1890: in June, a group of prominent Leicester businessmen meet at the Oadby home of John Arthur Corah, a member of the Corah & Sons hosiery company. The group vote unanimously to form the “Leicester Golf Club”, under the Presidency of Joseph Goddard.
1891: permission is granted to lay out a number of holes within the inside perimeter of the new Leicester race course, which had just moved to its new home in Oadby from Victoria Park.
1892: the club has grown to nineteen members and is seeking alternative arrangements for a larger course. Playing rights are obtained over grazing land either side of Evington Brook, fronting Gartree Road, where a temporary fourteen hole course is laid out. Later that year, 20 year old George Smith is appointed as the first professional and over the next two years greens are laid out for a nine hole course and a new wooden clubhouse is built near the bottom of Highway Road. (Insert photo)
1893: a separate “Leicestershire Ladies Golf Club” is formed with eight members.
1894: the club changes its name to “The Leicestershire Golf Club” and on Saturday 27th October, the new clubhouse and the new, 2320 yards, nine hole course is opened with a 36 hole exhibition match between Alexander (Sandy) Herd and the professional George Smith.
1895: a five year Anniversary Ball is held at the Assembly rooms and the Council decide to extend the course to 18 holes.
1897: a formal lease of the land, including some adjacent fields, is agreed.
1899: in April, the new course is opened with an exhibition match between the great Henry Vardon and Sandon Herd.
1910 - 1912: Improvements to the course are carried out by the revered golfer and golf architect James Braid.
1918: At the end of the First World War (in which eleven club members sadly died) an option to purchase the land was taken up at the sum of £14,000.
1920: 1st January saw the formal winding-up of the old club and the simultaneous formation of “The Leicestershire Golf Club Limited” which acquired the freehold.
1922: the eminent golf architect, H.S.Colt advises on further improvements to the course.
1924: an outbreak of foot and mouth disease amongst the grazing animals saw the suspension of the practice of letting the grass for both cattle and sheep!
1925: the Limited Company purchases 15.5 acres of land on the eastern boundary.
1935: after extensive alterations and additions to the clubhouse were completed, Major Charles MacKenzie is engaged to re-design and extend the course from 5,906 yards to 6,593 yards.
1936: in April that year, the new course is formally opened with an Alliance Charity match when the course record of 69 was set by W J Branch.
1937: W J Branch becomes the club professional, succeeding George Smith on his retirement after 45 years service!
1939: outbreak of the Second World War and at the request of the War Agricultural Committee, the course is once again let for grazing sheep and 25.5 acres of the course, including the new holes, ploughed up for food production.
1940: the 14th Platoon of the Home Guard occupies part of the clubhouse as their headquarters.
1945: end of the war but with a course much ravaged by the Army, the sheep and the plough, and a clubhouse the worse for wear by the Home Guard, but with the not insubstantial sum of £3500 in a reserve account for the restoration of the course.
1946: the 25 acres used for ploughing are returned to the club and reseeded.
1947: the club is finally liberated from grazing sheep and the barbed wire which surrounded the greens! The next few years see extensive work on the course to bring it back to a reasonable standard.
1948: Mr. & Mrs. A. Collyer are appointed Steward and Stewardess and their Sunday lunches are soon sold out! They go on to serve the club for 28 years!
1949: a devastating fire in April, gutted the men’s locker rooms and the secretary’s office. A further 13 acres of land towards Shady Lane is acquired ( which the present 13th, 14th and 15 holes were constructed). This extension is necessary as the club received devastating news of the City plan to build a Ring Road across the western end of the course, depriving the club of its clubhouse, practice grounds, professional’s shop, 1st, 10th and 18th holes, along with the 9th green and 11th tee! The next few years saw the club go though the most difficult crisis since it’s formation.
1957: the Greens committee had been experiencing great difficulty in obtaining an adequate supply from the City Water Department. The only feasible alternative was to use water from the Evington Brook. A report stated that the Brook could provide an ample supply of water for all eighteen greens and that conditions were ideal for the use of a Hydro-Pneumatic Pressure system. To cover the cost of equipment ( a new gang mower was required!) and expenditure on irrigation and other improvements to the course and clubhouse, a Special General Meeting is held on 21st December 1957 at which subscriptions for Gentlemen Playing Members are raised by £3.3s to £15.5s and the under 30’s from £8.8s to £10.10s. An increase of 26% and 25% respectively!
1961: faced with the imminent loss of both clubhouse and principal holes to the Ring Road, C.K. Cotton is called in to re-design the course taking in the new land and Pick Everard is engaged to design a new clubhouse.
1964: in March a considerable “windfall” profit is made on the sale of land to the west of the Ring Road for building houses. In April, work on reconstruction of the course commences and the design for a new (existing) clubhouse is approved in November. To this day it remains controversial, as to both layout and appearance!
1967: on the 11th December, the new clubhouse is opened by Alfred Chapman, President of the Leicestershire and Rutland Golf Union. The first main event on the new course is an exhibition match between Peter Allis, Bernard Hunt, Dai Reeves and Dave Thomas.
1973: Paddy McCarron is appointed Head Greenkeeper and it requires his immense skills to ensure the greens, which were difficult to maintain as they were sown on top soil laid directly on to a clay subsoil, become the envy in the County. As a result, Paddy was elected National President of the Greenkeepers Association in 1989.
1976: Stephen and Kate Riley are appointed Steward and Stewardess and soon establish an outstanding, high quality catering and bar service which is recognised in the county and beyond, for years to come.
1990: the club celebrates it’s Centenary with events throughout the year. President is Chris Hilton, Lady President Gill Saunders, Club Captain Bill Harvison and Lady Captain Louise Bruning. Some of the highlights included a Tour to Oporto Golf Club Portugal, a Centenary service at Leicester Cathedral, a Pro/Am involving leading players from the WPGA, several Centenary matches including against the Oxford & Cambridge Golf Society, a Summer Ball and finally a Centenary dinner in November at the Grand Hotel, Leicester.
1992: double glazed windows are installed and the small outside balcony is absorbed to create an improved upstairs space and a new downstairs bar is created.
1994: Paddy McCarron retires after 24 years service and discussions begin on relaying the greens on to a proper base ensuring adequate drainage. Chris Lewis who was mentored by Paddy, is appointed Head Greenkeeper. The Ladies are finally able to describe themselves as Full members (although their prior designation of “lady players” was believed to be a misnomer).
1995: an experimental relaying of the 10th green based on USGA standards and advice from Warwickshire University is completed during the winter. Gillie Tyler becomes the first woman to serve on the full Committee (as it was before restructuring)!
1996: despite some vehement opposition, the decision is made to relay all the other greens over two years. However, the original tops were rolled back, set to one side, and then re-laid on to newly constructed deep bases. Soon after they were opened in 1998 and 1999, plaudits from the County Union and other clubs began to come in, with many envious of the facility to play them in the winter months!
1997: surplus clay from the the excavated greens is used to reconstruct the 14th elevated tee. The 4th green was also moved to reduce the risk of flying balls on to the Gartree Road. Work commences on the installation of guard rails on all the bridges following an H&S report.
1998: Darren Jones is appointed Club professional. His predecessors were Freddie Beck (1944 - 1969), K. Dixon Pickup (1969 - 1989), John Turnbull (1989 - 1998).
2000: a new Millennium trophy, the idea of President Peter Bruning, is established with leading golf clubs from adjacent counties: Northants County (Northamptonshire), Stratford on Avon (Warwickshire), Brocton Hall (Staffordshire), Kedleston Park (Derbyshire).
2006: the first hole is re-aligned and combined with the installation of fully enclosed teaching bays with video facilities alongside open Astro-turf mats. The highest standards of teaching, supported by teaching professional Ian Lyner, who helped pioneer the much-praised Junior Academy, has been enhanced by quality coaching and practice facilities.
2006: a major redesign of the first floor creates a huge open plan area capable of being subdivided by moveable soundproofed walls. The dining room becomes the MacKenzie Room and the card room the Braid Room. Jacket and ties are no longer mandatory in the dining area!
2008: Stephen and Kate Riley relinquish the catering franchise and Kate retires, handing over to her former assistant Gaynor Adcock, who continues to maintain the very high standards set by Kate.
2010: equality legislation leads to full playing (and paying) equality for ladies without seemingly interfering with the tradition of ladies’ Tuesday golf!
2014: following years of changing demographic trends and ethnic diversity in multi-cultural Leicester, Kanti Patel becomes the first Club Captain from an Asian background.
2015: club celebrates it’s 125th Anniversary. President is Simon Gravett, Lady President Rosie Black, Captain David Brooks, Lady Captain Ruth Helgeson. The principal events take place between 14th - 20th June, including Jeremy Dale’s trick golf show, several golf matches, Club Day and Grand Ball at Leicester Racecourse, a family Fun Day, culminating with an Autumn Dinner Dance on 28th November. A pond is constructed to make the 17th a feature hole. Stephen Riley retires at the end of the year after over 40 years of service!
2017: a marketing survey of visitors to encourage more to play at TLGC highlights many felt the course and the greens are always well presented, but the course is a slog, especially with no Par 5’s. A temporary tee is built on the 9th hole, adjacent to the 10th tee and members and visitors are encouraged by Club Captain Francis Lobo and Club Professional Tim Stevens to play the hole as a par 5. The reports were encouraging and after much debate, a decision is made to construct new tees on the 6th and 9th to create 2 par 5’s.
2018: Catering Manager Gaynor Alcock resigns after 32 years of dedicated service. Gaynor has been instrumental in enhancing the wonderful reputation, started by Stephen and Kate Riley over 40 years ago, of excellent catering at TLGC, much to the envy of golf clubs in the county and afar.
2019: the longer course, 6456 yards par 70, encourages England Golf to play The Logan Trophy at TLGC and Club Captain Michael Bucktin, assisted by new club professional Pete Livie and several members, host over 60 players from across the country and abroad, over 4 days.
2020: the dreaded virus COVID-19 strikes the country and the world and the club experiences it’s first lockdown since the 2nd World War! Our neighbours enjoy walking all over the course for the first time! Staff are furloughed and instead of arranging competitions and matches, Club Captain Graham Warwick and Lady Captain Jane Jelly are busy working out how to re-start golf once restrictions are eased but social distancing has to be maintained! Wardens are used to request the public to return to the footpaths!
2021: assistant head greenkeeper Nick Root retires after an amazing 52 years of unbroken service. The Pandemic continues and while golf is allowed, restrictions continue in and around the clubhouse. The course is suffering from poor maintenance and catering standards have slipped, forcing President Peter Brookes and new General Manager Simon Collingwood to take drastic action to ensure the high standards are upheld. Course manager Chris Lewis takes early retirement and is replaced by well qualified Steven Hardy. New experienced chef, Gary Mercer was appointed. Simon Bridgwater becomes the 100th Club Captain at TLGC.
2022: Course Manager Steve Hardy wastes no time in replacing all the very old machines and buying some new ones, e.g. turf rollers and grinders. Members have noticed the difference on the course since his arrival. New trees have been planted, very old trees and low-hanging branches removed. Two new bunkers constructed by and the approaches re-laid to the 1st Green, followed by a new path to the 2nd tee. All in time for Club Captain, Simon Bridgwater to welcome back England Golf and the English Mens Senior Amateur 2022 6-day event in May.
2023: For the first time in the very long history of our club we have husband/wife captains! Peter Fowler is the Club Captain and Rose Fowler is the Lady Captain. Course Manager Steve Hardy’s stint at the golf club comes to a premature end as he decides to work closer to home in Coventry. However he has transformed the course and his replacement, Mike Laheen has a great foundation on which to build on.