When I was a little girl, along with my two brothers and two sisters we lived at Sherwood Golf Club. My dad John Harry Vamplew, known as George was the green keeper, he had previously been at Seacroft Golf Club, in Skegness.
In those early days the greens at Sherwood Golf Club were cut with a grass mower, the type you pushed. The grass was cut in neat lines and dad always carried a little pair of scissors in his pocket to trim round the holes.
A horse called ‘Violet’ was used to drag a chain harrow over the fairways and to pull a trailer full of sand to put in the bunkers.
When there had been a heavy dew the greens were brushed with two six foot canes swishing them from side to side to sweep the dew off. Dad often used to scythe the long grass, he had a good knowledge of grasses and was in regular contact with seed merchants such as Ryder Seeds (Ryder Cup).
Neat and Tidy
The front of the golf house was always kept neat and tidy, we had to play at the back. I remember one year after bonfire night there were bits of fireworks all over the place, we children were all sent out to pick the bits up.
The golf course used to be ‘holy ground’ with the caddy lads kept behind the shed. They would sometimes hide from a golfer who they knew didn’t pay very well.
I can recall professional golfers by the name of Rowland Tunbridge and Jock Ballentine who I believe he had been at Clipstone Camp.
My mother, Margaret Annie Vamplew was the stewardess and did the catering. It was hard work. She did the cooking on a big kitchen range with ovens at the side. A big black kettle hung over the fire. Eventually she had an oil stove with three burners, she made scones on these. Water had to be pumped from a well situated at the lowest part of the course, up to an open tank near the back kitchen. We all learnt how to do this.
On Sunday in the dining room it was boiled eggs, bread, butter and jam for the golfers. Two girls would help and wait on, and we did this when we were old enough. I remember my sister Evelyn and her friend Gladys Holmes helping in the dining room.
In the cellar there were cases of spirits and beer. These were delivered from R L Jones Wine Merchants in Mansfield. The driver was Freddy Newton who at one time had lived at Crown Farm. Mum would often send us children to fetch things from the cellar.
Mum also used to go and fetch the wages for the three men who worked on the course, Mr Whyles, Mr White and Mr Fox. She would walk up the Lane and catch the tram to Mansfield.
Playing and Gathering Fruit
As children living at the Golf House we had a lot of fun, we had so much ground to play on and the forest, the kids from Crown Farm would come down to play. They were happy times. If there was any bread and butter left from the golfers teas, mum would put jam on it for us and off we would go for a picnic. Mum always found time to play with us, and when it rained and no one was playing golf she would take us blackberrying. Dad would take us to gather strawberries, he knew where the wild ones grew.
We left the Golf House in 1928 when I was 15, but dad continued to work there, he was a green keeper for forty years. We all learnt to play golf, my brother Robert (Bob) became a professional golfer and lived in Leicestershire. Following in our parents footsteps my sister Kath and her husband also looked after Sherwood Golf Club for many years.
My article first appeared in The Forest Town Crier March 2004