A History of Heworth Golf Club - The 40's


1940-1946  The War Years were very difficult times.  Membership was now at its lowest, about 50.  Many were called to the services.  We today must thank those who remained and who worked extremely hard to keep the club in existence, the late Mr. W. Moses, President; Mr. J.P. Burns, Secretary; Mr. J. Jardine, Auditor; Mr. J. Kennedy, Treasurer and to some of our older members who are still with us and without whose efforts the club could not have survived.

So many stories of those days are told.  Holes had to be dug and posts erected on the course to prevent the landing of enemy planes. This made the holes difficult to play, no doubt they gave more trouble to members than to the enemy for whom they were intended.  Money was scarce and means of raising money had to be found.  Because of rationing it was difficult to supply teas.  Sheep were now causing problems. After much disagreement about the farmers grazing rights on the course, the following terms were agreed "one sheep with lamb 3d. per week, one sheep by itself 2d. per head per week".  Most competitions were cancelled during the war years.

1941 Green fees were 1/- for 18 holes although members of the armed services were allowed the use of the course for 1/- per week.  The farmer caused further headaches by threatening to plough up the golf course.  Then the Commanders of the Home Guard came along with a view to obtaining the site for a summer camp.  Neither materialised but whilst discussions took place it was a worrying time.

1942 We were advised to have dairy stock on the course as well as sheep grazing "to help the war effort".  The number of cattle was restricted to 14 at anyone time.  Because of the financial state of the club due to severe reduction in membership, a levy of 5/- per member and 2/ 6d. per lady was imposed.

In June, bombs were dropped outside the boundary of the course adjoining the 6th fairway (now the 13th). Damage included: (1) Stable doors and windows. (2) Garage doors and roof. (3) Pavilion windows. (4) Tower boards loosened and broken. (5) Ladies locker room windows forced and twisted. (6) Men' locker room windows broken and door forced off. (7) Cutters damaged by shrapnel.  The War Damage Committee eventually met the cost of repair.

1943 -1944 Membership was 35 men and 15 ladies.  Because of the shortage of golf balls, the secretary was sending old ones to be recovered.  There were more problems with animals.  Horses were a nuisance on the course and the farmer's pigs had been loose on the course badly damaging No.1 green.  Despite an agreement with another local farmer to graze only 14 cattle at a time, 35 were being allowed to graze together, his excuse "a state of urgency".  Once again a 5/- levy was imposed.

1945 This year's levy was 6/- for men and 3/ 6d. for ladies.  Other money had to be raised by Whist Drives, Dances, Sweeps and Raffles. The course was now in a very poor state.  Only the purchase of gang cutters could save it.  The expense of £180 was too much for the club.  W. Moses (to become President 2 years later) offered to loan the necessary money free of interest, but the committee decided the cost was too great.

1946 By now the course was in a worse condition, particularly the greens No's. 1, 3 and 9 had to be wired off.  The cattle and other animals had taken their toll.

Mr. Porterhouse, who lived near the site where the clubhouse now stands, drove for the United Bus Company.  He cut the fairways on Thursday which was his day off and members looked after the course themselves the rest of the time.  One hopeful sign was the increase in membership as men returned from the forces.  Although the course condition was poor and finances low, the loyal members by their voluntary work kept the club alive and launched plans for future development.

A greenkeeper was appointed at £4 per week for 3-4 months and regular competitions were re-started.  Now balls in hoof marks could be picked and dropped without penalty.  The breweries supplied pint bottles of beer for 15/- 3d. per bottle.  Mrs. Porterhouse arranged to do teas, full teas 15/- 6d and tea only 4d.  The club had a licence now to sell intoxicating drinks.  Heworth Constitutional Club was used for money raising events.  The first post-war allocation of golf balls arrived.

1947 Membership was now 64 men, 21 ladies, 2 Country Members.  The first non-playing members were accepted for a fee of £1 15/- 0d.   A building fund had been put into in operation and was thriving.  Mr. W. Moses loaned the club £120 free of interest to buy a tractor, now needed more than ever.  Looking to the future, tentative enquiries were made regarding methods of securing new club buildings.  Newcastle Breweries were contacted for assistance with the development of new premises.

1948 Enquiries were made regarding a building at Jarrow and Hebburn Golf Club, their valuation was £784.  After further discussion they decided that the buildings would cost £500 and loose fittings £100.  Added to that £180 had to be found for dismantling, cartage and re-erection at Heworth, £140 for a sceptic tank and £20 allowance for defects.  The aim for the Building Fund was £1,000.

The agents for the land were now considering the possibility of a lease instead of an annual tenancy.  As the club at that time could not purchase the buildings without seeking a loan, it was felt we would have difficulty during the next few years in keeping up payments.  We had not recovered from the low war-time membership.  A special General Meeting was called.  We had persuaded Hebburn to reduce the cost of the building from £500 to £400 and hoped to have the building in September 1948.  Hebburn did not want to release it until December 1949. Eventually they agreed to reduce the price to £350 if we accepted it at a later date (June 1949).  We had to pay £150 deposit by 5th April 1948 and the rest when we took possession.  The final figures were building £400, dismantling, cartage and erection £200, sceptic tank £140, foundations £60, decorating and painting £50.

The club introduced "a deferred loan scheme" where every member was asked to subscribe as much as possible.  A suggestion was made of 1/- per week for 3 years and the proposal was passed at the Annual General Meeting as a compulsory levy.  In addition to this 28 members promised a total of £635 interest free loans towards the building fund.  These members were given certificates promising repayment at the earliest convenience.  Whist drives, sweeps on races like the Derby and Northumberland Plate raised money.  Generally a profit of £50-£80 was made on each race draw.  The £150 deposit was duly paid and the contract signed for the purchase of the Jarrow and Hebburn Club Pavilion, another landmark in the club's history.

Permission had to be obtained from the Ministry of Supply in London before materials with which to build the foundations and erect the pavilion could be bought.  Post war restrictions on supplies still applied.  The Ladies were given authority to form their own committee to run their competitions and fix their own handicaps.  After consultation with the L.G.U. the ladies maximum handicap was reduced to 36.  Ladies competitions were held on weekdays generally the first Wednesday for foursomes and the third Wednesday for stroke competitions.

1949 At last the Jarrow and Hebburn building was erected on the site of the present clubhouse(click on the image below to enlarge).  Upon its erection one room was retained as "Men's Room".  A cup was donated by Jarrow and Hebburn and the new building was opened on 9th July.