Keeping a Straight Course

One of our more unusual exhibits is a Pattisson tractor which was previously used at Luffenham Heath Golf Club. The Pattisson golf tractor was a sturdy machine specifically made for golf course and sports grounds maintenance.

Pattisson tractor on display in Rutland County Museum

These tractors were supplied in two forms, a standard version like ours and a highway model with lights, mudguards and other accessories.
Spiked steel rear wheels were available, and other features of the tractor are its tipping body, magneto ignition and a petrol/paraffin vapouriser fitted to the engine.

Our example was supplied by Motors and Tractors of Stamford to Luffenham Heath Golf Club in 1938.
It was originally fitted with a Ford Model B engine, but the present engine seems to be a replacement. The tractor, which does not seem to have ever been registered or licensed for highway use, was repaired and conserved by the Museum in 1980. Interestingly, it has a different tread pattern on each of its four tyres. Being intended for off road use they are low geared, with the top speed being a scintillating 15mph.

Pattisson’s Advertisement 1938

H Pattisson & Co were manufacturers of garden and sports ground equipment. Founded in 1898 and originally based in Greyhound Lane, Streatham, they specialised in the manufacture of ‘Patent Horse Boots and Golf Course Requisites’.
They purchased the former Clutterbucks brewery building at Stanmore Hill, Middlesex in 1926 and were based there until the mid-1980s.
During the 1920s & 1930s there were a number of motor manufacturers who were ready to supply a basic girder frame chassis, engine and gearbox to be converted to any other suitable use.
Pattissons used a Ford chassis to create their vehicles. They continued making similar vehicles after WWII using a more modern Fordson e83w base, one of which may be seen at the Erewash Museum.

A golf club on Luffenham Heath was proposed in 1909 by the 2nd Earl of Ancaster. Golf course architects Charles Hugh Alison and Henry Colt were invited to design and build the course, which was officially opened on the 26th September 1911. Harry Vardon and James Braid, the top golf professionals of their day, were invited to play two rounds on the new course. Vardon went on to become the only golfer ever to win the British Open six times, in 1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 & 1914. Braid himself won five Open titles and was a noted course designer.

C & DJ Todd with friends at Luffenham Heath

Another keen golfer who played at the club and was Club Captain in 1929 was the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII).
An exhibition match, including three time Open Champion Henry Cotton, was played in 1941 to help with the war effort. £200 was donated to the Red Cross as a result of the match.
The entire golf course was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1973 and is currently managed in agreement with Natural England to ensure the propagation of rare flora and fauna.

Pattisson company information courtesy of Grace’s Guide (