This is the transcription of a conversation Bob had with Graham Lawrence on 16 October 2006.
I was first introduced to golf in 1962 by a friend I played darts with at the Traveller’s Rest in Newtown. His name was Charlie Adams, who later became a member at Corhampton. We went down to the course on the Eastern Road, Portsmouth. I used to do a bit of clay pigeon shooting but I thought that I might get interested in golf.
Shortly after I was in the Kings Head in Wickham where I met Dave Baber, who used to be the policemen in Wickham. He asked me to come up to Corhampton and have a game with Ray Rowe and himself. On the Sunday we played the course. Afterwards Dave ask me what I thought of it and would I like to be a member. I said I wouldn’t mind so he said “OK, I’ll get in touch with Valentine and Frank Lindley”. On the Thursday I was made a member. The joining fee was 13 guineas and the annual subscription after that was 8 guineas for a certain amount of time. That was my first introduction to Corhampton Golf Club.
I once had part of a lesson with Ron Crockford because he’d sold me a decent set of John Letters irons to replace my half set of Japanese clubs I used when I first took it up. I could not stop shanking during the lesson so I told Ron to stay away from me. From then on I taught myself to play. I got very friendly with Ron and that’s how I got involved with Sid Parrett who asked me to mow the fairways and rake the bunkers. I drove the club’s red International tractor with gang mowers. I used to do that in the mid-sixties, not long after Ron Crockford started. Ron came from Alresford.
I used to play with Charlie Adams early on Saturday mornings about half past seven. We’d play eighteen holes and then go to the Meon Valley Hotel (later the Hurdles) and have a couple of beers and then back up to the club for one o’oclock to play with Dave Baber. I lived in Chapel Road, Soberton then. On Sunday afternoons I’d play with Dave, Ray Rowe and Ken Turner from Porchester whose mother-in-law was a member most of her adult life. Ken’s wife, Peggy, used to play.
Jack West, the landlord of the Buck’s Head at Meonstoke used to play. He was an ex-policeman and also a member of Alresford. We were drinking in the Buck’s Head one night when Jack suggested a match between Corhampton and Alresford for which Jack donated the Buck’s Head Trophy. It ran for many years and was always a good occasion. After the match we’d dine in the Buck’s Head in the hall bar. We didn’t have to rush home because Jack was an ex-policeman. We had a good understanding with the police at Corhampton. They were allowed to play at a reduced cost. We never got pestered by the police so the arrangement was worthwhile. Sometimes we’d be having a good social evening on Sunday night which didn’t finish till one o’clock.
I got to know Mike Lutman, known as the Corhampton Fox, because he was very protective of his handicap. I knew Fred Banting because I used to do brickwork for him and his company. I used to play a lot at weekends with John Wright. We’d often play as partners. We played against Henry Clark and Peter Dacombe most Sunday afternoons.
There was a lot of social fun in the old club house. There was a dart board and a one-armed bandit which, I think, belonged to the Reeves. I remember when I was doing an extension for Victor Reeves, who lived next door to his mum, the machine was abandoned at the back of the garage. Fred Banting and Frank Lindley were very crafty with the machine. Once they got two cherries up they would pull the handle so slowly that they’d keep getting two cherries for some time. When John and I got two cherries and pulled the handle slowly we never succeeded in getting another two cherries.
There were a lot of wonderful characters in the days of the wooden clubhouse. Bill Shiner was always straight down the middle. He sliced every shot but it always finished down the middle. Quite a crowd of us used to play on Saturday afternoons. There were Peter and Victor Reeves, John Banting and Mike Miller. There were also people older than us who played with us – John Heathcote and Norman Taylor. The ladies used to present us with cakes and tea on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
I remember on one Club Championship day in the late sixties I went up with John Wright and after playing the first eighteen we were having a drink in the bar when John Browning teed off from the first tee which was right outside the clubhouse. The ball came off the toe of the club through the clubhouse door, ping ponged around the clubhouse and came to rest under a chair. John Wright, without a smile, looked at me and said “I don’t fancy his next shot. Do you?”. It was raining hard on that day and a lot of people were dropping out. John and I decided we’d change our wet clothes and get into the clothes we’d brought for the evening hoping that, with so many people dropping out, we might win something. In the afternoon we got those clothes soaked and had to go home and change into dry clothes. We returned to the club in the evening and discovered we hadn’t won anything.
John Wright, Dave Baber and myself would sit in the clubhouse and draw up designs for an eighteen-hole golf course on the back of fag packets. Others said it would never happen. The holes would be too close together and people would get killed by so many flying golf balls. Eventually it was taken up and the layout was almost the same as what we had drawn on the fag packets and no one got killed.
Over the years I got involved with the committee. In 1978 the single committee of twelve people added two ladies for the first time – Stella Wright and Joan Haigh, both wives of other committee members. John Wright was Captain and Alan Haigh was vice-captain. I built the beer store for the new club house which had been opened in 1975. The beer used to be kept behind a couple of hurdles. The beer store was built in the junior’s room in 1978. They soldiered on with that for quite a few years. Then they asked me to build the restaurant over the beer store in 1989. I also built the extension at the north end of the club house where the pro shop, secretary’s office and television room now are. They were built around the time when Bill Clarke was captain in 1988. I did most of the construction work at cost which was my way of contributing something to the club.
When I was captain in 1980 I put up the Goble Cup. There was always a cup for 0-9 handicappers which is called the Club Cup and is played off scratch. The rest of the club could play but didn’t stand a chance of winning anything. I put up a cup for the 10-16 handicappers and Alan Haigh put a cup up for the 17-24 handicappers. It’s now played for by the 17-28 handicappers.
I also put up a cup for the Past Captains in 1982. I got that going with Fred Hartwell. All the past captains would all meet in the clubhouse at lunchtime and discuss the future of the club and have a ploughman’s. We’d then play a round of golf in the afternoon and our ladies would join us for a meal in the evening. The meeting continues today but now it’s combined with a Ladies Past Captains event.
When I was chairman of the Greens Committee during the early eighties, a computerised panel was installed to automate the operating of the pop-ups for the sprinkler system. The head greenkeeper determines when the sprinklers are to operate and sets up the computer. That’s all housed down in the maintenance compound. Bill Wilson (ex-captain) was also on the Greens Committee. He worked on the course as head greenkeeper. After Bill as head greenkeeper came Maurie Salter and then in 1980 came Mike Smith, who has been there ever since. We had a lot of trouble with the greens and I was the instigator of digging many of them up. We had all sorts of trouble and we had to change the soil on the greens but it did take time for the results to appear. We took samples of the new greens where the depth of soil was up to a foot whereas on many of the others there was only an inch of soil. We started deep hollow tining and filling with top soil. The 18th was dug up and the bunker nearest the clubhouse was removed. I also prepared the wicket for the centenary cricket match. I thought it came up well.
I’m no longer a member but I occasionally play as a guest at Corhampton.
Bob Goble’s Captain’s Day on the First Tee – 1981
Abi Moore on the first tee
Laurie Abrahams on the first tee
Sid Griffiths on the first tee
Bob Goble congratulating Wally Pinhorn on winning the Club Championship – 1980
Bob Goble putting on the 18th green at the opening of the four new holes
Left to Right: Richard Shillitoe, Bob Goble, Peter Taylor (Secretary), John Forder (Captain)
The bunker in the foreground no longer exists
Ladies of Past Captains
Back: Mrs Keefe, Mrs Hartwell, Mrs Jackson, Mrs Pink, Mrs Yeates, Mr Goble’s lady, Mr Clarke’s lady, Mrs Griffiths, Mrs Andrews
Front: Mrs Haigh, Mrs Harvey, Mrs Jasper, Mrs Johnson, Mrs Searle
Past Captains 1990
Back: Gordon Jackson, Gordon Johnson, George Smith, Bert Keefe
Front: Bob Goble, Fred Hartwell, Jim Yeates, Bob Harvey, Andy Andrews
Past Captains 1992
Back: Andy Andrews, Dave Searle, Gordon Jackson, Bill Clarke, John Wright, Dennis Pink, Gordon Johnson, Jim Yeates
Middle: Bob Goble, Fred Hartwell, Bill Jasper, Bob Harvey, Sid Griffiths
Front: Bert Keefe
Past Captains 1994
Back: Andy Andrews, Sid Griffiths, Bill Jasper, Gordon Jackson, Bob Linnell, George Smith, Bob Goble
Front: Tom Edmonds, Dave Searle, Dennis Crutchley