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The Stroud Community Web is an online news and information source for Stroud and surrounding communities. An initiative and ongoing project of Stroud Lions Club.

The Obstacle Golf Course

A Story By Beryl Bowden

When I started to play golf as a teenager in the late 1930’s the golf course was situated on the town Common, a tract of land given by the Australian Agricultural Society to the people of Stroud for their use. Most homes were built on blocks too small to accommodate a horse or cow so the A A Co.’s gesture enabled the householders to run the animals on the Common, for a small fee. One of my jobs – before and after school – was to bring the cow home to be milked in the evening and to return her to the Common next day. This was a very good arrangement for the animal owners but not so convenient for the golfers.

The presence of livestock wandering around, necessitated having two strand wire fences round the greens to protect them. Male partners averted their gaze as they assisted their female counterparts to climb through by holding the strands of wire apart. Slacks were unheard of but a garment called culottes – a mixture of skirt and shorts-went some way to stem our maidenly blushes. When being worn they looked very much like a skirt but allowed much more freedom of movement.

When playing the first and second holes of the nine-hole course one had to negotiate a large dam. At weekends when most of the golf was played, a fringe of enterprising little boys with their shoes off and pants rolled up patrolled the edges of the dam. As soon as a ball hit the water they plunged in, toes searching the muddy bottom for the prize. The golfers encouraged the boys as it was much cheaper to give them a penny (one cent) to retrieve the lost ball than to pay a shilling (ten cents) for one to replace it. One day I saw a young Stroud chap, anxious to impress a Sydney girl, take three new balls out of his bag and hit them, in quick succession, into the dam. He was most appreciative of the young boys’ efforts to recover them.

We usually played mixed foursome on Saturday afternoons. I often played with Mr Street, a local shop owner. One day we were having a lot of trouble on one particular hole trying to keep our ball on the green. Having just succeeded in finally getting it in the hole we were asked by another group who were playing past” How are you going?” Mr Street replied. “We are going very nicely thank you. We have just had three pars”. “Three pars” said the other most impressed.” You must both be playing well!”

“Unfortunately” said Mr Street, “We had them all on the one hole!!”

We had a nine on a three-par hole!

Eventually the golf course was moved to a more suitable location- minus the livestock. It is now… along with a bowling green… an essential part of the Stroud Country Club situated at the northern end of the town.

Schoolboy Tony was ‘caddying’ for his father one Sunday morning at the ‘new’ course. Lloyd placed the ball on the tee in readiness to hitting off. After a few ‘practice’ swings he gave it an almighty whack! To their astonishment the ball flew into two pieces…one half went soaring down the right side of the fairway and the other the left!

 

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