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With few members to look after in the early days there was little to do in the way of repairs or shop-work and part of my duties entailed tending to the hot water boiler and keeping an eye on the radiators in the clubhouse. My pay was five shillings a week (25p). There was plenty of time for practise and I was able to get out on the course quite frequently – mostly on my own, as there was little opportunity to play with members. I was officially scratch by the age of sixteen and I felt that my game was coming together well, but I had to wait some considerable time to test it in competition – quite a few years in fact. Although I enjoyed being at Brancepeth, I began to feel that my progress as a competitive player was being held back. As for teaching, there was scarcely enough for Charles to keep his hand in so I gained no experience to speak of. At times there was so little to do that I became thoroughly bored and felt that I was wasting my time and getting nowhere fast.

My best friend was Jack Dawson, one of the locals, who was apprenticed to a Stonemason and in the same frame of mind. We had seen a notice in the national press asking for volunteers for the Canadian North West Mounted Police and we sent off for the application forms, duly completed them and returned them to the London Office. We were devastated when they were returned for parental consent – we had not read the small print. Again my ambitions were thwarted just as they had been a few years earlier. Whether or not I would have had the same measure of success in the Navy or the Mounties as I did in the golf profession is something we shall never know.

Chas H Gadd:  Professional Golfer & Golf Club MakerCharles was a fine player who made his mark in the local events held throughout Northumberland and Durham, winning most of the trophies to be played for. He was a courageous man and made light of the war wound, which shattered his left leg below the knee. It took half an hour each morning to bandage his leg before putting on the specially made boots he had to wear. The ravines of Brancepeth were a real and painful problem to him - nevertheless, it was at his home course that he had his greatest triumph, winning the 72-hole Northern Professional Championship in 1930 with a score of 294. [The field he defeated contained four Ryder Cup players-one of them an Open Champion.] In 1935 he had a round of 63, still the lowest score to be recorded at Brancepeth at the time of writing, but it was not an official competition and therefore did not qualify as the course record. Had he not had the disability I am sure that Charles would have been a force in major competition.

Charles H. Gadd, Brancepath CastleOne of his pupils was the most famous member of the club, Leonard Crawley, known as “L. G.” His father was the agent for Lord Boyne, whose land the course occupied, and the family lived in the ‘big house’ above the village. L. G. was a Cambridge ‘Blue’ and the whole Varsity team frequently joined him when he came home to play at Brancepeth. He was not only one of our finest amateur golfers, but played cricket for the MCC in the West Indies, for the Gentlemen v Players at Lords in 1932 and scored several first class centuries. Guy Morgan, a Cambridge and Glamorgan medium pace bowler, once said that the only way to bowl at L. G. was to “let it go from thirty yards and hide behind the umpire”. He was also an excellent shot, ice skater and tennis player - a real all-rounder. L. G. attained some of the highest honours in golf and played four times in the Walker Cup between 1932 and 1947. (It was he who lost those nine balls in an early match at Brancepeth). This very talented ball striker was known to accomplish the long carry over the ravine at the 18th – with his putter!

“Mr Leonard Crawley seems to have all the attributes to make him one of the players of the world”, wrote the famous amateur golfer, author and golf correspondent Bernard Darwin, the grandson of Charles Darwin. (Bernard Darwin was a founder member of Aberdovey, where Charles had been pro before he enlisted in1914).