Clean & placing ball on fairways.
Plugged ball through the green can be lifted, cleaned and dropped.
Light spiking and top dressing this week
Stimpmeter Reading: 8 (1st April)
Much of the history of a golf club is reflected in the competition trophies and Brancepeth is fortunate in having an extensive collection introduced at various stages of the Club’s history. In the case of the oldest trophies, it has not always been possible to obtain full information on the donors and some existing members who have recently given trophies have indicated that they do not wish to be the subject of detailed notes.
The Abel and Vaux Trophies are both silver bowls and are played on the same day, the Abel being awarded for the best gross score and the Vaux for the best nett score in a medal competition.
The first competition for the Vaux Bowl was held in 1927 and the trophy was donated by a member of the famous Sunderland brewing family - Miss Vaux, who was a very early member of the ladies section at Brancepeth. Apart from this it has not proved possible to discover anything further about this trophy.
The Abel Trophy was donated by Arthur Abel, CBE, and was first awarded in 1972. He joined Brancepeth in 1928 and soon achieved a handicap of one, playing for Durham County on many occasions - on his last appearance for the County he found himself playing against the son of an earlier opponent. Within the Club one of his most notable achievements was to win, with his son Alan, a special trophy donated by the Club Captain Ritchie Shaw in 1953. The Trophy was given to mark the Queen’s Coronation and took the form of twelve cut glass coronation goblets to be awarded for the best score in a 36 hole 4 ball better ball competition - the father and son combination returned a remarkable score of four pars and fourteen birdies in one round with father contributing ten of the birdies including four 2’s.
Brancepeth Castle Golf Club are rightly proud of the association with one of the greatest course architects of all time. Recent articles on Brancepeth in two of the leading UK golf magazines have prompted enquiries and visits from golfers worldwide and it is clear that it is Harry Colt’s name that has drawn people to the course. Perhaps the ultimate accolade to his work was provided by a visit from the Harry Colt Appreciation Society - a group of people who play only on courses designed by the great man!
Arthur Abel was employed as Treasurer by Durham County Council and this provided him with skills and experience which were invaluable during the many years that he was involved in the administration of the Club. He was Captain from 1960 to 1962 and during his Captaincy negotiated the purchase of the land and buildings from the Duke of Westminster’s estate - the deal included additional land to the North of the bridge at the 9th which was vital if the hole was to continue to be played from the original tee. He also negotiated on behalf of the Club the financial settlement with the National Coal Board for the extensive damage caused by underground mining.
In relation to the management of the Club, he was responsible for the introduction of the rule which allowed someone other than the Captain to Chair the Management Committee, an important change which resulted in the Club being run in a much more business-like manner.
In relation to the course, Arthur Abel was the prime mover in changing the layout in the early 60’s. Making the course easier for members to walk was a good idea but not successful in practice and much to the relief of the majority of members, it was soon returned to the original Harry Colt layout. A more successful change that he was responsible for was the introduction of the rule banning dogs from Club premises. It was an unpopular move because many members went on regular shoots and owned several dogs. It was not uncommon to see six or more dogs with a single match. They frequently used the pins as lamp posts and they would sight a hare or pick up a scent and disappear into the distance. After much disturbance from shouting and whistling, some unfortunate caddy would be dispatched to retrieve them.
In the 75th Anniversary year, a new trophy was donated and is awarded to the player with the best nett score over any 5 medal rounds. The trophy is to be named the Anmand VC Trophy in honour of Captain Richard Annand VC, who has been a member of the Club for many years. Richard Annand was the first soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Second World War and he is the only survivor from eleven members of the Durham Light Infantry to have won the supreme decoration. The citation which appeared in the London Gazette is reproduced below:
Second-Lieutenant Richard Wallace Annand
Durham Light Infantry, Supplementary Reserve
“For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15th -16th May, 1940, when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 am. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second-Lieutenant Annand attacked this party but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. Reaching the top of the bridge, he drove out the party below inflicting over 20 casualties with hand grenades. Having been wounded, he re-joined his platoon, had his wound dressed and then carried on in command. During the evening another attack was launched and again Second-Lieutenant Annand went forward with hand grenades and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. When the order to withdraw was received he withdrew his platoon, but learning on the way back that his batman was wounded and had been left behind, he returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheel-barrow before losing consciousness as a result of his wounds.”
For obvious reasons the newspapers christened Richard Annand the “Wheelbarrow VC” and the trophy to be awarded in his name takes the form of a silver wheelbarrow mounted on a rosewood plinth.
Dan Mooney, an overseas member and resident of Austin, Texas, donated the Bob Marley Trophy to Brancepeth Castle Golf Club in 2015, the year Bob died.
Dan originally joined our club in 1975 was a long standing friend of Bob Marley. He thought it fitting that we should remember Bob by competing annually for a Trophy in his name.
The trophy is presented to the golfer, aged over 55 years, who returns the best 36 hole gross score in the Lady Boyne and be a permanent and appropriate tribute to Bob Marley.
The Brancepeth Boar is the premier competition in the Club being awarded to the Club Champion, decided on the basis of a 36 hole scratch medal play event. The splendid trophy which takes the form of a bronze boar mounted on a plinth was donated by the Committee and first awarded in 1928. Entry to the Club Championship is open to all players with handicaps of 6 and less but other players must qualify to take part through one of two medal competitions.
The Brancepeth Quaich was presented to the Golf Club by Alan Dufton in 1997 in appreciation of his membership of the Club and as a trophy to be competed for by mid-week members.
The word Quaich is rendered from the Gaelic word Quach meaning a cup. It was originally used for dispensing whisky or brandy by proud clan chiefs as a welcoming or farewell gesture of friendship and has retained its simple and unique shape throughout the ages.
Today in Scotland, the country recognised as the home of golf, Quaichs can be found in almost every golf club where they are always prominently displayed and given as trophies for competitions. Originally built out of wood with two flat handles, for giving and receiving, they are nowadays usually mounted in silver. A more elaborate or romantic example often had a double glass bottom in which was kept a lock of hair so the owner could drink to his lady love. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews has adopted the historic ‘cup’ as a symbol of goodwill to golfers around the world ensuring that the Quaich is held in high esteem wherever golf is played.
Golf memorabilia awarded to celebrate particular occasions or achievements come in a variety of designs but there is nothing more simple or beautiful than a Quaich. In 1931 the Open Champion Tommy Armour presented to Carnoustie Golf Club gold inlaid Quaich to commemorate his victory over their famous links course. Measuring 14 inches in diameter and standing 8 inches high it occupies pride of place in the club house. In present day Open Championships the ‘Runner Up’ receives a Quaich in recognition of taking part in the game’s greatest tournament.
The Brancepeth 900 trophy is a medal competition first held in 1985 to mark what was then thought to be the 900th Anniversary of the establishment of St. Brandon’s Church which adjoins the 18th fairway. A disastrous fire in September 1998 destroyed the interior of the church which has, nevertheless, been beautifully rebuilt. In the aftermath of the fire, evidence has been unearthed to suggest that the site of the Church has been used for Christian worship for much more than 900 years.
The Charles Gadd Trophy is named in honour of the first professional at Brancepeth who joined the Club when it opened in 1924 and remained until his death in 1939 as a result of injuries sustained in the First World War. Elsewhere, his younger brother Bert has written about Charles’ golfing prowess and a third brother George was also a professional golfer. In fact George travelled to America as part of the first Ryder Cup team but was not picked to play. The trophy is awarded to the winners of a 4 ball better ball club competition and takes the form of a hickory shafted driver mounted on a plinth.
This silver cup was donated by Charles Meikle and the first competition was held in 1972. Charles or Charlie as he was most often known was Captain of the Club from 1958 - 1960 and a member at Brancepeth for many years. He was a prominent solicitor in the area being senior partner in Meikle Skene & Co. who had offices in Spennymoor, Sedgefield and Durham. After the Brancepeth Boar, the Meikle Cup is the most important men’s event in the Club, being a match play knock-out competition which attracts a large entry.
The Coronation and K T Thompson Cups are played at the same time, as 18 hole medal competitions, the Coronation Cup being awarded for the best nett score. The trophy is a silver cup and was instituted in 1937 to mark the Coronation of King George VI, whose widow Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has strong links with the North East region.
The Crawley Dickinson Cup was donated by Leonard Crawley and A.H. Dickinson and is played for in an Open event which was first held in 1931 and attracts entries from a wide area. Leonard Crawley is dealt with in other sections of this booklet and these notes therefore concentrate on the other half of the partnership which donated this major trophy.
Alfred Harold Dickinson was Captain of Brancepeth from 1947 - 1950 at which time he was said to be very influential in the affairs of the Club. Although not thought to be a founder member, he joined very early in the Club’s history and it is believed that he came to Brancepeth from Wearside as one of a group of members from the Sunderland area with connections to the shipbuilding industry. He was a grandson of the founder of John Dickinson and Sons, a marine engineering company in Sunderland which was bought by the North Eastern Marine Engineering Co and eventually became part of the William Doxford Company.
During the First World War, AH Dickinson served in the Royal Flying Corps and in the Second War he was very active in the Home Guard. Although he was regarded as a very fine golfer and represented Durham County, he did not win a major County trophy but was very active in the County Golf Union, serving as president and team captain. He was also a member of the R & A.
Harold Dickinson’s home was The Lodge in Lanchester and he died in December 1952 at the age of 55. By an amazing coincidence, another person with the name A H, (Tony) Dickinson was prominent in golf in the North East at the same time as Harold Dickinson. The former trained as a lawyer and eventually became senior partner in Ingledews, a Newcastle legal practice which is now part of the major national company Eversheds. At the age of 97 Tony Dickinson is still involved with Eversheds and is an honorary member at Northumberland Golf Club.
In 1937 a silver goblet was donated to be competed for in the only men’s foursomes event in the club. The trophy is known as the Charles Crawley Memorial Foursomes but unfortunately it has not proved possible to establish the assumed relationship between Charles, Kenneth and Leonard Crawley.
The DLI Cup is a silver trophy awarded to the winners of the Summer 4 BBB knock-out competition which attracts a very large entry. The cup was formally awarded as a shooting trophy in the Durham Light Infantry and bears the following inscription:
The first soldier to win the shooting trophy was Sgt. T Bell of ’D’ Coy in 1924 and the last recorded was Sgt. E. Harvey, also of ‘D’ Coy in 1935. In recognition of the long association between the DLI and the Golf Club, the cup was donated to the Club in 1985.
The format for the Jack Hill trophy a silver bowl, is somewhat unusual in that there are two qualifying medal competitions from each of which 16 players go forward to a knock out competition in which the matches are also played on a medal basis. The first competition was held in 1987 the year after Jack died. He was another great stalwart at Brancepeth, serving as Captain in 1980/81 and as a member of the Management Committee where his background as an accountant was invaluable. On the golf course Jack will be chiefly remembered for two things, his pipe and his manner of addressing the ball. When things became tense on the course, which was often the case, for Jack was a great competitor, the pipe could be used to emphasise a point and many is the remark which has been made through teeth clenched so tightly round the beloved briar that speech ought to have been impossible. The sight of Jack addressing the ball was something to behold. One of his “friends” once remarked that he resembled a man trying to strangle a rattlesnake while another, a very recent Captain and lifelong friend of Jack, was heard to say that no-one subjected to the rack during the Spanish Inquisition ever endured torture to compare with that which Jack underwent when addressing a golf ball.
In addition to the golf club, Jack Hill was also a stalwart at the Rowing and Rugby Clubs in Durham as well as being a Chorister at St Margaret’s Church. He was a great supporter of Sunderland Football Club and a Durham man through and through. It was therefore very sad that he died suddenly shortly after moving to Leicester through his work as a District Auditor.
The Joe Simpson Salver is a 4 ball better ball competition which was first held in 1963. Joe Simpson was a former Secretary at Brancepeth and a Past Captain (1950 - 52). He was noted for being careful with his own money as well as a punctilious steward of the Club’s affairs. In his later year,s Joe was liable to give himself putts without reference to his opponents. He was employed as Station Master at Durham in the days when that was a very prestigious position. It is reputed, although it may be an apocryphal story, that if golfers arrived at Durham Station on the way to Brancepeth and no connecting train was due, Joe would mobilise one of Durham’s tank engines and a coach and run a special train for them.
There is a tragic connection with Joe Simpson in that his son Roland, who was finance director at Hugh Mackay Carpets, collapsed and died on the 12th tee while playing in his father’s trophy.
These trophies, both silver cups, are played at the same time under medal play conditions. However in this case entry is restricted to members who have won a medal competition during the course of the season, the Shoesmith Cup being for Division 1 (handicap 0-12) and the Kirton Cup for Division 2 (handicap 13-18).
The first competition was held in 1971 the year that Hugh Kirton handed over the Captaincy to Bill Shoesmith. Hugh Kirton was an accountant who was employed as finance director by Proctor and Gamble and Bill Shoesmith was a Civil Engineer and Managing Director of Holst a company well known for work in structural concrete and responsible for building the Kingsgate Bridge from the Bailey to New Elvet in Durham City. Both took a big part in running the Golf Club at a difficult time when membership was low and the club as a whole was struggling. Between them they loaned the golf club a substantial sum of money to help to ensure its survival and both were involved at the time that the enlightened decision to buy the club for £14,500 on behalf of the members was taken in 1961. Even allowing for inflation this has to be the bargain of the century.
The K T Thomson and Coronation Cups are also played at the same time as 18 hole medal competitions, the former being awarded for the best gross score and the latter for the best nett. Both trophies are silver cups and the Coronation Cup was instituted in 1937 to mark the Coronation of King George VI whose widow Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has strong links with the North East region.
The K T Thomson Cup was first awarded in 1971 and is named after a former member who was a Past Captain of the Scottish Amateur Team and County Champion of Durham when in his fifties. His son was a past professional at Ganton Golf Club near Scarborough.
The Lady Boyne Cup was donated by Lord Boyne in 1925 and takes the form of a silver cup. It is awarded to the best nett score over 36 holes in the Club Championship.
This trophy was donated by Michael Larnach in 1974, the year in which he was Captain of the Club and the same year that he celebrated 25 years of membership. Michael began his golfing career at Crook where his Father and Mother were also members - later all three became members at Brancepeth. As a young man he played golf at the highest level competing with distinction at both County and National level and achieving a handicap of 1. For some years he was also a member at Durham City (Mount Oswald) where he played for the North Durham league team until Brancepeth gained admission to the league - something which Michael himself initiated.
As a student Michael played for the scratch team at the University of Leeds where he gained a degree in Law before qualifying as a Solicitor. He eventually became Senior Partner at the old established firm of Wilson Maddison in Durham City, taking over from another former Captain of Brancepeth, J.T. Todd. Michael lived very close to the Club in the house which was formerly occupied by Lord Boyne's agent - he was one of Brancepeth’s most staunch members playing regularly with a somewhat motley group of friends, sometimes known as the “Mafia”.
As noted earlier, Leonard Crawley was a former English Amateur Champion and golf correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. It is said that his reports on golf tournaments were not always based on personal observation of play - he would establish court in the club house and summon competitors to him to be interrogated on their performance. Leonard Crawley was one of two former Brancepeth members to win the English Amateur Championship, his success coming at Hunstanton in 1931. The other is Harry Ashby who won the trophy in 1972 and 1973 and was briefly a member of Brancepeth in the 1970's. A meeting between the two took place in 1972 and the occasion is recorded in a photograph which hangs in the Clubhouse.
As the name implies, the trophy for this competition, a 36 hole open amateur scratch event, is a silver medal. The trophy was instigated by Tom Flowers and was first awarded in 1985, the year in which he completed his Captaincy of the Club. Through his hard work and enthusiasm, Tom succeeded in assembling some high quality fields, including Walker Cup players, home internationals and county players from all over the North of England. Tom later became Chairman of the Management Committee and worked tirelessly to advance the cause of Brancepeth. His formidable energies are now employed in establishing the Ramside Golf Club and as a member of the Executive of the Durham County Golf Union.
In 1936 Major H.E. Morritt gave a silver tankard to be competed for in a 4 ball better ball invitation event. He subsequently became Captain of the Club in 1938 serving until 1945 and is thus the longest serving Captain.
Major Morritt served in the First World War and was carried from the battlefield suffering from frostbite. In a field hospital nurses placed hot water bottles on his feet and forgot about him resulting in damage to the soles of his feet from which he suffered for the rest of his life. In later years he became very arthritic and had his fingers broken and reset so that he could continue with his great interests of golf, fishing and painting.
He produced the self-portrait and picture of former secretary Rex Knothe which hang in the corridor outside the dining room. Major Morritt’s family home was in Greta Bridge where the name is remembered in the Morritt Arms Hotel.
The Past Captains Trophy is a glass claret jug which is played for annually by all Past-Captains in an 18 hole stableford competition.
Richard Ramm was born in 1964 and died in 1980 as a result of a car accident at Sacriston. He had been to South Moor Golf Club with Brancepeth Professional Steve Angell where Steve had taken part in a competition with Richard as his caddie.
He was educated at Brandon Junior School, then Whinney Hill and finally Framwellgate Moor Comprehensive School. Richard played at both Brancepeth and Durham City, was runner up in the County Junior Championship in 1979 and played for the County Juniors off a county handicap of 4 and a domestic handicap of 2 at Brancepeth. The possibility of him becoming assistant professional at Brancepeth had been discussed.
Following Richard’s death, his mother and father donated the trophy which was first played for in 1981 and is awarded for the best 18 hole nett score in the Club Championship.
Neil Scott donated a silver goblet in 1997 to be awarded to the player with the best aggregate gross score over 5 medal competitions in a season. Brought up in Wooler in Northumberland, Neil was an enthusiastic, some would say fanatical, golfer for over 50 years being prepared to play in all conditions except deep snow. He was a member at Durham City (Mount Oswald) for many years and a regular member of the North Durham League Team. Shortly after Durham City re-located to Littleburn in 1974, he moved to Brancepeth on the argument that, by the time the new course was established, he might not be playing golf, but continued to play as well as ever for over 25 years.
Through his work as a clothing manufacturer’s agent, Neil travelled a great deal and has played golf in most parts of Britain building up a fund of stories which he was happy to pass on to anyone who would listen, the operative word being listen.
As well as deriving enormous pleasure from golf Neil Scott also put a lot back into the game . He was one of the moving forces behind the Northumberland and Durham Alliance since the late fifties, serving as Secretary, Assistant Secretary and finally as President. He was also Chairman of the Greens Committee at Brancepeth, a job he approached in his usual determined and meticulous manner.
The Storey Cup began as the only bogey singles competition in the Club but is now played as a 4 ball better ball competition. Samuel Storey was a founder member of the Club and the first competition for his cup was held in 1924 but it has not proved possible to discover anything further about him. His name appears in the very earliest minutes of the House Committee and it seems that in the first year of the Club’s existence one of the main functions of this Committee was to decide how many cases of Cockburn’s Port to order.
The very beautiful silver trophy is modelled on a Roman Urn which was excavated at Backworth in Northumberland in 1911 along with other artefacts including coins and jewellery. They are now in the British Museum and all are believed to date from about 150 A.D. The reproduction urn which Storey gave was purchased from Reid and Sons of Blackett Street in Newcastle who are still in business on the same site.
At the Seniors Section Annual General Meeting in 2007, the members decided to replace the annual Pairs Competition, which had not been held for a number of years due to lack of interest, with an Autumn Singles Stableford Competition. They also agreed that this would be a “Board” competition and that a trophy be acquired for the event.
In recognition of the significant contribution the late Tom Shepherd, a Past-Captain, had made to the success of the Seniors Section by organising and running all the competitions and the Seniors Opens over many years, the members agreed that the trophy should be named in his memory.
The competition is now an established fixture in the Seniors Calendar and is well supported by the members.
This cup is a 4 ball better ball competition played between October and March each year.
This cup is again played over the winter months between October and March. It takes the form of separate leagues, depending on number of entries, where each team of two play each other in a four ball better ball format. The winners of each league then play off in a knock-out format to decide the overall winner.