A Brief History of Cosby Golf Club

A Brief History of Cosby Golf Club

The first seven Golf Clubs founded in the Leicestershire area were, Charnwood Forest and Leicester in 1890 (renamed the Leicestershire in 1894); Oakham and Uppingham in 1892; Belvoir Castle and Kirby Muxloe in 1893; Burbage Common in 1894 followed by the Narborough Golf Club in 1895.

The “Narborough Golf Club” later named Cosby Golf Club was founded as a result of golf having been played in the early 1890’s over four holes laid out near to the village of Narborough.  Although early records of the club’s inception have been lost, the Club was formed and course relocated to Cosby in 1895, by the officers of the Army Garrison based at nearby Glen Parva barracks. In fact, many of trophies were donated to the club in the late 1890’s by various army officers, all of which bear the inscription Narborough Golf Club and their names.

The title of the club was altered to that of “The Cosby Golf Club” in 1934. The precise reason for the change is not documented, but it is recounted the transition was made to avoid confusion between Narborough Golf Club and the neighbouring Croft Golf Club. Seemingly many visiting golfers who arrived by train on asking the local cabbies to be taken to the local golf club, were transported (usually by horse and trap) to the nearby Croft Club, rather than to the Narborough Club sited in Cosby.  Ironically, the Croft Golf Club eventually closed its doors in 1941 due the depletion of many of its members who had succumbed to the war effort, with many of remaining joining the Cosby Club.

 The principle benefactor and driving force for many years and the one who perhaps had the biggest influence in the club’s early progress was Major Robertson-Aikman who along with Mr W. H. Herbert, re-opened the Cosby course in 1918 after the club’s 4-year closure during the 1914-18 Great War. Major Aikman went on to become the club’s first President, (a post he held for over 30 years, from 1932 – 1964).

 Another prominent member of the club in the early 1900’s was Mr S. Broadbent who took a leading part in the formation of the Leicestershire Golf Union which was inaugurated on the 8th June 1910, being elected the first Vice President of the Union, and then President in 1913. It was Mr Broadbent who proposed the introduction of the County Club Championship, which in its first year of being played, resulted in a three way tie between The Leicestershire, Birstall and Narborough Golf Clubs. Leicestershire winning the play off.

The original 9-hole course in Cosby, was laid out on the south side of the village and a little delving into local history informs us that in the 15th century areas around the village had names that provide very good descriptions of the local ground conditions “Cleypits” and “Cleylonds”.  It is reputed that bricks made from the Cosby clay were used in the building of Kirby Muxloe and Ashby castles.

 The first layout comprised of 9 holes, the shortest being 106yds, the longest 360 yards with such wonderful names as “The Pup”, “Pickle”, “Warren”, “Blind”, “Whirley”, “Bee-Bee” etc. Unfortunately, in the early 1930’s the original 9-hole course was rearranged and the old names for whatever reason became defunct which is perhaps rather sad.  A further influence from earlier times which can still be seen today, is the prominence of the medieval farming in the area with agricultural ridge & furrows which are on the current the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th holes.

Cosby remained a 9-hole course for over 70 years and as the holes were sited on leased land from the local farming community, the greens had to be protected from the grazing cattle by barbed wire surrounds, which were eventually removed in the mid 1960’s. It was at that time that the committee put in place plans for a major expansion programme.  The ideas were kick started at the Clubs’ AGM in March 1963, when the members unanimously agreed to purchase 79 acres of the Nook Farm for the total cost of £9,000.  This was followed over the next 2 years with further land purchases including the leased “Home Field” which was then owned by the late Major Aikman’s estate.  These acquisitions resulted in a 10-year plan being formulated to extend the course to a full 18 holes along with a new club house to replace the wooden structure which resembled a grand cricket pavilion. Hawtrees were appointed as the course architects resulting in their 18-hole plan receiving approval for the go ahead in 1967.

Whilst the 18 hole Hawtree designed par 69 course, was opened for play in 1969, further alterations and improvements to the course have taken place since. Many of the changes have been made as a result of additional land purchases, coupled with a redesign of the course layout in 1992 by Cameron Sinclair. More recent work on the course has seen many of the older greens and tees either being rebuilt or redesigned.  The course now measures just under 6500yds with a par of 71.

In addition to course developments a new clubhouse was built and subsequently opened by Max Faulkner in 1973. A new gent’s locker room was added in 1982 with a conservatory extending the clubhouse facilities in 1989. Other clubhouse changes and additions have taken place since, culminating in the opening in 2009, of a designated practice area close to the clubhouse, complete with undercover practice bays and floodlight driving range.

On the playing side, whilst the club has won many County Union events including the Leicestershire County league title on a record number of occasions, a number of members have also enjoyed success by winning a number of prestigious amateur titles as well as playing for county and regional teams.

 Malcolm Riddle

October 2016