Canterbury Golf Club opened for play in 1927 on 160 acres of land leased from what was then the War Office.
There was, in fact, as early as 1892, a golf course in Canterbury, situated on the Old Park, which was part of the military training ground attached to the nearby barracks.
Following two unsuccessful attempts to find suitable land for a new course in 1909 and 1913, a third bid in 1924 led to the opening of negotiations for the leasing of land at Scotland Hills, (close to the 1892 course) from the War Office.
In May 1925, it was announced that the War Office had agreed to a 28-year lease of approximately 160 acres of land for the new golf course. The cost of creating the new course and clubhouse was £7,000 but applications for debentures had already raised £5,000 of this so it was all systems go.
By August a further 10½ acres had been acquired and Harry S Colt, one of the finest golf architects of his time, had surveyed the terrain and planned the course. In September 1926, it was announced that nine holes would be ready for play in the spring of the following year.
The first secretary, Mr T R Worthing, was appointed in early 1927 and Fred Bradbeer was appointed as the professional. Fred was one of seven brothers from Berrow, next to the famous Burnham and Berrow Golf Club, all of whom became golf professionals. A Mr Pugh, from Hoylake, became the club’s first greenkeeper.
The official opening of the course took place in July 1927, with a match between the golf club and the Buffs Golfing Society, commemorated with a splendid photo of both teams which still hangs in the clubhouse. A ladies’ section was formed in August of the same year.
Another local club, Ickham Court Golf Club, which had formed in 1911, ceased to exist in 1927 when Canterbury opened for play. The members of Ickham Court transferred membership to Canterbury and an interesting match took place in November between former members of Ickham Court and golfers from within the new club.
Over many years, the original heathland nature of the course has altered immensely, with the emergence of huge expanses of trees, the majority of them self-sown. The resulting mature woodland, with its carpet of bluebells in spring and wide variety of wildlife all year round, make this an uplifting place to play golf.
Several areas have been given SSSI status by Natural England.
The closure of the adjoining Howe Barracks in February 2015 enabled the golf club to buy the land on which the course stands from the Ministry of Defence. Since then, heavy investment has seen the course developed and improved, a long-term project that is still ongoing.
The course is 6,287 yards off the whites – a par 71 – and is a mix of open par-five holes, tight par-fours and challenging par-threes.
It has been selected as the venue for numerous representative matches at county, inter-county and national level.