image: The 7th green looking back towards the 18th fairway and Challens Green, the home of Norman Birkett circa 1929
The Club moved into the 1930’s with its finances finely balanced but with the confidence to reintroduce entrance fees suspended two years earlier – but still just a modest 5 guineas. However, the pennies were still being watched as demonstrated by the action taken to recover a debt run up by a seemingly impecunious member, aptly named Mr A. Borrow.
In July 1930 it was agreed that no further credit should be given to him and that he should repay the £8-4-3 owing by the 16th of the month. He was still living up to his name a year later however as, in April 1931, he assured the Board that money would be available soon and he would be able to discharge his debt now standing at £9-5-7d for liquor supplied! By the following August he was under further pressure for not having paid his previous year’s subscription.
Poor Mr Borrow’s financial problems seemed to continue. In July 1932, the Board turned down a request from him that his subscription for the previous year be carried forward to pay for the current year “as he had seldom used the course”. And to add to his woes, the poor man complained that a ten-shilling note had been taken from his jacket in the changing room – a statement treated with some reserve by the Board.
image: The view looking down from the top of the 10th fairway. Perhaps the most striking thing is the relative absence of trees on the course circa 1929
A problem that continued to plague the Board through the thirties was the lack of new members. At the end of 1933 it was agreed to reduce subscriptions from ten to seven guineas for men and to lower the entrance fee to three guineas. A loss of £420 was recorded for the year ending June 1934 and an appeal was made to the members to find more recruits. In 1936 the Club even advertised in the Times and Morning Post for members.
Membership numbers were very low right up to the outbreak of war. Despite best recruiting efforts, the membership was reported in April 1938 as follows:4
image: The Artisans Club was formed in 1930
This was barely greater than twenty years previously when membership was reported as 180 and 70 respectively - approximately half of today’s levels.
Even so, the Ladies’ section was well represented and quite buoyant. It became clear that they were intent on taking their golf more seriously during the 1930’s when the General Committee reviewed a request from the Lady Secretary “that the publication "Fairway and Hazard" be provided rather than "Britannia and Eve"! And indeed the record books show just how seriously they did take their golf. In 1951 a Harewood Downs girl, Jocelyn Davies, won the Irish Girls Open Golf Championship at Milltown Golf Club, beating Irene Hurst in the final. Jocelyn eventually moved to South Africa and became the South African ladies’ champion.