On 24th May 1913, a public meeting was held to establish a golf club at Tynemouth. The course was laid out on the old lands of Spital Dene Farm, owned by the Duke of Northumberland. The original course consisted of only 15 holes and was designed by Mr. Willie Park Jr., a renowned Scottish golfer and course architect.
The former farm buildings which stood nearby provided the players with basic facilities and were also used for staff accommodation.
Although the club was established in 1913, it was not until August 1914 when it opened for play. At this time, the cost of green fees was two shillings per day or £1 for a 4-week ticket. Play was not permitted on Sundays until October 1918.
With the outbreak of the Great War of 1914-18, part of the war effort allowed for the land occupied by the course to be let out for grazing – a necessary inconvenience which avoided having to plough up the newly-laid fairways and brought in an additional income of £20 per year.
In those days, the course consisted of just 15 holes, so in order to make up a full 18-hole round, holes 1-3 were played again as the 16th, 17th and 18th. This often led to congestion on those tees so it was decided that efforts should be made to acquire more farmland for the final three holes.
The nearby tenant farmers were unwilling to release any of their prime land to cater for this, but in 1936, on the death of one of the tenants, the club managed to secure an extra 10 acre field to extend the course.
In 1938, the course was redesigned by another renowned Scottish golfer, Mr James Braid. Due to the outbreak of World War 2, legal delays were encountered and the new field was therefore requisitioned for agricultural purposes.
Although the old farm buildings had served the club well, it was recognised that a new club house was needed and this was opened in January 1940.
The war of course interrupted the running of the club, and members once again had to share the existing fairways with sheep and cattle, although they managed to negotiate their way out of having the entire site ploughed up for agriculture. It was not until 1952 that the club was able to open up with a new and full 18-hole course.
The last major reconstruction of the course came in 1957/58 when a further 15-acre field on the north-west boundary became available. Holes on the northern part of the course were extended and re-sited to form the layout which exists today. Many other improvements to the course have been made since the 1950s, including refreshing bunkers and planting additional trees.
Tynemouth Golf Club celebrates its centenary this year, and with a long history and thriving membership the club continues to move forward into the future.
by Charlie Steel © 2013
His published books include ‘Monkseaton Village Vol. 1’ and ‘Monkseaton Village Vol. 2’, both of which are available from most local booksellers.