Barry and Elizabeth Butler
The following is a transcription of a conversation Barry and Elizabeth had with Graham Lawrence on 31 January 2006
I started playing in about 1979 as a result of meeting Elizabeth. We met on a sailing holiday in Menorca. Elizabeth wasn’t a very good sailor so I had to curtail my sailing activities and I took up golf, joining Alnmouth Golf Club in Northumberland in September 1979 where Elizabeth was already a member. The pair of us used to play every week until towards the end of 1983 when my employer transferred me to Portsmouth. Before we moved down here we already had friends living in the area, Trevor and Carol Hicks. Trevor was a member at Corhampton, so before we had decided where we were going to live and what sort of house we were going to have, Trevor produced a form and got us into Corhampton Golf Club as a result of which we went to live in the Meon Valley. At that time we were able to join immediately as seven day members. That was the last year one could enter as a seven day member. We have been members since 1 January 1984.
I fell on to the committee by way of circumstances. We have two children, Ian and Jennifer. Jennifer has no interest in golf but Ian has always been keen on sports. He started knocking a golf ball round when he was nine years old. That would be about 1991 and in 1992 Bill Reeves was the junior organiser and I started to help Bill as Ian was beginning to play. A year later I was asked to stand for committee. At that time there must have been at least eighteen people on the committee and people were voted on. In the first ten years I was a member of the club there were many more people offering to join the committee than there were places. I was lucky to be voted on and was asked to help with House and Bar. We organised the social activities which I did for a couple of years until Tom Edmond became vice-captain in 1994. He asked me if I would be his vice-captain when he took over in 1995, which I did. I became captain in 1996 and then was the chairman of the management committee in 1997 and 1998. Tom Prentice was about to retire as a trustee when Fred Hartwell asked me if I would take over from him which I did in 1999, with the members’ support at the AGM.
Like most members, we took the week off work for the Centenary celebrations in 1991. To me the biggest event was not related to golf . It was the cricket match at the end of the week on the Sunday. To get the Lords Taverners to play I think we had to guarantee them about £6,500 to turn up which was equivalent to the “trade” price of a Lords Taverners’ minibus. A team was selected, many from the ‘Six-Hitters’. We also had one lady, Denise Starkie, playing for us. We played the traditional John Player format of forty overs a side and we lost in the last over despite Mike Swain getting about fifty runs. There were people like Jon Snow, Roy Virgin, Rory Bremner, Bill Frindall, Nicholas Parsons playing for the Lords Taverners. It was a wonderful afternoon. We must have had about 400 people watching. It was a great week and everyone enjoyed it. It was very well organised by a special subcommittee.
The ‘Six-Hitters’ was formed in 1984. Six of us used to play every Saturday morning and coincidentally we were all ex-cricketers. The ‘Six-Hitters’ were Alan Wassall, Mike Swain, Trevor Hicks, Geoff Wheeler, Geoff Palmer and myself. We’d all played representative cricket. That varied from those of us that played village league cricket to Alan Wassall who had won a county championship medal with Hampshire in 1961. He’d been a professional cricketer and an apprentice chippy at the same time. Mike Swain and Geoff Wheeler had played Southern League cricket. Trevor Hicks had played for Somerset colts. I played for Havering which is in Essex. We started the Six-Hitters and played in the Winter League and have played in it ever since; we’ve won it three times. The group has expanded to over a dozen and we now have two teams in the Winter League. Harry Spooner recently remarked that we are not the force we once were, and although he said it in jest, there’s an element of truth in it. There are a lot of younger people playing in the Winter League now. It is one of the best competitions at the club. We meet different people and we go out in all weather. There have been some changes in the Six-Hitters. Trevor Hicks has left the club and returned back to Somerset where he has been captain of Burnham and Berrow Golf Club. Geoff Palmer went to Spain for a few years and has now returned to the group. We play annually for, what we call golf’s fifth major, the Fred Scuttle Shield, which has been played for since 1984. Each year we play on a different course in Hampshire. Alan Wassall was the first to win it in 1984 and I scraped home in 2005.
The Fred Scuttle Shield
Apart from our daughter Jennifer who doesn’t play golf the rest of the family has been quite successful. I was Club Captain in 1996, Elizabeth was Ladies Captain in 2005 and Ladies Champion in 2000. Ian, our son, was Junior Captain in 1999, and won the club championship in 1999 and again in 2001 so he is the only person to have won it in two millennia. So three members of the family club have been captains and the father is the only one not to have been a club champion … nor likely to be! Ian holds the course record which he set at 66 in the morning of 3 July 2003 and which was equalled in the afternoon by Steve Kattenhorn (senior). He played less frequently whilst at Bath University, but he did get to the quarter final of the British University Golf Championships in 2003.
The Club won the Richmond Trophy in 1996. It has been one of, if not, the most prestigious mixed competitions in Hampshire and Sussex. It is 36 holes of foursomes played at Goodwood to which one is invited to play. There are eighteen teams and if you finish in the top 12 you are automatically invited back the next year but if not you may not be invited back. The winning team was Bert Keefe, Jojo Buchanan, Tom Edmond, Ivy Phillips, Elizabeth and myself. That was the first time Corhampton had won in forty three years of trying.
A replica of the Richmond Trophy
We also won the Marstons Trophy in 1996, captained by Harry Spooner. Other members of the team, all 50+, were Geoff Palmer, Barry Searle, Peter Markwick, Geoff Staley, Bill Barter, Brian James, Ian Borrow, and Dave Davis.
There are four trustees of the club who are elected to protect the legal interests of the club such as property. Corhampton is fortunate enough to own the freehold of the land. About fifteen years ago, when golf was booming, there were companies who were buying up golf courses with not a good outlook for the members. The trustees are there to protect the interest of the members. Since the change in the constitution in 1995/6 the voice of the trustees has always been listened to by the committee members. It is interesting to note that other golf clubs have also formed similar management structures and reduced their committees from unwieldy numbers downwards.
In 2006 the Hampshire PGA are holding their most prestigious event on our course. Over the last eight or nine years we have seen a lot of improvement, especially to the greens. The course is highly regarded throughout Hampshire and gets very good reviews from important people like the PGA. It is a great club. It reflects all socio-economic groups and is widely respected for its friendly atmosphere.
I have played ever since I was tiny, from about the age of five. My parents gave me a set of cut down clubs. When I was little I used to play golf like a hockey player, I’d hit the ball and run after it and hit it again, sometimes before it had come to rest.
Having a family kept me away from playing as much golf as Barry.
I was part of the Ladies team that won the Stoneham Cup in 2002 at Rowlands Castle. Seven played from a squad. Carol Jones was the captain, Liz Borrow, Kathy Sankey, Alison Russell, Gill MacMillan, Di Gibson, Lyn Dominy, Dale Hinton and myself. We played the semi-finals in the morning and the finals in the afternoon so there may have been some change of players between the morning and the afternoon.
Being captain of the Ladies section in 2005 was a great privilege, the hard work that goes with the honour brought its own reward and I very much enjoyed my year.