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From Chapter 10 in Thirty Eight Years of Public Life in Southampton” Sir Sidney Kimber

Sir Sidney Kimber and the development of Southampton Sports Centre - Part 5


The transformation had now taken place, the golf courses were completed, the pavilion built, a professional (Mr. F. H. Bowdrey) selected from over one hundred applicants appointed, the ground staff engaged and all ready for the opening. The Committee had decided that this should be Saturday, September 7th, 1935, but that the previous day there should be exhibition matches by three famous professional players with our professional, and we were fortunate in securing the services of A. Perry (Open Champion), A. H. Padgham (runner-up) and C. H. Whitcombe (third). There was free admission to the public and they were allowed, under control of a large number of voluntary stewards, to follow the players round the course. Mr. J. H. Taylor acted as referee. I was the score recorder. It was a fine day and everyone enjoyed the play immensely, and when one realised that neither of the players had played over the course before and that both the fairways and the greens were immature, the results were remarkable. The scores were as follows:

The back tees were used total length, 6,163 yards, and the standard scratch score was 74. Therefore, both Padgham and Whitcombe held the record scores of three below bogey. The three champions, who were sailing the next day to compete in the Ryder Cup Competition in America, expressed their satisfaction and admiration of the new courses.

The opening for general play took place the next day without ceremony, but it had been arranged that the Mayor (Councillor G. A. Waller), whose enthusiasm for the Sports Centre scheme had always been most encouraging, and I were to "lead off" and play the first game together. I had looked forward to this game because, although I had had many opportunities when going over the course with J. H. Taylor whilst he was making "trial shots," to have hit a few balls, in view of the decision that no one was to play until opening day, I had refrained from doing so. The Mayor and I were very moderate players, but notwithstanding this, about fifty onlookers were present to watch the first match when the flag was unfurled for the first time at ten o’clock…..



A. H. Padgham



A. Perry



C. A. Whitcombe



F. H. Bowdrey



Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

Read the Southern Daily Echo’s report (28 May 1938) of the opening of the Sports Centre by the Duke of Kent (report located in Council Archives by Arthur Goode).