“It was in the Council Chamber of Dunstable Town Hall on the evening of Friday November 11, 1906 that the idea of forming a local golf links was hatched. It was as much down to the driving support of 20 ‘gentlemen of the town and district’ as to the leadership of a Mr J. Healing who was appointed Honorary Secretary of the project, that the proposal was approved to great applause. And so golf in Dunstable was started.”
High on the crest of the Chiltern Hills, nearly 800 feet above sea level, Dunstable Downs golf course is laid out on a rolling plateau with views over seven counties, from Surrey in the south to Northamptonshire in the north. The Downs is a famous beauty spot and viewpoint. The bracing air, the glorious downland turf and the richly varied character of the terrain make it an ideal place for a golf course.
The course is a first class test of golf over its 6322 yards and provides an interesting test for players of all abilities.The chalky sub-soil makes for dry conditions all year round and the quality of the greens is a renowned feature.
Dunstable Downs Golf Club dates officially from November 1906, but for eight years before that a few enthusiasts, most of whom were connected with Dunstable School had played over a little nine hole course in the park. The Club was originally nine holes laid out on the Downs and soon afterwards expanded to 18 holes. Part of this course however was on the Common and one or two holes actually crossed the road. The growing popularity of the Downs as a leisure resort, the increased traffic due to the establishment of Whipsnade Zoo and the activities of the London Gliding Club made some revisions to the layout inevitable. In 1930 the Club seized the opportunity to purchase Downs Farm, give up part of the original course and create 10 new holes (today’s layout).
A new Clubhouse was built in 1936 and at this time was a delightful example of modern architecture. The subsequent success of the Clubhouse as a social centre has created a notable atmosphere within the Club which exists to this day. The Clubhouse stands on the very summit of the Downs, a couple of hundred yards from the entrance on the Whipsnade Road.
Sir Michael Bonallack, past secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews
“It must be nearly forty years since I last played at Dunstable Downs and the passing of time diminishes one’s memory, to the extent that, whilst I am unable to recall every hole of this fine and challenging golf course, I do remember that being perched up on the highest ground for miles around, you had magnificent views in any direction and that the wind was always a factor. This coupled with the fast running greens and fairways gave it the feel of a seaside course, which seems strange, bearing in mind how far you were above sea level. This altitude and the wind made it the ideal location for gliders, as well as for golf and I can still remember clear blue skies and the whirring noise which caused you to sometimes take your mind off golf to watch these graceful engineless aircraft soaring above you.”