Chapter 1 - In The Beginning

The year of 1913 brought its usual share of change and progress, turmoil and tragedy to the world. Industry would never be the same again after the American industrialist Henry Ford introduced the first moving car assembly line; and the planet shrank just a little bit more with the opening of the Panama canal.

In the Balkans, tensions were growing that would lead to war within 12 months, while at home there was a different battle being fought as Women's Suffrage gained its first martyr when Emily Davidson threw herself beneath the hooves of the King's horse during the Epsom Derby.

On the London stage George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion had its world premiere and in the frozen waste of Antarctica Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and his comrades perished.

Against that historical calendar of events, the first steps to bring the sport of golf to Sutton-in-Ashfield may seem insignificant, but everyone who has watched Coxmoor Golf Club grow into the institution it is today knows that the year of 1913 marks a very important milestone.

Sadly, there are no records available, nor anyone with a memory long enough to say exactly when the first suggestion for a golf club in Sutton-in-Ashfield was voiced.

But the thinking behind the idea is not so hard to imagine.

In the days before World War One, those who wanted to take part in this most pleasurable of leisure pastimes would have faced a lengthy trek to Sherwood, (at this time, the Sherwood Golf Club was located in the Ravensdale area of Mansfield), Hollinwell or even Bulwell.

And even for the well-off, who tended to dominate the amateur game in those early days, such a journey at a time when the automobile was still something of a noisy and lumbering rarity, would have been tiresome to say the least.

The game was being popularised by the exploits of players like Harry Vardon and it was clear that a town like Sutton-in- Ashfield, that was becoming increasingly prosperous from the twin commercial suc- cesses of mining and hosiery, would have sufficient interest and acumen among the business and professional community to establish a golf club.

Sutton-in-Ashfield about the time of the club's opening

Sutton-in-Ashfiled about the time of the club's opening

And so it was that on a Friday evening, October 10, 1913, some of the leading Sutton citizens of the day gathered in the Bainbridge Hall, formed themselves into a committee and began the search for suitable land to site a brand new nine hole golf course. According to the pages of the Notts Free Press of that week, the principal movers behind the idea included Dr Nesbitt, who took the chair, Mrs Nesbitt, Mr and Mrs H. J. Bosworth, Miss Barltrop, Mr Walter Burn, Mr Alfred Briggs, Mr J. Bell, Mr and Mrs William Collins, Dr Durance, Mr and Mrs P. Faherty, Mr Walter Hoe, Mr and Mrs E. S. B. Hopkin, Mr F. Isitt, Mr S. Liddle, Miss Nellie Oates, Mr H. H. Pulpher, Mr M. Radford, Mr Martin Radford, Mr Ernest Smith, Dr Tweedie, Mr W. Wright, Mr E. S. Wright, Miss K. Winston, and Miss G. Williams.

Many of those names remain familiar, both in the town and within Coxmoor Golf Club, to this day - evidence of the lasting relationship members have formed with the club.

The group was keen to get on with things. Within a month, they had called a second meeting to confirm that negotiations for land were practically completed and Mr Hopkin, who had been entrusted with the onerous duties of secretary, said he had received a favourable response from Mr Tunbridge, the professional at the Mansfield Golf Club, who had been approached regarding the laying out of the greens.

The date of that second meeting was November 21st , 1913. To the delight of the committee members, Mr Hopkin confidently reported that play should commence by the following spring ... just a few months after a virgin plot of land had been acquired. (See course plan)

He also reported that a large number of applications for membership had been received following an advertisement in the Free Press.

Because of the demand, the committee decided to set a limit of 100 subscribers who would each pay a membership fee of ten shillings and sixpence, with annual subscriptions set at one guinea for men and half a guinea for ladies.

Two weeks later, on December 5, 1913, the first annual general meeting of Coxmoor Golf Club was held at the Cafe Institute in the centre of Sutton, chaired by the Rev T. G. Shelmerdine, who was curate of St Modwen's Church on Station Road.

His name now sits proudly at the head of the past captains list.

The meeting was told: 'It is evident from the fact that a hundred members have already been secured, that the club fills a long felt want in Sutton-in-Ashfield and district.'

The meeting unanimously decided to invite His Grace The Duke of Portland, on whose land the course was to be established, to be the club's first president.

It was a duty he subsequently accepted and for many years he would take a close interest in the affairs of Coxmoor.

At last, the club was up and running, with a committee led by Rev Shelmerdine, who also took on the position of club captain for the period 1913-1914.

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