Exactly why in March 1909 the Arkley Music Society decided they should acquire ‘a 27 acre field abutting on Rowley Green’ and that the club should be called Arkley Golf Club is not recorded but that was the start of our club. By the April it had been decided that subscriptions should be Gents - £2.2s.0d and Ladies £1.1s.0d and membership restricted to 100 Gentlemen and 50 Ladies.
In 1929, whilst negotiations were taking place to extend the period of the lease, the land was bought by the Barnet Urban District Council and new terms were agreed with them for the next 21 years. The security of this lease encouraged the club to seek the advice of experts to redesign the course. As a result Messrs Hawtree & Taylor and James Braid submitted plans with those of James Braid being accepted. Later Harry Vardon of South Herts Golf Club also advised the committee on improvements, so the course we see today has been touched by three of the greatest names in golf course design in the 1920s, but it is undoubtedly a James Braid Course. Braid only designed four 9 hole courses in England and Arkley is unique in being the only one of those with 18 tees, it is also one of the largest with a course length of 6032 yards.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, despite the threat of the land being ploughed-up or used for grazing sheep, the course survived with only the fairways being narrowed to enable the harvesting of hay, work done by the Artisans and members. Hard times were felt in the bar however, illustrated by a notice which stated ‘no member can be supplied with more than two single measures of whisky or gin on any Saturday or Sunday’.
Little of dramatic consequence happened at the club in the following years until, in 1975, the light aircraft belonging to the racing driver Graham Hill crashed in thick fog by the second green killing all six occupants; a commemorative plaque is to be found by the side of the green.
In January 1980 came another major drama when, in the early hours of the morning, the club-house caught fire and total destruction was only avoided by the prompt action of the resident of Rose Cottage, by the club entrance. The rebuilt clubhouse was opened in 1981 and in 1986 a further two-story extension was added.
Many changes have taken place since the founding of the club in 1909, both on the course and in the clubhouse, but whatever the changes Arkley retains its reputation for being a friendly and welcoming Club.
Arkley GC 1909