From farm to golf course

The History of Cottesmore

Learn how Michael & Matthew Rogerson embarked upon an adventure to turn their farm into Cottesmore Hotel Golf & Country Club.

It all began with

Michael Rogerson

In 1973 Michael Rogerson, a recently retired prep school head master, and his 23 year old son, Matthew, a young farmer, embarked upon an adventure to turn their rather “tired” farm into a golf course. The farm buildings, built by French prisoners of war in 1815, were to become the club house.

Mad about Golf

The dream was set

For years Michael, a keen county golfer, had been prodding his cattle round the farm with his niblick in his free time from the school and often dreamed of the land as a golf course. Matthew, also a keen golfer and recently qualified farmer, had just been told to give up farming for health reasons. So the adventure began.

The course was designed and built by Father and Son and with the help of the farm staff it opened for business in April 1975. By July 600 members had signed up at £32.50 a year, £1 a round weekdays and £1.50 at weekends.

Golf became a hit

A risky investment

The success of Tony Jacklin in the 1969 Open popularised the game of golf to the nation. Michael had the vision to see the demand and took a big risk in investing his savings in the venture, especially as all his golfing pals said it would never work.

The adventure continued, another course was built in 1980. Then 15 hotel rooms were built in 1983. When Michael finally retired in 1988, Matthew was concerned by the Royal & Ancient’s report for the demand for 700 golf courses in the UK, so diversification was a priority. After intensive research in the USA, Matthew took on a major development of the club house into a country club complex with indoor pool, health club and function rooms. This opened in 1992. Nine hotel rooms were added in 2002 and seven, two bedroom holiday lodges were built in 2007.

From then to now

Much has changed

Matthew’s son-in-law and daughter, Johnny and Louisa Porter took on the business in July 2013.

Matthew says:

“ After forty years of being in the golf and country club business, it would be any father’s wish to see the next generation take up the reins when they retire. My wife, Susan, and I are absolutely delighted that Johnny and Louisa have thrown themselves into the business with energy and enthusiasm. An exciting future lies ahead.”

In June 2018

A devastating fire destroyed the majority of Cottesmore’s historic main building.

The blaze, which occurred on the afternoon of June 11, 2018, was attended by 10 fire engines and destroyed almost two-thirds of the original building resulting in having to close the business to rebuild the clubhouse. Matthew’s daughter, Louisa Porter, and her husband, Johnny, have managed Cottesmore since 2013, and could only watch as more than half a century of family history went up in flames in a matter of hours. 

In April 2020 the ambitious rebuilding programme was complete. The new Cottesmore boasts improved clubhouse and hotel facilities, including an oak-beamed bar and restaurant with a panoramic view of the Griffin course serving gastro classics made from the freshest locally sourced ingredients. There is also a brand-new beauty salon and health club, complete with gym, spin studio, fitness class studio, swimming pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and a full programme of classes. The hotel now has 26 country rooms and there are new and flexible function rooms that are ideal for weddings, parties and business conferences.

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