Finchley Golf Club

Finchley Golf Club History

The Clubhouse was built by a wealthy Victorian businessman, Henry Thomas Tubbs, as a home, named Nether Court, for himself and his family between 1880 and 1883.

It was described in local history as “the largest Victorian house built in Hendon Parish” and, because it was built as a private family home, contributes much to the present feel of the Club.

Along the west side of the courtyard there was a coach house with accommodation above whilst outside there was a walled kitchen garden, nursery garden, and formal gardens with a fountain, now a feature of the course.

The 15-bedroom house was accessed by a long drive from Gordon Road complete with a small entrance Lodge, a river bridge and an artificial lake with a single island and a side arm crossed by its own single decorative footbridge. This driveway was closed in 1967 and the lodge demolished around the same time.

Some of the original features include the Dining Room, Saloon, Hall and Main Staircase with its stained glass windows. The six windows portray initialled monograms of Tubbs (HTT) and his wife (MLT) flanking the Tubbs Heraldic Arms, whilst below there are three cartoons representing three moments in the daily life of a farm labourer and his family: “Morning”, “Noon” and “Night”.

Tubbs lived in Nether Court until his death in December 1917, after which it lay empty for several years despite two new owners. It was eventually purchased in 1929 to become our Clubhouse.

Initially called the Finchley, Golf, Sports and Social Club Ltd. the Club was founded by a group of keen golfers who persuaded Finchley Council to purchase land for a new course. The main thrust of their application was based on the idea that it would be of greater benefit to the local residents as a Sports and Social Club than yet another suburban housing estate.

Using the imposing Nether Court mansion as the Clubhouse, the founders approached one of the greatest course architects of the age, 5 times Open Champion James Braid, who laid out a very challenging 6300-yard course around it.

Following the death of the Mansion’s owner in 1917 the Clubhouse had fallen into sad disrepair, but as part of the course construction it was completely refurbished.

The construction of the course started in August 1929, with golf first being played on the ten holes nearest the Clubhouse from the end of May 1930. Last minute changes to some of the front nine holes delayed the opening of the full course until 18th October 1930.

The Club thrived from the beginning with an active membership enjoying many golfing and social activities.

In 1939, at the beginning of the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence requisitioned the Clubhouse as a barracks for soldiers. Despite this occupation, a few of the remaining members managed to keep the course alive throughout the war so that afterwards the Club could be re-established. The absence of entries for competition winners on the honours boards around the Clubhouse for the war years reflect the moratorium in the ordinary life of the club during that period.

Despite many serious privations the clubhouse and course were fully reinstated over the next few years with the Club running open competitions, exhibition matches and other events.

By the early 60s, however, the proprietary-run Club had run into such serious financial difficulties that the members decided to take over the running of the Club and, having obtained a new lease from the then new Borough of Barnet, made a fresh start as a Club run by its members. In 1966 it welcomed the World Cup winning England football team.

Since then, as the suburbs have crept around it, the Course has thrived behind developing green woodlands and, with its imposing hill top clubhouse overlooking the 18th green, now offers a superb test of golf in open countryside, barely 30 minutes travel from Central London.

Finchley Golf Club Clubhouse
Finchley Golf Club inside clubhouse
Finchley Golf Course

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