The original nine-hole course opened for play in April 1892. With increasing membership and visitors, an additional nine holes were added and the 18-hole course was opened on 14th May 1898. A Professionals’ Tournament was held on 21st July and won by J. H. Taylor, with a 36-hole total of 157.
Both World Wars saw armed forces using the Sheringham course for exercises and, in World War 2, gun emplacements, pill boxes and look-out towers were erected on and around Skelding Hill. The Clubhouse was used as accommodation for troops and persons displaced from their homes by bomb damage.
Many major course alterations have been made over the last 70 years. The first was the building of a new 17th green into the slope of Skelding Hill near the 18th tee, thus extending the length of the hole. The green of the short 3rd was so close to the cliff path and a public road it posed real danger to the public from wayward balls, so in the 70’s the hole was taken out of use and the opportunity taken to move the 2nd green further down. A new short hole, the 8th, was constructed at the extreme western end of the course and opened on 28th July 1974. The tee to the 8th was later adjusted to accommodate a southerly extension to the 7th green. Cliff falls alongside the 5th green made it necessary to rebuild the green further inland in 1979. In 1987, to accommodate legal agreement for the Norfolk Coastal Path, this was again moved further south. In the 1920’s, flint workings had encroached on land by the sixth green and, over the years, the green was moved southwards in small stages to deal with the needs of access and cliff erosion.
Following the Second World War, military constructions were filled in or removed, and in some cases landscaped over to restore suitable playing conditions.
On the course, the essential watering of tees and greens has progressed from single, hand-placed sprinklers to fixed sprinklers on tees and around greens. In the late 1970’s these were computerised and automated, and in the early 1980’s a borehole was sunk near the Clubhouse to provide water for the system’s storage tanks.
Surface water from Upper Sheringham flows towards the course in an open ditch and, when the railway was built, a pipe was laid under the high embankment alongside today’s 16th fairway. The pipe continued across the course to the discharge point at Old Hythe beach. However, increasing surface water flow was often too heavy for the pipes and flooding was frequent on the fairway’s “dip”. In 1986 the local authority laid a larger diameter pipe down to the discharge point from the back of the 17th tee.
At the back of each tee, engraved stone markers display the hole number and name. The 1st is “Henry Craske”, secretary of the Club from 1903 to 1973. The 2nd, “Town View”, becomes instantly self-explanatory when standing on the tee. The 3rd, “Lifeboat”, is the first hole along the cliff top, passing the lifeboat house on the sea front below. The 4th, “Skelding Hill”, has its tee set on the eastern side of the hill close to the coastguard hut, a longtime feature of the hill. The 5th, “Fulmars”, runs along the cliff top edge, a well-known nesting area for fulmars and other birds. A wayward shot to the right soon disappears over the cliff! The 6th, “Old Hythe”, is a short hole with its green opposite the lowest point on the cliffs, where the old lifeboat house once stood. The 7th, “Pop Shop”, is the last of the cliff top holes, named after a non-alcoholic drinks stand that used to sit behind the green. The 8th, “Pretty Corner”, is a short hole with gorse prominent by the hole. The 9th, “Upchers”, in the middle of the course, is named in grateful remembrance of the Upcher family – so important in the foundation of the course.
The 10th, “The Warren”, is set in an area that has always been a favourite one for rabbits (non-golfing variety!). The 11th, “Risebro” marks the long service to the Club of Ernest and Lusher. The 12th, “Charity”, is the “second” starting hole on the course. It is on land owned originally by the Poors Charity, from which the lease was purchased in August 1982. (This completed the club’s full ownership of the course.) The 13th, “Spinney”, is an uphill hole with abundant gorse and a small group of trees. The 14th, “Dead Man’s”, is another hole with gorse and it is rumoured that bodies of shipwrecked sailors were buried in the field beyond. The 15th, “Poppy Line”, is the first hole that runs beside the railway. The name is taken from the preserved steam railway that owns and operates the track to Holt. The 16th, “The Pit”, has a tee from which the ground slopes down quite sharply; best ‘carried’ with the tee shot. A train puffing gently past on the embankment when teeing up can be off-putting, if rather picturesque! The 17th, “What Train?”, marks the comment of Joyce Wethered when holing out here to win the 1920 English Ladies Championship held at the club. The 18th, “Shannock”, is the final hole and acknowledges the inhabitants of Sheringham, known by their local ‘Shannocks’ nickname.