Trentham Golf Club

A New Beginning

Club property was vested in five Trustees, including Bernard Moore, Frank S Sheldon, a tile manufacturer of Springfield House Newcastle and Jonathan Williamson Dunn, a brewer and wine merchant who lived in Trent Vale and had a business in Stoke.  All were probably founder members, and the Moore and Dunn families particularly were very active. Jonathan Dunn was about fifty when the Club was established and was among the earliest players reported in the local press. He was Captain in 1906 and President in 1911. The brewery firm he inherited, George Pint & Co., was originally Liverpool based and remained in his hands until sold about 1914. Although he moved to Stafford and ceased being a trustee, Jonathan Dunn continued his association with the Club until his death in 19.25. One of his daughters was among the lady members in 1899 and his youngest son, Robert James, was probably in the leading group of players at the time of the construction of the new course. He was Captain in 1902 aged twenty seven.

Executive power was exercised by a Management Committee elected annually with a President and Captain. A sub-committee supervised the maintenance of the course and, by 1910 at the latest, another fixed members' handicaps. The enlargement of facilities in 1904 did not lead immediately to a further sub-committee for the House, but by 1907 this was deemed necessary. Only annual accounts survive from whatever records these management groups kept, so that the view which can be taken of the success of the Club is necessarily restricted. Much the same can be said about the standard of golf because of the infrequency of reports of participation in tournaments.

One thing is clear, however. The profits of the bar and dining room were soon crucial keeping the Club financially healthy. In only two years before 1913 was an overall loss made, but there was never much surplus either. Course maintenance and House repairs had to be watched carefully - carts were borrowed when necessary and costs of horse feed subsidised by J C Bailey, or so it would seem. The Club professional, W Utton, didn't feel overpaid, for he was persuaded in 1906 to join the newly formed Rudyard Club at twenty five shillings week - five shillings more than lie got at Trentham.  At both places, incidentally, he was better off than the Leek professional who only had fifteen shillings weekly.

The Club affiliated to the Midland Golf Association and at least one team in the annual cup competition can be identified. In 1913 R.G. Varcoe, K.E. Poyser and E.H. Powell defeated Castle Bromwich at Olton to come equal twelfth in the Club event. Varcoe entered the individual gold medal but finished way down the field with 172 against the winning 149. This is one of the few ways of judging the standard of play in the Club before the First World War, although the new professional may have had an influence for good. This was James Adwick, a twenty five year old Nottinghamshire man who had spent four years at two different Clubs and who was to gain considerable respect in Midland circles for his ability. He was in the top five of sixty five in the PGA Midland Championship.

In the Club House, daily supervision from 1907 was exercised by the third Honorary Secretary, Walter Lindop Webb, who lived close by at "Dragor" in Hem Heath. He had an onerous task, consulting frequently with the Stewardess, Mrs Lyth, who had at least two women working with her, and watching over a not ground staff. In so far as financial viability depended on close attention to detail, there was a case for a full-time paid Secretary - a policy adopted by Olton Club, in 1911. Members did not always pay subscriptions on time, and consideration was given in one case to suing for the in court; card playing infiltrated into the Luncheon Room and Special regulations required policing; motor cars were a new phenomenon and needed space; Mrs Lyth wanted a wage increase to compensate for more work and the Greenkeeper was unsatisfactory. Other concerns, before the Great War overshadowed all, included the withdrawal of Mr Mountford from the tenancy of Ash Green Farm and then the death of the Duke of Sutherland.

FINE GOLFING AND OUTSTANDING HOSPITALITY






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