Alma Newbury

Alma holding her golf competition winners prize pair of jugs

Alma Newbury, Ladies Captain,1954

This is a transcription of a conversation, Alma had with Graham Lawrence and Liz Borrow on 22 December 2010.

My husband, John Newbury,  went to school at Prices in Fareham with Jim Watson.  There was a group of them including Dick and Bert Ford, Jim Russell who lived in the windmill at the bottom of Titchfield Hill and Rob Amor.  They all used to go out on a Saturday night to do a round of the pubs.  John dropped out of doing that when he married me but the others went on for years and would finish up at Sam’s Hotel in Shedfield.  Apart from Jim Russell they all became golfing pals at Corhampton Golf Club.

When I met my husband he was a market gardener.  His parents had a general stores shop in Sarisbury Green.  It sold everything including stuff for the strawberry growers who were plentiful then.

I gave my husband a set of golf clubs when we got married in 1949 and he then gave me a half set for Christmas.  We joined Corhampton golf club in 1950.

The first thing I can remember about the course was Dedman’s hut which was all there was.  He stored his grass cutter in there together with his tools and sets of golf clubs which he’d repair.  He cut down a club for my son. There was no shop there and I don’t remember his selling clubs – that came later with Ron Crockford.  Dedman had a primus stove in the hut and made us cups of tea when we got off the course.  There was nowhere to meet and we used to change in our cars.  Quite a lot of the members came from further afield.  It was quite a trek for us from Warsash but we did love the club.

After the war, materials weren’t freely available but the men set about building the old clubhouse.  They bought planks from old sheds which had been knocked down.  They put up a bar area, which was very important, and a meeting room.  A separate building housed two changing rooms.  Several of the members were builders such as Fred Bunce and Fred Banting and they just worked together to build the club house.

On one Sunday shortly after the club house had opened we were sitting around at the bar.  It was all self help then and it was manned by Nellie Reeves who did some catering.  Horace Clarke, who owned the grocer’s shop in Droxford, had produced a tall tin of broken biscuits and some cheese.  I was putting out the cheese and saw a maggot.  I went and told my husband that the cheese had got maggots in and he said the maggots tasted the best!

The condition of the course was fine.  It was quite challenging in parts.  You had to drive through the small gap on the third, and the fourth was a long dog leg.  The fifth was back up.  The seventh was a short hole, the eighth was a long hole and the ground was undulating.  The ninth was straight back to the club house.  There were shrubs and trees which divided the fairways.  The rough was cut.  The members didn’t help with the course maintenance.

When I first joined the club I didn’t know anybody at all.  I used to go up and practice in the area between the first, second and third holes.  John went more often and soon met Frank Lindley, Horace Clarke and his brother Stanley.  Fred and Eileen Banting were in the gaggle. Other members were: John Valentine and his wife –  they had a fish and chip shop in Fareham; Fred Bunce who met Twink there and they later got married; Daphne Jacobs who was sister-in-law to Horace Clark; Horace’s brother Stanley; Mollie Lindley and her husband Frank who was the Borough Surveyor; Reg and Nellie Reeves who had the garage in Corhampton which sold petrol and did repairs; Sylvester, son of the farmer at Corhampton Lane Farm; Mrs Dedman who had a handicap of 4; Mrs Rosher and Mrs Maltby; Roly Higgins who had a love of classical music and I remember having a long conversation with him about opera; and Wynn Bell who lived with her tall friend whose name escapes me.  There was another man, I can’t remember his name, and at a dance I got a bit squiffy and told him I didn’t want to dance with him which I would never have done normally.  Most of the members were masons, except for my husband.  We would go as a group to a dance each year down in Portsmouth at a Masonic Hall.

My husband very quickly began to bring his handicap down – I was much slower.   He reached 8 and I, 21 or so.  I won the Ladies Cup a couple of times and I still have a pair of jugs which I won.  I can remember Frank Lindley used to say to Mollie ‘You need to practice like Alma does.  That’s what you need to do – practice’.  Another memory is of going up the fifth and hearing Mrs Maltby on the dog-leg fourth say ‘Yours for thirteen Mrs Rosher?’. My husband made the wooden spoon trophy for the club.

Mr Valentine was a very good golfer.  The Valentines worked very hard for the club.  She was captain for a long time.  They were both on the committee.  They used to hold the committee meetings in each others’ houses.  If there was something that needed to be said to Dedman the question would be raised ‘Who’s going to tell him?’  Even when Valentine was president, Frank Lindley would be the one to speak to Dedman.   Frank had an air of authority and volunteered to be secretary.

I usually played golf with other ladies.  We weren’t confined to playing at particular times.  We could play when we liked except when there was a men’s competition.  The men were always pleasant to the ladies.  There was never any nastiness not even amongst the men whose wives were not members.

We had lots of fun evenings. Sometimes people would drive home very drunk.  We sat and talked and then would go back to the Reeves, the Lindleys or the Sylvesters.  Nellie Reeves was very good at making fish and chips or eggs and chips.  We played dominoes, pontoon and solo whist at their houses.  When Mollie played cards she would arrange her cards and whenever she was about to make a bid she would turn her cards upside down.  The Lindleys had a piano so we would have a sing song now and again.

My son David was born in 1953 so that put the kibosh on playing golf, but although I didn’t play regularly I remained a member.  I was pummelled into becoming ladies’ captain by the ladies on the committee and became captain in 1954.  There weren’t many lady members.  During my year I remember getting women to play in matches was a bit difficult.  We used to play Waterlooville.  I bought the prizes for Captain’s Day.  It was all a bit casual.  I have no vivid memories of my captaincy.  I had a young boy to bring up.  I can’t imagine why I was made Captain. 

In 1956 John took over one of the Sarisbury Green shops and opened it as a butchers. I used to help him in the shop occasionally in its early days. I could cut up a sheep and a pig.

There was an organisation, the Hants Alliance, and John used to go off and play with them on a Wednesday afternoon with the professionals against other clubs.  He won quite a few times.  Being a good wife, I encouraged him to do that.  In the meantime I was bringing up two children and teaching.

“Needs must when the devil drives”.  I went back to teaching when my daughter was two and a half.  Two things came together.  Somebody came to work for me but I said I didn’t need anyone.  After having had my hair done at Raymond’s in Portsmouth I saw an advertisement in a newspaper at the Lyons Corner House.  I came home and told John and applied for the job at the school in Fareham.  I stayed there until I retired in the late eighties.  I started by teaching PE, dance and games.  Gradually I became an English teacher and head of year at St Annes School, which is now called Nevill Lovett School.

I play bridge at several bridge clubs around here and that’s how I got “discovered” for this interview.  I had my eighty fifth birthday this year.