The early days - Sheringham and Golf Club
In 1811, Mr Abbot Upcher purchased Sheringham Hall Estate, which stretched due north from Upper Sheringham to the cliff edge and encompassed much of the early town.
The Upcher family, committed philanthropists, spent time and money supporting local fishermen and other townspeople, the town’s lifeboats, and developing the groynes and promenade to the west of the town.
In 1889, The Sheringham Hotel was opened on the corner of Holt and Weybourne Roads. The building remains to this day, but is now residential flats.
Around this time, Henry Broadhurst MP, Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department and instrumental in the founding of Cromer Golf Club in 1888, had already decided the area of the cliffs to the west of Sheringham would also be ideal for a golf course. His home club was Tooting Bec, where Tom Dunn was the professional, and Tom was duly brought to Sheringham in 1891 to start work on a nine-hole course.
Sheringham Golf Club is founded
Tom Dunn completed the design and construction of the initial nine holes by September 1891 and, on 28th December at 4pm, in a room at The Sheringham Hotel, Henry Broadhurst and 14 others met to set up the Club. Henry Broadhurst was voted into the Chair and outlined the acquisition of the links land, made possible by the kindness of H.R.Upcher. – son of Abbot Upcher.
The elected officers were, President: H.R.Upcher JP DL, Hon. Treasurer: H.Broadhurst MP, Captain: Revd. A.H.Upcher, Hon. Secretary: Capt. Rodney Eden, Secretary: C.Strickland, Committee: Col. The Viscount Coke, Messrs Forbes Eden, R.W.Ketton and W Ernely Sumpter MD. Gourlay Dunn, son of Tom, was employed to look after the Links. It was agreed that 79 applications for membership be accepted and Sheringham Golf Club was thus founded.
Establishing Clubhouse and Facilities
The first clubhouse, End Cottage, on the other side of Weybourne Road from the course, was purchased in 1892 and, in 1893, a workshop was approved and constructed. In July 1895, a pavilion was erected near the site of the present Clubhouse by Boulton & Paul of Norwich, at a cost of some £123. In late 1898, the course was extended to 18 holes and the AGM accepted calls for the pavilion to be enlarged. Harrods of London provided a two-storey construction on the north side of the existing building, with a further single-storey to the north for Ladies. Communal rooms, Officials’ rooms and verandahs were set in place for members to relax before and after play. 1910/11 saw discussions about the building of a new Clubhouse, though the initial design was rejected as “too grand and expensive”. A second design was approved after much consultation with members and built in 1912 on the present site.
Over the years, to accommodate growth in membership and visitors and the accompanying demands on the Clubhouse, both men’s and ladies’ changing rooms have been extended. Steward’s accommodation has been converted to club rooms and a dining room added to the ground floor, with extensive kitchen additions and facilities.
Sweet Briar Lane
Sweetbriar Lane is the turning off the Weybourne Road that leads to the Club. When the railway was laid in 1898, a level crossing was constructed with road and foot-gates. Over the years, procedures changed and now, when trains run on the North Norfolk Railway, the crossing is controlled by stop/go lights operated by the train stopping short of the road. When the lights change to red on the road-side. a “toot” from the train signals it is about to cross. When all is clear, the road-side lights turn green again.
Properties on both sides of the entrance have early Club associations. On the left, a building was constructed in 1899 for a Professional’s shop (until then housed in the stables of The Sheringham Hotel) and Caddie House. Ironically, this building was itself converted to stables for the horses used to pull mowers and machinery on the course. With the formation of the Artisans section in 1923, part was then converted to a clubhouse for them. When the Artisans amalgamated with the main club, the building was used to store course machinery. As the use of machinery grew, extra sheds were constructed near the Clubhouse, on the boundary to the course itself. The building near the level crossing was no longer required and was sold. It was later demolished and the present residential property constructed.
On the right hand side, more suitable caddie accommodation was built and eventually became the home of Lusher Risebro, Caddie Master and Professional’s assistant until his retirement. In the early 1980s it became the Dormie House, offering accommodation next to the then 1st tee for visiting golfers: catering and green fees were included in its charges. Eventually, with significant upgrading required, the accommodation was deemed uneconomic and the property sold. The site now has a private residential bungalow on it.
Around his time, curved brick walls with the club name carved on inset stone slabs were built on either side of Sweet Briar Lane to create a formal entrance to the club.