Sitwell Park opened in 1913. It owes its existence to eight Rotherham men who decided to form a golf club on the South side of the town. Land was sought from notable local landowner, Sir George Sitwell, who offered part of his estate and agreed to bear the cost of building the course providing that a minimum of 100 members could be guaranteed by the time nine temporary holes were built.
The club was a great success with over 100 members enrolling within a week and in May 1913 the club formally opened with over 200 members. With open countryside to the North, South and East, this was the first course Dr Alister MacKenzie built for a private client rather than for a committee.
More information on Alister Mackenzie, famous for his hand in designing Augusta National, and other famous courses around the world, is available on our dedicated page.
The original wooden clubhouse in Shrogswood, a photograph of which hangs in the clubhouse entrance hall, was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 1930. Lord Milton officially opened the replacement, a “handsome building, in a commanding position overlooking the course,” in 1931.
In 1970 the club was extended, with the veranda converted to be part of the lounge and the locker rooms extended to accommodate the increased membership. The next milestone was in 1979/80 when the course was purchased by the members from Sir Reresby Sitwell.
Further extensions were opened in 1990, following a survey of members, resulting in an extended 19th hole, and additions of a ladies’ room, snooker room, extra locker room space, a committee room, professional’s shop, entrance hall, office and dining room. A new balcony, with panaromic views across the opening and closing holes and the countryside beyond was added in 1999.
6th Green under construction
A controversial design
When the course was originally unveiled by Mackenzie to his client, Sir George Sitwell, some of his ideas were not universally welcomed! In particular, Sitwell balked at some of the steeply contoured greens, believing them a little too wild for the tastes of the time. As a result Sitwell ordered greens to be flattened, which in turn upset Mackenzie who felt the result was “dull”.
Today members and visitors find the Sitwell Park layout to be neither dull or with flat greens – try the 9th green putting back down the slope for example!