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Wednesbury Golf Club, Holden Road.

The club was founded in 1906.

The nine-hole course was situated on  Hydes Rd, Wednesbury. The land was leased from the Patent Shaft and Axletree Company. The Council purchased the land following WW2 for housing development and built the Millfields Estate. Sunday play allowed without caddies. The stations (LNWR & GWR) were 5 minutes from the course. Local hotels were the George & Dragon and the White Horse.

Cameron Tom Wattis, the first Wednesbury Golf Club captain, was the father of Richard Wattis, the famous actor who appeared on TV and  in many films. 

 

Wednesbury Golf Club, West Midlands. Golf Club button.

Wednesbury Golf Club button.

 

In 1911 the secretary was Nelson H Peet, Stated to be "a 9 hole promising course" with a membership of 170. Entry Fee 21/-, subs £1/11/6. Visitors’ fees 1/- a day. Ladies were not permitted to play after 12am at weekend or on Bank holidays. Sunday play without caddies.

In 1913 the secretary was A W Scott, Holden Road, Wednesbury. Professional W Druitt.

  Secretary Professional/greenkeper
1914 A W Scott, Holden Rd, Wednesbury. W J Fullalove (pro)
1923 W C Cross W J Fullalove (pro&gk)
1920s-30s L C Foster, 5 Hillside, Wednesbury. F Sillars (pro) C Evans (g)
1935 T W Burns, "Bryn" Hobbs Road, Wednesbury. W E Booy (pro)
1936 F Coatham, "Hillside" Churchfields Road,Wbury.  
1938 W B Taylor, "Kenilworth" St Pauls Rd, Wbury. B Fereday (pro) C Evans (g)

 

  Course records
1923 G A Tonks (am) 76 A E Edwards (pro) 72
1920s-30s E H Bramley (am) 70/71 F Sillars (pro) 69

In 1914 there was a membership of 170. Entry’ fees were £1/1/0 and subs £1/11/6. Visitors’ fees on introduction were 1/-day,  2/- without introduction. Ladies were not allowed to play afternoon on Saturdays, Bank Holidays or Competition days.

Following is the result of the 36-hole “Docker Cup” played in May 1914; A W Scott, 186-36-150; T J Withers, 184-32-152; G A Tonks, 167-10-157; T J Troman, 197-40-157; B T Smith, 194-36-158; R R Yates, 197-36-161; J E Gaskell, 197-34-163; H H Smith, 194-30-164; H A Jowett, 201-34-167; H Collett, 204-36-168; H L Brook, 195-2-173; T W Austin, 214-36-178.  

On Saturday 23rd May 1914 a club match was played between Walsall and Wednesbury. The first teams played at Wednesbury the second teams at Walsall.

Below, first team result.

Wednesbury   Walsall  
G A Tonks 1 M H Nicklin 0
H L Brook 1 G B Gooding 0
W A Raw (half) 0 J R Boak (half) 0
A W Scott 0 G Nicklin 1
J W B Lowe 0 J A Scott 1
H A Jewett 0 B Gilbert jun 1
S Butler 0 W H Vincent 1
B T Smith 1 H W Shipley 0
  3   4

 

Below, second team result.

Walsall   Wednesbury  
F W Blackburn 1 E H Collett 0
J T Bunch 1 R R Yates 0
H Hawley 1 W H Cliffe 0
F E Thompson 1 J T Holberry 0
F W Sydenham 1 S H Hammond 0
H C Thomas 0 T J Troman 1
J E Stretton 1 W B Troman 0
W H Perry 1 E H Williams 0
  7   1

 

Wednesbury Golf Club, Holden Road, Wednesbury. Early picture of the clubhouse.

The clubhouse Wednesbury Golf Club. Authors Collection.

 

In 1923 there was a membership of 150. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day, 4/- a week and 10/- a month, Sunday and Bank Holidays 2/- a day.

There seemed to be a fairly  strong acting connection with the club.  Darby Foster, a well-known Midlands actor of the day, shared the lead in the film, ‘Paddy, the Next Best Thing’ in 1923, director Graham Cutts was also an original member of the club.

Mr Darby Foster, the actor, lived for many years in Wednesbury. He died at his home in Camberley, Surrey, at the age of 50 in September 1945.  

In the mid 1920s and early 1930s visitors’ fees were 2/- a day, and 15/- a month.

The following interesting article is from the Midland Advertiser and Wednesbury Borough News dated November/December 1929. It celebrates the first twenty five years of the club and is a brilliant insight into golf at that time.

Wednesbury Golf Club – Celebration of 21st Anniversary. “It had its first headquarters at the old “Travellers Rest” situated at the bottom of Riddings Lane. This was in 1906, and at that time there was a membership of 35, the nucleus of an enthusiastic and capable club. The first captain was Mr C T Wattis, and the club remained in a state of embryo until it was reorganised in 1908 when Mr Dudley Docker, CB., became president. It was due to his good offices while occupying the position of president that land was leased from the Patent Shaft and Axletree Co., Ltd., to the club for laying out of a golf course in Holden Road. On various occasions the course of nine holes has been re-constructed and improved and its present condition is as good as it possibly can be from the point of view of land available. This has been achieved despite the great difficulties the club had to surmount, chief among which was the flooding of a section of the course due to the occasion of pumping in the Bilston and Tipton districts. In a short time water came up to the surface and affected the third, fourth and sixth holes, making the long sixth unplayable. The Committee laid out a new fairway, at the same time keeping the sixth green, making a new green for the third hole, reducing the length and the bogey to three. In the autumn of 1926, following the yearly inundation of the lower part of the course, a trench was cut into the brook which bounds the course, and a pipe with a non-returnable valve fixed in the bank, which renders the course playable except when unusually heavy rainfall is experienced.

During the four years of the war, the club was practically dormant, no playing taking place and no work being done. The professional and groundsman and many of the members were on active service. After the war, however, work was re-commenced upon the course and extensive improvements were taken in hand.

Mr Dudley Docker resigned the presidency in 1918, and was succeeded Dr Walter Graham,who carried on until 1924. From the end of 1924, when Dr Graham died, to the present year, Mr J T Holberry, who ranks among the original members, has filled the office, and has been an enthusiastic and playing member.

There are now some 130 members, including ladies and gentlemen. A ladies’ section was formed in 1908, when the club was reorganised, and has made steady progress in popularity ever since. The club has always been represented in big Midland competitions, and has taken its place in Midland golf, while it is able to boast of possessing some good players on its membership roll, who have never disgraced themselves while playing on greens in the district. A big success was recorded in the winning of the “Olton Cup” carried off in 1927 by Mr C T Foster and in 1929 by Mr T Hollingsworth. Numerous trophies have been presented to the club, and the oldest trophy, known as the “Woden Cup” takes the form of the old-fashioned silver tankard, was presented by Mr F D Boswell, having formerly been in the possession of the old Bilston and Willenhall Golf Club. In all, there are eight trophies which are played for annually, the ladies’ section have three cups.

The social side of the club has not been neglected, and a billiard table is installed, which is acknowledged to be the best in the town.

The club has always been fortunate in its officers, and there are no grounds for complaint on the score of the facilities and amenities provided. The present officers are; J T Holberry, president; A W Scott, chairman; Sid Foote, treasurer; L C Foster, secretary; A Frost, captain; Councillor W H Wesson, vice-captain.

Enjoyable Twenty-first Birthday Party – “Memories of early difficulties and of incidents grave and gay were recalled by the older member of the Wednesbury Golf Club on its twenty first birthday party held in the Town Hall. There were about 150 members and friends present.

Mr J T Holberry (president of the club) was in the chair, and at tables conveniently arranged round the hall were prominent residents of the town, including the Mayor of Wednesbury (Councillor H J Barlow), the Mayoress (Mrs H J Barlow), Councillor W H Wesson (Deputy Mayor) and Mrs Wesson, Miss Peggy Wesson, Mr L C Foster (club secretary), Mr Herbert Dean and Mrs Dean, Mr and Mrs S Foote, Dr A Frost (captain), Mr G F Butler, and others.

Card of the course and hole by hole information, mid 1920s -

Hole Yards Bogey
1 328 4
2 278 4
3 180 3
4 373 4
5 136 3
6 456 5
7 422 5
8 305 4
9 273 4

No.1.- The drive to the 1st hole should carry the broken ground , trees and gardens some 140yds to the fairway (a poor drive here makes the hole disastrous). A good second should get the player in the neighbourhood of the green, but the out-of-bounds at the left, the bunkers and rough on the right, require that the shot should be straight and true. If a bogey 4 be secured here the start may be considered very satisfacory. (Length, 328yds).

No.2.- At the second the drive has to carry bunkers and plenty of rough. A well-hit tee shot will leave the player a comfortable second on to the very tricky sloping green. A splendid hole. (Length 278yds, bogey 4).

No.3.- The 3rd hole is an excellent “one-shot” hole with out-of –bounds on the right and rough up to 30yds on the green. To the player a three here is very encouraging. (Length, 180yds).

No.4.- It is not the distance that makes this hole difficult, but from the tee the player has to carry a very sloping hill to see the green. A well-hit second should put the player near the green, but a lot of trouble awaits bad shots, -water on the right and big bunkers round the green. A very good bogey 4. (Length, 373yds).

No.5.- The most pleasing hole on the course. Tee shot is played from the top of a hill on to a green nearly surrounded by water, and bunkers round the green. The water commences right from the tee up to the green, ten feet deep. The green is well backed up at the back, to enable a good tee shot to stop on the green. (Bogey 3. Length, 136yds).

No.6.- The longest hole on the course. The drive from the tee must be well hit and straight to enable the second to be played so that the player may see the green for the third shot. Green slopes away from the fairway, plenty of rough, cross bunkers and water on the right of the fairway, makes this a really good golf hole.(Bogey 5. Length, 456yds).

No.7.- The next longest hole on the course to the 6th. This hole requires a straight drive down the fairway to carry the rough of about 150yds; with gardens on the right and a chain of bunkers on the left. A badly-hit second will be trapped by some very deep cross-bunkers running across the fairway. The third shot is a very comfortable approach to a well-bunkered green. (Bogey 5. Length, 422yds).

No.8.- From the tee a good drive will reach the fairway, the second shot has to be played slightly up-hill to the green; bunkers here to catch a bad, or short second. A most interesting hole for bogey 4. (Length,  305yds).

No.9.- The tee shot to this hole has to be well placed, as you cannot see the green from the tee. There is out-of-bounds on the left and gardens on the right. From a good drive the player may see the green near the Clubhouse down the hollow, which requires the second shot to be well hit, both for length and direction. (Bogey 4. Length, 273yds).

A new green is being laid out which will increase the length to about 300yds. This new green will require a really well-played second to reach it.

Thanks to Douglas MacKenzie www.antiquegolfscotland.com for sending me the following information and newspaper reports. A sad reflection on the demise of Wednesbury Golf Club

The following report is from the Birmingham Mail Saturday 11th March 1939.  “Wednesbury golf links, which have recently been sold for building purposes, were used for the last time this afternoon when the president of the Wednesbury Golf Club, Mr S W Smith; the chairman, Mr W B Troman; the captain, Mr H W Wyld, and the secretary, Mr W B Taylor, took their last farewell of the clubhouse and course by playing a four-ball match." 

Before commencing the game the president stated. “I feel I am voicing the feeling of both present and past members when I say that it is with a feeling of sincere regret that we see our club taken from us. It is also with that feeling I am starting, with the other three officials, a final round on a golf course that has been very dear to us. The whole matter is deplorable.”

The same newspaper had covered the club’s final AGM on 21 January 1939 which reported there had been a net increase of 3 members during the year and that ‘the year closed with the finances in a good position’.  The liquidation committee (sigh, there’s always a committee) were given several suggestions as to what to do with the credit balance of £101 10s 6d.  One of them was to play for the club trophies over different local courses which seems to have been the outcome as the Holberry Bowl, for former Wednesbury members, was competed for over the Bloxwich club course at the end of July 1939.

Result of the Holberry Bowl competition played at Bloxwich Golf Club; H Halling, 88-18-70; S V Smith, 77-6-71; L Hickinbottom, 83-12-71; E Marsh, 88-15-73; H Smith, 87-13-74; J S Hodges, 98-24-74; Dr A Frost, 88-12-76; W B Taylor, 89-13-76; T E Allday, 98-22-76; F Coatham, 85-7-78; F Griffiths, 91-11-80; N P Lester, 93-10-83; J Bradley, 98-13-85; S Bayliss, 100-11-89.

The The Birmingham Daily Post carried an advertisement in March 1939  for the ’Removal of Wednesbury Golf House and re-erection on new site’.  I am unaware whether this happened or where it might have been relocated.

Wednesbury Golf Club, West Midlands. Cover of the 1920s Handbook.

The stylish 1920s cover of the Official Handbook. Author's Collection.

 

Wednesbury Golf Club, West Midlands. The clubhouse and home green.

Later postcard of the home green and clubhouse. (Authors Collection)

 

Wednesbury Golf Club, West Midlands. Location of the Holden Road  golf course.

Location of the Wednesbury golf course.

Grid reference SO99415,94620, co-ordinates 399415,294620.