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Chapter 18  Epilogue

After my health started to deteriorate I had to cut back on my golf, but I continued to play until shortly before my ninetieth birthday. My final handicap was 9. I had fifteen years playing as an amateur; starting sixty years after I began my professional career; a bit unusual – most pros do it the other way round. It was over eighty years since I first swung a club in that Malvern lane. I cannot begin to estimate the number of shots I played, but it must run into a few million and remarkably I can only remember having one injury. These days injuries seem to be far more common and Physios travel with the tour to treat the players on a daily basis. They were not so available in my day but when I did suffer an injury to my hand I got help from an unusual quarter. When I was based on Merseyside the local pros were in the habit of going to the Liverpool Stadium to watch the boxing after we finished playing. I mentioned my problem to the man who treated the boxers, who naturally knew a bit about hand injuries. With a few manipulations my hand was as good as new.

Bert Gadd shows how to play the 2-ironI may have been lucky to avoid injuries, but I believe that my longevity in the games of golf – and life, was greatly assisted by a decision I made in 1948. I can easily remember the year because it was the last time this country had the Olympics, which we are now bidding to stage in London again in 2012. [Confirmed in 2005] My decision was to give up the 20-40 cigarettes a day that I had smoked since my youth, apart from the times I resorted to a pipe (See the cartoon on p.137 and the photo at the Penfold Tournament in 1938 (p.91)). We nearly all smoked back then; Fags were less than four bob (20p) a packet, so it was not the financial burden it is now and there was no suggestion that it was seriously damaging your health, indeed before the war an advert for Kensitas Mild, “endorsed by leading artistes of radio stage screen and opera”, had used the caption: 'Just what the Doctor ordered'. A survey of London GPs had revealed that 84% recommended the mild brand because it was kinder on your throat. Maybe so, but I knew that they were doing me no good.

Bert Gadd with the golf correspondent of An alternative offered in those days was Dr J. C. Murray’s Ozonised Snuff – “A grand snuff tobacco impregnated with ozone during manufacture”, as the adverts told us.  You have already seen cigarette cards picturing my brother George and I was featured on a Player’s card myself. You will see collages of cards picturing leading players of the past in golf clubs around the country and in 1996 the golf correspondent of the Ellesmere Port Standard, Jean Brown, presented the club with one that featured me and a number of my contemporaries, including Sam King, Jimmy Adams, Percy Alliss, Archie Compston, Aubrey Boomer, Abe Mitchell, Charles Whitcombe, Reg Whitcombe, Arthur Lacey, Alf Padgham, Bill Davies, George Duncan and Bill Branch– a lovely gesture to remind me of old times whenever I sat in the bar at Ellesmere Port.

In 1998 Nailcote Hall in Warwickshire revived the British Short Course championship on the superb Cromwell par-3 course in the grounds of the hotel. As a 24-year-old I had played in that event, held in Torquay in 1933, coming third and creating an 18-hole course record of 47. The venue for that original tournament, which lasted until 1973, was the small course at the resort’s Palace Hotel and the winner was Alf Padgham, the 1936 Open Champion, who completed a Torquay double, having already won the 36-hole tournament played on the Torquay and South Devon course at Petitor. In that event I was joint second with Charlie Ward, a stroke behind the winner.

At the Short Course Championship Alf ‘s prize was brought to him in a wheelbarrow - £30 in coppers. When I told them about this Nailcote revived the tradition by presenting the current champion with £5000 in £1 coins – in a wheelbarrow.  In the second year of the