Over a Century of Golf at Chatsworth
Golf has been played at Chatsworth for well over a century. The first course was in fact an 18 hole course which started and finished close to the House and was established in the late 1800s. It was a course exclusively for the use of the Devonshire family and their guests. Golf parties were held at the House much as shooting parties are today and local boys would be used to caddie and to clean clubs.
When the ninth Duke succeeded in 1908 cricket was his first love and the present day cricket ground was laid. Subsequently the first 6 holes , those nearest to the house were removed.
Later (but pre Ist World War) the golf course was redesigned as a 9 hole course. This appears to have been widespreadly used by the Agents and senior staff together with professional people associated with the Estate (Doctors, Parsons, Magistrates, Councillors etc.) A golf room at the back of the institute was allocated and the bar made available. Matches were played against other local clubs and this was start of the friendly golf club that we know today.
The club was active right up until the outbreak of the 2nd World War. However, as part of the 'War Effort' the course was ploughed up and the ground used for cultivation.
This brought to an end to golf at Chatsworth for a period of around 25 years. Then, in 1964, the Eleventh Duke (the current Duke's father) initiated plans for the course to be remade. The present 9 hole course was thus formed along the lines of the previous course but with some modifications. The first hole was redesigned - originally it had gone straight up the bank which is on the right of the existing fairway with the green located in the area of the first tee and the fourth, which used to be a short hole, was made into a dog leg.
Initially the same course was played twice to make up the 18 holes but in 1977 further improvements were made with the alternative back 9 tees added. Also the course was extended to the north to enable the 5th hole to relocate to it's present location, the fourth thus being extended to it's present shape.
The course today is a golfing gem - tight fairways and compact greens make an interesting challenge, whilst the views of the Chatsworth Estate and the village of Edensor simply add to the experience of playing golf at Chatsworth.