This club is famous for... planning a bridge too far...December 6, 2016
Operation Market Garden was devised at Moor Park in Hertfordshire
Having smashed their way out of the Normandy beachheads and scattered German forces across France and Belgium, Allied commander Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery devised the largest airborne battle in history.
Operation Market Garden was supposed to strike a fatal blow to Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and quickly end the Second World War.
And the ambitious scheme, which was doomed to failure, was developed at a Hertfordshire golf club.
Moor Park, a 17th century mansion, is one of the most picturesque clubhouses in British golf. But during the 1940s it was requisitioned – serving as the headquarters for the Parachute Regiment.
In a room on the first floor, The Battle of Arnhem was planned. The Arnhem Room has now been restored to reflect its history and crests, paintings and a huge flag of the Parachute Regiment now hang to remind visitors of the past.
Montgomery’s plan was bold, dropping airborne divisions around Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem in a bid to capture key bridges.
One of those was the Arnhem Road Bridge, believed to be vital as it was thought it could open the route into Germany.
In the event, the Allies miscalculated – ignoring or under-estimating the strength of enemy forces, who provided severe resistance.
The British forces were overwhelmed at Arnhem, after holding out against the odds for more than a week, with the 1st Airborne Division losing nearly three quarters of its strength.
A plan aimed at finishing the conflict by Christmas, instead, it is regarded as one of the last great failures of the British Army.
Moor Park’s central role in a famous Second World War battle isn’t its only claim to fame.
In 1928, the course hosted golf’s unofficial matchplay championship of the world when Archie Compston took on Walter Hagen.
The Haig was a superstar on both sides of the pond and had won his fourth consecutive PGA Championship the previous year.
He was outclassed from the start as Compston recorded a massive 18&17 victory over 72 holes.