Whiteleaf Golf Club has been supporting golf in the Princes Risborough area for over 100 years.
The Golf Club was founded circa 1907 on land originally donated by Mary Phillips, wife of Major Herbert Percy Davies Phillips of Whiteleaf House. Steeped in history and tradition, Whiteleaf has an attractive clubhouse originating from a short row of 14th century dwellings that included a bodger’s cottage. These buildings have been tastefully updated by a series of well-balanced extensions and improvements.
Whiteleaf is a hamlet in the civil parish of Princes Risborough and the ecclesiastical parish of Monks Risborough in Buckinghamshire. Located 7 miles south of the county town of Aylesbury and 8 miles north of High Wycombe, it lies halfway up the northern scarp of the Chilterns.
The hamlet’s name is first found in the form White Cliff in the eighteenth century, referring to the white chalk cliff above the road to the east of the hamlet, which has the Whiteleaf Cross cut into the chalk on the side of the hill above it, making an important landmark for miles around.
The Course and its history
Tucked neatly behind Whiteleaf Cross and overlooked by Pulpit Hill with its ancient hill fort, the course underwent major changes to its design soon after the end of the First World War. The club acquired additional land and soon engaged in consultation with the design services of Harry S. Colt, the renowned golf course architect of that era, whom many describe as the founder of golf course architecture in the British Isles.
Golf obviously existed before he came along, but it was a game of straight lines and sharp angles. He softened those lines, introduced curves, and long before the art of pacing courses came into being, created visual challenges to tease and intrigue the golfer. Above all, he was the first to appreciate how golf could be a delightful walk through beautiful vistas, perfectly illustrated at Whiteleaf.
A fuller club history has now been written up and published by Garry May. Copies may be purchased in the club house.
Colt principally concentrated his efforts in the UK and by the time he had finished he had left his mark. At the seaside he gave us Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Portrush, Co Sligo and much of the character and current layout of the Honourable Company’s pride and joy at Muirfield. Inland we have those jewels of the Surrey & Berkshire sand belt, the New Course at Sunningdale, Swinley Forest and Wentworth, plus many others throughout the Home Counties, such as Stoke Poges, Denham, Beaconsfield and Camberley Heath. It is believed that the 9- hole course layout at Whiteleaf was transformed by Colt to virtually what exists today.
The local area has featured in many film and TV series (notably Midsummer Murders and Inspector Morse) and we have a number of well known local residents, significant among them being the Prime Minister at weekends when staying at nearby Chequers.
Whiteleaf is home to Whiteleaf Golf Club and Monks Risborough Cricket Club, both of which lie slightly south-east of the main road through the village, which follows the path of the Upper Icknield Way.