History of Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club

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A short history of Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Club

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This club can claim a proud place among the pioneers of the game of golf in the South of England, having been formed as long ago as 1885. It was originally formed under the name of the United Services Golf Club to provide a golfing facility for officers in the army and navy stationed in Portsmouth. It continued to flourish under that name for more than half a century. However, prior to World War2 the name was changed to its current name as it began to lose its exclusively military character.

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The original nine-hole course of 1885 was laid out on Haslar Common and the glacis of Fort Moncton. It was on this course that the term “bogey” originated. In 1890 Mr H. Rotherham of the Coventry Golf Club inaugurated the basic idea of playing against “ground score”, which was the number of strokes a golfer playing steady golf would be expected to take on each hole. Other clubs soon followed this example.

In 1892 the Secretary of the Great Yarmouth Golf Club came to Haslar and played at the United Services Golf Club. He introduced the BogeyMan idea to the Honourable Secretary and they worked out a ground score for the course. The actual term Bogeyman originated from a popular tune of the era.

When the two secretaries were about to tee-off, one stated that as the club was an officers’ club, and every member had a rank, then the new invisible member, who never played a bad shot, must surely be a Colonel. Consequently this was how the name Colonel Bogey came into existence.



At the turn of the Century the Ladies course, which the ladies of Alverstoke started in 1893, was combined with the Services course to to make an 18 hole course. Subsequent flooding by back filling the moats, and drainage by the local authorities, along with the sale of land by the M.O.D has reduced the course to its current size.

The Club Celebrated its centenary year in 1985 and has continued to flourish. An irrigation system for the greens was installed and much work on course and drainage improvements has taken place over the last few years and thanks to the Green Staff the course is a fine and sometimes intimidating course to play on.

In 2010 we celebrated our 125th year and continue to welcome golfers from all over the world.