English Golf Courses

Is this golf's oldest fourball?

Mannings Heath quartet have combined age of 330

FOUR golfers, with a combined age of  330, have clocked up an astonioshing total of 182 years as members at Mannings Heath Golf Club in Horsham - and, incredibly, they’re still going strong.

Ron Barber, Alan Wild, Denis Bews and Fred Cotton are all more than 80 and had their first game as a fourball 31 years ago.

Cotton tops the chart as the longest-serving member, having first walked the fairways of the club’s Waterfall Course 60 years ago.  Bews follows, having been a member for 48 years. Barber is close behind with 44, while  Wild is the newcomer, having joined ‘only’ 31  years ago.

Barber explained: “It was in the early 1920s that I first picked up a club and the game was a lot different back then. I paid just £5 for my first lesson”


“One of my fondest memories is winning the Piccadilly Pro-Am in 1976. I still have the trophy to this day.”

The quartet’s fitness may be explained by their love of golf. Heart Research UK has urged people to take up the game after research in Sweden suggests regular golfers live, on average five years longer than non-golfers.

Neil Darnell, head professional, golf operations and retail manager at Mannings Heath, remarked: “It’s fantastic to have a  group of golfers at our club who have seen the club develop over many years. We greatly appreciate their loyalty to the club and we look forward to welcoming them for many more years to come.”

Mannings Heath, an Exclusive Golf Club, which is owned by the Exclusive Golf group alongside The Manor House in Castle Combe, near Bath, boasts two 18-hole layouts - the Waterfall Course and Kingfisher Course.


The former is a members-only course which hosted the 2013 English Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship in August, while the latter flows through the Sussex countryside, testing the skills and nerve of the most seasoned player. A sign of its quality was provided when it was rated by the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses in England’ as the best pay-and-play course in the county back in 2011.

Exclusive Golf was formed in 2010 and is a part of Exclusive Hotels and Venues, a prestigious group of individual, stylish hotels in the south of England, located in stunning surroundings and presenting a luxurious tranquillity in beautiful locations..

• Do you have a long-serving member or regular group of golfers at your club? Let us know! Email details to news@englishclubgolfer.com

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