Join Frinton's Clubs
PUBLISHED: 13:06 11 June 2010 | UPDATED: 03:24 06 February 2013
Frinton on Sea has long been considered a quiet, sleepy seaside resort but there are three long-established sports clubs that would paint quite a different picture.
Frintons active heartbeat
Frinton on Sea has long been considered a quiet, sleepy seaside resort and a haven for those who enjoy a slower pace of life, but there are three long-established sports club that would paint quite a different picture. Nicky Adams reveals why Frintons tennis, golf and yacht clubs are in a league of their own
Frinton Lawn Tennis Club
If you are looking for a snooze in a deck chair when you visit Frinton, make sure you stay clear of Frinton Lawn Tennis Club.
Our raison detre is to encourage people of all ages to pick up a racket, explains club member Fenella Pearey. We have lively and successful squash and tennis coaching programmes for juniors and we run hugely successful courses for adult non-members. It would be no exaggeration to say that the beginners and rusty players on these courses are just as passionate about their sport as the clubs many veterans and team players.
Founded in 1899, Frinton Lawn Tennis, Croquet and Bowls Club flourished in Edwardian England and is still a vibrant club today. Its thatched clubhouse,16 grass courts and eight all-weather courts have welcomed top names in the tennis world and many are life members including Mark Cox, Betty Stove, VJ Amritraj, Virginia Wade and even Sir Cliff Richard.
In fact the Frinton tournament was once regarded as a highlight of the tennis year and a social event on a par with Ascot and Henley. Such names as Kay Stammers, Mrs Lambert Chambers, Norman Brookes, Kitty Godfree, Tony Mottram, Christine Truman, Margaret Court and Neil Fraser have all been winners here.
Today the club has 550 members, and growing, and as well as the tennis courts and two squash courts, there is also a health and fitness centre, an outdoor heated swimming pool and a full programme of exercise classes. If that isnt enough, a thriving social calendar includes dinner dances, wine tasting nights and other themed evenings.
But it is for the tennis that the club is most famous and Frintons annual tournaments attract competitors from near and far.
The Frinton International Veterans tournament, now in its 34th year, draws players from all over the world and this year takes place from July 5 to 10 , while the Frinton Junior Open (August 10 to 15) is even longer established and is now in its 60th year. In addition, the Junior American Tournaments (on July 21 and 27 and August 3, 17 and 25) are popular one-day mixed doubles tournaments for pairs aged between eight and 18 with no more than two years difference.
Our tournaments bring significant numbers of visitors to Frinton, says Fenella. Last years ITF Veterans Tournament had 200 entrants from countries including Germany, India, Italy, Brazil, Australia, The Czech Republic, Belgium, Ukraine and the Netherlands as well as players from all over the UK. And many of the worlds top young players compete in Frinton Lawn Tennis Clubs Pro Aegon Futures Tournament. The 2009 ladies event was won by Heather Watson, who went on to win the Junior US Open, and Jamie Murray and Amelie Mauresmo have also taken part in recent years.
Spectators from the town and beyond are welcomed to the clubs tournaments and there is no entry charge. Players and visitors enjoy all thats on offer in Frinton, says Fenella. When theyre not at matches during the day, they revel in the cafe culture of the club and spend their evenings on the beach and in the many bars and restaurants on Frintons Connaught Avenue.
Frinton Lawn Tennis Club
36 Holland Road
Frinton Golf Club
Golf at Frinton is as old as the town. The celebrated Frinton Golf Club, located right on The Esplanade, was founded in 1895 and over the years many famous golfers have played here, including the great early 20th century trio of JH Taylor, James Braid and Harry Vardon. In 1929 the British professionals practised at Frinton before their first Ryder Cup victory at Moortown and a member of that team, 1923 Open Champion Arthur Havers, returned in 1956 as club professional, a post he held until he retired in 1964.
The ever-changing sea breeze and the tidal ditches that run across many of the fairways make for a challenging links course at Frinton and today the club has around 800 members and welcomes many guests. Golf is one of the few sporting pastimes where all age groups can compete together, says club secretary Malcolm Boucher. There are at least two families with three generations all playing here at Frinton. But its not just Frintons golfers who benefit.
Many local organisations and businesses hold their meetings at the club, adds Malcolm, including Frinton Residents Association, the beach hut owners, the bridge club and the literary festival. We also host lots of charity fundraising events that benefit local causes and the clubhouse is used by local people for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, Christenings and wakes. So Frinton Golf Club is
an integral part of Frinton lifestyle
Founded with just nine holes, the Frinton course was redesigned and extended to 18 by double Open champion Willie Park Jnr in 1904, on land that had previously been used for hare coursing. Celebrated golf course architect Harry S Colt then suggested various improvements a few years later. But World War II put a crimp in the history of the Frinton course. Its stretch of coastline was feared to be a potential site for enemy invasion and so all but the first three holes were requisitioned by the army and planted with mines. The damage was so extensive that it wasnt until 1947 that the course was restored to its former glory.
Since then the course has remained unchanged with wide fairways, fast, firm, undulating greens and a relatively modest length of 6,265 yards that attract golfers from near and far. Frinton Golf Club is run along traditional lines, but has also managed to move with the times and in fact was one of the first clubs in the country to embrace total equality of the sexes in its membership.
Frinton Golf Club
1 The Esplanade
Walton and Frinton Yacht Club
One of the longest established clubs on Englands east coast, Walton and Frinton Yacht Club today numbers more than 630 members, ranging in age from seven year olds to the over-90s and living as close as 200 yards from the clubhouse and as far afield as France, Turkey, Japan and Australia.
Walton and Frinton Yacht Club really is the place to be if youre interested in boating, says its commodore Bryan Ward. Weve got a very active dinghy section and run RYA training which means the youngsters are safe on the water. Plus there are plenty of social events in the winter months for the whole family.
Members whose interests include canoeing, dinghy racing, cruiser racing and cruising are well catered for at Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, but equally so are those who simply enjoy just mucking around in boats.
Set at the head of Walton Creek, in the heart of Arthur Ransomes Secret Waters, the club started life as The Walton Sailing Club in 1908 and was intended for local sailors who used the Backwaters for recreation and racing. However, in 1920 the site of an old windmill was bought and a new clubhouse was built with money raised by the clubs members many of whom were from Frinton so the club was renamed the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club.
Membership boomed after World War II and sailing and a new one-design, the 14ft Jewel class, was adopted (no fewer than 99 took to the water at Walton and Frinton between 1946 and the mid-1950s). The 1990s saw the return of some of the Jewels and today there are 13 at the club either racing or being refurbished.
As well as the regular yacht and dinghy racing, there are work parties at the club as well as training courses for those who want to improve their knowledge and skills and plenty of social events including games nights and dinners. A fundraising programme to refurbish the clubhouse will soon be underway and catering at the club has already been improved in recent years.
Walton and Frinton Yacht Club
Walton on the Naze
01255 675 526
Frintons potted history
Much of Frintons distinctive character is down to R Powell Cooper who bought out the original developer of the town, Peter Bruff, in the 1890s.
Amending Bruffs plans, Powell Cooper rejected a proposed pier, stipulated the quality of housing to be built and prohibited boarding houses. Pubs were also banned, although Frinton was never dry as drinks were served in the towns hotels and members clubs.
Frintons cliffs were unstable, but the Sea Defence Act of 1903 established a project to prevent further landslips. The beautiful Greensward, which separates The Esplanade from the sea, was put in place to stabilise the land further, although it also contributed to the towns appeal.
In the first half of the 20th century the town attracted visitors from high society with the Prince of Wales frequenting the golf club and Sir Winston Churchill renting a house.