Maesteg Golf Club

History

On the 4th November 1912, a group of local gentlemen met at the White Lion Hotel, Commercial Street to discuss the feasibility of forming a golf club at Maesteg. Their first task was to find a suitable site on which to locate the course and, after considering a number of locations at Tyn Waun, Bryn Rhyg and Gelli Lenor. They eventually chose a collection of fields at Brynmawr Farm which would be leased from Margam Estates for £10 per annum.

The original par-36 nine hole layout at Brynmawr was designed by the then professional at Porthcawl Golf Club, Mr. Hutchinson and subscriptions were set at one guinea plus an entrance fee of half a guinea.

The course was officially opened on 30th July 1913. In March 1914, agreement was reached to rent two rooms at Mount Pleasant Farm to act as locker rooms for the members. However, the distance from the locker rooms to the original first tee meant a daunting climb and eventually the holes were renumbered.

Following the outbreak of World War I, the course and it’s facilities were offered free of charge to Belgian refugees being quartered locally and also to wounded soldiers convalescing at Maesteg General Hospital. In late 1916, however, Mr. Evan Williams, the grounds man, was conscripted and, despite an unsuccessful appeal by the Club, the course remained closed for the remainder of the War.

The course reopened in 1919 but it was in October 1920 that the decision was taken to rent from Mr. Rees, the tenant of Cwncerwn Farm, the land on which the modern-day course is situated. The first Clubhouse – a former army hut – was erected at Mount Pleasant and officially opened on 20th July 1921. Following the opening of a new main road to Port Talbot in 1924, the decision was finally taken to build six additional holes on the newly acquired (and very wet) land at Mount Pleasant. This was extended to nine holes in September 1929 when the lease on the original land at Brynmawr was terminated.

Another momentous decision was taken in 1933; the playing of golf on a Sunday was finally permitted. This was now possible as the Club, having moved to the new course in 1929, was no longer subject to the objections of the tenant farmer at Brynmawr which had previously prevented Sunday golf. In 1934, the Club finally abandoned it’s old horse-drawn mower in favour of a motorised vehicle. The mare who had given such sterling service to the Club over the years was retired to Brynmawr Farm. A bar had been installed in the Clubhouse in 1923 but it wasn’t until 1939 that the first Stewardess was appointed. During the early years of World War II, a contingent of the local Home Guard shared the clubhouse with members and Officers stationed at the Bryn, Garth and Maesteg army camps were invited to become honorary members of the Club.

In late 1942, the course at Mount Pleasant together with the old farmhouse were purchased from Margam Estates for £500. The following year, James Braid, five time winner of the British Open Championship, was engaged to design a new nine hole layout. He submitted two schemes and one of these was used as the layout for the new course. In 1946 a new Clubhouse was purchased from RAF St. Athan and officially opened on 18th June 1947. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Maesteg golf scene was dominated by the Rees brothers and in particular Cliff Rees who won the club championship on no fewer than thirteen occasions. As well as Cliff there were his brothers Mel, Gwilym and Billy and they thought nothing of playing 72 holes every Sunday! During these two decades and thanks in no small part to the success of the Rees brothers, the Club was able to consolidate it’s standing and membership increased significantly. Continuing improvements to the Clubhouse were dealt a blow, however, when, in 1956, part of it was damaged by fire yet, in spite of the ongoing modernisation,the original Mount Pleasant farmhouse was not demolished until the late 1960’s. In 1962, the Club celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee, the highlight of which was a visit by Peter Alliss, then a successful PGA golfer, for a fourball match.

The domination of Maesteg golf enjoyed by Cliff Rees in the 1950’s and 1960’s can tend to overshadow the number of other fine players which the Club has produced. Cynwyd Jenkins was Club Champion in 1947 and went on to serve as Chairman of the Club for nine years. Eddie Davies was Club Champion on three occasions and Match Captain for no fewer than 15 seasons. Jeff Ham deservedly won two Club Championships in the 1980’s while Robert Jenkins won the title three times before the age of twenty.

The 1970’s was a decade of change at Maesteg. The Clubhouse which had been in use since the mid-1940’s was demolished and replaced by the structure which stood until the year 2000. At the same time as the Clubhouse was being renewed, the course was being extended from nine holes. 1975 saw fifteen holes in play and the full eighteen were in use in 1977. It was not until 1985 that the Club appointed it’s first professional, Mr. Bill Evans, who, as well as being a past Welsh Professional Champion had also been a junior member at Maesteg many years previously.

The club house became operational 15 years ago, Maesteg Golf Club is again at the dawn of a new era. It is only when one considers the modest beginnings of the Club at Brynmawr in the early years of the 20th Century that one can fully appreciate the progress that has been made in creating a course and facilities that the members, visitors and local community can all be proud of.

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