History of the Course

 

Hythe Golf Club may have been formed on the 1st January 2015 but the Golf Course itself has been in existence for well over 100 years. The land, which until the construction of the Royal Military Canal, was a marshland, was originally purchased by the South Eastern and Chatham Railways in 1904 to provide a 9 hole course as an added amenity for the Seabrook Hotel later to become the Imperial Hotel.

hythe(hcc1920s)tramway_old13
With kind permission from John Mann collection and HC Casserley & Disused Stations (www.disused-stations.org.uk)

Although those early golfers will undoubtedly recognise the course as it is today there have been a number of changes since they were sinking their puts. When the course first opened the Hythe and Sandgate Tramway ran across the raised embankment between the two halves of the golf course and then along Princes Parade past the hotel and into Hythe. These horse drawn trams, enclosed in winter but open in the summer, would have been quite a site, if not a little off-putting for the golfers of Hythe. Passengers in their large Edwardian hats and flowing dresses would have provided a permanent but ever moving “gallery”. Perhaps wisely it was decided to abandon the blind short hole which played over the Tramway. The Tramway, bringing holiday makers and visitors from London, remained open until the end of 1921. There was however, a 5 year suspension from 1914 when the Government commandeered the horses for duties during the Great War.

 

The course itself suffered some damage during the First World War when in 1917 Hythe was targeted by German Goth bombers during their first daylight raid on England. Sixteen bombs were dropped on Hythe, causing two fatalities. The final two bombs fell on the far corner of the Golf Course, close to the Royal Military Canal.

Despite this the course remained open until the Second World War when it was closed, mined and covered in barbed wire. A small blockhouse can still be seen half way down the 5th fairway which was used to store armoury for the local garrison. This same fairway also later became a temporary “runway” when a small plane with engine trouble attempted a landing finally coming to rest in one of the fairway bunkers.

The course re-opened in 1950 when the Hythe Imperial Golf Club was opened by the Hotel’s owner John Marston and Frank Fright who later became the Club President. The restoration of the course was undertaken by head greenkeeper Bert Beerman who was responsible for much of the post war design.

hole_in_1More recently the Club has seen some notable moments.  None more so than the 17 million to one chance of two golfers scoring a hole in one on the same hole at the same time!  Our current Vice-President and Lady Vice Captain achieved this feat on what is now the well kept practice area.