Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club

Suffolk Coastal

Independent Course Review

Felixstowe Golf Club

Ferry Road 
 IP4 9RY 
 T: 01394 286834 
 F: 01394 273679 
 E: secretary@felixstowegolf.co.uk 
 W: www.felixstowegolf.co.uk

We have enjoyed playing at Felixstowe Ferry for more than 30 years, Winter, Summer, Spring and Autumn. Having won prizes in quite a few competitions societies, associations and charity golf days I think I know the course very well. Firstly it’s a Links course and if it’s not windy it’s not Felixstowe. About 28 years ago I used to play in the local daily newspaper’s regular golf days. The Vice Chairman of the company, George, was a lovely guy and always joined us for these days although heading towards the twilight of his years. One day he brought his neighbours cocker spaniel for some exercise. The dog was on the lead but the wind was so strong that he was really struggling to hold on to the lead until a gust of wind lifted the poor dog off of the ground all four legs It was like he was flying a kite.

On a another occasion a huge celebrity golf day in aid of the charity Retts Syndrome we were caught in a huge storm in the middle of the course , with very few trees around there are a few sheds strategically placed, we spent an hour in the company of the Auf Wiedersien Pet & Inspector Morse, actor Kevin Whately, we just couldn’t move as the rain was coming down sideways and the Thunder and Lightning was very very frightening particularly as we were in metal Anderson shelter.

The first four holes often play down wind going out to the Deben estuary. The fifth hole a short par 3 plays parallel to the Deben protected by a dyke, amazingly when the wind is blowing that way I have often seen a few of my ProV1’s float over the dyke and into the Deben.

Stroke index one plays back into the prevailing wind and when the wind is blowing is a tough hole on the next few holes the ditches meander across the fairways on the two par 5’s. I was once on the tee behind the 7th waiting to play the next par 5 when my playing partner was hit by a ball from fully 200 yards and broke his collar bone.

Felixstowe Golf Club

The Martello Course at Felixstowe Ferry is the fifth oldest in England having been established in 1880. 18 holes 6422 yards Par 72, right next to the sea with fabulous views over the East Anglian coast and Deben Estuary. The course is gently undulating with testing borrows on the greens.

The Kingsfleet, 9 holes 2956 yards, par 35 is available for 'Pay and Play' to all comers. It offers pleasant views across the river Deben and marshes and is as much a challenge as the Martello having two par fives. This is not a pitch and putt course but a true test of golf.

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club is one of the oldest clubs in Suffolk and is the only true Links Course. Golf has been played at Felixstowe for over 120 years but it was in 1880 that the clubs was formed. At that time there were only 5 golf clubs in the country – now there are well over 2,000.

How it all began – in 1874 Colonel Jeff Sharp, Master of the Suffolk & Essex Foxhounds and a member of the Blackheath Golf Club, played golf on Langer Common. He cut holes near Landguard Fort and later laid down links between the For and the Ordnance Hotel.

In 1875 Lord Elcho MP was president of the London Scottish Golf at Wimbledon and a frequent guest of Colonel Tomline at Orwell Park. On his visits he played a few holes there and in the spring of 1880 he was accompanied by General Lee Hope Grant of India and Tom Dunn the Wimbledon Golf Professional and went down to the Deben side, laid out a golf course and played with the enthusiasm of a discoverer.

The enthusiasm of both Tom Dunn and Lord Elcho soon spread to the Wimbledon Club and the brothers Frank and Alexander Crawford went down to Bawdsey Ferry and enjoyed a game over the close-cropped turf. They were followed by a party from London Scottish Golf Club. They cut 9 holes and played for the Challenge Gold Medal which was won by Mr. Muir, who presented the Trophy to the Felixstowe Golf Club on its formation. Thus the “Bawdsey Challenge Gold Medal” became the first of the club’s valuable trophies.

The inaugural competition held on 30th October 1880 was won by John Kerr and the Club was formed at the dinner which followed at the Bath Hotel.

Willie Fernie was appointed Greenkeeper/Professional at a salary of £1.00 per week. Willie was the Open Champion.

In 1894 the Ladies section was formed.

1914 the Course was closed for the Great War and in 1920 the course was reconstructed under the supervision of John Braid and a further 9 holes added. The clubhouse was refurbished after being used as a barracks during the war.

In 1939 the course was closed due to the Second World War and was devastated due to becoming part of the coastal defence system against invasion.

1946 the course was purchased by Mr. Walter Cross to enable the club to be reformed. Henry Cotton and Sir Guy Campbell were given the stupendous task of reconstruction.

1948 the Club is re-established and by May enough progress had been made for an open meeting to be held at the Conservative Club. The Chair was taken by Mr. W. Mulley a Trustee, appointed by the Proprietor and a large number of enthusiastic people were present. A Steering Committee was formed and the decision was made to call the club Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club. Subscriptions were set at two guineas for gentlemen and one and half guineas for ladies.

1949 official opening was performed by the twice Open Champion, Henry Cotton.

1987 Miss Julie Wade wins the England Stroke Play and follows this by winning the English Championship in 1988. She is subsequently elected Captain of England Golf team and plays a successful role in the Curtis Cup.

1991 opening of the extensive Practice Ground.

1996 opening of the very popular “Kingsfleet 9 hole course” designed and constructed by the Club. This delightful course is ideal of the beginner, Junior, or those coming back to golf and is also extremely popular with the “Pay & Play” golfer.

2000 Millenium celebrations held to commemorate 120 years golf at Felixstowe Ferry.

At the end of 2011 saw the retirement of our highly respected Golf Professional, Ian Macpherson, who had served the club for the past 35 years.

Play the video to hear some interesting stories about the club




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