Peter Taylor – Secretary from 1984 to 1994

I moved from Twickenham to Colden Common (near Winchester) in 1976.  I was a keen golfer playing off a 9 handicap at Wyke Green G.C. so one of my priorities on moving was to find a golf club.  I looked around clubs such as Stoneham, Corhampton and Royal Winchester.  As well as a new clubhouse, opened by Bernard Hunt, ex Ryder Cup Captain, Corhampton had just changed from a nine hole to an eighteen hole golf course.  Although the course was very new and rough around the edges, it looked like a place with a future.  In those days you were allowed to take your dog on the golf course with you.  I had a black Labrador and he thought Corhampton was heaven on earth.  Another thing that attracted me to the club was its location, situated in the countryside and not surrounded by buildings and houses.  I was working in Southampton for ICL and driving there most days.  Driving out to Corhampton although further than the other clubs, I thought would be a pleasant change.

In 1982, I was invited to join the committee by Fred Hartwell, the captain.  I first met Fred at British Aerospace, Hamble where ICL had a computer system.  On more than one occasion I had to stand before Fred and explain why his computer had crashed.  Despite this Fred wanted me on his committee. I became the competitions secretary which position I held for a couple of years.  During that time I introduced the then new EGU handicap system.  Soon after retiring from ICL in 1984, I was invited to become secretary of the club, taking over from Bob Abercromby.  My brother John took over the competitions secretary position, his wife, Doreen, became my assistant and later on my wife Connie became the Ladies secretary.  It was the start of the Taylor dynasty! Unfortunately after a few months Doreen became ill and had to retire.  Laurraine Collins then became my assistant.  Laurraine eventually became secretary of the club.

When I started as secretary I inherited an ancient mechanical typewriter, an adding machine with a handle, a few biros and not a lot else.  To get anything copied it was necessary to make a round trip of several miles to the nearest copying facility.  I soon acquired an electric typewriter, a self propelled calculator and a copier.  After a couple of years of coping with the administration of 600 members with this equipment I managed to persuade the committee to buy a computer.  Sometime later we contacted Club Systems and purchased some up to date software for the accounts and handicapping.  The old typewriter and calculator were duly retired, never to be seen again as was hand written double entry book keeping.  Mind you Fred Hartwell who was then chairman of Accounts and Finance, never fully trusted the computerized system for sometime and I still had to do a lot of hand written entries until he became satisfied that all was well.

I found little time to play golf, especially in my early years as secretary but when I did play I preferred not discuss golf club matters whilst going round.  Sometimes I’d be on the tee, addressing the ball, when in my eye line I would see a pair of feet and there would be a member wanting to know somebody’s telephone number – not what I wanted.  I did have the opportunity to play in a number of secretary’s golf events away from home on courses such as Wentworth, Sunningdale, Walton Heath etc..  My predecessor, Bob Abercromby, was a good golfer and won most of the golf club secretaries trophies.  My only claim to fame was winning the Camberley Heath Capt/Secretary trophy with Bert Keefe in 1989.  I had a few top 3 mentions and once won the longest drive prize at the Army golf club only because nobody else hit the fairway!

During my years we had a very long waiting list for membership.  In fact we had a waiting list for the waiting list!  I used to have a cartoon on my door depicting this.  The only way in to full membership was to become a 5 day member first.  In the past there were about 13 different classes of membership which was a nightmare. The Police and Fire Service used to have a block membership and paid a small subscription.  I thought this was unfair so the club made them five day members.  A number of them eventually became full members.

The original 18 hole golf course occupied something less than 70 acres plus some woodland.  The two starting points were the first and sixth holes, the old sixth hole is now the third hole.  In 1991 the club bought a plot of land and enlarged the golf course by reconstructing holes 12, 13,14 and 15.  By doing this the starting points became the first and tenth .One proviso we wanted was to maintain the 16th hole in its original form.  By eliminating the old 17th and 18th holes, the club acquired a decent practice area, additional car parking and a spare hole, (7a).  A further parcel of land became available sometime later and this was bought for future development (the land to the left of the 12th fairway).

This clubhouse was extended twice during my years. The first extension created room for the current dining room.  The second extension created the secretary’s office and television room in use now.  There used to be stairs in the middle of the club house because the entrance was at the back.  My office used to be where the ladies changing rooms are now.  The first tee was outside the changing  rooms.  It was very noisy, so eventually it was moved to its current position.  The old tee became the practice putting green.  The 1st green was also moved towards the hedge so that the hole kept the same length.  For sometime the bunker that was in front of the old green was left in the middle of the fairway but was eventually filled as it served no real purpose apart from annoying everybody who went in it.

In 1991 the club celebrated its Centenary. We were very lucky with the weather.  During the celebration week in September it did not rain once but on the day after the celebrations ended it poured! Noel Hunt entertained us with his remarkable ‘Golf Show’.   It had to be seen to be believed.  We shaved the land on the first fairway so he could set up the hundreds of balls he needed for his act.  You name it he could do it with a golf ball.  You want to see a draw? He would put the ball over the field on the other side of the road by the first fairway and it would come back on to the fairway.  It was unbelievable. The club erected a marquee down the right hand side of the first fairway to accommodate about 500 guests who attended the centenary ball.  Despite this very large ‘obstruction’ the 1st hole was kept in play.  I’m sure members learnt to hit the ball a bit straighter during that time. Cricket was played on the golf course back in the 1880s so during our celebration week a cricket match was arranged between the Lords Taverners and a Corhampton Golf Club eleven.  The position of the original cricket pitch down the third fairway was discovered by trawling through the archives and a strip was closely mown to for the teams to play on. The outfield did have the odd obstruction such as bushes and trees but it made fielding more interesting! It was a great day and a lot of money was raised to buy a Lords Taverners’ mini bus for disabled children .

In 1992 ,the four new holes were opened and the captain John Forder and I were the first to play the new holes.  My claim to fame on this occasion was to be the first person to birdie the new 13th hole.  Never achieved it since! 

The current 11th green used to have two ridges in front of it which made it more difficult to play.  When I was secretary I kept asking the Greens Committee to build a bunker on the right hand side to stop balls hitting the ground and bouncing off into the trees on the right. Eventually my wish was granted.

Maintaining the golf course in my early years was quite primitive compared to nowadays.  The club employed 2 greenkeepers and occasional part time staff.  The fairways were cut with gang mowers pulled by a tractor, half up and half down.  The greens were hand cut.  The greens staff had little or no transport and walked everywhere.  The watering system was barely adequate.  The water storage tank was filled by a small diameter pipe and was shared by the clubhouse and it was not unknown to literally run out of water for the golf course.  The club eventually installed an up-to-date watering system along with a larger supply pipe for the storage tank. The golf course became more and more busy so additional machinery had to be purchased and staff employed .

Life at the golf club was probably more fun in those days than it is now.  Members used to help in around the club house when we were short of staff.  The advantage of that was we never closed the bar until quite late.  Despite this we never got into trouble with the law.  In fact the only time I visited court was to renew the bar licence.

Probably one of the strangest thing to happen when I was secretary or at least one I can talk about, was driving to the club one morning, I thought I spotted a tent pitched down the first fairway.  I drove into the club thinking that I had been seeing things.  Not so, on walking down the fairway about 150 yards from the green there was this small tent, all closed up and no sign of life.  Golfers were happily playing the hole as if this was a natural hazard.  On approaching the tent a bleary eyed young man appeared along with an equally bleary eyed young lady.  On ’politely’ asking them what were they up to it appeared they came by motorbike in the night and thought it was a good place to pitch their tent not realizing it was a golf course.  I suggested they should quickly pack their bags and get off the course before they got whacked by a golf ball.  I was asked what was the ruling if your ball hit the tent.  I said I had no idea because as far as I knew it had never arisen before on any other golf course.  It was a question of looking up the latest ‘Decisions on the Rules of Golf ‘

In 1994 I decided it was about time to retire.  I had been secretary for 10 years, had seen many changes to the course and clubhouse and helped with the celebration of the club’s Centenary.  During my time the management of the club changed from being run by the captain and a large committee to its present day set up.  Being secretary of Corhampton Golf Club for 10 years was a most pleasant experience and I enjoyed doing the job very much.

Buds of May

Centenary Car Park

Centenary Cricket Match 1

Centenary Cricket Match 2

Centenary Cricket Match 3

Centenary Cricket Match 4

Centenary Cricket Match 5

Centenary Week – Noel Hunt 1

Centenary Week – Noel Hunt 2

Centenary Week – Noel Hunt 3

Centenary Week marquee 1

Centenary Week marquee 2

Centenary Week marquee 3

Centenary Week marquee 4

Medieval Night 1

Medieval Night 2

New Holes 1

New Holes 2

New Holes 3

New Holes 4

Peter Taylor PA 1990

Jim Yeates (Club Capt), Robert Brown, (Pro),  Peter Taylor,  &  Richard Shillitoe at the 1990 Pro-Am, standing by the 10th tee. 

Peter Taylor Pro Am

Jimmy Tarbuck,  Peter Taylor & son Richard, at the Nick Holmes (Southampton F.C.) Benefit Pro-Am in 1983, standing on the 5th tee