Prior to World War I, the only Clubs associated with Cheltenham were Cheltenham Golf Club and Cheltenham Town Golf Club - both playing over Cleeve Hill. Subsequently the Cheltenham Golf Club moved into the town and became Lilley Brook Golf Club. Cheltenham Town Golf Club became Cotswold Hills Golf Club, who continued to play over Cleeve Hill until the mid 1970’s when they moved to Ullenwood - several miles out of town to the south.
In 1921, Cheltenham Golf Club leased 132 acres of land to the south of Cheltenham, including Lilleybrook Lodge becoming the Lilley Brook Golf Club and so named after the “Lilley Brook”, a tributary of the River Chelt which flows close by.
Original Course Designer, Dr. Alister MacKenzie
The good Doctor designed a number of outstanding courses but his most famous creation, in consultation with Bobby Jones is undoubtedly Augusta National, home of the US Masters and the first of the four Major Championships in golf. He was commisioned to design an 18 hole course in 1921 and was available to the club until 1923.
The leased land was subsequently bought and in 1964 the club was able to acquire more land and the original layout was changed to its current design, retaining nine of the holes as originally laid out by Dr. MacKenzie, alongside some more of the original greens, as well as incorporating trees planted in the early days. Across the years we have continued to plant trees particularly during the 1970’s under the supervision and direction of our then club professional, Forbes Hadden.
In 1922 former Open Champion, Mr Arthur Havers, officially opened the course with a round of golf. In the years since a number of champions and golfing greats have graced our acres:
- Charlie Ward 1947
- Max Faulkner 1950
- Peter Alliss 1955
- Tony Jacklin 1974
- Des Smyth 2009
- Roger Chapman 2009
- Carl Mason 2009
Regrettably, due to a flood in the clubhouse all of the associated designs and paperwork were destroyed but not before the Club was able to satisfy the MacKenzie Society www.alistermackenzie.co.uk of our heritage and we are acknowledged officially as a MacKenzie course - the only such course in Gloucestershire.
We offer preferential green fees to members of other MacKenzie clubs - many of which reciprocate our members.
As the Club closes in on its centenary we are very proud of our past but equally a Club looking to the future with ongoing investment in our course and facilities and innovative memberships.