Balancing the Books
The outbreak of war in 1914 was clearly a major disaster for a Club already suffering from a shortage of both money and members. Out of 195 members at the start of the 1913/14 club year, 33 left in 1914 and another 34 left in 1915. The records for the war years are very incomplete but the first death in service of a founder member was recorded in 1915 - the Honourable Captain A O’Neill. The last General Committee minutes, detailing many resignations, were dated 9th January 1915. Thereafter the three Trustees managed the Club and steered it through the difficult war years.
It was clearly time to batten down the hatches, reduce costs and increase income wherever possible. In the first year of the War the lease arrangement for the Club car was cancelled and the car returned to Mr Harben. A motion to insure the Club against zeppelin raids was rejected as it was considered to be an unlikely strategic enemy target! It was decided to charge members one shilling per day or 2/6 per week for the use of the limited garage space. Boot cleaning was to be charged at 2/6 per annum or 2d per pair.
A loss of £992 was recorded for the 15 months ending 20th June 1916. Later in the war it was decided to lease out the course to the local farmer, Mr Long, to graze his sheep at an annual cost of £25.
Other income generating measures included hiring out the green staff to local farmers for sixpence an hour and charging them for the use of the Club’s horses. Even the bridge players suffered – it was decided to charge them sixpence extra per head for playing bridge between 7 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. to cover the additional expense of lighting and coal! Five-day membership was introduced for the first time in late 1917 in an effort to attract more members.
Despite best efforts to balance the books, the estimated results for the year ending June 1918 showed a further loss of some £600. A committee was formed to investigate operating costs and recommend remedial action and they reported their findings on June 3rd.They considered that there was a significant lack of control in the working arrangements with staff, particularly concerning the “drink” allowance.
Ploughing up the Course
From early in the war the Club was under threat of notice to plough up land for food production purposes but the fairways were kept unscathed until the very last few months. However, further edicts from the Food Ministry in June 1918 resulted in the decision to plough up the 5th and 6th fairways.