Echoes of the past: Golf club had its ups and downs

Some of the clubs members in the summer of 1992
Some of the clubs members in the summer of 1992

On March 16, 1903 at the Rastrick Constitutional Club a meeting was held where it was agreed to pay Arthur Travis Clay an annual rent of £7 for use of some land known as Rosemary Park for the use as a new golf club which would be called Castle Fields Golf Club.

To ensure the new club if it closed down could not put the land to development use, a clause was inserted into the contract showing that the club could only sublet the land for the grazing of sheep and no other purpose if such a situation ever arrived.

After six weeks’ hard work the field had been made ready for play and by the end of the year the first knockout competition was held. The early members were very much a who’s who from the district with the local vicar, two doctors, one solicitor and six businessmen with some of their wives and a number of other ladies. Three of the gentlemen were members of the Brighouse Council, all Conservatives. In the early days the minutes indicate membership was by invitation only.

Like many other clubs Castle Fields had its ups and downs. Three years after the club started the annual accounts indicted it was thriving and by the First World War the club had forty members on its books.

The war years took its toll, with many resignations which inevitably created financial difficulties for the club. In an effort to try and help the club through these difficult times subscriptions were suspended for those members who were serving the colours during the war. Whilst this did help, by 1917 matters became so bad that consideration was even given to the club folding, although the situation did improve. At the 1918 AGM only four people turned up and three of those were from the same family. The club did survive and by 1924 membership had grown to 48. It was the Reverend E Norman Langham and his family who had led the club into this vastly improved position. Following his retirement at Rastrick Grammar School in the same year and indicating his intention to move to the South Coast, he resigned his position as president at the golf club.

Things were much improved during the Second World War with the membership having grown to 75 by 1945. Two years later the club proposed and nominated their first Captain – W ‘Bill’ Lumb with Eddie Collins agreeing to serve as vice captain.

Being one of the smallest golf courses in England, Castlefields (as it is now written) is a challenging and thought-provoking course. The varied contours around the small, but excellently maintained, greens require many different types of shot

In this photograph taken in the summer of 1992 are some of the members of the club. In 2003 the club celebrated its centenary with the publication of a small book which gives the history of this small picturesque golf course tucked away in Rastrick.

For further information about the club, look at the club’s website www.castlefieldsgolfclub.co.uk.