June 1924
“It was resolved to purchase a hole-cutting machine and a pair of scissors for the use of the greenkeeper.”

August 1929 
“It was decided to reply to Golf Illustrated that this Committee were against the legislation of steel shafted clubs in this country.”

December 1929 
“It was decided that a bath should not be purchased for the Steward.”

April 1933
“The Committee thanked the President for arranging for the Club to have electricity installed at a total cost of £82.”

We’re sure you’ll agree that we’ve come a long way since these minutes were taken but they are marker in time!




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