Friday, November 01, 2013


In two weeks time 'Fair Ways in Ashdown Forest' will be published to celebrate the 125 years of Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club on 22nd December. This book tells the story of an elite Club playing on common land and how it has tried to live in harmony with Foresters, commoners, Conservators and still provide a bunkerless, top 100, national and international 36 hole venue.

It's author, Colin Strachan, gives an insight into its content....
"No other Club can list such a wide variety of members, from the men who built Tower Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge and the railways in Sussex and Kent to the axe man Dr Beeching, who closed them.
From our 1919 Captain, The Lord Chief Justice Scrutton who tried the 'Brides in the Bath' murderer,and Dracula (Sir Christopher Lee) to the angelic Christopher Robin and his father AA Milne a regular in the monthly medals.
From the man from Forest Row, Frank Lucas, who laid the first really successful transoceanic cables to USA and Australia, to another another engineer, 1st Viscount Cowdray, who discovered oil in Central America when building the Panama railway after tunnelling the East River in New York.
We lost 14% of our members who enlisted during the Great War. Our members then included the Chief of Staff at Paschendale and the Admiral who commanded the Dreadnought Fleet. We had a holder of the Victoria Cross and ten members were awarded the Military Cross. We were represented in the embryonic air battle by one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society who died tragically test-flying his new gyroscopic compass. He was Keith Lucas ,son of our Ladies Club founder who was on the founding Committee of the LGU.
Freddie Tait was an original member  followed by Horace Hutchinson in 1897 Horace G Hutchison wrote most of his golf books from his home overlooking the 8th fairway.
In the next two generations we had Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and a Nobel prize winner Lord Robert Cecil.... and many more fascinating stories from the High Weald. One of our Presidents was the first RAF test pilot for the Spitfire, but most will be long forgotten when one of our artisan  members, the great Abe Mitchell, born illegitimately in East Grinstead Workhouse, will still be seen standing on top of the  solid gold Ryder Cup and another, Alf Padgham, was co-professional with Jack Rowe two years before he won the Open Championship."

The limited edition leather bound at £150 has sold out in two weeks and the £55 standard is selling well  ... 'an excellent buy for Christmas' (Donald Steel)
Copies can be obtained from the Secretary at Royal Ashdown Forest.



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