This is the transcription of a conversation Mike had with Graham Lawrence on 29 January 2007
My earliest recollection of golf was of being taken up to Corhampton Golf Club by my father, Len Goodall, who was quite a fanatical golfer, and sitting on an old 1920’s lorry which was parked by the greenkeeper’s hut. I recall moving the steering wheel round. That would have been about 1950 when I was seven. My father was Chairman of the Holding Company along with Harry Lewis and Bob Linnell.I never had any golf lessons. We couldn’t afford them. Mr Dedman was there then. He was a very tall chap with a ruddy complexion and massive hands. When he was showing my Dad how to hold a club, Mr Dedman’s hands would cover the whole grip. He was a very nice chap. I can picture Mrs Dedman working in the clubhouse doing teas. The clubhouse didn’t have a verandah on in those days. I can remember it being built in the late 50’s by adding a concrete area in front of the clubhouse. I cut many a ball coming up the ninth which would rattle amongst the verandah railings.I remember there used to be a copse over the road from the first fairway which I’d go into to look for balls. There were slit trenches and metal plates for ack-ack guns to be towed on to during the war. I used to pick up Silver Kings with the square dimples on, Dunlop Warwicks, Penfolds. I’d pick up about 10 at a time and gave them all to Dad.I joined as a junior in April 1958. There wasn’t a junior section then and not many other juniors. You just played amongst yourselves and kept out of the way of the adults. I used to play then with my brother in law. He wasn’t a member. He used to pay a green fee whenever he played. He only wanted to be a social member to have a drink and play the fruit machine.
Len Goodall on the 2nd circa 1950
Peter and Vic Reeves used to help their dad on the course. They’d drive the tractor and cut the fairways. I don’t think they were junior members. I do remember playing Mark Denham-Jones as a junior. I played as well as I could and Mark thrashed me 5 and 4. He went on to be a very good golfer. He was a Hants colts cricketer at the time he thrashed me. His father, Phil Denham-Jones also played at Corhampton. He played with Bill Jefferies of Jefferies furniture shops. Bill Jefferies’ sister, Betty, married Leslie Ralls. He was Squadron Leader or Wing Commander and a Spitfire pilot, a very nice gentleman.
Back in the late fifties there used to be foreign pilots who would come over and be attached to the Naval air station at Lee-on-Solent. Doug Muncaster was a Canadian helicopter pilot, who came over. He lived in Maylings House just off Highlands Road, Fareham. He was a single-figure golfer. My sister used to baby-sit for him. He’d come back from an exercise, circle over his house to let his wife know he was back. My sister would go and baby-sit while his wife drove down to Lee in the old Ford Consul to pick him up. Because of this we got to know the family and Dad would take him up to Corhampton. In those days it was acceptable to tuck your grey trousers into your socks to avoid the mud. It must have been in the Summer time when Doug came up to play in strawberry coloured trousers, a very American hooped tee-shirt and a baseball cap the like of which we’d never seen before. He asked my Dad where the shower was. Well there was no shower. He was very flamboyant. On the ninth, he struck a ball which went a tremendous distance but landed in the cornfield, which is the practice area now, and he said it was a goner. He then unwrapped a new golf ball which startled us all as no one unwrapped golf balls in those days up at the club.
Mr Valentine was short, bespectacled, ginger-headed and irascible. He kept the fish and chip shop at the back of the Hants and Dorset Bus Station in Fareham. I remember he threw his golf ball into a bramble bush on the ninth. I went and retrieved it and took it upstairs to him but he was not very happy about it. He’d had a poor round and had thrown the ball away in disgust.
Frank Lindley was secretary. He played a low ball with a draw. He worked as a surveyor for Droxford council. He got Tony Macdonald and Mike Dunne into the golf club for removing a telegraph pole which stood outside his house. Micky Dunne was a very likeable Irishman always eager to get going.
I only really played the game because of Dad. He was an academic and a good sportsman. I was only an average sort of sportsman and not at all academic but golf was something we could do together. Dad was treasurer of the council at Fareham. At that time he was playing with Harry Lewis and Hugh Parker and Geoff Smith, a representative of Funtley brickyard. Later on Frank Wade-Brown from Swanmore joined them. I was allowed to join them when one dropped out and my golf was of a sufficient standard. It used to be level sixes but when I broke 50 it was acceptable for me to join them. We used to play on a Sunday morning. There’d only be about four or five four balls out. The people ahead of us were usually Mr Hall of Belton and Hall, Bishops Waltham, Mr Dodds who worked for Sunshine Hotels an offshoot of Brickwoods, Mr Purcell and other person whose name escapes me. In the winter time when you got halfway round, that is back at the club house, Reg Reeves, who looked after the course, would give you a cup of coffee laced with rum.
Doctor Mitchell had a practice in Bishops Waltham. He’d walk his dog, a wire-haired terrier, around the course. He carried in his pocket a Four-Square tobacco tin in which he kept broken biscuits. If you lost a ball he’d ask you what make it was and if it had any identifying features. He’d send the dog into the bushes to get it out and the dog would be rewarded with a broken biscuit.
Dave Baber was a great club thrower. One day he threw a club high up into a hawthorn tree and they had to use a ladder to get it down. When he was a steward at the club he used to sell strawberries from behind the bar when they were in season. I’m still very friendly with his son who’s out in Australia. We played football at Wickham.
Bill Wilson and Dave Baber did a lot of clearing the course when it was first going to eighteen holes in the early seventies. They wanted to clear all the flints from the field which used to be between the sixth and the eighth (now the tenth and the sixteenth). All the members had sacks and we walked across the area picking up the flints.
When they planted a lot of trees in the early seventies we all sponsored one for about £10. My tree is a silver birch which is on the left hand side as you look from the eleventh tee. It’s grown into a V shape. Linda Fletcher’s tree is near to mine.
A lot of people’s ashes have been scattered on the course. Pip Payton’s are close to the sewer outflow from Spooner’s hut. A yellow forsythia was planted at the place where his ashes were scattered. It’s near the fourth tee.
I’d inherited a set of clubs from my Dad. They were Spalding Topflite Professional, I think. They were far too heavy for me. Peter Reeves had similar clubs but could play with them. All the shafts on mine were bent. They curved away if you looked down them. I took them to John Harris and he suggested I’d been sitting on them. He put a towel over his knees, rubbed the clubs over it and bent them the other way.
One of the times I entered the Goble Cup and John Harris asked if I was going to have a bet on myself. I declined as I didn’t have enough confidence in my golf abilities. As it happens I had a bit of luck and won it. John came over and gave me a tenner which I refused to accept. But he insisted saying I’d saved him a lot of money. Jim Johnson was the much fancied favourite and I’d beaten him by one stroke.
I still play mainly early on Tuesday mornings before the Ladies, with John Sneezum, Brian Dell and John Hopperton.
Extracts from Mike’s Photograph Album
Mrs and Mr Pip Payton (Secretary 1971-1975) – 1986
The photo below is of Graham Corbett and Ron Hanby taken in about 1980. Ron used to caddy a lot for Trevor Pearce. My Dad died of cancer of the pancreas and Ron also had cancer of the pancreas but had had an operation and had survived it. He was a real fighter.
Graham Corbett and Ron Handy
I used to play with John Sneezum, Tony Cooper and Tom Harris, who was such a lovely gentleman. I said to Tom one day that if his garden got too much for him I’d help him out. He took up my offer and I went to see his garden on the outskirts of Bishop’s Waltham and I couldn’t believe how big it was. He had a ride-on mower but the grass was too long for it. He also had a push Hayterette which was brilliant. I cut the grass down from one foot high to a couple of inches. I used to look after Tom. I’d take him in to Bishops Waltham for a haircut. He did so much value his independence but in the end it all got too much for him. He used to warn me “Don’t you have anything to do with this old age”.
Mike Goodall and Tom Harris
THE NEW HOLES IN 1990
The 12th looking South
The 14th looking West
The 15th looking West
Some additional memories from Mike
We always played Sunday mornings at 8:45 am. Dad or Harry Lewis would alternate cars. We had a 1936 Morris 12 and Harry a 1940’s Singer which suited his character as it seemed to “bound” along. The Morris had a heavy rounded bumper on the front. One Sunday morning (before my playing days) Dad, Harry, Geoff Smith and one other were travelling from Fareham to Corhampton G C when a pheasant was spotted. “Go on Leonard see if you can hit it”. Unfortunately he did. They wrung its neck to put it out of its misery. They then decided none of the wives would pluck it so they exchanged it with the landlord of the White Horse pub for a few pints.
On the car sharing side, Hugh Parker, a local government officer in Dad’s treasurer’s department used to use his Ford Prefect(1957). Ivor Norgate, I recall, had a lovely brand new 1957 Morris 1000 in British Racing Green. I think he was related to Mr Linford a former earlier member. In those days I recall a lurid green and black Standard Vanguard owned by Mr Brooks (“Brookie”). Reg and Nelly Reeves had a large Wolsey or Morris with dark blue doors and black wings with massive chrome headlamps. Bill Jeffries had a superb Standard Triumph with a dicky seat at the rear.
Frank Wade-Brown was later in the four ball with Dad, Harry Lewis, me or Hugh Parker. What a character he was. He was in the First World War under age where he used to take ammunition up to the front via mules. He was injured but re-enlisted in the 1st Tank Corps. After the war he owned a dance school with the band leader Victor Sylvester, whom he said owed him for half of it. They would dance with American ladies who came over on the Cunard liners. He had also been cattle droving in Canada at some time in his life. He modelled his play a bit on Bobby Locke, the great South African golfer. He certainly putted like him with a blade putter.
On the subject of putting, Harry Lewis had a George Nichol blade. Hugh Parker had a blade which looked about a foot long on its face. He used a very crouched style which was very effective – often to my cost. Frank Wade-Brown had wonderful smooth putting action. Dad had a John Letters Golden Goose which I still use sometimes ( you know how it is – perm any 1 from 10!). He used to putt off the front left foot and ram it into the hole – frightening to watch if you were partnering him. Incidentally I was playing with Paul Stratton back in the year and he “rammed” a 2 footer in from above the hole on the 16th. It took me back to how Dad used to do it. I’m a coward – far too bold for me.
Back to earlier memories, John Newbury, a butcher (really) from Warsash used to be a very good iron player. I can picture him now on the practice area which used to be where the 18th green is now, going North towards the trees crossing the 2nd and 3rd fairways. He would often be in a light blue sweater which I believe were the colours of the successful Ryder Cup team of 1957 – Dai Rees, George Low, Alex Brown, Ken Bousefield, John Jacobs, Peter Allis plus others I cannot remember.
John Freemantle, I just recall, wore a yellow sweater with a bow-tie but I may be confused as Horace or Stanley Clark used to wear bow-ties.
Bunce and Shiner were always playing together just as I would say “James and Barter” are of a later era – mind you along with Brian James, Bill Barter and Alan Downton I call them the “great triumvirate”.
All credit to Twink for persuading Fred Bunce that there was more to life than bachelorhood. This leads me to another tale. When I used to practice as a junior there was often a young girl in pigtails reading a book. It transpired later it was Twink’s daughter. I did not know this at the time. Years later I was playing a junior, Simon Daysh, and it came out in conversation that Twink was his grandmother.
Kay Smith, my dear lady partner in mixed competitions, was very competitive. The trouble is in these competitions we males are so struck with the charms of our partners it is impossible to hit the next shot. Kay had a brother who was quite a character, a pilot who flew for the flying doctor service in Africa – an organisation set up by Sir Archibald McIndoe of plastic surgery fame. Kay herself did sterling work in the war years as a driver for the WVRS. Her memories of the social scene at Corhampton are very enjoyable to look back on.
Having played so long at Corhampton I have anecdotes of so many members – many of them now long gone – these are personal memories which probably would be a bore to most members today as they would be construed as an “old man’s walk down memory road”. To me all these people I enjoyed the company of for many years and they certainly enriched my outlook on life.
Ron Crockford was a character, much endeared by the ladies section for his good looks and charm. Many of our male members have played other sports and, being local, many paths have crossed. When I worked at Ian Proctor Metal Masts we had a football team for which I played in the Sunday Meon valley League. Ron often used to regale me with tales of when he played for Winchester City as a left winger. Now I was a left winger at this time at a height of about 5′ 7″, average player, quick, no brain, no shot, but willing. Now Ron was about 6′ 4″ and more like a a centre-half or forward than a winger. My Dad always said “Never go by appearances”. Now those of you who know Ron would probably agree he could exaggerate a bit. Anyway Proctors were playing Meonstoke and low and behold Ron said he was playing left wing for Meonstoke. Well I thought, if he is we’ll see what he’s like. He was brilliant, good touch, good shot, fast. They won 1-0 after our keeper Mickey Hoare (for those of you from Sarisbury or Warsash you may know him) was sent off for punching one of the Miles’ (a local family – probably Dave Miles our groundsman would know who it was – possibly his dad).
Ron was an excellent golfer who, when a member was having trouble getting out of a bunker in the fairway – walked in with his Wellington boots on, borrowed a club, and knocked the ball onto the green.
I once took Harry Lewis to golf on a freezing winter’s day – snow on the ground. Aren’t golfers forever optimistic. There was never a chance of playing. The car radiator was frozen but for a game of golf I chanced it. It made the 10 miles from Fareham to Corhampton all right but was overheating when I arrived. I let it cool down, removed it and unfroze it in the Gents room. I replaced and drove back home again. Those Mark V Hillman Minxes were really endurable. I bought that car from Harry Lewis’s daughter Bronwyn and husband Ray.
I used to have an H A Viva Van. My former wife and I were often struggling financially so we used to do “Mobil economy runs” waiting for each other to put petrol in. Anyway I found myself on a Sunday golf run with it “my turn”. We happily made it to Corhampton for our game. Unfortunately I ran out of petrol on the way back – passed Droxford on that long straight stretch. As Harry Lewis settled himself back in the passenger seat with his cap shading his eyes and his pipe refilled he said “Well Mike you know what you have to do now, don’t you?”. I certainly did. I set off to Wickham and the Shell garage at the bottom of Hoad’s Hill. Aren’t people kind (or were in the 19070’s). A chap out celebrating his wedding anniversary and heading in the opposite direction to me, stopped, enquired as to my plight, turned around and drove me to the filling station and returned me to my car where I apologised profusely to Harry – never Harry but Mr Lewis. He dismissed it saying he had great fun watching the wildlife of the Meon Valley.
As the days became even more stringent financially, Harry was reduced to the indignity of riding in a motorbike/sidecar with 2 sets of clubs surrounding him. “How close to those lampposts do you think you were?” “Me, oh, about two feet”. “More like two inches” came the reply.
Dear Roy Bonsfield – when I first played golf with Roy it was around the mid to late 70’s. Roy then was Financial Director of Sir Joseph Causton’s at Eastleigh. He worked for a tie during the week in France and flew home at weekends – very exotic to me as I was clocking in at a factory making yacht masts at the time. Roy was a very successful businessman and partnered Philip Payton, a former secretary of Corhampton Golf Club – a formidable combination. I was probably partnered by Harry Lewis, a very successful accountant in private practice. Roy was a powerful player and Pip Payton a very accurate one. We were, shall we say, flamboyant, but we often surprisingly held our own. Roy could not understand this and used to get so upset about his golf I would start feeling sorry for him and the next thing I’d know is he’d put a run of 4’s together and we’d be losing.
Dermott Harvey-Kelly played in a white Arran sweater. I can still see him, bespectacled, bald headed, sweater hanging languidly and a swing like Eamonn D’Arcy’s. He played with Tony Pogson who I believe was an ex-submariner.
Colonel Symonds was something to do with the Police Selection Board. He lived in Droxford and campaigned against HGV lorries going through the village causing damage.
Robbie Henderson was a rugby playing Scot partnered by John Stableford, a very neat and tidy golfer.
Dogs on the Course
Mark Denham-Jones, one of the best golfers to play at Corhampton in the days when dogs were allowed on the course, had an Alsation which would just lie placidly opposite him while he drove off.
The McNeils had a black and white collie which would walk obediently at trolley pace.
Bill Treviss and Dave Baber had Alsations.
Ron Crockford had a WOLF. I remember finding Harold Henning’s (no not the pro’) MOT certificate for his green Reliant Robin on the floor of the old wooden changing room. Ron was living in the bungalow at the time which had a gate fencing in the dog. I opened the gate to hand the certificate into Ron when the dog circled me, just as wolves do, and gave me a crafty nip on the backside. He did back off, thankfully, after a cuff on his snout. He ate Ron’s chickens and rabbit so I believe.