Children’s stories were written here and dinosaurs are lodged in the clubhouse walls. It’s no wonder Isle of Purbeck has so many tales to tell
Perched minutes away from white sandy beaches, and with a heathland nature reserve just next door, Isle of Purbeck Golf Club could be most people’s perfect picture of England.
Serenely based on a peninsula close to Swanage, with Bournemouth on one side and the English Channel on the other, the club has been an ideal place from which to launch an adventure since it was founded in 1892.
Its outstanding beauty and spectacular views – particularly from the 5th tee – saw it loved by royalty, with King Edward declaring it to be one of the finest in his kingdom.
Perhaps that’s why it found so much favour with Mrs Darrell-Waters, who would sit outside the clubhouse and sketch out tales of wonder that captivated the world.
You’ll know her better by her maiden name, Enid Blyton.
She wrote more than 700 books throughout her life, sold more than 600 million copies, and made Noddy and Big Ears household names.
Blyton’s second husband, Kenneth, bought the club in 1950 and it became the base for a number of the Famous Five stories.
In Five Have a Mystery to Solve, Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the Dog pay a visit to the golf club.
Within the narrative, the club’s groundsman, Lucas, named after one of Blyton’s real-life friends, tells the story of a forbidden island, where no one is allowed to tread.
In 1951, Blyton was made captain of the club, which was then known as Studland Bay. She was considered to be an accomplished golfer and the club stayed under her stewardship, and that of her husband, before being sold in 1965.
During their tenure, the duo oversaw the construction of the 9-hole Dene course – a layout that’s considered highly in its own right.
As Blyton moved on, Isle of Purbeck Golf Club’s brush with celebrity continued when Harry Randolph bought the club.
He was the retiring chairman and chief executive of the Wilkinson Sword Company, who originally made guns, motorcycles and knives before becoming better known for introducing the planet to stainless steel razor blades in the early 1960s.
One of his first acts was to restore the club’s name to Isle of Purbeck Golf Club and then build a new clubhouse.
What was unusual about the striking building, which is still in use today, was that it contains fossilised dinosaur footprints and huge ammonites that were built into the interior walls.
Many of them are more than 150 million years old.
Just as with the Darrell-Waters, the memories of Randolph’s time in charge of the club remain strong.
Swords are still played for annually by Isle of Purbeck Golf Club members in the Randolph Trophy.
What is your club famous for? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me.