Exactly how, in 1906, Knighton Golf Club came into existence (initially as a modest six-hole course in Woodhouse Lane) is, sadly, unrecorded and those whose achievement it was are now long forgotten.
We do know there were 4 major golf publications in the early 1900′s which mentioned Knighton Golf Club at various times. These were Golf Illustrated, World of Golf, The Golfer and The Golfers Annual and you can find copies of these in the Welsh Library in Aberystwyth and the British Library in London.
Another leading publication was Nisbet’s Golf Yearly which was published from 1905 to 1914 and in the 1910/11 year book Knighton Golf Club’s entry was: A hillside course some 1000/1200 feet above sea level, 1 and a half miles from the local railway station. Secretary: Mr George E Jones, Captain: Mr C Nixon, No entry fees, Subs 1 guinea or £1 and 1 shilling per year (equates to about £356 today). Ladies were invited to join at half fees (10 shillings and 6 pence) and visitors were charged 1 shilling per day but absolutely no play was allowed on Sundays!!!
On 18th September 1912 there was an article in the Central Wales News that reported six times winner of the British Open Championship, Mr Harry Vardon had laid out the course in Knighton the week before, so it is safe to say that work started in early September 1912. The course was designed using the contours of the hills as the natural guardians of the greens and it remains the same challenge today. The paper also announced on 29th March 1913 a forthcoming ball (of the social function for dancing type) would be held to celebrate the opening of the course.
The course was then opened on Wednesday 30th April 1913 (11.30 am) with a matchplay tie between Mr Harry Vardon and Mr H Owen followed at 3.15 pm with a fourball between Mr Harry Vardon / Mr H Owen and Mr F G Corser / Mr George Humble. Bearing in mind Mr Harry Vardon was 6 times winner of the British Open Championship it must have been a huge achievement for Knighton Golf Club.
As a matter of interest his professional record was 71. The professional record is now held by Leominster Golf Clubs Andrew Ferriday who shot a 63 in the year 2000 and the amateur record is held by Roger Mortimer of Knighton Golf Club who scored 65 in 1999.
Since that far-off day in 1913, barely a year before the 1914-1918 First World War, the world has been stood on its head and changed beyond all recognition…
One may only conclude that the continuing existence of Knighton Golf Club through all the subsequent events and upheaval was due, in large part, to the determination of its members, and that same spirit of commitment is evident today. Outside of an excellent part-time groundsman, every single thing that happens out on the course or in the clubhouse is organised, executed, paid for and achieved, on a voluntary basis, by today’s membership.