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Driffield Golf Club celebrates its centenary

Driffield Golf Club was formed in 1923. The original club was on Meadow Road in the town.

The course was spread over land where the bungalows are now situated and spread towards the housing estate which now includes areas such as Cawthorne Close and Mortimer Walk.

It was a full 18-hole course, and was owned by, and rented from, a local family, the Beals. A fairly simple shed structure served as a clubhouse.

Before the current bungalows to the left of Meadow Road were built, evidence of the old greens could still be seen.

After a while the members collectively decided to look for another site for their club. One of the main reasons for this is documented as being due to the strict rules around alcohol consumption being limited, and no members being allowed to play on a Sunday.

After researching potential sites, and meetings with the Ferns family on the Sunderlandwick Estate, it was agreed that the current site would be perfect.

The club moved in 1934, (ironically this is the year one of the oldest playing members, Mike Clark, was born), as an 18-hole course. A simple shed again became the clubhouse.

The holes were laid out differently to how the course is now and one part was over the farm road and ran along the current busy main road, which in 1934 had a fraction of the traffic!

DGC keep minute books of all meetings held. It is sad that some of these from early on are no longer at the club, having being destroyed some years ago.

“As the reader will learn, Driffield Golf Club has come a long way from its inception in 1923, located on the eastern part of the town in Meadow Road.
“It has grown in stages since its move to Sunderlandwick – starting again as a nine-hole course, and moving back to 18 holes.
“Members should be proud of their achievements over the years in making the course what it is today.
“Driffield Golf Club continues to flourish because of the dedication and commitment of all the members, and a very professional and knowledgeable green staff, without whom the club would not be where it is today, enjoying its centenary year!”

Neil Woodward, Club president

During the war, the club had to ‘give up’ nine holes for the war effort and the club became a nine-hole course for the next 40-plus years.

Returning planes would often offload bombs as they came back to the airfield onto the course and these would have to be removed. However, play continued throughout the war in a somewhat reduced way.

Current members reflect that this would have been precarious in some situations given the close proximity to the airfield.

All the cups began again in 1946. This must have been a great time for members of the club and the local community, and the club began to thrive.

DGC has always had a thriving ladies section. Unlike many other golf clubs, DGC never segregated the members.

However, some current members who have been at the club many decades remember that ladies did not play on a Saturday.

Over the years there have been many improvements to the clubhouse and the course.

DGC held its 50th celebration of moving to Sunderlandwick in August 1984, when Sir Thomas Ferens and his family attended as guests of honour.

Whilst the event was being held, discussions were opened which led to the estate agreeing to consider giving over more land to get DGC back to a full 18 holes.

Club captain Brian Swan led negotiations and in 1985 an agreement was reached that Haig’s Field and the Corner Field would be made available to extend the course.

The offer of land was accepted and a new course committee was selected. In April 1986, meetings began about how to undertake the project and detailed costings and plans were presented to members at an extraordinary general meeting in July 1986.

By the summer of 1988, the course was up to 13 holes and in 1990 events were held to celebrate the opening of the full course extension.

“Our vision is to continue to present, and grow, a high quality, parkland golf course, with excellent facilities for people who are proud to be members.
“To welcome all visitors in a warm and friendly atmosphere, and to give value for money by providing a well established and well-managed club, which is open to everyone.”

Sean Lynch

The clubhouse was redeveloped fairly recently, when we consider the club has been in existence 100 years. It was rebuilt in 2000.

One member remembers that a EGM was called for members to attend and see the new plans that had been drawn up. During this meeting it became apparent that the firm hadn’t really listened to what was needed, or visited the site, and the plans showed a full brick wall on the side of the course. No view of the wonderful parkland!

Back to the drawing board and a new set or architects were instructed.

The clubhouse today has wonderful views of the course and on a sunny day is arguably the best place to sit and have a drink in Driffield.

The clock tower was added in 2002 after donations were secured.

There have been other improvements over the years such as the patio area.

Through the years members have stepped up and put hard work in to keep the club improvements going and to enhance the site for all members to enjoy. Without the commitment of the members and their hard work, fundraising and time given, it would not continue to thrive in the way it currently does.

COVID hit the club hard, as it did many sports facilities and clubs up and down the country. Golf England pushed for the sport to be one of the first to start up again, and as this is an outdoor, no contact recreation it was deemed less harmful.

It was great news when members could start playing again, albeit in a reduced capacity and no clubhouse open.

During this time the club had requests from many new people wanting to join.

This was great news and those new people have kept up their memberships and many of them are younger and have fallen in love with golf.

DGC is open to the public and offers a non-playing social membership. Quizzes are very popular during the winter months and the club is a great place to get together with friends and enjoy the wonderful views.

Wildlife can be spotted regularly from the clubhouse as well as out on the course.

Events can be held at the club and some of these raise a fantastic amount of money for charities.

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