1934 - a site for a new 18 holes course
At a board meeting held on 8 June 1934, the club Chairman, Enos Smith reported that a suitable site for an 18 hole course had been found beyond Coddington. An option for one month had been obtained from the owner J H Mettham with a view to purchase at £2,250.
The board decided to ask Tom Williamson to go over the site and advise them on its suitability or otherwise, and they appointed a sub-committee to go into the question of financing the scheme. Less than a week later, the Chairman was able to report that Williamson had examined the site and given his opinion that it was eminently suitable for an 18 hole course.
Tom Williamson was the Professional at Notts Golf Club for 54 years from 1896 until his death in 1950. He had advised on the layout of the original 9 holes at Hawton in 1902. He went on to become a successful course designer. He laid out over 80 courses up and down the country and one in Zurich, Switzerland. He established a world record by playing in every Open Championship for 50 years. The first was at Hoylake in 1897 (when the 1st prize was £5!) and the last in 1947, also at Hoylake. His fee for laying out the course at Kelwick was £45.
An Extraordinary General Meeting was held at the Clinton Arms Hotel on 21 June 1934 to obtain the members' sanction to proceed with the purchase of the land if sufficient financial support was forthcoming. A perforated slip was attached at the foot of the notice for members unable to attend the meeting to return indicating whether they would be willing to continue membership if the proposal to acquire the land was passed.
The resolution to approve the purchase of the site was moved by J H Knight (who was later to become club Chairman in 1949). The meeting voted approval and authorised the directors to proceed if in their judgement they considered they had the necessary support from the members - and could raise a sufficient amount in debentures, up to £4000, to make the scheme a success. A total of 69 members attended the meeting and none were against the motion. The Chairman informed the meeting that 67 replies in the affirmative had been received from members unable to attend.
The directors canvassed members to see what they would subscribe towards debentures and within 5 days they were able to report that the list of subscribers to the proposed issue of debentures resulted in promises amounting to £3,125. They were then in a position to exercise the option for the purchase of 216 acres of land, farmhouse buildings and 2 cottages beyond Coddington, known as Kelwick Farm at the price of £2,250. It was also later decided to buy 8 acres of woodland from Mr C R Daybell for £120.
The opening offer for sale of the Hawton land was £1500 and this was rejected. Eventually the board secured an offer of £3,300 from J H Freckingham who was to be given vacant possession not later that 31 May 1935 with the restriction that the land should not be used as a golf course.
As it turned out, the sale had still not been completed a year later and the board had to instruct the club's solicitor to take legal proceedings to enforce the performance of the contract. Mr Freckingham then offered to relinquish £250 of his deposit if the action was withdrawn. This was agreed and shortly afterwards an offer to purchase for £3,000 was accepted from William Saunders.
The purchase of Kelwick Farm was completed in October 1934 and the following letter then was sent to all members: "The directors feel the members of the club would like to have a report of the progress being made on the new course. About 12 men have been working on the course and an efficient foreman (Mr Bembridge), under the supervision of Mr Tom Williamson and providing we get favourable weather the majority of the 18 holes, if not the full 18, will be ready for play to commence in the Spring."
The letter continued: "It was the intention of the Directors as explained at the Extraordinary General Meeting to convert the farmhouse into a Clubhouse but on taking expert advice in the matter, the directors found that it would cost two thirds as much to convert the farmhouse as to construct a new brick and tiled clubhouse. The directors have therefore decided to build a new clubhouse, taking advantage of the old material that will be available by pulling down some of the old farm buildings, and they assure the members that the financing of this, as well as making a first class course, can be carried out well within the borrowing powers of £4000 that were given to the directors at the Extraordinary General Meeting. A plan of the proposed new building will be exhibited for the next two or three weeks in the Tea Room of the clubhouse. It is proposed to use the farmhouse for housing some of the staff and this will bring in a certain amount of revenue." In July 1935 field numbers 69, 90, 122 and most of number 159 were sold to C J F Platt of Barnby Manor. He paid £550 for these 85 acres, which were surplus to the club's requirements!
The new clubhouse:
The plans for the new clubhouse and Professional's shop and a caddie house were drawn up by Mr W A Patterson who was an architect and a very helpful member of the club. The board accepted a tender of £1,540 (plus £64 for the Professional's shop and caddie house) from Messrs J Wright & Sons to carry out the work. A tender of £100 from Messrs Hayden was accepted for heating to the clubhouse. Various sites were inspected before it was decided that the new clubhouse should be built near the 18th green with Kelwick Wood as a background.
W A Patterson also drew up plans for a division of the farmhouse and an estimate of £94 from Messrs Wright & Sons was approved. The work included dividing the house into two, building a new earth closet, fitting two new sinks, plus repairs and redecoration. (Members may have noticed the initials JT on the stonework at the back of the building. These we think stand for John Thorpe who owned Kelwick Farm until his death in 1902. He lived at Coddington Hall.)
It was decided that Leslie Bakin should be offered the southern half of the house at a rent of 7/6d per week. Nellie Robb, the stewardess was offered first refusal of the remaining half - as an alternative to one of the cottages - at a rent of 51- (25p) per week. Miss Robb later told the board that owing to the condition of the part of the farmhouse allocated to her and the fact that she might endanger her health owing to the dampness, she preferred not to take it. It was then offered to Fogg, the assistant greenkeeper.
(Note: The other cottages used to stand between the rough on the right of the 8th fairway and the 2nd green. They were demolished some years ago.)
Furniture for the new clubhouse:
The furniture ordered was as follows:
10 oak tables and 40 tub chairs for the lounge
5 oak tables and 20 (Bentwood Arms) chairs for the bar
4 Persian Rugs
The cost was approximately £122. The oak tables were still in use up to 1994 when they were sold off following the extension and refurbishment of the clubhouse. Some of them can be seen in the framed coloured photograph of the interior of the old clubhouse taken in 1993. The tub chairs have been recovered a number of times and are still in use. Carpets were not considered necessary in the new clubhouse because the floors were oak.
The architect also reported that £60 had been allowed for in the specification for lockers and that 28 lockers in the centre of the old clubhouse would be moved to the new course. He advised that it would cost more than they were worth to remove and transfer the lockers that were fixed in the old clubhouse.
A second-hand lighting set was bought for £22.
The following new machinery was bought:
For the Tees - 1 15" 'Coronet' Machine 5 Blade (Ransome, Sims & Jefferies)
For the Greens - 1 14" 'Certes' Machine 8 Blade (Ransome, Sims & Jefferies) 1 14" 'Certes' Machine 8 Blade (Ransome, Sims & Jefferies)
For the Fairways - 1 Triple Mower (cost £108)
The existing roadway from the Sleaford Road had to be widened and C F Cafferata appears to have supplied ash and bricks for use as a base. Two lorries were hired to cart this. A small petrol roller was also hired from the County Council. The rate they charged was £1.25 per day which covered the service of a man, the petrol and the roller.