Our club was originally
known as The United Services Golf Club having been set up
by serving officers of the armed forces. It is not known exactly
when it started, but it was certainly registered with the
Royal and Ancient in 1905 as a nine hole course with 50 members.
Even the exact site is uncertain, it is
believed that golf was played north of the railway line with
the Mulberry Inn, on the Lower Rainham Road, acting as a convenient
HQ. (It is well to remember that in those days any field could
become an instant golf course without the expensive construction
work necessary today).
In the Great War the course, by this
time on its present site, fell into disuse to become grazing
land. In 1919 the Club was re-instated and James Braid was
commissioned to lay out a new course. Lt George Taylor RN
was an early Secretary
The clubhouse started its life as an old
army hut purchased for £40. By 1920 a few civilians
were admitted as honorary members at a time when horses were
still pulling the mowers to cut the fairways. Three years
later a Ladies' Section was formed
At this point it has to be stated that in
later years most of the Club records have been lost, but fortunately
those of the Ladies have survived to give us an unbroken record
back to 1923.
The Second War saw the course left in the
hands of a few elderly but dedicated civilians, who were able
to keep four holes going whilst the remainder was given over
to tank traps, anti aircraft rocket and searchlight batteries.
At the end of hostilities the War Office
were persuaded to rehabilitate the course and by 1950 fifteen
holes were in use with the others following shortly after.
In times of change the civilian element
grew, and, due to greater mobility the service membership
declined. To reflect this, the name changed to Gillingham
and United Services Golf Club. As the War Office at this time
seemed unwilling to clarify our leasing arrangements our affairs
were, of necessity run very much on a shoestring. It was not
until 1958 that a new lease was agreed.
after in 1960 the whole site was sold to Gillingham Council
eventually giving us some security of tenure. So much so,
that in 1964 the sorely needed new clubhouse was built. This
was further extended four years later to include a steward's
All this activity made it prudent to form
in 1964 a proper company, Gillingham Golf Club Ltd. 1986 saw
a serious threat to the continued existence of the Club when
it was clear that a dual carriageway link road was to be built
across the course. There was much speculation about alternative
sites and a period of uncertainty prevented any further progress
and, indeed, a freezing of membership. In the event, the land
lost to the new road was partially replaced by a section of
the Langton playing fields.
This enabled us to construct new holes in
good time and to start negotiations for a longer lease, which
in turn paved the way for our next new club house. The result
was a splendid new building which was formally opened on 8th
March 2002 by Mr Ronnie Corbett O.B.E. From then onwards steady
progress was made and the new facilities settled down to give
the Club a home of which members could justifiably be proud.
In 2005 Centenary celebrations took place through the year
and should augur well for the next hundred years.
Copies of the Centenerary book 'A Hundred Years of Gillingham Golf Club' written by Mr J Wigley are available from the office. These are priced at £3 for non members, members can obtain a copy free of charge.