Thursday 22 April 2010

Golf & the countryside, 1960s

The Ford Consul Cortina Mark 1 was introduced in 1962, with the 1500 super estate version - complete with American-style mock wood panelling - following in March of the following year. This was an appropriate vehicle for Mr Middle Manager to be seen driving to his local golf club at the weekends.

The craze for golf spread to the middle classes in England at the end of the nineteenth century and a flurry of courses began to appear alongside the new suburban villas close to larger towns and cities. Some subsequently disappeared beneath further inexorable housing development but the second half of the twentieth century brought widening popularity to the game and the creation of hundreds of new courses in rural or semi-rural locations. The Dunham Forest Club, for example, is within 30 minutes drive of both Manchester and Liverpool city centres and was formed in 1960 out of wooded parkland that had formerly been part of the Earl of Stamford's estate. It was a process of suburbanising the countryside that still continues.

This is a Hole-in-One golf cup (the top should be cradling the ball) that was awarded to Albert Goodsell for a hole in one at the 190 yard sixth hole of the Chesterfield Golf Club on 6th July 1969. The club's history is not untypical. It was founded in 1897 and moved to its present site on the outskirts of Chesterfield in 1906. It was then only nine holes but in the later 1920s the neighbouring Yew Tree Farm was acquired and a further nine holes added. Selling farmland for conversion to golfing fairways was one possible option for beleaguered estate owners during the inter-war agricultural depression.

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