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Benton Park Golf Club, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The club was founded in 1909.

An 18 hole course with a SSS of 73 until the late 1940s when it was reduced to 14 holes. There was a splendid clubhouse at Long Benton, Newcastle-on-Tyne. There were railway stations at Benton 5 minutes and Forest Hall 15 minutes. The electric tram and buses from Newcastle took 10 minutes.

Benton Park Golf Club was situated to the North East of Newcastle-on-Tyne. A compulsory purchase order was made by Newcastle Corporation after the Second World War and the old course was sold and used for housing development. The housing estate was named the “Fairways” in recognition of  its former use. The original clubhouse was eventually taken over and  used by the Benton Conservative Club.

Benton Park eventually became Arcot Hall Golf Club in the 1950s. It subsequently changed its name to reflect the club’s new location.

The first competition for the Benton Park Golf Club was held on Saturday 23rd July 1910. The prize for the winner was a silver rose bowl given by the captain Mr Theo Hurley, result as follows; F Cripwell, 93-24-69; F Barnfather, 96-24-72; R Tait, 87-14-73; J Walton, 95-20-75; T W Robinson, 87-11-76; W M Plues, 94-16-78; A Scott, 88-9-79; F Douglas, 97-18-79; F Rowley, 97-7-80; J Forrester, 95-15-80; T F McBeath, 96-16-80; J S Bowmer, 96-16-80; A H McBryde, 100-20-80; A T Watts, 105-24-81; J Fawcett, 104-20-84; W E Morhan, 99-14-85; J S Bulmer, 103-18-85; E Shapeley, 107-22-85; G Heeley, 109-24-85. 

The following report is from the Newcastle Journal:-

“Highly successful in every way must describe the first competition day of the club. Ideal weather prevailed and the course was in beautiful order. Two months ago, when playing a round of golf with Mr Elgie Bland, to whom chief credit is undoubtedly due for the formation of the club and the valuable acquisition to Benton of a picturesque golf course and palatial clubhouse, mention was made of of the difficulty in the matter of lost golf balls. The rough between the holes has been smoothed down and golfers are now assured of a really good game. In a few weeks the competition for a cup presented by the president, Mr Edward Brough, will take place.” 

In 1911 the secretary was W E Bland, 22 New Bridge Street, Newcastle, the professional was Thomas Edgar. Amateur course record, E Connell 71.

Result of the monthly medal played in March 1911. There were nineteen competitors, the following returns were made,

F Roberts 99 16 83
B C Kitching 99 15 84
W E Young 94 9 85
T F McBeath 95 9 86
F Douglass 100 14 86
C Hobbis 101 15 86
T Hurley 90 3 87
P Richardson 105 18 87
I Forrester 103 15 88
J S Bowmer 102 12 90
T S P Parkinson 113 18 95

In 1914 there was a membership of 250 gents and 100 ladies. Entry fees for gents were £4/4/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Subs for were Gents £2/2/0, ladies £1/1/0.  Visitors’ fees were 2/- a day, 5/- a week, 15/- a month. Ladies were allowed to play all day Wednesday and Friday up to 5pm, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday up to 1pm, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays up to 10am.

Result of the final of the past six months medal winners was played on Saturday 24th January 1914; H Chapman, 96-13-83; T Hurley, 87-1-86; P Richardson, 97-10-87; M Holohan, 104-16-88; A McCombie, 98-10-88. 

Thirty-eight members entered a foursome competition played on Saturday 18th April 1914, leading scores; J Walton and B D Dale, 91-14-77; J Forrester and R C Kitchen, 92-10½-81½; S Barnfather and W Holohan, 94-11-83; G Gamble and J Nicholson, 96-13-83.  

Result of a medal competition played on Wednesday 6th May 1914; J Heads jun, 86-10-76; T H White, 90-14-76; D Smith, 95-18-77; W Walton, 85-7-78; T Gill, 92-14-78; T Pickering, 92-14-78; L Mann, 90-11-79; P Langford, 92-12-80.    

In September 1921 the Doxford Bowl competition was won by S R Rymer, the club champion, with a score of 72 scratch. N H Mould, 85-9-76 was second.   

In 1922 visitors’ fees were now 3/- a day, 6/- a day at weekends.

Following is an interesting article from The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer dated February 1927. It was headlined “Competition For Novel Prize – Playing To Obtain An Appointment” It relates to the departure of professional Dick May and the process the club went through to find his replacement:-

“Golfing history relates the stories of many strange wagers in golf matches. Before the days of the modern professional school, amateurs played golf for club wines and food and even for clothing for the club’s servants. In modern matches among professionals the stakes usually take the form of big money prizes or purses subscribed by interested parties. Never has there been a competition for a professional appointment, however, and this is apparently the prize offered to the winner of a competition to be held by the Benton Park Club.

Dick May, another of the prominent members of the younger school of British players, is shortly leaving the Benton Park Club for America, and the club is finding it difficult to make their final selection of his successor. There were originally 87 applicants for the post, and this list has now been reduced to eight candidates. Among them is amateur, G Boswell (Gosforth). The others are prominent players, mostly from the north; T B Robertson (Preston), J Fryer (Penrith), C H Gadd (Brancepth), E McInnes (Littlehampton), A L Taylor (Beverley), F Spalding (Royal Lytham & St Annes) and J A Nield (Fairfield).

As there is some difficulty in finally choosing from this list, the secretary is communicating with the applicants with a view to arranging an exhibition match, in which all would take part”. Not sure that the applicants would have been to thrilled with this particular selection process.

In 1940 there was a membership of 420. Visitors’ fees for gents were 2/- a round, 3/- a day, 5/- a day at Weekend or Bank Holiday (3/- with member). Ladies 1/6 a day.

In 1947 visitors’ fees were 3/6 a day, weekends 5/- a day.

  Secretary Professional/Greenkeeper
1914 J G Pickering, 37 Grainger Street, Newcastle. Richard May (p)
1922 Geo Crute, 30 Honister Avenue, Jesmond. R May (p) Robert Purvis (g)
1923-25 Geo Crute R May (p) T Bullock (g)
1926 Geo Crute G Tully (p) T Bullock (g)
1940 A E Johnson, Benton House, Long Benton. G Tully (p)
1947 Lieutenant Commander W R Saunders RN. H Jolly (p) J Lilley (g)

 

  Course records
1922 Richard May (pro) 66
1929 F J McMahon (am) 71
1940 G H Hunter (am) 70 J H Rudd (pro)

 

Benton Park Golf Club, Necastle-on-Tyne. Club professional, Dick May.

1920s advert for Dick May. Author's Collection.

 

Benton Park Golf Club, Longbenton. The former clubhouse.

Longbenton Conservative Club. The former clubhouse for the Benton Park Golf Club.

 

Benton Park Golf Club, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Location of the course at Long Benton.

Map showing the location of the former Benton Park golf course. Grid reference NZ27305,67930, co-ordinates 427305,567930.

 

 

Thanks to Michael Wedgwood who made this contribution in 2004 -

“I was bought up in Newcastle Upon Tyne and can remember a golf course, known I am almost certain, as Benton Park Golf Club, located in the north eastern suburbs of Newcastle and located between Benton Road and Coath Lane. In about 1950 the course was sold for redevelopment as a housing estate, the club bought land at Arcot Hall, several miles north of  Newcastle and developed a new course there, known initially as Benton Park Golf Club, but then changing its name to Arcott Hall Golf Club. I became a member of Arcott Hall during the late 1950s and played there for a few years whilst a university student, but have no memories of playing at the original course, other than as an unruly teenager after the course had been sold, and before the development started