Golf has been played in Cirencester since 1893 when 'an area of old pastures' belonging to the Earl Bathhurst at Park Corner, Sapperton, was laid out as a golf course. Because of many problems of upkeep with limited resources and problems of transport out of town, it was decided to look for another venue closer to Cirencester. Eventually, some land was bought and other fields leased in order to establish a golf course on its present site but now the club owns all its land.
Cirencester Golf Club is a James Braid (1870-1950) designed course and was opened for play on May 5th 1910 when he and Harry Vardon played an exhibition match in the morning and a four ball with local professionals in the afternoon. (Braid went on to win the 'Open' seven weeks later!). The course is situated 2 miles north of Cirencester, on the Cheltenham Road and the topography is varied and described as 'situated on a rolling plateau, where the eastern slopes of the Cotswolds die away to the plain'. Part of the course is situated in the parish of Bagendon, including the clubhouse, but most of it is in the parish of Baunton. There are glorious views towards the Cotswold town of Cirencester and the Marlborough Downs beyond. Flora and fauna abound.
James Braid visited the site on 3 March 1909 in order to discuss the design but because snow covered the ground he had to make another visit! In laying out the course Braid used the natural features to advantage and there was little need to do more than build tees, establish greens and put in fifty or so bunkers. The tees were not particularly large or elevated. Greens were mostly square-shaped and established on ground which was reasonably level although a considerable bank had to be built up to make a flat area for the 3rd green. The course has remained much as Braid designed it though boundary walls within the course were removed, several bunkers redesigned and new ones recently established to take into account greater distances achieved with modern equipment. In both World Wars much of the course was given up for agricultural purposes and play was limited to a few holes. In the mid-1990s when a bypass around Cirencester was built, the inevitable land loss meant that the club would have to build three new holes and these were constructed from a Donald Steel design and opened for play in late 1996
The course is on free-draining limestone so that all year play is possible and the course is rarely closed and only for severe winter weather. Year by year, cosmetic changes are made to improve the quality of greens and bunkers re-shaped more towards the modern trend. Extensive tree planting has taken place in recent years in order to enhance the landscape whilst keeping the general concept of a unique Edwardian course planned to be a challenge of golf.
A detailed history of the club 1893-1993, illustrated with many photographs, was published on 30th October 1993 and is now out of print but copies do become available from time to time from booksellers on the internet.