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Welcome to the Web Site of Barnard Castle Golf Club . The web pages will provide useful information about the Club to both members, visitors and anyone else interested in learning something about one of the most pleasant yet challenging courses in the North East.

We have also just installed brand new tennis courts in our clubhouse. Test your speed on courts of grass and AstroTurf, regularly cleaned and maintained by our friends at Tennis Court Surfaces.

Included in the web site is a brief overview of the town , a description of the present course , details about our Club Officials , a comprehensive visitors guide (including Green Fee details) and this years events and competitions . We have also added a " Latest News " page. This will give you, among other things, details of any important change to published events, so please have a look in this section.

If you would like to upgrade your golfing equipment, why not pay a visit Mr. Darren Pearce, our club professional. He has a well stocked shop and offers great value for money. A web site for the shop is under construction.

Please enjoy browsing, and if you would like to contact us regarding a suggestion or with a comment about the club, you can either Email us by clicking here

 

  A Brief History of Barnard Castle Golf Club  
 

 

Barnard Castle Golf Club was founded in 1897 at Wyse Hill, Startforth with the first report in the Teesdale Mercury appearing in April 1897 which read as follows:

The first handicap competition of the new Club at Wyse Hill took place on 10 th April 1897 and attracted 12 entries. The competition was limited to one round of the nine hole course, with the following being the best scores:

  Gross H'cap Net

Mr Barnard

Capt.Sitwell

Rev E.B.Vincent

Mr Barraclough

Mr Badcock

Mr C.Hopkinson

 

49

54

48

53

60

63

6

8

scratch

scratch

7

8

43

46

48

53

53

55

The original club was on the point of folding before the end of iots second year. However, there were sufficient members to see that the club continued. It was not long before a new Golf Club was formed, known as Teesdale Golf Club, on which we based our Centenary in 1998, and which was confirmed by a report in the Teesdale Mercury under the heading �Teesdale Golf Club� dated 2 nd November 1898:

This club has this season taken a new lease of life, and bids fair to have a very vigorous period before it. It has been entirely re-constituted, and is now under the distinguished patronage of Lord Barnard, as President, and of the following gentlemen as Vice-Presidents:- Mr Jno Mitchell M.D.; The Rev Hartley Jennings; Mr A H Sevier M.D.; the Rev F.L Brereton M.A.; and the Rev J.T. Penrose M.A.

An energetic committee is working hard towards the improvement of the links at Wyse Hill, Startforth, in removing a few of the many hazards and bettering the condition of the greens, and they hope in time to have as good and sporting an inland course as there may be found in the neighbourhood. They certainly may boast of this already as far as natural situation goes. Financially, the club is sound, if not flourishing, and needs only an increased membership to bring the latter condition to pass.

During this season it is proposed to hold numerous competitions and inter-club matches, beginning the series with a preliminary handicap, on Friday and Saturday this week. The links will be open to visitors at a charge of 2s. per week or 5s. per month, and full membership is granted to residents of Cotherston and other localities, outside a three mile radius from Barnard Castle, at half the general subscription.

Mr H P Friend, of Barnard Castle, is the new Ho. Secretary and Treasurer, and he will be delighted to answer any inquiries relating to the club.

The first competition promoted by the new committee of the Teesdale Golf Club was played on the 4 th and 6 th of November 1898. The scores achieved may appear very high in comparison to the much lower scores of today, but today's golfers do not have to play a round of golf with a cleek, a mashie, and a brassie in their golf bag

    Gross H'cap Net

Mr J.C.Badcock

Rev.H.Jennings

Mr Weighton

Mr Friend

Rev. J.T.Penrose

51-57

50-54

56-53

60-58

61-59

108

104

109

118

120

8

2

0

4

0

100

102

109

114

120

The report on the competition also added that: � Messrs Mudie and Dixon only played one round, and Mr Hopkinson made no return. The heavy state of the ground accounted for the very high scores. It is hoped that another and more important competition will shortly be played off.�

The main objective of the new committee formed in 1898 was to �improve the links at Wyse Hill, Startforth�. Improvement was the removal of the whin bushes and attending to the greens. One of those who complained the loudest, Mr R J Bailey, was appointed as the Chairman of the sub committee which was set up to attend to the improvements � so becoming the first Greens' Convenor.

The success of the members in achieving their aims at Wyse Hill is born out in a letter dated 26 th September 1906 which was sent by the Rev. J T Penrose, one of the original Vice-Presidents, to Mr T B Illsley. The Rev. Penrose had recently left Barnard Castle and moved to Petworth in Surrey , from where he wrote:

I wish the club a long and prosperous career; it is well managed; it is the abode of harmony and good fellowship; it affords a very great deal of healthful enjoyment to many, and is doing more for Barnard Castle than probably many are aware.

Inter Club Matches whilst at Wyse Hill

Early inter club matches were played in pairs with the result determined by the number of holes won by each side. The first match against another club was played on 12 th May 1897 against High Coniscliffe at Coniscliffe, with the home team winning 18-2. A week later the team were hosts to the North Eastern County School , again losing, this time by 12-3. It can be seen that the school team was almost entirely made up of club members who had played against High Coniscliffe.

The Teesdale team fared little better in the return matches. Whilst they lost heavily to Coniscliffe, in the return with the North Eastern County School , who surprisingly had their own golf course, they were able to register their first team victory, although the team was strengthened by a visitor, Mr Monkhouse, who scored seven of the team's points. The results reported in the Teesdale Mercury were:

12 th May 1897 2 nd June 1897
Barnard Castle Coniscliffe Barnard Castle Coniscliffe

Mr Barraclough

Rev.E.B.Vincent

Dr Mitchell

Mr Barnard

Mr Badcock

Mr Hopkinson

Mr Murray

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

2

Mr Whitwell

Mr Massingham

Mr Newby Watson

Mr I'Anson

Mr Backhouse

Mr Blain

Mr Webster

13

0

1

0

0

1

3

18

Rev E.B.Vincent

Mr Barraclough

Dr.Mitchell

Mr Barnard

Mr Badcock

Rev H.Jennings

Capt.Sitwell

Mr C.Hopkinson

Mr Murray

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

4

6

Mr Massingham

Mr Blain

Mr G.N.Watson

Mr I'Anson

Mr.G.H.Watson

Mr Hutchinson

Mr Brunskill

Mr Webster

Mr Buchanan

2

2

6

0

2

2

3

8

0

25

19 th May 1897 16 th June 1897
Barnard Castle N.E.C.S. Barnard Castle N.E.C.S.

Rev H.Jennings

Mr Badcock

Capt Sitwell

Mr Hopkinson

Mr H.Watson

0

0

0

3

0

3

Rev E.B.Vincent

Mr Barraclough

Mr Barnard

Mr Murray

Mr Bunting

7

2

1

0

2

12

Dr Mitchell

Rev H.Jennings

Mr Badcock

Mr Monkhouse

Mr C.Hopkinson

Mr R.N.Hopkinson

0

0

2

7

1

6

16

Rev E.B.Vincent

Mr Barraclough

Mr Barnard

Mr Murray

Mr Bunting

Mr Little

1

8

0

0

0

0

9

In early 1907, during Mr Bailey's first seven years of captaincy of the club, a well attended meeting of the members took place at Mrs Robinson's Temperance Hotel in Barnard Castle to discuss the question of a new ground; the distance of Wyse Hill from the station and town having always been considered a great disadvantage. A scheme put before the meeting to start a new nine-hole course on Mr Stoddart's Farm, at Marwood, was unanimously adopted.

The report of the meeting stated that the new course would be only five minutes' walk from the station, of a decidedly �sporting� nature, and, in the opinion of Mr J.Green, the Darlington club's professional, who was laying-out the course, would be a very good course indeed. It was further resolved to remove from Wyse Hill as early as possible, and to arrange for an �opening day� on the first Saturday in May.

Lord Barnard, president of the club, had shown a very practical interest in the project, in the belief that a centrally situated golf course would be a great attraction to visitors in the neighbourhood; would prove a benefit to the town and promised a very handsome donation towards the initial expense. The meeting also hoped that, by removing the objection of distance, the membership of the club and the local interest in the game would be greatly augmented. The move attracted a lot of local interest and the following article appeared in the Teesdale Mercury in March 1907, under the heading �Popular Local Pastimes'.

The game of golf is attracting more than usual notice from the fact that new and more convenient links have been secured in Marwood. The Teesdale Golf Club is leaving the North Riding and coming into County Durham , the latter course having the advantage of a much shorter distance from the railway station. There are few organisations possessing more vitality and enthusiasm than the Teesdale Golf Club, which is so ably supported by Lord Barnard, its worthy president.

An increase from 9 to 14 holes

At the 1932 Annual General Meeting it was reported that the Club was hoping to extend the course from 9 to14 holes. A formal lease was signed on 8 th September 1932 by the Trustees of Teesdale (Barnard Castle) Golf Club, T.P.S. Summerson, J .H. Brown and T.K. Bell, over Broad Flatt Field for a period of 21 years, at an annual rent of £25. On the same date the Trustees renewed the �Grant of License� to play golf over the original fields at Harmire � Beck Dam Close, East Cow Close, West Cow Pasture and a part of Middle Forth Field extending to 45 acres,2 rood, and 27 perches, also for a term of 21 years and with an annual rent of £15.

On 2 nd May 1934 the Club succeeded Mr W. Hodgson as tenant of the land on which the original golf course was situated at Harmire, over which it had for many years only the playing rights. The effect of this change of tenancy was that the grazing of the course was restricted to sheep and the rail fence running across the course from north to south between East Cow Close and West Cow Pasture was taken down. The initial rent was £60 per annum.

Arthur Watson, Head Greenkeeper and Professional, and his team were now able to set about creating five new holes on Broad Flatt Field. Work was completed to enable the extended 14 hole course to be formerly opened for play on the evening of Whit Tuesday,1934, when the Club held a mixed foursome in aid of Darlington Hospital ..

A further increase to 18 holes

A further extension of the course took place in 1938 when the Long Hill Field, where holes 13 and 14 are now situated, was added to the course and a full 18 holes came into play. This addition was to be short lived because the extra land was taken back for agricultural use during the 1939 �45 war years and it was not until 1954 that the Club was able to bring the full 18 hole course back into play.

The opening of the 18 hole course took place on Captain's Day 1938, the Captain being Colonel C.E. Vickery of Whorlton Grange. The Colonel and Mrs Vickery invited members to tea at the clubhouse, which was served by Miss Thompson, the stewardess, and her assistants. The Colonel also provided prizes for a mixed foursomes bogey competition which he led off with Mrs H.E. Morritt of Rokeby Park , their opponents being Major H.E. Morritt and Mrs Vickery. It was not until 9 p.m. when all 76 entrants had completed their rounds that the winners were announced as: Mr C.E. Creek and Mrs Siddle.

To mark the reopening of the full 18 hole course, a mixed foursomes competition was held on 25 th April 1954, when the official opening ceremony was performed by the Lady Captain, Mrs Elsie Armstrong, supported by the Captain, Mr J.Hillary. The winners of the competition were I. Hudson and Mr R. Ewbank.

The 18 Hole Course was not to remain open for very long. The reasons are not given for reverting to the 14 holes but word passed down leads us to believe that Arthur Watson, the Greenkeeper, was concerned that the greens were too soft. After a meeting of the Management Committee held on 7 th December 1954 the Captain, H E Birkbeck, sent out a note to all members with the following five points, the last of which does indicate concern about the club's ability to survive:

  1. There will be no increase in the rate of subscriptions for the year 1954/55 in any category, and the amounts payable will be the same as in 1953/54. It will be an advantage if the amounts due for the current season are paid forthwith.
  2. The course will, at any rate meantime, be reduced, from January 1955, to 14 holes, by eliminating the four holes introduced recently.
  3. Machinery Fund. In Spring 1955, an extraordinary expenditure is contemplated on machinery to help in the upkeep of the course. This will amount to approximately £200. To provide this sum, members are asked to signify to the Secretary or Treasurer their willingness to advance to the Club on loan £5 or multiples of £5. Loans, which will not bear interest, will be repaid by the drawing of lots as the assets of the Club permit. The Committee of Management have inaugurated this fund by themselves making individual promises totalling £55
  4. It is not proposed in these circumstances to call the extraordinary meeting of the whole Club provisionally arranged for a date early in the New Year.
  5. The Committee invite support in the real effort which is being made to place the Club on a sound financial basis. The continued existence of the Club clearly depends on the co-operation of all members.

It would take until June 1958 for the four holes to reach the standard required to enable the full course to be reopened.

At an Extraordinary Special Meeting held on 12 th October 1992, the membership gave its agreement to a further extension of the course. This followed the offer by the landlord of a lease over the three fields, known as Cow Hill Fields, on which we now have the 6 th and 7 th holes, the 8 th tee box, and the 11 th green Course, all of which came into play in 1995.

The Old Clubhouse

Most members know the buildings (shown above) as the Greenkeeper's shed; there are few members remaining who can remember that before 1969 the building was used as the clubhouse, and also included the professional's shop. Consequently, several stories have circulated over the years about its origins. The facts below confirm that the clubhouse was purchased from the Darlington Town Golf Club, and that it was originally a cricket pavilion.

The records of the Darlington Town Golf Club show that in March 1908 it was resolved to buy the cricket pavilion, which was already on the grounds acquired by the Golf Club at Skerningham Farm, from Mr Johnson. After �ousting' the cricketers, it would appear the Club management offered to �take the pavilion off Johnson's hands', as it were. The newly acquired club house and course at Skerningham was formally opened on Saturday 8 th May 1909 by the Mayor of Darlington and the President, Sir E.D.Walker .

The history of the old clubhouse was referred to in an article under the heading �Darlington's Forgotten Golf Club�, written by Basil Noble, a past Captain of Blackwell Grange Golf Club, which appeared in the Country Times in 1986. The article refers to the Darlington Golf Club at High Coniscliffe which was founded in 1895. It was at this club that our predecessors at Wyse Hill played their first inter club match. Below, is the part of the article which is relevant to our acquisition of the old clubhouse:-

High Coniscliffe was well out of Darlington and hard to get to. Some few members had motor cars, others came by horse and carriage, but most players had to go by train to Piercebridge and then walk a mile. As early as 1908 some influential members were looking for the chance to play golf nearer home and land was acquired at Harrowgate Hill, near the end of Glebe Road . A nine hole course was opened towards Skerningham Farm and was called Darlington Town Golf Club to distinguish it from that at High Coniscliffe.

But the members at Skerningham wanted 18 holes and took the chance to buy Haughton Grange Farm for £3000, the home of Darlington Golf Club today. The full course was open by Easter 1916 and the title �Town� was dropped in 1920.

The Great War was the final blow to High Coniscliffe Golf Club and by 1915 it had withered away. Indeed the new club wrote asking for prices on redundant items at the old course. Barnard Castle Golf Club also took advantage of the changes and in 1913 offered £50 for the surplus Skerningham clubhouse; they eventually got it for £40 down and £30 in twelve months .

The letter dated 13 th December 1913 from Teesdale Golf Club Secretary, H.P. Friend, to the

Secretary of Darlington Town Golf Club, enquiring about the Pavilion at Harrowgate Hill