Golf at Goodwood


A remarkable sporting history stemming back over 100 years.


Tee Off

The first ever round of golf played at Goodwood was in 1914 when the 6th Duke of Richmond opened the course on the Downs above Goodwood House. Estate workers had laid out the course for the Duke whose teenage grandchildren were already keen golfers. Later, in 1916, the 7th Duke (pictured second from left) was elected as President of the Club and made it one of the places to be seen throughout the Edwardian era.


Lord Bernard commissions new course

It was the Duke’s second son, Lord Bernard, who was most passionate about Golf At Goodwood. In 1914, he commissioned champion golfer James Braid to lay out a new course. One of the greatest golfers of all time, Braid was the first man to win The Open five times. However, it is his golf courses which are his lasting legacy to the sport.


Braid's sporting legacy

James Braid’s course featured many of his trademarks including doglegs that he is commonly regarded to have invented, a great example of which is the 7th at Goodwood. Enchanting vistas across the Sussex landscape and intriguing vignettes of local landmarks such as the Chichester Cathedral spire and the Isle of Wight were the keynotes of the course. Notably, Goodwood is one of only a handful of courses that he built from scratch. Braid’s outstanding Downland course is still an integral part of Goodwood’s sporting heritage today.


Two ways to play each hole

Many of Braid’s design principles embodied in the Downs Course at Goodwood endured over the the decades.  The shorter the approach shot the more heavily guarded the green is to be. The use of blind tee shots to maintain curiosity and test commitment to the shot. Bunkers that not only punish inaccurate shots, but also test your judgement of distance by being pulled forward of greens and landing zones. The dogleg and the belief that each hole should have two ways to play it, the more difficult of which offers the opportunity to pick up a shot when played correctly. (Photo: Bruce Crampton on the 1st green in a 1957 exhibition match.)


For the love of golf

James Braid was a Scottish lad with a passion for golf but his parents disapproved of his early ambitions to become a golfer. Consequently the young Braid was sent to become an apprentice carpenter. Yet as soon as he came of age, he moved to London where he worked as a club maker before qualifying for his first Open Golf Championship at Sandwich in 1894. His success as a professional golfer was phenomenal, winning the Open no fewer than 5 times.

His career as a golfer was equalled only by his success as a course designer. Having designed hundreds of golf courses across the UK and Ireland, the Braid name is synonymous with course design principles that, since he published them in the early 20th century, have been changed little to this day.


The play continues

Today, we are very proud of Braid’s involvement with Golf At Goodwood and we hope Members continue to enjoy the sport that Braid played such a huge part in introducing to Goodwood and throughout the UK.

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