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Personal memories from earlier years

Mrs Muriel Anderton (nee Peet):

Muriel was born in 1906 and the board Minutes confirm that she was elected a mem­ber of Newark on 14 June 1929. In February 1996 she gave us the following information about her early years as a member of the golf club.

She was introduced to the club by her uncle, Vic Appleby, who was Deputy Town Clerk of Newark. She worked for the National Provincial Bank and did not finish work until 4 pm. Almost all the lady mem­bers (then numbering no more than about 30) were married. In those days married women did not work and played their golf in the afternoon. That meant that Muriel had diffi­culty in finding playing partners among the ladies. She remembers playing regularly in the company of Mr Cafferata and she took her first golf lessons from Les Bakin. They all used hickory shafted clubs in those days.

The entrance to the old Newark course was at the side of J C Kew's house on the Hawton Road. (J C Kew owned the Newark Advertiser). It was about the only house on this road then - the rest was open country.

Her memory of the old course was that it was delightful, beautifully kept, and a joy to play. On one occasion she played with a  vis­itor from a London club, who said he had never putted on better greens. The Secretary was Mr Woodhouse and the Ladies Honorary Secretary was Mrs Drabble, a dentist's wife. The clubhouse had separate entrances for the ladies and the men and there was no mixed lounge. Very few members had motor cars then and either walked or cycled to the club.

The move to Coddington was resented by many members who questioned the wisdom of it. At the time there was plenty of land surrounding the existing nine hole course, which could have been bought. The new course was very rough and teams of members used to go round gathering up stones. She had no car and had to cycle to Kelwick.

Muriel married in 1937 and moved to Bristol. When she returned to Newark in the late 1940s the first nine holes, which had been requisitioned during the War, were still not in play and she remembered sheep grazing on the course. In winter, members used to sit talking in front of a log fire in the lounge which was delightful.

Muriel was Ladies Captain in 1950, 1951 and 1957 and Lady President in 1966 and 1967. Sadly Muriel died in December 1999.

Mrs Kit Southerington:

Kit was born in 1914 and joined Newark in 1946 just after the War ended. She recalls there were only about 100 members at the time. There were only eight members present at the first Ladies AGM she attended. All of them ended up with a job!

She describes the greens at the time as being 'the size of pocket handkerchiefs'. The fair­ways were very narrow and the rough grew knee high. It was occasionally cut and sold for fodder. The only greenkeeper was Leslie Bakin and he cut the greens with a hand mower. At the weekends, some of the members would bring up their own mowers and help cut the aprons and fringes of the greens. Golf was mostly played at weekends.

Only nine holes were in play when she joined. The front nine were brought back into play a few years later but were so rough that members hated playing them. For a time sheep grazed on the back nine and were sometimes hit by golf balls. There were two rooms in the club­house. One for the ladies and the other for the gentlemen. There was no electricity, just paraf­fin lamps hanging from the ceiling. The stewardess provided tea, sandwiches and barn loaf for l/6d (7i/2p).

The social life in the club was organised by Mike Hounsfield, who was very good at the job. Kit remembers attending barbecues, bonfire nights and wild west evenings. On some of these occasions, the Committee did the catering.

In the early 1950s, the club was in a poor financial state, so much so that the ladies even held a Jumble Sale at the Hawtonville Community Centre. It raised £25.

Kit bought her first golf clubs (Jean Donald) from Bert Dobbs Sports Shop at Beaumond Cross, where the Mandarin Restaurant is now. She eventually played to a handicap of 8 and won the Victory Cup in 1961.

Edwin Foster:

Edwin and his father, R S Foster, joined Newark in 1950. He was a member of the Green Committee from 1954 to 1968. Edwin still regularly plays twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. 

He says that when he joined there were very few trees on the course, other than those round the perimeter and, of course, the big oaks we still have. In his words 'there was nothing out there'. The front nine holes were terrible. The land had been ploughed during the War and afterwards was just harrowed and seeded. It was very, very rough and uneven and the greens were terrible. Only the beginners, 'the rabbits', played the front nine. Edwin worked for Nicholsons, the Agricultural Machinery Company, of which his father was a director. To help level the ground they first used a Cambridge roller and then a 2-ton segment roller.

Edwin remembers that there used to be a lot of gorse just in front of the clubhouse about where the putting green is now. He and his father 'ran it down' with a tractor and then set fire to it nearly burning down the clubhouse in the process! Fires on the course were very com­mon then in dry weather. There was so much high rough and so many people smoked. He says that Leslie Scott (Captain 1947) got so annoyed at losing balls in the rough that he regularly set fire to it!

The course machinery was very limited and basic. There was just one tractor which was not self-starting - "you had to wind it up". There were two Certes 16" mowers for the greens and a '3 gang' gang-mower, which only gave a six foot wide cut. The greens were spiked by hand about every two years. They had a five-prong frame but found it too hard to push in and so used just three prongs. The grass around the edges of the bunkers had to be cut with a sickle and longer grass with a scythe (there were no such things as strimmers in those days) and there was little or no sand in the bunkers!

Members had to lend a hand with work on the course. Edwin remembers particularly Ted Page, Gordon Hunter, Howard Selby and Frank Grierson-Peel and, as mentioned elsewhere, Edwin himself and his father were regularly thanked at AGMs for the work they did. He recalls planting a lot of trees in the 1950s but during one bad winter the sheep grazing on the course (and rabbits) ate the bark and 'ringed' most of them. The tall poplars on the left of the seventh near the grass bunkers are a few of the survivors. The holly tree down the left of the first was planted by him. He got it from George Needham's garden! On big occasions, such as the Oldham Cup, everyone had to help to get the course looking decent!

He also recalls a big invasion of ragwort on the course and one of Nicholsons workers 'Dobbin' White was loaned to the club for a week to pull it out by hand. On another occasion, there was an invasion of moles on the second. They tried everything to get rid of them but with no success. Eventually they fitted a pipe to a car exhaust and ran the engine for about 30 minutes. There was smoke coming from everywhere!

The clubhouse was much, much smaller than now. The bar was very small and the men's locker room occupied the area roughly between the right-hand corner of the present bar up to the wall where the trophy cabinet is. There was no spike bar and ladies were not allowed into the bar. There was a small serving hatch to the ladies room. Socials were held every month to try and raise funds but the clubhouse was not hired out. Edwin believes that he was one of the first to be allowed this concession. It was for his daughter's 21st birthday celebrations in 1978 and he had to go before the board to ask for permission.

Edwin won the Halliday Trophy in 1954 and again in 1956 and the Captains Prize in 1957. 

Mrs Pat Mastin: (Stewardess from 1948 to 1953)

The following information was provided by Mrs Pat Mastin in a conversation we had at the golf club in June 2000. It was the first time she had been back to the club since she left in 1953!

She says she was 'adopted' by her aunt, Nellie Robb, and came to Kelwick aged 13 in 1935 when the club moved here. Pat lived in one of the two semi-detached cottages, which used to stand on the far right-hand side of the eighth fairway. Each had two bedrooms, a sitting room, a small kitchen and a pantry. They shared a wash-house, the water came from a well in the garden. Drinking water had to be fetched from the clubhouse.

She had her wedding reception in the clubhouse in 1942 and continued to live in the cot­tage. During the War her husband was away serving in the Army and she worked at a farm 'across the road'. She kept a pig and hung the hams from the ceiling in the cottage.

She remembers going to the scene of the plane crash (on the third fairway) during the War and looking after one of the survivors until help arrived. He was not badly hurt but several of the crew were killed in the crash.

Her aunt Nellie left the club in 1948 and went to work as housekeeper for Colonel Beddington at Barnby Manor. Nellie's father who had helped her at the club went with her and was employed as a manservant. Several Stewardesses came to the club but left in quick succession. Pat Mastin was then given the job and moved into part of Kelwick farmhouse. Her sister-in-law lived in the other half. The house was in a very poor state of repair. The toi­lets were outside and dry. There was no running water and no electricity; they used paraffin lamps.

Clubhouse catering was very basic. She charged l/6d (7i/zp) for tea, bread and butter and a cake. She did not provide cooked meals, though a member might be offered 'what we were having'. An exception was rabbit pie. There was a man who caught rabbits on the course and Pat cooked them. Rabbit pie was very popular.

There was no gas or electricity in the club kitchen, just an Aga cooker and, of course, there was no refrigerator, just a stone slab. There was really no demand for cooked meals. If there was a club match, the teams were given tea, sandwiches and cakes. The beer was in wooden barrels which had to be tapped. She used to keep a whole cheese beneath the barrel to catch the beer drips. Like the rabbit pies, this cheese was great favourite with the members.

In summertime, she used to walk across to the clubhouse at Sam and stay there all day, returning home only to put her children to bed. In those days, she thought nothing of pushing a pram to Newark and back. She particularly remembers sitting outside the clubhouse at twi­light on summer evenings listening to nightingales singing.

The job of the Club Stewardess made a normal family life very difficult and it was this which caused her to leave in 1953.

Footnote: In 1961, the club had to give an undertaking to Newark RDC that the cottages on the right of the eighth would not be occupied in their present condition. They became derelict and were eventually demolished in 1978 as a safety precaution 

Mrs Pat Mastin: (Stewardess from 1948 to 1953)

The following information was provided by Mrs Pat Mastin in a conversation we had at the golf club in June 2000. It was the first time she had been back to the club since she left in 1953!

She says she was 'adopted' by her aunt, Nellie Robb, and came to Kelwick aged 13 in 1935 when the club moved here. Pat lived in one of the two semi-detached cottages, which used to stand on the far right-hand side of the eighth fairway. Each had two bedrooms, a sitting room, a small kitchen and a pantry. They shared a wash-house, the water came from a well in the garden. Drinking water had to be fetched from the clubhouse.

She had her wedding reception in the clubhouse in 1942 and continued to live in the cot­tage. During the War her husband was away serving in the Army and she worked at a farm 'across the road'. She kept a pig and hung the hams from the ceiling in the cottage.

She remembers going to the scene of the plane crash (on the third fairway) during the War and looking after one of the survivors until help arrived. He was not badly hurt but several of the crew were killed in the crash.

Her aunt Nellie left the club in 1948 and went to work as housekeeper for Colonel Beddington at Barnby Manor. Nellie's father who had helped her at the club went with her and was employed as a manservant. Several Stewardesses came to the club but left in quick succession. Pat Mastin was then given the job and moved into part of Kelwick farmhouse. Her sister-in-law lived in the other half. The house was in a very poor state of repair. The toi­lets were outside and dry. There was no running water and no electricity; they used paraffin lamps.

Clubhouse catering was very basic. She charged l/6d (7i/zp) for tea, bread and butter and a cake. She did not provide cooked meals, though a member might be offered 'what we were having'. An exception was rabbit pie. There was a man who caught rabbits on the course and Pat cooked them. Rabbit pie was very popular.

There was no gas or electricity in the club kitchen, just an Aga cooker and, of course, there was no refrigerator, just a stone slab. There was really no demand for cooked meals. If there was a club match, the teams were given tea, sandwiches and cakes. The beer was in wooden barrels which had to be tapped. She used to keep a whole cheese beneath the barrel to catch the beer drips. Like the rabbit pies, this cheese was great favourite with the members.

In summertime, she used to walk across to the clubhouse at Sam and stay there all day, returning home only to put her children to bed. In those days, she thought nothing of pushing a pram to Newark and back. She particularly remembers sitting outside the clubhouse at twi­light on summer evenings listening to nightingales singing.

The job of the Club Stewardess made a normal family life very difficult and it was this which caused her to leave in 1953.

Footnote: In 1961, the club had to give an undertaking to Newark RDC that the cottages on the right of the eighth would not be occupied in their present condition. They became derelict and were eventually demolished in 1978 as a safety precaution.

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