My first real experience of ‘competitive’ golf was courtesy of the Ipswich Artisans Club, who made a special concession and allowed me to become a member at fourteen years of age, rather than the minimum of sixteen that normally applied. I duly put in my three cards and was given a handicap of 16. I responded to this by winning the first competition I played in and was promptly cut to 12. No messing about in those days! Entrance fees were around 3d – and the prize for winning was a golf ball. That first golf ball was very special to me and I didn’t use it for weeks. My progress was fairly rapid and I won several more Artisans’ competitions. At the end of the year I was down to 4 – and I can tell you, I didn’t win much off that mark. The competitions took place with the concurrence of the parent club – the Ipswich Golf Club, then located at Rushmere Heath, who gave Artisan members free use of the course starting before 8.30am and after 6 p.m. These times had to be strictly observed, but the arrangement worked very well and I can never remember any problems arising. Ipswich was a very happy club and I was sorry indeed when, all too soon, the time came to leave.
Three years later the club moved to their present home at Purdis Heath. The new course, designed by James Braid, was officially opened in 1928 by Braid himself, playing in an exhibition fourball with Abe Mitchell, J. H. Taylor and a promising 21-year-old named Henry Cotton.
[In 1913, when pro at Aberdovey, Charles Gadd had played in a match at Machynlleth, then in Montgomeryshire, in which he partnered J. H. Taylor, (the Open Champion of that year), against James Braid and Ernest Lewis (Aberystwyth). The match finished all square.]