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John Pettitt holding the “Ryder Cup” 1985

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I won the Chingford Cup, which is an open 36 hole scratch event at my home club.

It was at this time that I started caddying at Potters Bar Golf Club at the week-ends as good caddies were at a premium and it paid well, being  a club with a predominantly Jewish membership It was here that I first met the young assistant Tony Jacklin to the then Pro, Bill Shankland a very large Aussie, Tony Jacklin and I would quite often play nine holes in the evening for half a crown, sometimes he would take the money and sometimes I would, we were about the same standard then. I lost touch with Tony for many years until a chance meeting at Sotogrande Golf club (Now known as Valderrama) when, he, Henry Cotton and myself played nine holes together.

 I enjoyed my time at Chingford as we had a fine bunch of good players, Keith Vohman, John Chapman and the County of Essex was a very competitive place to play golf. The Thornton Cup is a team event from each club all played off scratch and although we never won this trophy we did make the final a couple of times and I did manage to defeat the then current County Champion and future English Champion/Walker Cup player Michael Bonnallack (Thorpe Hall G. C.), by the small margin of 2 &1, at the Royal West Essex G.C., where all our home matches had to be played. He was also President of the R & A in later years.

I really enjoyed my time at Chingford especially on a Friday evening in the summer when we would have about 8/10 players putting money in the pot for a winner take all for nine holes, half handicap and we all played together. Yes a ten ball can you imagine doing that today. One of the regulars was a stockbroker by the name of Ken Ling and he always had a clip of nice shiny 10/- notes in a nice metal clasp. I always enjoyed taking his money.

It was 1963 when I finally achieved my Scratch status and was picked for my first County match for Essex against Suffolk. I managed to scrape a half against a very good player by the name of David Whinney. It was at this time that I moved down to Weybridge, Surrey because of work. Vickers Aircraft company at Brooklands was the company I worked for as an ‘Adrema ‘printing operator on permanent  night shifts, my job being to print our all the job cards for the VC 10 which was being built at that time. Just across the road from the factory was probably the best inland course in Surrey and up there with the best in the country. I am talking about St.Georges Hill Golf Club. I was fortunate enough to be able to get ‘Artisan’ membership for the princely sum of 2 per annum with the proviso that I raked and trimmed one bunker on the course every Friday evening, ready for the week-end members to play. Golf here was a delight and we had a very competitive membership of 36 who attended very regularly. Our only restriction was that we had to be clear of the first tee by 0730 hrs in the morning at week-ends, but as our hut was in the trees by the second tee it was never a problem.

St. Georges Hill

St. Georges Hill Golf Club

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