One hundred years in Notts

Newark joined the Notts Union in 1904 but it was a very long time indeed before it had any success in County Championships. By 1933, some hard questions were being asked and unflattering answers suggested, at least by the golf correspondent of the Newark Advertiser almost certainly a club member. The fol­lowing is taken from an article of May 10 under the heading NOTES FROM THE NEWARK ROUGH, concerning the annual Notts Union Foursomes:

In the past few years.. .I make a guess and say eight years, the Newark teams have never got through the first round which tends to prove that something is wrong, either with the Newark golf or the handicaps obtained on our course. Are we rated at too low handicaps in comparison with others? Possibly so, by reason of our course allowing us to play poor shots without being sufficiently penalised. Or is the class or type of our course lacking in the variety of shots required, which are necessary to play satisfactorily on courses where the holes and conditions vary much more than ours, and demand many more accurate and testing shots?

It is a debatable point, but obviously the poor showing of our players over a num­ber of years in these competitions against other clubs suggests that something is wrong. Defeat would not come Newark's way so persistently if it were not so. I would add, that up to last year, the matches were played on the course of the club that was drawn first in the pairing and Newark were extremely unfortunate in being drawn away from home many years in succession. This, I admit, was a distinct dis­advantage to our players and, now that a neutral course is to be played upon, it is hoped that they will make a great effort this year and break the long sequence of  losses.

Several of the Newark ladies had, of course, been brilliantly successful in the early years of the century  unfortunately, we had to wait almost another 50 years to savour any further notable success.

Again it was ladies! More precisely, one lady. In 1957, Mrs G R Needham was the first ever double-figure handicap golfer to win the Notts Union Ladies Golf Championship since its inception in 1926. Two years later in 1959, she was a member of the Newark team which won the Notts Ladies Inter-Club Foursomes. The other members were Mrs H Southerington, Mrs E Gale and Miss Watson.

They say that success breeds success and so this proved to be, because in 1960 Newark won the County Mixed Foursomes for the first time in the club's history. Mrs Needham was once again part of the team with Mrs Gale, Miss Watson, Bill Lorimer and Frank Grierson-Peel.

Work had been going on at Newark in the early 1960s to improve the course and facilities and the results were recognised in 1964 when the club was invited to join the rota for the County Championships. That must have been quite a feather in the cap! 

In 1965, a three-man team from the club carded the best scores of the day and won the Notts Union Handicap meeting held at Newark. The winning team was L Stubbs, H Holland and P R Rankin. The same year we came close to winning the men's County Foursomes. So disap­pointing for Mickey Bridgman, Jack Fryer, Bill Lorimer and Gordon Hunter to get through all the earlier rounds just to lose in the final. It was to be another 32 years before Newark got to the final again. More about that in a moment!

What an occasion it must have been for our club in 1970 when for the first time the course was chosen as the venue for the County Open Match Play Championship, the County Mixed Foursomes final and the County Men's Foursomes final. Howard Selby, the Club President, said later that year how gratifying it was to hear the compliments from visitors on the improvement to the Course and facilities.

Newark has always been a strong supporter of the Notts Amateur and Professional Alliance and it was particularly satisfying when in 1977 we won the Alliance's Harry Brown Trophy. The members of the winning team were: Gerry Drakes, Joe and Pip Hallam, Alan Hodson, Derek Oakley, Tony Radley and Keith Britten.

In 1978, Jack Fryer was elected President of the Notts Union for a two year term. It must certainly have given him great pleasure in 1979 when, as President, he was able to present the Lamplugh Trophy to his own club's junior team of David Brumpton, Chris Bentley, Brian Noble and Andrew Stokes - the first year this trophy had been played for.

More success followed in 1981 when Pam Marshall, Mary Winterbottom, Tony Radley and Jack Fryer won the County Mixed Foursomes 21 years after our last victory.

Another team to come so near and yet so far was our 1985 team in the Ladies County Inter-Club Foursomes. How hard it is to reach the final and lose! But Molly Clayton, Eva Glasby, Kaye Hunter and Lesley Beacock did wonderfully well!

We had to wait quite a long time before Newark players again proved themselves the best in the county - not a County Championship this time but a trophy for which a team from each Club in the County was competing, the 1996 Notts Evening Post/Embassy Team Tournament. Newark's representatives were Bob Burns, Graham Cobb, Keith Goodwin and John Jalland. They were just too good for the rest!

The County Men's Inter-Club Foursomes is arguably the most sought after County Championship. Newark had been trying unsuccessfully to win it since its inception in 1913. They came very close in 1965 but it was 84 years before in 1997 the ambition was finally realised. The four man team of Adrian Ashley, Chris Bentley, Jim Hallam and Jason Smith had been together for most of the earlier rounds and played Retford in the 36 hole final at Wollaton Park. It came to a nail biting finish! All square after 36 holes but only because Jason Smith managed to sink a long putt on the last hole to force a play-off. This went to three extra holes before Newark finally overcame the opposition. What joy! What celebrations!

The end of our own century was fittingly crowned when in the year 2000 our County league team, having just the previous year gained promotion to the Second Division, won through to the First Division. The script could not have been better written!