9th April 2016


Straight down the middle

Now Mark Twain famously referred to golf as a ‘good walk spoiled’. I’m not entirely in disagreement I won’t lie. Golf is in fact surrounded by quips and quotes and here’s a couple more of my faves:

“Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” Tiger Woods. And if you hark back to the way golfers dressed in the 1970s in particular you can see exactly what he meant.

“I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

Now this golf related blog is a guest post from Lee who I ‘know’ from Twitter. I’m delighted to have it because I do like to cover as many aspects of Swindon life on this blog as I can and golf is surely one of them?

I gotta say that I hesitate to refer to golf as a ‘sport’ – surely any game where you can progress in a motorised cart, and that can be played by overweight middle-aged men with cigars in their mouths, can’t reasonably be called a sport? But, for the sake of argument, I’ve categorised this post as ‘This Sporting Life’. Reluctantly.

Lee takes an interest in sport. He’s written previously on here about Swindon Town Football Club for a start. So thanks to Lee for being my roving (coughs) sports correspondent and sending me these lines and the photographs. Lee also takes a keen interest in history and that’s reflected in his musings.

Among his photographs is one of Swindon’s own golfing success story: David Howell. Now I hail from Worksop – home of another very successful golfer: Lee Westwood – his mother used to be my chiropodist. She was always full of stories of ‘R Lee’. Time was I had a partner that was a keen golfer – I used to threaten to get a T-shirt printed with ‘David who? on one side and ‘I HEART Lee’ on the other. But I thought we might have been blackballed or whatever it is.

Anyway – with no further ado – Lee’s words:

“I love golf but to be fair I’m not that good at playing – not exactly a natural you might say.

In the Swindon area we are spoilt for golf courses. There’s Ogbourne, Marlborough, Bowood and the lovely Wrag Barn at Highworth. Then of course there’s Brinkworth and South Carney. The 9-hole course in Highworth presents quite a challenge but the courses at Moredon and Coate are 3-par and friendlier.

All these courses have their histories but none so much as the jewel in Swindon’s Broome Manor Golf Complex. 

Here there are hidden acres of woodland not far from the ancient villages of Hodson and Coate – it really is a golfer’s paradise. Will it remain so with the plans currently afoot for a 50 room hotel at the complex?

Many good players have paced the fairways at Broome Manor – or Broome as it’s referred to. 

A well-known name in the golfing world is that of Swindon born David Howell. Continuing to shine, David fine-tuned his game at Broome Manor. A six times winner in Europe he still is in the worlds top 130….with power to add hopefully when he returns from injury. David’s achievements with the niblick have been recognised at the club with an annual Pro-Am in his name. Here he is action. Oh and it’s in the rough … !  😉

David Howell

David who?

The driving range at Broome was opened by none other than Ian Woosnam – and to throw in a bit of history, the Old Broome Farmhouse still stands – a remnant of the 1000 year old manor.’

There’s lots of fab information here about Swindon’s various manors. I was going to quote some bits but the coding on the site won’t allow it. So if you’re interested you’ll have to visit it.  http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol9/pp119-124  

The train now standing … is the Locomotive Broome Manor built in Swindon in 1938

‘In filthy condition ex GWR 1938 built 7805 Broome Manor is parked at the back of Tyseley shed.

Although the back of Tyseley this and a parallel line extended to the main Warwick Rd in Birmingham affording a view of several locomotives that were in steam without the need to trespass. The shed had two turntables and these overflow lines were an extension from them. 7805 had certainly visited the coal drop before being stabled here.’

Says Lee: ‘This is a negative that I found in an old envelope, I think it was given to me in around 1969.’

Now to round this off, and despite not being a huge golf fan, I can take pleasure in a novelty song. And here we have Bing Crosby and Bob Hope from 1957 and ‘Straight down the Middle’. They wish. As the man says: Fore!


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