History | Hartsbourne Country Club


As well as fine facilities, Hartsbourne boasts a rich historical past.

Records suggest that Hartsbourne was not always the warm, welcoming venue it is today. In the mid-18th century, the then coach house was known as 'The Thieves Kitchen', a nod to the owner's friendly relationship with notorious highwayman Dick Turpin.

In the early 19th century Hartsbourne Manor Place became the family seat of Baronet Sir Thomas Thompson. Having served with the great Admiral at the battles of Nile and Copenhagen, he was one of Horatio Nelson's most trusted allies.

An even more glamorous period followed in the early 20th century as Hartsbourne Manor became the country residence of American actress Maxine Elliott. Counting King Edward VII as one of her most adoring fans, the beautiful socialite turned Hartsbourne into something of a party venue until she left in 1920. Winston Churchill, Lord Birkenhead and financier Pierpoint Morgan were all said to have been hosted at Hartsbourne, as well as Ms Elliott's fiancé, the multiple Wimbledon champion Captain Tony Wilding who later died in action during World War One.

When Wembley Golf Club was evicted to make room for a certain twin-towered stadium, the members made their new home at Hartsbourne in 1928 before the outbreak of war reignited the manor's military connection. The RAF commandeered Hartsbourne Manor in 1940 to house the officers stationed at nearby Bentley Priory, the intelligence hub of Britain's airborne defence during World War Two.

After the war, the club was purchased by Mr CJ Stillitz, founder of the present club, who gave us our current name of the Hartsbourne Country Club.

Hartsbourne has always attracted golfers of all abilities from around the world. Six-time Ryder Cup player Peter Oosterhuis still holds the course record of 62, while the 1950s and 1960s saw the Gor-Ray PGA Championships played here. In 1953 the final was between two young brothers Bernard and Geoffrey Hunt. 



The sponsor of the tournament was Gor-Ray’s owner Joe Stillitz, a big name in British business who was not only a keen golfer but also owned Hartsbourne. He took a shine to both brothers that week, and the day following the tournament he telephoned Atherstone Golf Club and offered Bernard the job of PGA Head Professional at Hartsbourne.

So on July 1st 1953 Bernard and Geoff headed south to start a new career in Bushey Heath with their father John (Pop) acting as Club professional whilst the brothers competed. 

Less than a decade later they both played in the same 1963 Ryder Cup Team. Because they had become part of the Hartsbourne fixtures and fittings so to speak, the golf club was well and truly on the map!!

In 1969 Geoff, having retired from competitive golf, became the PGA Head Professional while Bernard continued with his successful playing career. He often partnered Neil Coles, a prolific winner in the UK and Europe, and they were usually paired to tee off early as they both liked to play quickly – very quickly! In 1975 Bernard left Hartsbourne to take up the position of the PGA Head Professional at a brand new club, the now famous Foxhills.

Geoff and his wife Magsie are now Honorary Members of the club and still visit and play golf at Hartsbourne regularly.

In 2017, to celebrate their long and happy association with Hartsbourne Country Club, the Spike bar was re-named The Hunt Bar and so the family name now lives on at the club. 



“Played this course for the first time last week, didn’t even know it was there and have lived in the area for years! 27 holes, really well kept course, proper challenge and really beautiful club house too. will def be coming back this summer.”

“Hartsbourne is an excellent golf course with superb facilities, all the staff are very friendly and I highly recommend you pay this hidden gem a visit.”

“From being greeted in the car park on arrival to being served our after dinner coffee and mints all the staff, management and members were friendly, helpful and professional.”

“Fantastic nick, tricky and fast greens, challenging and interesting course. Quiet and peaceful with excellent facilities and friendly staff. A real gem.”

“From the moment we were met in the car park to the sad goodbyes at the end of a great day all of the staff at Hartsbourne made our day and golf play most welcoming. Thank you very much.” SGS Golf Society

“We had a very enjoyable day, the course was superb and everyone was very welcoming...”

“The course is good it is in excellent condition and the greens are very tricky so credit to the greenkeepers and staff.”

“However the facilities are something else. great changing rooms, great food, they go out of their way to make it a great experience from beginning to end.”