Your guide to Mersea Island

There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea…

There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea…

There was once a Golf Club in East Mersea, during the 1930’s a young Walt Disney is rumoured to have played a round of golf here – on a visit to England…..

The East Mersea Golf Club opened its doors in 1910 with nine holes and overlooking the River Colne and Blackwater Estuary.  A steam launch would meet trains arriving and leaving Brightlingsea. There was also a bus service to the course during the day from West Mersea.

There was great excitement when it first opened and it was very popular with local avid golfers and also the military personnel from the large garrison in Colchester.

W R Lonie, formerly of Warlingham Golf Club, Surrey, was the first professional and appointed in 1912, but only stayed for a year. Thomas Powell was the professional just prior to WW1. He volunteered in February 1916 and was sadly killed in action in France on September 14th 1918. He left a wife and two little children.

There was a membership of 70. The entry fee was £1/1/0 and the subs £2/2/0, honorary members paid 10/6.  Visitors were welcome at 2/- a day. Sunday play was allowed with caddies. There was a Ferry from Brightlingsea 10 minutes away. The Great Eeastern Railway was 1 ½ hours from London. There was a ferry at Brightlingsea 10 minutes away also a bus service from Colchester 10 miles away.

During the First World War, the Army claimed use of the Golf Club, course and shoreline for defensive gun emplacements. This meant the Golf Club and its grounds became out of bounds and fell into disuse. It was’nt until sometime after the Armistice that the Army cleared the site and handed it back to the Golf Club owners.

The owners tried to get the Golf Club up and running again, but a shortage of funds meant the Club was sold to a new owner who had the money to invest in putting back the original nine holes and getting the Club open again.

By 1929 East Mersea Golf Club had eighteen holes and until 1939 the Club grew in popularity and members.

However when the Second World War began, the Golf course was quickly taken over again by the Army. This time the grounds saw anti-aircraft batteries and searchlights established along with a number of huts and wire fencing surrounding the whole of the site to keep people out. The Golf courses beach was mined and a pill box erected made of reinforced concrete.

During the Second World War, the first bombs to hit Mersea fell on 2nd June 1940 at East Mersea hitting the Golf Club and the other the beach.

At the end of the Second World War the Golf course was handed back to the owners after VE Day in 1945. Unfortunately there was no way back for the Golf Club as the grass had grown high and almost gone back to nature, the Clubhouse was awfully neglected and had gone into disrepair. Without the money or resources, the Clubhouse and land was sold for non-golfing use.

What had started out as a great local facility had ended after the struggles that two World Wars brought.

Information from Golf's Missing Links, click here to be redirected to their website.

Photo credit to Mersea Museum, to visit their website click here.



This post has been categorised under: Golf, History.

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