New book will illustrate the 134-year history of Hayling Ladies’ Golf Club

From left - Helen Rees, Viv Fitch and Bill John with the new book detailing the history of Hayling Island's ladies golf club
From left - Helen Rees, Viv Fitch and Bill John with the new book detailing the history of Hayling Island's ladies golf club

SINCE 1884 it has been an integral part of golf on Hayling Island – but its story has gone untold until now.

A new 92-page book, From Then Until Now, is set to illustrate the history of Hayling Ladies’ Golf Club.

The collective was established by Maud Sandeman, subsequently its first captain, a year after the men’s club found its feet in 1883.

Some 134 years later, it has welcomed scores of notable members, seen numerous changes in leadership, played host to countless rounds of competitive golf and enabled hundreds of friendships to blossom.

Now, alongside friends Viv Fitch and Bill John, club member Helen Rees has released a semi-hardback book documenting more than a century of history. 

‘I have been very conscious that new members know nothing about the ladies’ club’s long history,’ said Helen, who is 83.

‘But there should be some sort of record to tell them all about it – so about a year ago, after a conversation with my son, I decided to get the ball rolling. 

‘He said “mum, if there is something you want to do, just do it”. So here we are.’ 

Compiled over a period of nine months, the book – which is free to all members of the ladies’ club – features scores of dated photographs and club records. 

Helen, who has been a member of the club in different capacities for the past 60 years – having enjoyed stints as vice-captain, captain and president – is one of many names to appear in the tome. 

‘I got involved with the club alongside my husband Graham soon after we married,’ she said. 

‘I have enjoyed every moment of that time – from the friendships, to the various positions I've taken up.’ 

But Ms Rees insists she had the ‘easy part’ of compiling the book – with much of the brunt of writing it taken on by club member Viv Fitch. 

The 71-year-old, who has been involved with Hayling Ladies’ Golf Club for more than 20 years, paid multiple visits to the British Library in London to collect clippings. 

She also visited the Hampshire Archives and Local Studies office in Winchester.

‘When Helen asked me to get involved I was only too happy and I am pleased with the way the book has turned out,’ the Hayling Island resident said. 

‘We have been very fortunate with what we have been able to find from old newspapers and magazines and we even managed to get a 1930s picture at the club, from a big event.’ 

Particularly interesting as she trawled the history books, said Viv – the archivist for the entire Hayling Golf Club – was seeing how times have changed. 

‘It is difficult to quantify exactly what has changed since then, but certainly in terms of the Equality Act things are very different,’ she said. 

‘The people are what makes this club and it helps they get to enjoy a beautiful course close to the water as well.’ 

From Then Until Now: a History of Hayling Ladies’ Golf Club is available for £25 by contacting the secretary of the Hayling Ladies’ Golf Club by calling (023) 9246 4446. 

Helen and Viv praised the publishing expertise of their co-author, Bill John, in getting the book to print.