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St Bees Golf Club

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The following extracts are from a description of the original golf club, which was formed in February 1906.

The club so far has been remarkably successful, not only with regard to the ever-increasing membership, but also in the constant improvement of the links throughout. The links are beautifully and healthily situated on the Nethertown road within a mile from the village. The views to be obtained, both of the Cumberland mountains on the one side and the sea with St. Bees head and the Isle-of-Man on the other side, form one of the many attractions of the links and could not be out-rivaled by any other links in England.

It was at once deemed necessary to have a clubhouse where all necessaries could be provided and during the summer, this was erected at considerable cost. It was decided to hold a grand bazaar, to raise funds. The object of the bazaar is: firstly, to clear of the debt on the clubhouse and secondly, to provide funds for enlarging the greens and probably extending the links to eighteen holes.

The course laid out, at present one of the nine holes, is of a good sportive nature with its natural hazards, variety of stances and the hilly nature of the land occupied. The greens are of natural turf only, none of them being re-laid. Throughout the course the grass is constantly cut with a horse-mowing machine and now affords good "lies" for all classes of shots. The length of the present course is 2,810 yards, the holes varying in length from 125 yards to 520 yards.

The tee for the first hole is situated close to the clubhouse, the green being well on the top of a steep approach. A good drive and a mashie shot should land on or near the green. With straight shots no difficulty presents itself, unless the approach shot is not right to the top of the hill, in which case it may roll back to the players feet. A pulled or sliced ball finds rough grass.

The second hole presents no difficulty for straight shots beyond a natural bunker in the form of a ridge, which should be well covered in the drive. A pulled shot would probably find gorse or go out of bounds, the hole being played alongside a fence.

The third hole requires two full shots to reach the green. If the ball is played too much to the right the approach becomes a blind one. The fair way of this hole, like that of most of the holes is undulating and the only hazard is a ridge.

The fourth hole is one of the hardest on the links. A good drive should carry the valley (which runs right across the course of this hole and also the eighth), if not, the second shot will be a blind uphill one. two strong shots should carry the player from the tee to near the green, provided the second has safely carried the corner of a ploughed field, which obtrudes here and forms one of the greatest obstacles on the links. The green is on the top of a rise and careful approach is necessary.

The fifth is short and not difficult, but, being played alongside a fence, a pulled ball is apt to fall out of bounds.

The sixth, the longest hole of the links, affords no special difficulty for the first two full shots, with the exception of a natural bunker in the shape of a broken down dyke. The two full shots should place the player on the crest of the hill looking down on the hole in the valley below. A short drive or a second shot necessitates a short third for safety. The approach from here must be a full one, as gorse intervening presents many difficulties to a topped or mulled ball.

The seventh, a blind hole from the tee, is uphill all the way and requires two full shots. There is a difficult ridge about 100 yards from the tee and a smaller one just in front of the green, also difficulty for a pulled ball in the shape of gorse.

The eighth is clear but undulating, the green being visible all the way, a good drive with a brassie or cleek shot following would reach the green, a short ball placing the player in the valley with a blind approach.

The ninth, the shortest, requires a very accurate pitch, the green lying almost beneath the players feet, it looks as though a putter might do the trick, but it is well to hit clear out from the hillside or else there will be trouble, with the chance of a lost ball amongst the gorse.

The club is to be congratulated on the high state of efficiency to which the links have been brought in so short time and it is very gratifying to those most interested to see the membership so rapidly increasing and to hear the plaudits from members and visitors who have played a round. In conclusion, the clubhouse erected has comfortable accommodation for both ladies and gentlemen, and is in every way adequate for supplying the wants of all players. A large number of lockers have been provided and prove a great convenience to members.

Footnote:

It is known that a grand bazaar was held in the grammar school at St. Bees on Thursday and Friday, August 15th and 16th 1907 to raise funds for the golf club. We assume when a new course was constructed by St. Bees School on the rough ground on the lesser heads in 1929, the original course closed but it is not known when exactly.

Acknowledgments:

The extracts on the original course/club were from information supplied by a resident of St.Bees,  Malcolm Reid via committee member Ken Richardson and were brought together with information on the present day course by the club secretary  Brian Ritson. The archivist Tony Reeve from St. Bees School also assisted

HISTORY OF THE PRESENT DAY CLUB

Village clubs golfers who went on to represent the county having started their golfing careers at St Bees were Eric Gullicksen, Ken Richardson and David Cooper. Ken is still a member today. Others that have played at county junior level over the years are B.Hanson (an old boy at the school), J.V.Bragg, P.Parke, and more recently, Jonathan Lymer.

 Records of the best gross score have been kept since 1947 and up until 1992 when changes were made to the course, the course record had never matched the standard scratch score of 65 or par 64 and the lowest it had ever been was 66 scored by the following: - E.Gullicksen in 1964, M.Dixon in 1981, J.V.Bragg in 1985 and M.Pink in 1990.

In 1992 the SSS of 65 was matched by Peter Hanratty and the following day by Michael Pink. The course record was then beaten in June 1994 by Steven Amor with a gross score of 64, but only lasted two months until a 15 year old junior, David Cooper, scored a 61 in august 1994.

In 2001 a new course record of 61 was scored by our current green keeper, Robert Smith.

The yardage in 2004 was 5,307 yards with a par of 66 and a SSS of 66. In 2004, a new course record of 64 was set by David Cooper. In 2008 the length of the course was extended to 5326 yards with a par of 66 and a SSS of 66 and in 2010, a new course record was set by Michael Pink of 64.

The member who has won the Club Championship the most is Frank Irving, who is our longest serving member and has been since 1946. In 1996 aged 71, he beat his age by scoring 67 gross, a fantastic achievement.

Michael Pink and past member David Cooper have both won the club championship five times.

Footnote:

                   In the mid eighties, J.B.Campbell, T.Dyson, Mrs M.Simpson, S.R.Branch BEM, W.Weatherup and Mrs M Todd working in partnership with the school, agreed to build a new club house and in 1990 under Captain B.G.Ritson, construction took place and in October, the first AGM was held in the new club house.

The official opening took place on the 15th June the following year by the Rt Hon Viscount Whitelaw Kt. Ch. Mc. The Captain for 1991 was Tom Flinn who later became President.

CLUB HISTORY

St Bees Golf Club, Peck Mill Lane, St Bees, Cumbria, CA27 0EJ

Tel: 01946 824300 (Club) / 01946 820319 (Secretary) / 01946 828000 (School)

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