Canterbury Golf Club

The War Years


In 1939, Mr E. Hebden Phillips was elected Captain and he was to hold that post until the end of hostilities. This period obviously showed vast changes in the Club.  With numerous members joining the forces, membership plummeted and the course underwent considerable changes.  The most notable of these was the 4 th hole when an Ack Ack battery was set up, necessitating the 4 th hole being played from the 4th tee to the 5 th green and the score on the 8 th being counted twice.  Later on a short hole was made parallel to the 18 th , giving a temporary full 18 holes, though somewhat shortened.

In 1940 all interclub matches were cancelled, but it was decided to continue matches within the Club. The following were arranged:

Married vs Single

President vs Captain

Doctors vs Club

Miltary vs Club

Local Banks vs Club

Ladies vs Men

Mr Chessire’s Side vs Mr Thomas’ Side

Play was during week ends and evenings and all members in the forces were informed that that would remain members for the duration of the war, without further subscription.  In November 1940, the following appeared in the Kentish Gazette: “Canterbury Golf Club, which is endeavouring to maintain the Club’s activities during these difficult times and to keep competitions going, held a bogey competition in aid of The Spitfire Fund recently, the prizes being: 1) A brace of pheasants, presented by Mr S. A. R. Smith, 2) A brace of partridges, presented by Mr M. Barr. The winner was Mr W. H. Chessell, 1 down.  £3/11/- was given to the Spitfire Fund, the Club’s second instalment.

At the A.G.M. it was emphasised that the Canterbury course would remain open and members of clubs which had to suspend activities, and also military golfers would receive a hearty welcome if they wished to play at Canterbury.  The Professional, George Gower appointed in 1939, left to join the forces and appropriate measures were taken for clubs and other equipment  to be looked after in his absence.

Competitions continued to be held in aid of the Red Cross and R.N.L.I., and in August the Ladies ran an eclectic competition, won by Mrs Fullager, and £1 was donated to the Red Cross.  At Easter of 1941, two competitions were held and prizes were donated by members.  New members continued to join and this helped the Club in its difficult financial position. Three green keepers described by the Secretary as “workmen”, had their wages increased in December, 1941.  Also that month it was announced that work to repair damage by tanks was finished on the 6 th , 10 th , and 14 th fairways and that work on the 17 th , 18 th and 15 th was due to start.

The Captain’s Prize in 1942 was the current year’s subscription.  It was in July 1942 that the Army took over the 4 th hole and green, but permission was given to play from the 4 th tee to the fifth green. A local rule stated that “A ball played to the right of the posts on the 4 th fairway to be out of bounds.”  

0n 30 th September 1944, the following article appeared in the Kentish Gazette:

 An Excellent Record - Even in this war-starred part of the country, good golf is provided, and the Canterbury Golf Club is flourishing at Scotland Hills.  The Club has been carefully fostered by an energetic Committee, under the chairmanship of the Captain, Mr Hebden Phillips, so that when many members return after the war they will be able to enjoy sport on a course which is admirably laid out and maintained, amid natural surroundings.

Good Entertainment - During the past five years, despite handicaps provided by the enemy, the Club arranged first class entertainment for many golfers serving in the Allied Forces and engaged in essential civilian work.

Help For Charities - Competitions have been held regularly, and as a result several hundred pounds have been given to such charitable organisations as the British Red Cross Society, the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund, the Prisoners of War Fund, the Royal Lifeboat Institution and many local charities.  The members’ most recent gift was £6 and 10 shillings- to the Kent and Canterbury New Complicated Maternity Unit. This was donated from proceeds from holding the Pilgims’ Cup. Mr W.K. Whigham, the President of the Hospital, presented this handsome trophy many years ago, and in peace-time it is the prize for the annual 36-hole Open Medal Competition. The Club has vacancies for playing members and a warm welcome is always extended to visitors and beginners.

In March 1945, the eighteenth A.G.M. was held at the Clubhouse and the joint Honorary Secretaries, Mr I.C. Child and Mr W. Thomas were made honorary life members of the Club in appreciation of their work during the war years. The question of raising subscriptions and the entrance fee to the Club was raised, but nothing was decided at that time.

On October 7 th after the previous Sunday’s competition there was an auction by Mr Guy Petley of 26 boxes of Cox’s apples and pears presented by Mr P.T.S. Brook.  The Captain made an appeal to the members to support the R.A.F. Fund; then Mr Petley’s great auctioneering, plus the quality of Mr Brook’s apples, brought in the fine total of £220, all of which goes to the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.  Mention was made in successive Committee Meetings of the need for the Command Land Agent for help in restoring the damage caused by the Army to the entrance from Littlebourne Road and the defence works on the 4 th hole.  This was to continue as a topic for some time.

Subscriptions were fixed in September 1945 as follows:

Men                               £7.7.0

Country Members         £5.5.0

Ladies                            £4.4.0

Non Playing                   £2.0.0

It is interesting to note that the first subscription in 1927 was £5.5.0!

During 1946 the Club began the lengthy process of re-establishing the activities of the membership and the calendar of competitions commenced with a match between the President’s Team and the Captain’s Team in April. The Pilgrims’ Cup was won by P.T.S. Brook whose membership began in 1927 and who became President in 1967.  Mention was first made of the creation of a new 14 th green (the present green).  At a meeting on 21 st of February it was agreed that the Kent Amateur Championship should be held at Canterbury on 4 th , 5 th and 6 th October.

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