Ian Riches – Musings of a 10 year old Junior Member 1950

Editor of Chronicle – Chris Marsdon-Jones 2022 “I was chatting down the pub talking about the new history section to the club web site when one of my friends mentioned that his dad won the Valentine Trophy in 1951”. After a few more questions, I asked Ian to put pen to paper.

My Father joined the Club soon after returning from the War and I would accompany him in order to pull his trolley. The course comprised 9 holes situated on the natural grass lands of Corhampton Down with very few trees. The line of ancient Yew trees (on the left of the current 5th hole) comprised the northern boundary of the 9 hole course at that time.

By 1950 I was accepted as a Junior golfer and received lessons from the Professional Bert Dedman who had his shop in a small shed at the rear of the first tee. He also acted as Green Keeper whilst his wife worked in the Clubhouse. My subscription was a secret to me and I believe it to have been a negotiation between my Father and the Secretary!

There was a Cricket Pitch to the left of the first hole with a large barn on the far side which had been converted from the cricket pavilion and was used to house the tractor and mowers.

Member’s cars would be parked on the grass on right of the first between fairway and Shepherds Farm Lane. With no hedges at that time vehicles were always in severe danger of damage resulting from sliced tee shots.

On the other side of the Lane there were woodlands which extended virtually down to Meonstoke. Accordingly wild sliced drives from the first would end up out of bounds across the Lane in these woods. Being a Junior, all golf balls were a prized possession and my regular foraging in those woods usually produced a harvest of newish golf balls, including cheaper brands such as the Spitfire, Goblin, Dot & Warwick or if really lucky an expensive Penfold.

However, On one such occasion I found more than a golf ball in the form of rusted metal fins concealed deep in a blackberry bush. The unexploded incendiary bomb caused much drama as all cars had to be moved away whilst being cleared by the Bomb Disposal Team.

Notable members of that period included the Clark brothers who ran the local Grocery shop, the Sylvester brothers from an adjoining Farm, Ray Rowe a talented golfer who also worked on the Course and Mr. Valentine a Fareham business man who drove an immaculate Jaguar XK 120 in which he allowed me to sit from time to time.

My Father John Riches achieved a low handicap and decided to transfer to Lee on the Solent in 1953. I also moved with him, joined Lee as one of only 4 Junior members and proceeded to win the Delme Radcliffe Cup in 1954 aged 15, much to the chagrin of the older members!!

Some years later Rodney Clark & Ray Rowe, both with very low handicaps, also moved to Lee, Rodney travelling from Droxford each time on his powerful motor bike with his bag of clubs strapped to his back!

Sadly Rodney died not long after, at a young age, whilst putting on the 3rd green at Lee.

Looking up the past winners of the small number of trophies the men play for then, brought back additional memories of members of note who’s names I recall were Alfred Orrow (Optician from Fareham), John Newbury (Butcher from Sarisbury Green), Frank Lindley (also a Shop Keeper I believe). Dennis Pink (Timber Merchant from Wickham) plus my own Father John (Builder from Fareham) who also won the Valentine Trophy 1951.