Last Friday Tadmarton Heath Golf Course was the setting for a notable pair’s competition in aid of Dogs for the Disabled.
Both lady and gentlemen golfers took part in a new championship supported by the Banbury Guardian.
Appropriately it was styled the William Potts Championship, after the founder of the newspaper.
This October championship was in response to a very specific and worthy charity.
In today’s article I want to highlight Tadmarton Heath as a club and venue and to do so by recalling an astonishing occasion in May 1964 when four outstanding professional golfers accepted an invitation to play the course and by their presence encouraged an enormous number of spectators whose entrance money would help to underpin the work of the Forces Help Society and Lord Roberts Workshops.
The four big names were Dai Rees, Peter Alliss, John Jacobs and Bernard Hunt.
For local enthusiasts of the game the attractions of the occasion were immense.
One needed to look no further than the biographical history of Alliss.
His father had been golf professional in Germany before the war so it was natural that Peter should turn to the game.
In the final analysis he brought a very extrovert character to bear on it that was undoubtedly a factor in his golfing successes.
Between 1947 and 1970 these included wins in 22 leading tournaments across the world. More specifically in the year before Tadmarton (1963) he had a famous victory over Arnold Palmer in America in the Ryder Cup.
Above all Peter was endowed with a great sense of humour, which was reflected in his Rolls Royce car number plate, PUT 3.
The Exhibition golf took place on Sunday, May 10 and received very close collaboration between the charity’s sports organiser and Mr Rollett, Tadmarton Secretary, on behalf of the Club Chairman Sir John Marriott.
The occasion raised over £300, which in Clark’s words was ‘a wonderful achievement’.
The day resolved into a Golf Clinic presided over by Dai Rees and at 3pm a four ball Match with Dai Rees and Peter Alliss playing Bernard Hunt and John Jacobs.
At the conclusion of the match there was an auction of useful gifts in aid of the Forces Help Society.
I wonder if any of my readers watched the proceedings or was fortunate in the auction. I would be interested to hear from anyone with memories of this remarkable occasion.
Several aspects of the event must have been a source of great encouragement to amateur golfers.
Firstly each of the professionals failed to beat or even equal the course record of 69, which had been set by an amateur Bob Moran only four weeks earlier.
Interestingly Bob was a caddy on the day. Secondly as the Banbury Guardian reported there was some superb golf to admire but also some moderate shots to bring consolation to middle and long handicap members.
No wonder the crowd enjoyed rubbing shoulders with such famous men. They all played with the 1.68 ins. American size ball and would have been much impressed by Tadmarton’s beautifully manicured course and greens.
The golfers were accompanied round the course by well-known local people who acted as their caddies.
Apart from Bob Moran already mentioned, they were David King (the local professional), Chris Howkins and Dr Antony Gardiner Hill of the Horton Hospital.
Each of the professionals must have felt a sense of challenge in the golfing environment as the holes were both sunlit and windswept.
At the end of the day what mattered most was the financial help for the ex-servicemen’s charity.
Surely the same must have accompanied the conclusion to the more recent Potts Championship.