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rolls

This club is famous for… being the home of Rolls-Royce

This course can proudly point to playing a role in the birth of motoring...
 

It might be a stretch to imagine oily rags and spare parts sprawled all over the fairways but Rolls of Monmouth can still proudly point to their part in the birth of motoring.

Putters may only have replaced pistons in the early 1980s, when the course was first opened, but The Hendre clubhouse where members now relax and enjoy a drink has a much deeper, and grander, history.

The Gothic mansion was home to the Rolls family for 220 years and, in the early part of the 20th Century, Charles would prove to be their most famous son.

The young Rolls was used to notching up firsts.

Electrical cables littered the family home during his youth and, after co-founding the Automobile Club in 1903, he set a new land speed record the following year when notching 93mph in a car.

He met Frederick Henry Royce in Manchester the following year and the pair combined to found a company that would come to define the luxury car market.

Their Silver Ghost was hailed as the world’s best car in 1906 and Rolls Royce became pioneers of motor travel.

Cut down in his prime

Rolls’ love of machines wasn’t limited to those that simply hugged the ground.

The daredevil looked to the skies as well and was a founder member of the Royal Aero Club.

In 1910, he became the first man to make a non-stop crossing of the English Channel by plane – a journey that took 95 minutes.

But, later that year, his story ended in tragic fashion.

Rolls became the first Briton to be killed in an air accident when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during an airshow in Bournemouth in 1910.

He was just 32.

Trading places

The Hendre stayed in the hands of the Rolls family until 1987 and, by the time it became the seat of the golf club, it was somewhat bigger than the hunting lodge it had originally been when they first took possession in 1767.

Rolls

They had enlarged the house significantly over the centuries and the grand building enjoyed by the club’s members today is the region’s only full-scale Victorian country house.

A billiard room, smoking room and dining room were all added with the third architect, Aston Webb, having been renowned for his work on Buckingham Palace.

He added a cedar Library wing in 1896. The Hendre is a Listed building now and is surely one of the grandest clubhouses in Britain.

A shark was born

Another driving machine was a big fan of the Rolls before his stellar career really got motoring.

Rolls

Greg Norman, who would become the dominant Great White Shark that reigned at the top of the world golf rankings, was the club’s touring professional in the 1980s.

He would spend 333 weeks as the globe’s best rated player in the 1980s and 90s.

Click here for the full ‘This Club Is Famous For’ archive

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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