Centenary Brochure

This Golf Club is part of our Heritage

It is a pleasure and privilege to write a few words in support of the splendid efforts made by the stalwarts of our Centenary Committee in arranging the events to mark the first 100 years of established golf on Corhampton Down.

It is not my intention to write a treatise on the history of our club, but mention should be made of the background of the excellent, well established heritage we have here in our hands today.

Many years ago the freehold of the land forming the course was acquired by means of the issue of debentures to raise the purchase money.

In due time, years later, following prudence and forethought by the committees and members of those days, sufficient cash was raised to buy out the debenture holders.

So began the basis for future development and the splendid club we have today. I believe it is the duty of every owner of valuable property to improve and enlarge the heritage for which successive generations have been responsible.

I am confident that the improvements carried out in recent years at Corhampton and the prospect ahead following the development of the recently-purchased land will prove worthy of that principle and of our forebears.

Finally, I wish all members of the club and visitors who attend the celebrations a very happy and successful Centenary Year.

Fred Hartwell, President

Centenary Captain’s Message
by Bob Harvey

It is the wish of every golf club captain to achieve something special during his year of office -and the privilege of being Centenary Year Captain is in itself something very special.
My thoughts go out to many of our past Captains who wielded so much influence in the development of the club and during years of steady progress. I recall George Davis, who as Captain launched our new clubhouse in his own very special way. We also extended our much-admired nine hole course to 18 holes in the same year -a great achievement for a hard-working committee and the endeavour of Bill Wilson, another Past Captain.
Frank Lindley, during his many years with the club, contributed to the Corhampton success story as Captain and Secretary -and as our President guided many difficult annual meetings and extraordinary meetings when the course extension was being considered.
Another Past Captain, John Wright, put many hours of his life into our club and was subsequently President and a Trustee.

All Corhampton Golf Club Captains have in their own way contributed to promoting the club to its now prominent position in Hampshire golf and I take this opportunity to thank them all on behalf of the members.
During my captaincy in 1977 we were able to sink a 400 ft. borehole for our original watering system and with George Smith and his mole plough extended watering points to several parts of the course.
Our first Pro-Am was launched in the same year and has remained a major event in our calendar ever since thanks to the stalwart efforts of our professional John Harris and his staff, and Gordon Jackson. The Centenary Year event will be a “Classic” two-day competition offering £10,000 in prize money for the professionals. I am sure it will be a splendid occasion for all competitors and spectators.
So we come to this very special year in our club’s history. I am sure we are all going to enjoy the time ahead especially the Centenary Week events in the first week of September.
I express my thanks to our Centenary Committee CliveWilliams (Chairman), Sid Griffiths, John Harris, Peter Taylor, Barry Searle, Reg Betts and Tim Wood. The committee’s work has extended over a period of four years and the Captain and Ladies Captain of the year attended meetings and were always ready to assist.
The most important “thank you” is from me personally to all members of Corhampton Golf Club for giving me the honour of being your Centenary Year Captain. May you all have a memorable year and may the club continue to progress over the next one hundred years.

Mrs Joan Haigh, Centenary
Year Ladies Captain

It is my privilege and a great pleasure to be Captain of the Ladies Section in the club’s Centenary Year and be able to contribute a few words on their behalf.
Over years of change and development the Ladies Section has grown up and always enjoyed the full support of the Men’s Captain and Committees.
We cannot claim 100 years of history but the Ladies Section, which now has 100 members, was officially affiliated to the Ladies Golf Union in November 1938.
I cannot let this opportunity pass without expressing words of praise for the support and encouragement I have received from our lady members – and my admiration for all those who have worked hard to improve their game so that we can go out and around the county wearing the Corhampton badge with pride.
What of the future? With the plans for the course extension coming to fruition and all our Centenary events to enjoy, these are exciting days. And there will be yet more changes to come.
I can promise the full support of the ladies in ensuring the continued prosperity of our golf club.

Corhampton Veterans Vintage 1967…
Captain Mike Freeman, Centenary Veterans Captain browses through the minutes book

In the early summer of 1967 the club’s Vice Captain, with the blessing of the committee, called a meeting of over-60 members interested in forming a Veterans Section. Thirteen attended under the chairmanship of Sidney Parrett and he was elected Captain with Sqn.Ldr. Roly Higgins as Secretary – Treasurer.
The aim of the section was to arrange matches and promote internal competition – and the legacy passed down to today’s Vets owes a great deal to the founder members. Selection for matches involved as many members as possible with pairings changing throughout the season.

The first match, played against Waterlooville, was followed that year by matches with Alresford, Rowlands Castle and Corhampton Ladies. Competition has grown and the Vets current fixture list features 33 matches against 13 different clubs.
Of the 13 who attended the inaugural meeting only two remain – Mr. Les Mathams and Cdr. Derek Mallinson, who was destined to become Captain twice and also Secretary-Treasurer. There had to be a temporary bending of the rules to allow Derek to take up his first captaincy before reaching the age of 60.
The list of Veterans Captains is prominently displayed in the clubhouse but the names of our Secretary-Treasurers, to whom we owe so much, are concealed in our minute books. Sandwiched between Roly Higgins and Derek Mallinson came “Schoolie” Gimblett followed by Major Beckett. Then came Dick Shillitoe who was succeeded by Ted Leggatt in 1988. Last year Ted was also our Captain. Membership of the Veterans Section is now just under 70 and looks set to increase at a steady rate.

The Veterans Centenary Committee organised two highly successful veterans open competitions and has concentrated on fund raising. The committee’s main aim is to donate sufficient funds to the club to build a shelter on the new extension to the course.
Corhampton veterans send their salutations to all members of the club and wish them a happy and enjoyable Centenary Year.

The club’s history
Golf was undoubtedly played on Corhampton Down more than a century ago, but the first traceable record of the club’s institution dates back to 1891and the Royal and Ancient Club ruled that we must accept 1991 as the year for our Centenary.
The club was first mentioned in the 1897-8 Golfing Annual’s directory, sandwiched between Cootamundra Golf Club, an Australian course described as “interesting” and Cork, illustrating the world-wide following enjoyed by the game even in those far off days.

However, the first mention of the club’s institution appeared in the 1906-7 edition – and here is the entry:
“CORHAMPTON GOLF CLUB. Instituted 1891. Annual subscription ten shillings; number of members 32. Hon. Secretary R.B. Campbell-Wyndham, Corhampton House, Bishops Waltham. The course of nine holes on Corhampton Down is a mile-and-threequarters from Droxford Station (L. and S.W. Ry). Only seven holes are played on Saturdays.”
Cricket was already well-established on Corhampton Down when the first sketchy golf course was laid out – and it was the all-important Saturday cricket fixture which meant that golfers had to skirt the boundaries of the ground where the willow was being struck and play just seven holes. Cricket was regularly reported in the Hampshire Chronicle. For example in 1885 it was reported that the Corhampton Valley Club had been reorganised. The ground on the Down. had been “judiciously chosen and relaid”.
A cricket pavilion was built and remained there until it was destroyed by fire during World War II. Sadly no public record of the official formation of Corhampton Golf Club can be traced and it is a matter of great regret that none of the club’s minutes or other documents leading up to World War II are in the club’s possession.

This has certainly raised the handicap when researching the story of the early days of this splendid club. Old copies of the club rules record that permission to play on the Downs was given to members by Mr. Wyndham-Long, who owned the freehold of the land.
It is clear that golf at Corhampton started in a very modest way, with membership of about 30. Right up to the First World War there were no artificial bunkers, although no doubt plenty of other hazards existed, and the only attention the fairways received was from the sheep which grazed on the course. You could call it golf in the raw!
After the Great War the club started to make real progress and soon the days of uncut fairways and miniature greens were left behind. The course was remodelled and turned into nine quality holes.

In 1932, with the arrival of professional-greenkeeper Bert Dedman, the course was reshaped into the nine-hole course which was to remain virtually unchanged for more than 40 years.
Corhampton gained an enviable reputation as a friendly club where visitors could be assured of a warm welcome and a good sporting round of golf. Few courses could claim such a magnificent setting, with views across the lovely Meon Valley and long panoramas descending towards the Solent and the New Forest. A rich variety of wild flowers and bird life added to the pleasure.

When World War II was over a great deal of dedicated, not to mention back breaking work put the club back on its feet -the ninth hole had been put under the plough – and in 1950 the club acquired the freehold of the course and built a new clubhouse.

At about that time the entrance fee was £2.2s., the men’s subscription £3.3s, ladies £2.2s. and junior members £1.ls. Green fees were 2s.6d on weekdays (2s.0d. after 5 p.m.) and 5s. 0d on Sundays for a full day or 3s.6d per round.

As the years went by new courses sprang up in an attempt to meet the ever-growing popularity of the game and in 1973 Corhampton members decided to “go 18” and build a spanking new clubhouse.

There was disappointment when the club was outbid in a battle to buy additional land -and patience was required to surmount planning problems. It was decided to redesign and extend the course within its own 88 acres, based on plans drawn up by former Club Captain, Bill Wilson, by now the Course Manager. Work started in July that year and involved construction of eleven new greens and tees, new bunkers, and reseeding a large fairway. Play continued throughout the time work was under way.
The year 1975 was undoubtedly the most significant in the club’s long history. The new-look Par 68 course, measuring 5,932 yards, was opened by Club Captain George Davis and this momentous occasion was followed by the opening of the new clubhouse by Bernard Hunt, then British Ryder Cup team captain. He unveiled the plaque situated inside the lounge and bar area. 1975 also saw the arrival of our popular professional John Harris, who was to become such an asset to the club and a friend to members.

Turning the course from nine to 18 holes cost the club £25,000 while work on the clubhouse together with furnishings and fittings ran up a bill of £55,000.
Financing both projects was largely borne by the members, each of whom was called upon to put down a repayable £50 deposit. In addition 40 members paid £500 apiece for a 20-year membership.

Although the number of members was increased from 320 to 450 there was still a waiting list. Today’s membership is approaching 700 and such is the popularity of golf that there is still a queue to join.
Having made the big break-through Corhampton pressed on with further developments which have improved the quality of the course and the amenities enjoyed by members and visitors.

A borehole was sunk into the deep chalk to provide a head of water for an automatic sprinkler system – and the clubhouse was enlarged in 1983.
In 1988 members took the important decision to buy more land so that the course could be reshaped and extended to measure approximately 6500 yards. The course would have two loops of nine holes, with a large practice area and an extended car park. The new holes were to be numbered 12, 13, 14 and 15, leaving the celebrated 16th “valley” hole -one of the outstanding holes in Hampshire – unchanged.

The extension has been landscaped by Hawtree and Company, golf club architects, who have designed many famous courses at home and abroad.

A last word from Club Secretary Peter Taylor: “The membership of this club can be rightly proud of what has been achieved over the last two decades. It has been done at an affordable rate, by very careful budgeting and without taking on too much of a financial burden.”

John Harris – Corhampton Professional
John Harris, our professional, wishes all members of Corhampton Golf Club a very enjoyable, successful and memorable Centenary Year.
John turned professional in 1966 under the guidance of Sidney Parker, a professional at Shirley Park Golf Club, Croydon.
In 1974, after playing tournaments in Europe and Africa, he became a professional at Morden Park, Surrey and Head PGA Coach to the Inner London Education Authority.
Two years later John moved to Corhampton and started what he describes as “a very happy time in Hampshire.”

He qualified for the Tournament Players Division in 1977, served as Captain of the Hampshire PGA in 1981 and was Captain of the Hants Alliance in 1986.
Many members have benefited from John’s outstanding teaching skills and we hope that the long and cordial relationship between the club and its professionals will continue to prosper.

Junior Captain
Tim Markwick

I would like to wish Corhampton Golf Club every continued success for the future. For me it is a very special privilege to be the Junior Captain in this Centenary Year, with the new course extension to look forward to in 1992, these are very exciting times for the club.
Speaking on behalf of all the junior members I would like to thank the many senior members for the support and encouragement shown to the Junior Section. Hopefully we will see more juniors entering into competitions etc. this year.

I would also like to thank all past and present Committee members for their hard work over the years in helping to make the club what it is today.

Centenary Year Captain Bob Harvey
plays Corhampton with Club Professional
John Harris.  Reg Betts reports…


  B.H.: I was very fond of the old two nines but the 18 has turned out to be an extremely interesting and competitive course. No-one burns up Corhampton. It will be tremendous when the extension is ready for play and we have a championship length course.

FIRST. 398 yards Par 4. J.H. : We are playing into a stiff breeze which makes club selection important. Although the first looks straightforward many drives drift off to the right, as we say towards Droxford. The well-guarded green makes it a tough starter.
SECOND. 390 yards Par 4. Another good driving hole, observed J.H. as his tee shot ran well over the ridge. With the wind at their backs both players hit the green with eight irons.
THIRD. 124 yards Par 3. Shortest hole on the course but so easy to run off the raised green and find real trouble. J.H. lofted an eight iron onto the green B.H. preferred a little chip and run.
FOURTH. 380 yards Par 4. Dogleg left with sand well placed to trap the drive. Despite the stiff cross wind J.H.’s second shot -a five iron -found the green. B.H. : in these conditions the average golfer -and that’s me -needs a drive and a five wood to get there.
FlFTH. 440 yards Par 4. A well-placed fairway bunker and the smallest green on the course makes this hole a stiff test. J.H. : It’s stroke one and so it should be. The green is not an easy target to hit.

SIXTH. 342 yards Par 4. From the tee the green is obscured and you need to place your drive carefully to find the gap between the trees. Then it is all down hill with plenty of sand to catch the wayward approach. B.H. : You need to play your pitch to come in to the right of the pin.
SEVENTH. 196 yards Par 3. The local custom, is to play left and allow the ball to break onto the green but J.H. went straight at the pin with a four iron. Anything short kicks right to be followed by a tricky pitch onto a raised two-tier putting surface which is hard to read.
EIGHTH. 414 yards Par 4. This hole runs parallel with the Corhampton -Bishop’s Waltham road. B.H. commented: The boundary hedge and trees have matured magnificently since they were planted 16 years ago. The sloping fairway is typical of the problems posed by a number of Corhampton holes. Hit your drive left of centre to take advantage of the slope and hit the green from the right.

NINTH. 169 yards Par 3. Probably the toughest of the short holes -uphill to a green guarded by deep bunkers on the left and a yew on the right. J.H. : You have to hit a very accurate golf shot to stop on the green. It is better to be a touch too far than to be too short. Many are intimidated by the thick trees on the right and land in trouble.
TENTH. 505 yards Par 5. Remember we are playing from the championship tees you leave the tee. Another spanking driving hole causing problems for the shot which runs left towards the trees. B.H. : What lovely fairways. The downland turf is so easy on the feet and it’s so nice to see cowslips in bloom. But back to the golf. The big yew guarding the green makes the approach far from easy and bunkers to the left and right of the green await the slightest deviation. Longest hole on the course and an excellent one.

ELEVENTH. 158 yards Par 3. Straightforward for a well-struck six or seven iron but beware of cross winds over the green.
TWELFTH. 415 yards Par 4. J.H. : This hole requires a good solid drive. The slighest slice sees the ball gathering pace across the tenth fairway towards the trees. B.H. added: If you are unlucky you can find yourself blocked out by the small clumps of trees situated on either side of the fairway. We all agreed that the tree-fringed green was a lovely sight.
THIRTEENTH. 320 yards Par 4. This hole looks fairly simple but the infamous yew tree protruding onto the right hand side of the fairway has ruined more cards than any other tree on the course. B.H. proved the point, his ball shot under the yew and he was fortunate to be able to chip out. A lot of players take this hole too lightly, he said.
FOURTEENTH. 484 yards Par 5. Attempting a big drive many veer off line to the left. B.H. : The average golfer needs two woods before chipping onto a green which is well guarded by sand.
FIFTEENTH. 174 yards Par 3. The bunker across the front of the green traps many shots and trouble awaits all but the really accurate shot. The sloping green takes thoughtful reading. An interesting short hole – where B.H. achieved his hole in one!
SIXTEENTH. 401 yards Par 4. Dogleg left to right, the “valley” is rated one of the best 18 holes in Hampshire. J.H.:You can be very pleased to stop on the green with your second shot -and if you make it over the valley your problems are not over. This is Corhampton’s most difficult green because it breaks three ways.
SEVENTEENTH. 355 yards Par 4. This intimidating hole requires a confident, accurate drive. More balls end up in the trouble on the right of the fairway than any other hole and it takes a lot of skill to stop near the pin.
EIGHTEENTH. 423 yards Par 4. A fine finishing hole, with out of bounds on the right hand practice area. J.H. drilled a great drive with a touch of draw leaving his ball ideally placed for his five iron which finished just short of the expansive green, overlooked by the clubhouse. J.H.: The second shot is deceptive and many people underclub. With bunkers to the left and right you need a precision shot to stand a chance of finishing with a birdie put.

A Parrot…Parties…Crazy Floodlit
Golf…and Friendships are recalled
by Kay Smith, Ladies Captain in 1969, as she contributes memories of the old course and the 19th hole.

Kay writes: When I joined the club in the early 1960’s there was no resident professional but ladies were fortunate as Bert Dedman, the Royal Winchester professional, visited the club to give lessons. Later Ron Crockford became our professional much to the delight of most of the ladies!
When you look back it seems that the sun always shone, but I recall one Sunday when our Mixed Team was due to play at Salterns there was a terrific downpour at 11 a.m. and the Salterns secretary rang to say that the course was unplayable.
Corhampton, as usual, soaked up the deluge, hasty phone calls were made, and the match was switched to our course. The ladies provided the teas, as they did on many occasions. In those days there were not so many two-car families. Husbands and wives arrived at the club together and the mixed competitions were always well supported.

Our friendship with local clubs is legendary and particularly with Waterlooville who have always enjoyed their visits to Corhampton.
After matches were over the evenings developed into real social occasions with music, games and singsongs. Many will remember the late night challenge by the madhatters who played the first hole lit by car headlights parked in a row in the semi-rough. It was quite crazy… and the losers had to buy the beer!

The friendship with Waterlooville was cemented when the club presented us with a lovely brass bell which now hangs by the tenth tee.
The old clubhouse was much loved and before open matches it was cleaned and polished by the ladies who also took the curtains home to launder. Open matches at Corhampton were always popular and regulars came year after year.

As my game improved and I tackled other Hampshire courses I realised how much Corhampton was appreciated even by a grey parrot which caused a lot of fun on a lovely Sunday evening. It screeched “fore” at the men and “Whohoo” at the ladies and then joined us in the bar. The parrot was eventually given the bird by Bill Trivess for taking a beakful of his beer.
The golf course with the alternative holes was a delight to play. Even if you were not having a good day with your clubs the scenery was superb and there always seemed to be so many birds flying around. There were missel thrushes, fieldfare and a resident woodpecker around the seventh hole. When skylarks were nesting in the semirough the greenkeeper displayed a “Skylarks -do not disturb” notice.
It was usual on nine-hole courses for the men’s and ladies’ captains to hold a joint Captains Day. I was privileged to be Captain in 1969 when 40 ladies and 80 men played.
The old clubhouse, with its wellstocked bar and professional’s shop next door, could tell many a story. Unfortunately, it was a regular target for intruders and an alarm was connected to Droxford Police Station. The last person to leave at night had to remember to jump over the mat at the door because it covered the alarm bleep. Sadly, that bleep often went off..

Eighteen Holes…
on his 90th birthday!

A conversation with Charles Lock, Corhampton’s Grand Old Man of Golf, who still enjoys playing a few holes as he approaches 96.
When did you first see the course?

My father came over from the Isle of Wight and took a small farm in Bishop’s Waltham, where I was born. Our nanny took us for walks and one afternoon when we walked to Corhampton Down I saw two men with sticks hitting a ball. I asked nanny what they were doing and she told me they were hitting the ball a long way and who got it into a hole with the least hits won. She added its a game called golf and only the gentry play. I was aged about four and Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
So that was your first introduction to Golf?

Yes, but it was not until 42 years later that I played at Corhampton. That was in 1936 when I moved to Warnford.
Charles, how did you learn the game?
My father moved to Sussex and took a large farm on the Goodwood Estate at Lavant and by good fortune there was a 12-hole golf course on the down close to the farm. Minding sheep when I was home on school holidays I used to pull up ash sticks and fashion the roots into something suitable to hit a ball I found in the long grass. That’s how my brothers and I developed our love for the game.

What was the Corhampton course like when you started playing here in the 1930’s?
A lovely nine-hole course, probably the best I have ever played on. You could play in any weather, apart from in snow, and with springy downland turf to walk on and beautiful views to admire what more could you want? It was a sight to behold when the May blossom was out.

Was it a good test of golf?
Corhampton was a very different proposition in those days. The greens were pocket handkerchief sized and the rough was so tough that when you strayed off line you were really in trouble. Jim Silvester’s flock of sheep was used to keep the fairways trim, but you did extremely well if you returned a good score.
Were there any amenities?

Before the war there was just a hut. Before playing you were supposed to put two shillings into a box and sign your name in a book. Cricket was still played on part of the course and the old pavilion was still there.
What happened during the war?

No golf was played and part of the land regrettably including the ninth (now 18th) hole was ploughed up under the ruling of the Ministry of Agriculture. Somehow the greens were kept intact, thanks to the efforts of the then professional Mr. Freeman and Bert Dedman. Bert worked for David Silvester’s father and in his spare time he tried to keep the courses shipshape. Some evenings I would walk up to the course and help a bit. I was on the War Agricultural Committee and had a lot of things to do.
And after the war?

When the ninth hole was restored the worst job was picking up all the stones. The hut was turned into a clubhouse and Mrs. Dedman used to serve drinks at the weekend. Dedman left to go to Alresford and later moved to Royal Winchester. He was a great character one of nature’s gentlemen – to whom Corhampton owed a great deal.
What do you think of Corhampton today?
I am amazed at the way the club has grown and is still developing. I suppose it reflects the remarkable growth of the game nationally. The club has certainly come a long way since I took my first steps on Corhampton Down.

Corhampton Golf Club gained
national fame in 1919 when a
small plane landed on the
course to make aviation history.

Lieut.Cdr,Kenneth Mackenzie-Grieve, of Fir Hill, Droxford, and Harry Hawker, a pioneer aviator, took off from Newfoundland on May 19 that year in a Sopwith biplane in the first attempt to fly the Atlantic.

A week went by without news and the aviators were considered lost. Then, on May 25, a small plane, chartered by the Daily Mirror, landed on the golf course to take the news to Lieut.Cdr. Mackenzie-Grieve’s parents that their son was safe. It was the first time such a message had been taken by air.

The aviators had ditched in the sea near a small tramp steamer which had no radio and took some time to reach England with the glad tidings.

The two airmen were received by King George V at Buckingham Palace and awarded the Air Force Cross.

When he arrived back at Droxford Railway Station the local hero was met by a parade. His carriage, unhorsed, was drawn by ex-Servicemen to the village green, headed by a band. All the village turned out to hear the speeches and a school holiday was proclaimed.

Corhampton Down was inhabited long ago
Way back in fact in the Bronze Age when spears were in common use rather than golf clubs. This was proved beyond doubt when a member of the greenkeeping staff picked up an intriguing object on the course.

Mrs. Elizabeth Borrow, of Meonstoke, arranged for experts at Winchester to examine the object – and they confirmed that it was a Bronze Age side-looped spearhead – at least 3000 years old.Bronze Age Spearhead

A moment of golfing fame
By Bill Trivess

Not many members of Corhampton Golf Club can match the claim of Bill Trivess to have competed in a major open championship.

Bill, renowned raconteur and a member of 39 years standing, tells the story of his moment of golfing fame.

The time – the spring of 1946. The place – occupied Italy where Cpl. W.D. Trivess, REME, was serving in Naples with the Eighth Army.

Bill, who had a comfortable number in charge of the regimental office, was informed by his Commanding Officer that all ranks would play soccer or rugby once a week in order to keep fit.

When Bill indicated, with great respect, that he did not wish to participate, he was told that it was an Eighth Army order and had to be obeyed. “What is your sport?” inquired the C.O. “Golf, sir”, replied Cpl. Trivess. C.O. – “Golf, that’s not a sport, I’ll put you down for football.”

Two days later the C.O. gleefully informed his corporal that he was to proceed forthwith to Rome to represent the Naples Garrison in the Middle East Open Golf Championships.

Bill laughed discretely and explained that he was a “rabbit” golfer with a handicap of 24. But his C.O. barked “‘It’s an order, Corporal -go and fill in the entry form.”

The form revealed that competitors would be guests of the Rome Golf Club, supplied with clubs and caddies, and be allowed a week’s practice before the championship started. Each competitor should have a handicap of three or below.

Quickly assessing the situation, Bill decided to reduce his handicap by 21 strokes (proving the pen is mightier than the sword) and he duly set off for Rome.

Rubbing shoulders with military and sporting notabilities, Cpl. Trivess enjoyed the finest – and cheapest two weeks’ holiday of his life. He said “We were wined and dined every day – and then came the daunting experience of standing on the first tee on the opening day of the championship.

“My partner was no better than I was so after seven holes we tore up our cards and decided to become spectators for the rest of the tournament. My excuse was that I was short of practice, having been in the Army for more than five years -and in any case I was only obeying orders.

The competition was won by a New Zealander, Captain Silk and the runner-up Bill recalls, was Tommy Bolt, soon to become the United States Open Champion.

There is a remarkable sequel to Bill’s story. Twenty years later, at Corhampton, when he was playing a few solitary holes on Christmas Day he teamed up with a husky young man who was hitting the ball a prodigious distance. His name was David Silk – and his father was the New Zealand Army captain who won that Middle East Open Championship. Now that’s some coincidence!

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