The Club has a proud history and celebrated its centenary in 2007; to mark the occasion the club publsihed a book Henley Golf Club A Centenary History 1907-2007 by Brian Law and Michael Herriot. It is a hardback volume of some 220 pages with lavish colour illustrations. It can be purchased from the Manager's Office for £20 ( plus p&p).
Henley Golf Club was first thought of in 1905 by a small group interested in enhancing the town's status as it grew as the Great Western Railway expanded. W. Anker Simmons, C. Franklin Simmons, E.H. (Harry) Dee - three partners in Simmons and Sons and the Town Clerk, J.F. Cooper believed the existence of a course would increase local property values and help sell the many building plots on the market during the early years of the century.
A syndicate was formed by joining with two others - J.A. Rawlins and F.E. Theodor, who were already buying and selling land for development in the Shiplake and Harpsden area.
In May 1905 70 acres were purchased and 9 holes opened in 1907 with a further nine opening the following year. Mr D Stephenson, the then Professional at Princes Golf Club and formerly of Huntercombe (opened 1901) prepared plans, but James Braid is correctly credited with its design, as yardages of the course that opened bore no resemblance to the original plans. Braid was paid £15 6s 6d (£15.321/2) and Stephenson £5 for their efforts.
James Braid had, by the time Henley was opened, won The Open four times, winning again in 1910. Born in Fife, trained as a carpenter he left Scotland in 1893 to work as a clubmaker for the Army and Navy Store. He along with J.H. Taylor and Harry Vardon golf's Great Triumvirate dominated golf for 20 years up to the outbreak of the First World War. Vardon won the Open six times, Braid and Taylor five times each.
Taylor and Braid were responsible for the forming of the Professional Golfers Association. In 1904 he became the Professional at Walton Heath, where he remained until he died in 1950, aged 80.
The match to celebrate the opening of the course took place on the 16th May 1908 between James Braid and Rowland Jones (he replaced Harry Vardon who cried off as he had flu) refereed by Harold Hilton, twice Amateur Champion and twice Open Champion as an amateur. Braid scored a 77 in the morning round and 74 in the afternoon, beating Jones, both rounds taking two hours to play!
Over the years the course has changed, the 11th for example used to cross the road and was 320 yards in length - this was the case till 1964 when, due to increased traffic on Chalk Hill, the hole was changed to its current position.
Some holes have been lengthened as technology improved. During the period from 1998 till the present day, new Health and Safety requirements have been taken into account realigning holes 3, 9, 10 and 18 to keep stray balls away from roads. All the work carried out on the course e.g. reshaping of bunkers, is now done in the style of James Braid by our own greenkeepers. A full watering system was installed in 2004.