It was approximately 2000 years ago that Skipio Cornelius, a centurion in the Army of Rome acquired the land we now know as Skips Corner Farm on the route between the backwaters of Essex and the Roman town of Verulamium (St Albans). More recently, Dick Brautigan, became the rightful owner and it was he who had the novel idea of turning it into a 9 hole golf course.
In 1988 ‘Skips’ golf course and adjoining farmland were purchased by passionate golfers Phil and Rita Newman. They commissioned Howard Swan, a renowned golf course architect, to redesign six of the original holes and to build a further twelve on the newly acquired land. Howard Swan’s design philosophy was, by taking into account the surrounding countryside, to complement nature in the design and construction. This he did, laying out an 18 hole, 6500 yard par 72 golf course and at the same time incorporating within it a challenging 9 hole, par 3 golf course. The 18 hole course was named ‘The Abbotts’ and the 9 hole course the Friars.
During 1990 the Newman’s had acquired further nearby land, enabling them to create a second 18 hole golf course. This second course, which opened on 29th August 1991, was named ‘The Priors’. It has developed into a fine 18 hole golf course and to add a test of skill, an island green was later incorporated.
Following on from Clubhaus plc and American Golf, Stapleford Abbotts is now operated by Crown Golf, who acquired the club in 2004. The Abbotts and the Priors course have continued to mature over the years and in particular, the thousands of saplings planted in the early years have matured and grown so as no longer to require the stakes. The various drainage projects over the years have also greatly improved the playability of the courses through the years.