Oxhey Golf Club
McVitie & Price Tournament|
News of The World PGA Match Play
|Designed by||Harry Vardon|
|Length||6,539 yd (5,979 m)|
Oxhey Golf Club is a golf course located near Watford in Hertfordshire, England. The course first opened for play on 4 May 1912 with a match between Ted Ray, the Oxhey professional, and Harry Vardon of South Hertfordshire, the latter also being the course designer. Ray played fine golf while Vardon struggled with his putting. Ray won the match 4&2. The course has been host to several important tournaments including the News of the World PGA Match Play Tournament and the McVitie & Price Tournament.
First World War
A little more than two years after the course was opened for play, the First World War began on 28 July 1914 and the war had a detrimental affect on the club, causing 58 members to resign. Of that total were eight women members who also submitted their resignations. Five of the groundskeepers joined the army and still more volunteered but were not eligible for service. Nineteen of the caddies also answered the call for military duty. The club's steward joined the Royal Marine Pension Reserve and reported for duty at Gosport.
By 5 May 1916, the war had already taken a toll on Oxhey caddies and greenkeepers with 5 casualties: 2 killed, 2 wounded, 1 prisoner. Among the club members there were 9 casualties: 3 killed, 5 wounded, 1 prisoner. In May 1917, the course had fallen into disrepair due to a lack of groundskeepers. By then some 84 members were serving in the army or navy, and a groundsman had been killed and another was a prisoner of war.
Poor course conditions
The bunkers were suffering from the play of lambs and sheep who were also drinking water from the water boxes near the tees. A fire at the club had destroyed the caddie master’s and professional’s shed but the structures were quickly rebuilt. The winter of 1915–16 had been very cold and it was beneficial to the course. The deep freeze helped to drain the course in the spring of 1916. In the prior year there had been mud problems on the course since there had been a 3-year stretch without frost, two of which were exceptionally wet.
Post First World War history
A problem with worms on the course had erupted by May 1920 and getting rid of them had become a priority. The course was reported as being in a "shocking condition" as a result of 5 years of neglect of the greens and damage caused by grazing sheep. By this time the club’s greenkeeper had returned to work at the course after the war but his physical condition was reported as "badly damaged". Hunters had been shooting grouse on the course but were ordered to cease their hunting activities.
By 1921, the condition of the course had been improved to the point that it was selected to host the 1921 McVitie & Price Tournament. The English professional Abe Mitchell won the 1921 tournament by two strokes from Joe Kirkwood, Sr.
|1921||Abe Mitchell||England||Oxhey Golf Club||293||2 strokes||Joe Kirkwood, Sr.||130|
The News of the World PGA Match Play tournament was held at Oxhey Golf Club on three occasions: in 1921, 1930, and 1936.
Course closure and re-opening
The course detail shown in the upper right corner of this article shows the specifications of the Oxhey Golf Club when it was an 18-hole course prior to its closure in 1946.
- Askew, Terry. "Oxhey Golf Club -- Part 4". OurOxhey.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Oxhey Park Golf Club". golftoday.co.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
- Askew, Terry. "Oxhey Golf Club -- Part 1". OurOxhey.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Britain From Above". BritainFromAbove.org.uk. 15 May 1915. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Askew, Terry. "Oxhey Golf Club - Part 4: McVitie & Price Tournament 1921". Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Askew, Terry (15 May 1915). "Oxhey Golf Club -- Part 2". OurOxhey.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- Askew, Terry. "Oxhey Golf Club -- Part 3: Tenth Annual General Meeting". Retrieved 7 July 2015.
- "Golf – The £800 tournament – Abe Mitchell's great win". The Glasgow Herald. 23 May 1921. p. 6.