A History of Heworth Golf Club - The 70's


1971 As a result of a questionnaire to all members, where104 replied, 86 indicated that they wanted 18 holes and 18 wanted to remain with the current 9 holes. Money as usual was needed and 78 men and 10 ladies agreed to lend money totalling £2,236.  A further 9 members offered a further £50 or more each.  It was at this year's A.G.M. that the decision was taken to extend to 18 holes.

1971 The committee was instructed to explore ways and means of raising funds to acquire the freehold of the land presently occupied and the 59 acres adjoining.  Mr. J. Jardine advised that the club become a Limited Company if they wished to achieve this and a plea was made to members to provide funds.  The original price for 55 acres was £11,000 and it was thought that we might get the other land if the farmer would release it.  The earliest date for this would be 1972.

Approximately £30,000 would be needed to lay out the new holes and the club had no assets.  Mr. Jardine pointed out that if given a lease, the owners would have right of re-entry should housing development be allowed, even though we had been offered a 99 year lease.  Rent for the first 7 years would be £10 per acre, to be revised every 7 years.  The owners could repossess the land with only one year's notice.  Only an area where the club building stood would be unaffected.

Planning permission was given, but much work had to be done before 18 holes became a reality.  Plans were made and remade, but the real problem was the availability of the land and of course, obtaining the finance.

1972 The juniors were at last an organised group under the direction of the President.  They formed their own committee and organised their first competitions.  Their prize for the first competition was 90 tees.

Members really made an effort to raise money for the proposed developments e.g. a Christmas Fayre organised by the ladies raised over £150.

Three trustees, D. Cassidy, C. Hill and M. Hall signed a 99 year lease for the land and many meetings were held to make plans for a new clubhouse and for the development of the new land.

Weekly golf film evenings and rules seminars were arranged by the President during the winter and continued for a number of years.

The juniors entered the County League and enrolled 10 members in the Junior Golf Society.

Negotiations for a loan were opened with Newcastle Breweries.

For the first time, a Christmas Party was held for member's children organised by the President with help from Mr. Boyes and four or five ladies.  The ladies prepared the tea.

Membership - 239 men, 37 ladies 37 juniors, 18 seniors.

1973 VAT was introduced and Mr. Jardine proved invaluable in helping us to cope with this.

Subs including VAT were £16.50 for men, £11 for ladies, £6.60 for seniors, £11 for country members, juniors £6.60 and £3.30.

Trees bought by members were planted.

The land take-over was postponed because of the refusal of the farmer to vacate the land.  By the time it was available it was too wet to be worked.  Seed had to be stored and we were grateful to Mr. O Snowdon who looked after this.  The club made him a life member because of the help he gave during this period.

Another Christmas Fayre organised by the ladies raised over £150.

A 3 year plan was drawn up aimed at methods of (a) Increasing membership (b) Raising money (c) Development of new land.

Juniors for the first time were allowed to play in some Senior competitions, if they had a handicap of 18 or less and were accompanied by a full member.

1974 An interesting item from records showed the following, Brown Ale 17p a bottle, Export 10p and Guinness 10p

In the spring the seed was sown on the new land and 3,000 small trees and bushes were planted.  Now we waited for the grass to grow.

1975 Between 1974 and 1975 a loan of £15,000 was negotiated with Gateshead MBC.  Three trustees namely D. Cassidy, C. Hill and M. Hall stood surety for this money.

Again plans were formed to make the club a Limited Company.  This finally happened in October 1975.

A loan of £37,000 was offered by Federation Breweries for the first stage of a new clubhouse.

We had a waiting list of 101 men, 94 juniors and 2 ladies.  A long, hot summer prevented full development of the land.

1976 Water came just in time to save the course.  The new holes were ready and the first games played on 1st April, although for a long time players had to tee up.  The first balls driven off the new course, No.4 hole were played by D. Cassidy, President; C. Hill, Treasurer; A Toal, Captain and B. Boyes, Greens Convenor.

 

From left to right, Harry Evers, Dan Cassidy (standing) Club President, Mr & Mrs J Handy Mayor & Mayoress of Gateshead, Mr. W Robson Durham County President, Mr. Harold Coyne Durham County Secretary, final figure unknown

 

The course was officially opened on 12th June by the Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor J. Handy.  A special competition and party was held for members who were given a souvenir booklet.

The new car park was started and the old machinery sheds were demolished and erected as shelters on the new course.  A building was acquired from Lloyds Bank, Washington and it was erected as an extension to the existing building becoming the new lounge.  We have to thank Mr. W Smillie (then Chairman) for negotiating the purchase of this at a very reasonable price.  It was opened for use at Christmas 1976.

For the first time a course ranger was appointed.

1977 After 11 years of very valuable service Cliff Hill resigned as Treasurer.

This was a very dry summer, but the greens were saved by the efforts of the green staff and the application of a great deal of water.

A limit of 450 men members was set by the committee.  We had 100 on the junior waiting list.

1978 Work commenced on new locker rooms and toilets.  This year's dinner dance was moved from the usual Shepherd's venue to The Highway Restaurant.

Film evenings were still being held.

1979 The annual dinner, organised by the steward and his wife, was held in the clubhouse on 17th March.  The snow was so high a way had to be cleared from the gate to the club. Traffic could not get past the clubhouse to Washington.  Just over 100 had tickets and most of them managed somehow to attend.

The N.C.B. increased the rent from £859 per year to £5,100 per year.  Application was made to Newcastle Breweries for a loan of £35,000. The ladies raised over £400 for the building fund.

A further 700 trees were planted.  A pro-am competition was held in September.  During the year, the men's and ladies locker rooms were completed and a link room, named the “Armstrong Room" in memory of past secretary Billie Armstrong was built.