|Len Youd made life member of New Mills Golf Club 2010|
Life at New Mills Golf Club from 1964 to 2010
by Len Youd on being made a life member
I became a member in 1964 along with Harold Tague, and paid 9 guineas with no entry fee. There was no club house extension in those days, a men- only small room where bridge, cards and dominoes were played, and the ladies were in what is now the Steward’s front bedroom.
Lou Bramwell built a new locker room and toilet with a single shower, Fred Mosely was the Secretary and ruled the club with a rod of iron - no messing about with him.
Four of our old members sometimes played bridge all through Sunday night and caught the first train into Manchester on Monday morning. Before the toilets were built there was a ‘stone’ out at the back – so you can imagine the rife smell during hot summer months.
I have seen many course alterations during my membership: new tees, course extensions, bunkers etc. On the existing 18th hole there were 3 bunkers near the wall in the centre of the hole but so many members couldn’t carry them with their second shots it was decided to do away with the middle one.
On the 12th there were no trees at the left hand side of the green but there was a large grass bank to guard the green. The bunker at the front of the 15th hole, the back was raised to stop members from hurdling the flat bunker and 3 bunkers were put round the green the middle one which was in the hollow on the left of the green was filled in and the large bank was built to stop balls going into the quarry.
The quarry itself was a nightmare, the base being full of old metal work and rocks. Brian Gould the Greens Chairman had it cleaned up, scarified and reseeded so today we benefit of not only finding your ball but being able to drop on a perfect lie.
When Denis Higginbottom Snr was Greens Chairman he decided to tighten up the approach to the 17th green by digging a pond, it was supposed to be in the left rough but Denis decided to dig the pond further into the fairway so when it was dug it was too late to change it. It was built by the members of a working party and was completed in a weekend including a concrete bottom.
When I was on the Greens Committee, Denis asked me to get some Silver Birch from the old works site in Strines and they are the ones that run down the right hand side of the 10th, and were planted about 40 years ago. Also from Strines, are the large clump of trees to the left of the 11th hole.
We had many fun nights in the club house, the most memorable being the night we gave Alan Hughes (Adolf because of small moustache) the iron cross (quite large and crudely cut out of sheet metal). Also I awarded him with the Bernhard Langer Trophy which could only be competed for by Germans. His best friend Dennis Adams dressed up as Mrs Bernhard Langer in one of Margaret Dorsett’s dresses and gave the very drunken recipient a big kiss with his very red lips.
We also had a “This is Your Life” for Francis Malcolm Bullough which went down very well. I was doing the Eamon Andrews part which included the “Big Red Book”. There were one or two fancy dress parties - at one I dressed as Mr Spock and my wife Betty was a punk rocker with denim mini skirt and hair all spiked with sugar. Bernard Gee and Jane came as Herr Flick and Helga.
On another occasion one of the lady members who was an air stewardess came as “The Club Pro” in slashed skirt, fishnet tights, blonde wig and long cigarette holder and was soon chatted up by male members who didn’t recognise her.
On one Captains Weekend, When Frank Bullough was Captain we went to Harrogate and some of the lads decided to get him a stripogram who appeared at the Saturday night dinner dressed as a Police Woman Sergeant, asking for the driver of car number xxx, which was Frank’s, who with Jim Adshead had earlier in the day been involved in a slight accident at a roundabout but when she came into view she was dressed in black stockings, panties and suspender belt but wearing uniform jacket complete with sergeant’s stripes, much to Frank’s relief and amusement.
A collection was taken amongst the lads to pay for the telegram which was organised by the hotel manager. When I was Captain in 1978 we went to Llandudno to the Imperial Hotel. The Pro was Nick Ryan and he and the Green Keeper, Stephen Richardson decided to ride there on push bikes. I formed a guard of honour at the front of the hotel to applaud their efforts only to find that they had come by train to Llandudno Junction and rode in from there. However, they did attempt to ride back only to be picked up by Stephen’s father, Mike Richardson, completely exhausted from a roadside telephone box.
When Bert Swindells was Greens Chairman he grew all the fir trees you now see on the old 9 holes from seed in his greenhouse. While he was playing away on another course he took a fancy to the tee markers and asked me to turn the white polished Tee markers you see today, out of pitch pine which were turned at Strines Print Works and as several were stolen from the course these also were replaced.
The Captain of the year the new 9 holes were opened asked me to make another 18 markers to match the existing ones and I am sure you will agree are very unique. Bill Chathom while Greens Chairman built the back tees on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 18th thus lengthening the course by a considerable margin.
Note from some members: Len is probably best known with members who’ve been around a while for writing and delivering a poem before each Annual General Meeting on the previous year’s happenings.