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dick turpin

This club is famous for… being Dick Turpin’s hideout

Before the legendary robber terrorised the highways, he got up to no good between the fairways at Burhill
 

Everyone knows the story of Dick Turpin. It’s a tale of ‘daring’ highway robberies, a 200-mile overnight flight from London to York on his faithful steed Black Bess, and his subsequent demise at the end of the hangman’s rope at Tyburn.

We have William Harrison Ainsworth, a Victorian novelist, to thank for the romanticised and largely fictional account of his legend.

But old Dick was a nasty piece of work – a thief and a murderer – who was hung for horse theft in 1739 at age of 33.

Long before his legend grew, though, he had rather humbler beginnings on land that now lies between the 14th and 15th fairways of Burhill’s Old course.

Richard Turpin was born at the Blue Bell Inn, in Hempstead, and across the road between the mature trees and Surrey heather is what is now known as Dick Turpin’s Cottage.

It’s believed he followed his father in running a butcher’s business from the outbuilding before staging cockfights in an area that became known as Turpin’s ring.

When, as repeatedly happened throughout his life, things went a bit awry, he fled to London and joined a gang of deer thieves.

In York, you can visit the prison cell where he is said to have spent his final nights and also look at what purports to be his grave in an otherwise nondescript churchyard.

But at Burhill, you can witness where the notorious figure took his fledgling steps in the world of rustling, smuggling and robbery.

No doubt, like at all clubs, there have been a few ‘bandits’ on the golf course over the years, so it’s fitting that the most famous highwayman of all spent time on the grounds.

If you would like your club to be featured in TCIFF, let me know in the comments below or you can tweet me.

Steve Carroll

Steve Carroll

A journalist for 25 years, Steve has been immersed in club golf for almost as long. A former club captain, he has passed the Level 3 Rules of Golf exam with distinction having attended the R&A's prestigious Tournament Administrators and Referees Seminar.

Steve has officiated at a host of high-profile tournaments, including Open Regional Qualifying, PGA Fourball Championship, English Men's Senior Amateur, and the North of England Amateur Championship. In 2023, he made his international debut as part of the team that refereed England vs Switzerland U16 girls.

A part of NCG's Top 100s panel, Steve has a particular love of links golf and is frantically trying to restore his single-figure handicap. He currently floats at around 11.

Steve plays at Close House, in Newcastle, and York GC, where he is a member of the club's matches and competitions committee and referees the annual 36-hole scratch York Rose Bowl.

Having studied history at Newcastle University, he became a journalist having passed his NTCJ exams at Darlington College of Technology.

What's in Steve's bag: TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver, 3-wood, and hybrids; TaylorMade Stealth 2 irons; TaylorMade Hi-Toe, Ping ChipR, Sik Putter.

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