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Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. (1905 - 2017)

The club was founded in 1905.

It was announced on December 11th 2017 that; “On the 31st December 2017 Criccieth Golf Club would be closing. No further golf will be played after 112 years. Thanks to all members and visitors who have enjoyed our special little club. The spectacular views of Snowdon, the peninsula and as far down the coast as St David’s Head will remain in our memories.”

David Lloyd George was a regular visitor to the Criccieth Golf Links and was president of the club prior to WW2. He lived and is buried in nearby Llanystumdwy.

Pre-WW2 known professionals at Criccieth; S Whiting (1905-1910); J West (1910-1912; B Snowball (1911-1914); O G Owen (1914-1922); Willliam Dean (1922-1926); J Evans (1932/33); W B Morris (1936.) It is also reported that G Bowser had a brief time at Criccieth before WW1.

Below is a report on the opening of the course in July 1906.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Report on the opening of the links in July 1906.

From the Cambrian News Friday 22nd June 1906. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Report on a committee meeting in May 1907.

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Report on a committee meeting in May 1907.

From the Cambrian News Friday 17th May 1907. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

In July 1908 a bazaar was opened by Mrs Lloyd George in aid of funds for the Criccieth Golf Club. Mrs George read out a letter from her husband stating that it would have been a real pleasure to have attended but was unable due to other appointments.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Early postcard showing the Golf Links.

Early postcard of Criccieth Golf Links.

 

The formal opening of the new golf pavilion took place on Whit Monday in 1908. The opening ceremony was performed by Sir Hugh John Ellis Nanney, Bart. Mr W Watkin, J.P., secretary of the club, and William Jones, club captain, thanked Sir Hugh for kindly opening the pavilion. An open competition was played in connection with the opening and after the qualifying rounds had been completed two Criccieth members played in the final. In the 36-hole final E H Jonathan (5) beat J E Griffith (20) by 6 and 4.

It was reported in June 1910 that James West, professional at the Hamburg Golf Club, Germany, had been appointed professional to the Criccieth Golf Club in succession to S Whiting. James West learned is golf under J H Tayor at Richmond, and was assistant green-keeper for some years with Peter Lees, West Surrey. 

It was reported in the Illustrated Sporting News in September 1911 that “notice must be taken of the grand performance on the part of Bertie Snowball, the new professional of the Criccieth club. Playing last week on his own course, with which naturally he has the most intimate acquaintance, Snowball went round in 66 – going out in 32 and coming home in 34. As accentuating the value of this work it has to be remarked that the “Bogey” score is fixed at 78, and that the previous record, which stood to the credit of that well- known Welsh professional champion, S Whiting, was 69. Of course professionals play an enormous number of rounds on their own links, but it may be doubtful if Snowball will ever do better than 66.”

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A pre-WW1 postcard showing players on the course.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A pre-WW1 postcard showing players on the course.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A pre-WW1 postcard showing the clubhouse, golfer and caddie.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A postcard from the 1920s showing the course and clubhouse.

The top three images above are pre-WW1 postcards of the course and clubhouse the lower is early 1920s. Pictures courtesy of Frank Accleton golfonoldpicturepostcards.com

 

On Friday 5th September 1913 Mr & Mrs Winston Churchill arrived in Criccieth to visit Mr & Mrs Lloyd George. After lunching at Brynawelon, the two Ministers played a foursome on Criccieth links against Mrs Churchill and Miss Stell.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Golfers on the first tee in 1913.

Golfers on the first tee in 1913.

 

Below WW1 claims the life of Bertie Snowball, Criccierh Golf Club professional.

The following information is courtesy of “The P.G.A. Remembers” project – Bertie Snowball; Elected P.G.A Member 1902 Northern Section; Club, Criccieth Golf Club, Wales 1912 – 1914; Regiment – Corporal 5th Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders); Service No. 2310; Killed in action 9th May 1915 aged 27; Buried – Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix. Ref  F 11; Bertie Snowball held posts in England (Scarborough North Cliff,) Ireland (Portmarnock,) Wales (Criccieth,) and finally Scotland, Carnoustie, where he was a club-maker with Robert Simpson. He enlisted in the Black Watch and fell at the battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1915.

The report below from August 1916 mentions a Mr Bowser as being a professional at Criccieth, he had Mr Lloyd George among his pupils. It also further reflects on the horrors of WW1. 

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Report on Mr Bower as professional and the horrors of war.

From the Lincolnshire Echo Monday 28th August 1916. Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Mr Lloyd George on the Cricciteh golf course in 1919.

David Lloyd George on the Criccieth course in 1919.

 

It was reported in June 1922 that Mr Lloyd George was hoping to attend the opening of the extended course by Lord Riddell. It was mentioned that James Braid was to play in a foursome to celebrate the opening.

Professional tournament planned for July 1923.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Professional tournament planned for July 1923.

Western Mail Tuesday 15th May 1923

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A postcard from the 1920s showing the course and clubhouse.

The clubhouse and course in the 1920s.

 

From the Golfer’s Handbook 1933; 18-holes; Membership 140; Hon. secretary – E Ivor Morgan, Council Offices, Criccieth; Professional, J Evans; Station Criccieth, half-mile; Visitors’ fees, gents 3s a day, 12s/6d a week, 21s a fortnight, 35s a month; ladies, 2s/6d a day, 10s a week, 15s a fortnight, 25s a month.

Result of the ladies’ competition played in April 1939; winner, Mrs W Morgan; Mrs D J Harris and Mrs J Egbert Griffith tied for runner-up. Mrs R S Parry was appointed lady captain, and Mrs W Morgan Owen, vice-captain.  

Result of a bogey competition played in October 1939; Captain W E Pritchard and D J Harries, 3up; Glyn Davies and J B Williams, 2up; K E Pritchard and S Carey Pugh, 2up; Owen Jones and Gwilym G Jones, all square.

At the annual meeting in February 1940 the Right Hon. D Lloyd George was re-elected president. Vice-presidents; Mrs M E Lewis (Talhenbont,) Right Hon. Lord Harlech, Brigadier-General T Ward, Captain W L Leslie, J Trevor Roberts, V H Northrop, T Harold Williams; hon. treasurer, W T Davies; hon. secretary, G Jones; Captain, Howard Thomas;  Ladies’ captain, Mrs R S Parry.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. A view of the course showing the seventeenth

The seventeenth green.

 

In 1947 the club had a membership of 150. The secretary was G G Jones, Council Offices. The professional was G Davies and the green-keeper T Jones. The 18-hole course had a SSS of 70. Visitors’ fees for gent’s; 4s a day, 21s a week; ladies 3s a day, 15s a week.

In the early 1950s the secretary was G G Jones, 29 High Street, Criccieth. The professional and green-keeper was P Morris.

In 1955/6 the secretary was A Hughes, 23 Tynrhos, Criccieth. The professional and green-keeper was J Owen. Now a nine-hole course with a total length of 4,960 yards and a SSS of 71. Membership of 160. Visitors’ fees; gent’s 2s/6d a round, 5s a day, 12s/6d a week; ladies 3s a day, 15s a week.

In 1957 the membership had dropped to 80. Secretary A Hughes. Professional and green-keeper; D W Owen.

1961 – Secretary; A Hughes, 23 Tynrhos, Criccieth; Professional and green-keeper, P M McGaffey.

1964 – Secretary; D Lloyd, 21 Stanley Road, Criccieth; Nine-holes with a SSS of 66; Visitors’ fees; 5s a round, 7s/6d a day.

1970s – Secretary; Captain W E Williams, Ednyfed Hill; Membership of 225; No professional; Nine-holes totalled 5,276 yards, SSS of 64; Amateur record, A Rees and M Williams, 65; Visitors; 50p a day, £2.50 a week.

Early 1980s – Secretary; J C Page; Membership of 180; Now listed as 18-holes of 5,755 yards with a SSS of 68; Visitors; £3 a day, £15 a week.

Mid to late 1980s – Secretary; D T Moores; Membership of 200; Visitors; £5 a day, £15 a week.

Early 1990s – Secretary M G Hamilton; Fees; £7 a day, £20 a week. Membership of 200. 

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Scorecard and course plan from the later 18-hole course.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Later scorecard for the Criccieth course.

Scorecard and course planner for the later 18-hole course.

 

Following are results from the last few competitions played on the Criccieth course:-

Sunday 9th July 2017 the Ernest Owen Cup (Competition Scratch Score 66); Des P Humphreys, 80-16-64; Richard O Williams, 80-12-68; Richard G Reynolds, 85-16-69; Roland E Roberts, No Return.

Sunday 16th July the Challenge Cup (CSS 69); Maldwyn Jones, 79-15-64; Aled D O Warren-rees, 87-14-73; Richard O Williams, 85-12-73; Eifion LL Owen, 87-13-74; Des P Humphreys, 90-16-74; Ian Edwards, No Return.

Sunday 23rd July the Greenacres Trophy (CSS 67); Richard O Williams, 36 points; Gerallt Jones, 36 points; Richard G Reynolds, 36 points; Maldwyn Jones, 35 points; Ian Edwards, 35 points; B A Morgan, 34 points; Michael J Parry, 34 points; Merfyn Lloyd, No Return.

Sunday 30th July the Castle Cup; Sion Evans, 39 points; Gerallt Jones, 37 points.

Saturday 12th August Captains Day; Eifion LL Owen, 36 points;  Merfyn Lloyd, 36 points; Robin Whittaker, 36 points. Also played; Aled D O Warren-rees, Philip Richards, Richard O Williams, Des P Humphreys, Roland E Roberts, Gerallt Jones, Dewi G Williams, Michael J Parry, Tony Williams, D Jackson, P M Williams, Colin L Hughes, Richard Lloyd, Idris Williams, Maldwyn Jones, B A Morgan, Allister Haveron, Dafydd  H Williams, W J Vickers, Dafydd H Roberts.

Lady Captain’s Day played on  the same day, result; Margaret Goodwick (Denbigh); 37 points; Anne Rowena Jones, 33 points; Irene Williams, 29 points. Also played; Margaret Williams, Megan Jones, Jane Glyn Evans, Mandy Jones.

Sunday 20th August Presidents Prize; Richard O Williams, 18 points; Michael J Parry, 17 points; Philip Richards, 16 points.

Sunday 27th August the Town Bowl (CSS 68); Philip Richards, 74-7-67; Gerallt Jones, 81-12-69; Richard O Willliams, 82-12-70.

Sunday 8th October the October Tankard (CSS 70); Richard O Williams, 32 points; Des P Humphreys, 31 points; Philip Richards, 28 points; Aled D O Warren-rees, 27 points.

 

Criccieth Golf Club, Gwynedd. Criccieth Golf Course in beautiful surroundings.

 

The following was posted on the Criccieth Golf Club Master Scoreboard by Phil Richards 31st December 2017 - “The last round was played at Criccieth today. Three brave souls went out between two heavy showers, they managed nine-holes. The threesome consisted of the president and two past captains, it started well for the 2005 captain with a par on the first even better for the 2015 captain on the second with a birdie (the last at Criccieth.). The president played a great second shot to the old 14th but it was the 2005 captain who lipped out for birdie. The president went out of bounds on the 15th and the 2005 captain went out with his second but it all came down to the old 16th and only one of the three managed a par. Well done Des, Bryn and Phil, must do better. As always a few beers where sank at the 19th. Fond memories.”

Whilst working in the area in the 2000s the author was a member at Criccieth. I enjoyed my brief time as a member, especially the welcoming clubhouse, the friendly members I met, and the course with its spectacular views. Criccieth Golf Club will be sadly missed by many.