Founded in 1892, on common land, with wattle sheep hurdles around the greens instead of bunkers, South Beds Golf Club gradually moved around the Galley and Warden Hills for the next eighty years until the current two-course complex materialised in the mid-1970s. On two occasions since its formation, the Club had to move parts of the course further north as the town of Luton expanded.
The Club's first President, Lord Battersea, was elected in 1894 having been the Member of Parliament for the South Beds Constituency in 1892 when the Club was founded. Cyril Flower, as he was then known, was a leading Liberal politician and rose to be Lord of the Treasury in Gladstone's last administration. As a reward for his public service he was raised to the peerage as a Baron and took the title of Lord Battersea. His legacy at South Beds, the Battersea Cup, is the Club's oldest trophy.
As with most clubs of its age, South Beds evolved to embrace competition golf, lady golfers and professional golf, with two of the "Great Triumvirate", Harry Vardon and James Braid, playing the course in 1904. In fact, Harry was a regular visitor before and after that match and held the course record for many years. In addition, Harry had a big influence during the Club's formative years, with several holes currently in use being designed as a result of his advice.
The subsequent decades saw two World Wars, new clubhouses and a new layout on land that was now owned by the Crown, which is still the case today, although the Club does own its clubhouse and the land upon which it sits. The Club recently negotiated a new, long-term lease with the Crown for the courses to secure its heritage for many years to come.
In 1992 to celebrate the Club's centerery, John Kingham wrote a book "South Beds Golf Club 1892-1992". This book has been scanned into a pdf file and can be downloaded here. If your broadband is slow it might take a while to load as it's a large file.