Barwick Golf Club, Leeds.
Barwick Golf Club was founded in 1907. The nine-hole course was located on Shaw Lane Fields, at the junction of Flats Lane and Leeds Road. It was set up by a group of Leeds artists who used the Attic Abode thatched cottage in Main Street as their meeting place and “clubhouse”. The club started in a haphazard way playing over a roughly marked out course on “The Shaws” but it soon developed into a reasonable, well laid out course.
The club president and founder member was Mr R C Oldham, an artist, who seemed to take particular pride in organizing the annual club dinner and the after meal entertainment. Mr Oldham later went on to make a successful career in theatrical entertainment.
The following is from a newspaper report regarding the annual dinner in1910. “The Barwick Golf Club held their annual dinner at the Leeds and County Liberal Club. The president of the club, Mr R C Oldham, is nothing if not original. He had decided that the post-prandial (after dinner) proceedings should run an entirely new course. With the co-operation of several of his fellow members, he produced a highly diverting theatrical extravaganza, of which he himself was the author. Speech making was limited to two toasts – “The Barwick Golf Club” proposed by the president and responded to by Mr C Wilson, and “The Guests” proposed by Mr H F Smithson and responded to by Mr A V Pullan and Harry Steel. The play was the thing. And such a play! It by no means belied its title of “Votisit”. Essentially a mystery play, it turned Shakespearean drama topsy-turvy. The burlesque aroused endless amusement, especially as it kept up a continuous run of topical allusions and playful satire aimed at golfing modes and the characteristics of the Barwick golfers in particular”
The secretary at the club in 1910 was H A Schaap, 8 Savile Drive, Chapeltown Road, Leeds.
Due to its remote location it proved difficult to keep the club going, and in 1911 the club closed. The following newspaper report describes its sad demise “Strictly speaking, perhaps, Barwick scarcely comes within the scope of New Leeds; but many golfers from our district have so many happy recollections of the little nine-hole course in the ancient Saxon village, that the passing of the club, after some years of gallant struggling to keep the flag flying, must command first attention.
Rarely, if ever, has there been a more sporting or Bohemian organization than the Barwick Golf Club. Originally receiving its impetus from a few Leeds artists and their satellites – who had descended on the village from the city to set up the locally famous “Attic Abode”. What was first a couple of fields or so roughly marked out for the knocking about of golf balls, eventually developed into a by no means discreditable nine-hole course.
Unfortunately for Barwick, however, its comparative inaccessibility has been its downfall, and like many another pioneer it is having to go to the wall. A new club has been established at Crossgates and there is another nine-hole course in prospect for Garforth. Further out, of course, is Wetherby; and all these places have the advantage of being situated on the railway. So it comes about that the Barwick Club, whose fame has spread far beyond the confines of Leeds, has to give up the ghost. To a good number of players in this district the loss will be a real one; but it is to be hoped they will all quickly find a new home. It will take a long time, however, to get acclimatised in new surroundings away from the old village. I wonder what the feelings of that Chapeltown good fellow whose call it was at midday on Sunday “two up and half an hour to go”. And this was down at the New Inn end of the course.
But even if the club has to go, it is sincerely to be hoped that the notable annual dinner and Barwick play will not be discontinued. The occasion could be used for the re-union of old members every year; and while Mr R C Oldham remains it would be folly to allow his facile pen to rest. His previous “dramatic” efforts have been too good to permit a relinquishment at this stage. At any rate, here’s to the Barwick club - home of good sport and good fellowship”.
The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the Barwick course.