Golf club declares ‘war’ on rabbits (August 1950)

The News Letter reported during this week in 1950 that Royal Portrush Golf had “declared war” on rabbits as part of their preparations for the Open Championships, which were to be played over the club’s course in July 1951.
Ulster golfer Darren Clarke being coached by Bob Torrance at Royal Portrush in April 1994. Picture: Pacemaker PressUlster golfer Darren Clarke being coached by Bob Torrance at Royal Portrush in April 1994. Picture: Pacemaker Press
Ulster golfer Darren Clarke being coached by Bob Torrance at Royal Portrush in April 1994. Picture: Pacemaker Press

At the annual meeting of the club, Brigadier G N C Martin, who was unanimously, re-elected captain appealed for the formation of “squads” who would devote afternoons to “killing rabbits”, which, he said, “were a curse on the course”.

Brigadier Martin said that practically every member was delighted that they had got the Open Championships. The only objectors were a few older members, who felt that their lives “might be a little disturbed by it”.

He added: “The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews had asked the club to take the Open Championship in July and the council felt that the members will regard this as a signal honour that the Royal Portrush Golf Club was to be the first club outside Great Britain over whose course the championship will be played. The council hopes that all members will do their utmost to help in making the arrangements for the event as complete as possible.”

He said that the Open would mean a tremendous amount of work to the club as hosts, and he asked for a list of names of members “who would guarantee 100 per cent of their time during the championship week”.

The club’s council, it was noted, had tried during the year to formulate certain long-term plans for the club’s finances generally. He said that their basic asset was their “great championship course”, and their task was “to keep it in the best possible condition”.

Brigadier Martin remarked: “This year the course was better than it has ever been, and we can be content on that score, but the condition of the clubhouse has given us cause for a great deal of thought.”

Brigadier Martin said that detailed plans had been made which would improve the clubhouse “enormously”, and which could be carried out for £2,500 - “although we might run short of money for decorating”.

The £2,500 was being raised by using the money in the War Memorial Fund, increasing annual subscriptions, and by re-opening subscriptions to the War Memorial Fund.

The pace of their re-decorating and re-furnishing would depend on the “generosity of members”. He added: “Some have already been most generous, and I appeal to others to follow their example”.

Brigadier Martin said that the club’s finances were sufficiently buoyant to stand the cost, and he hoped that 1951 would be a “boom year” in many ways.

The report, which was presented by Brigadier R G Callaghan, secretary, stated that membership stood at 901. The profit for the year being £249.

It was mentioned in the report that “a very considerable improvement had been effected in the condition of both the Dunluce and Valley courses.

There were six nominations to fill six vacancies on the council and the following were declared elected: Judge Begley, Mr H R Carson, Mr T B Agnew, Mr R Hanna, Major J Christie and Dr L J Higgins.

It was announced that the council had appointed Mr C W Lester as a trustee in place of Lieutenant-Colonel C G Hezlet who had resigned as a trustee.

Air Commodore G R Beamish, president, who presided at the meeting, was congratulated on his promotion to Air Officer Commanding Air Headquarters, Iraq.

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