“The Bowers Gifford Golf Course lies on the Bowers Gifford Marshes just to the west of the South Benfleet boundary, the approach being along Jotman’s Lane from Cemetery Corner. The Club house stands at the end of Jotman’s Lane just across the railway line, and looks over the course westwards up the Thames valley. This like the Boyce Hill course, was requisitioned and is not yet re-opened. It was a beautifully laid out 18 hole course.”
From Urban District of Benfleet Handbook No119 page 35 1947 0r 1948
Apparently during the Second World War hay carts were positioned all over the fairways for fear that German planes or gliders might land there as part of an invasion. By the 1950’s the golf House was derelict and children used to play there, stripping out floorboards to use as diving boards in Benfleet Creek.
It is thought that it never re-opened after the war, an old clapperboard building close to the site has been replaced by a brick built bungalow and the land is now used as stables and possibly part of the new RSPB reserve due to open in June 2012.
If you take the footpath from the back of the stables at the end of Jotman’s Lane by the railway bridge, once through the new metal gate, look to the right hand side of the footpath. Here the land is rather lumpy and bumpy and this is what remains of the golf course bunkers.
The map at the bottom of the page shows the location of the stables at the end of Jotman’s Lane, right beside the railway bridge. However this image was taken before the major work that the RSPB have undertaken on the Pitsea Marshes was started, they have put in lots of paths and dug many lakes for the bird life. So once again people will have access to what was once Bowers Gifford Golf Course.