Allendale Golf Club . . . a match in the wild

According to the website of Allendale Golf Club, there’s to be a Seniors Match between Allendale and Bellingham at home to Allendale, today, if enough members from each club can be recruited. Apparently the required five pairs from Allendale are already signed up

Bellingham Club’s website is celebrating that club’s 125 years, while Allendale’s, having started in 1906, can claim 113 years. This match today is a return opportunity; Allendale’s 5 pairs of Seniors having narrowly lost 6-4 at home to Bellingham on the 23rd of May.

There’s a lot going on at Allendale Golf Club, and the website exhibits loads of enthusiasm for the sport and the course. Robin Down, the current chairman, has even written a book on Nine Hole Courses throughout the country, titled appropriately enough, ‘Golf in the Wild’. It’s a trawl through 11 wild and woolly courses, mostly in Scotland, though Allendale is featured prominently, and naturally it’s available online at the club’s website.

And it’s not just seniors, not by a long shot. There’s plenty of opportunity for young ones to learn the basics of the game, through the mentorship programme, the workshops, Junior Events, dedicated competitions with junior-specific handicaps, and also the county Golf Tour which has come to Allendale for the last three years, and will be here again on the 7th of July.

It hardly seems possible, yet it’s probably nearly 30 years since Allendale Golf Club moved to its present location, along the road from Allendale to Allenheads. We can just about remember the clubhouse being built, and there were a variety of environmental add-ons as well, including the big wind turbine, and, I believe, ground-source heating. Recently, the club has submitted a bid to the Calor Rural Community Fund, for increased security measures, which would include CCTV systems, number plate recognition (to enhance fee paying), and weather monitoring (to encourage would-be players that the course is, in fact, bathed in delightful sunshine!). Finalists will be announced on the 1st of July, so the club will be on tenterhooks to see how well they’ve done. Even though I’m a non-golfer, had I known about the bid, which had been eliciting votes of support from the general online public, I’m sure I’d have voted whole-heartedly, but the opportunity has passed, and only the waiting is left.

It must be a nightmare to try to keep a clubhouse and course open all the time, for the benefit of members, when the place could be so vulnerable. Even deep into the far countryside, we know different premises experience intermittent bouts of theft, vandalism and appalling behaviour. And it’s so hard to cater too, though various attempts have been made through the years to provide a cafĂ©-style service. Fortunately, for the big fixtures, more volunteer cooks, barbecue chefs and hospitality organisers, as well as the crucial bar attendants, are usually on hand to ensure the players are accommodated.

Allendale Golf Club fills a vital niche in the community — if it didn’t, it would scarcely have survived for so long! And with fixtures, matches, events and enthusiasm galore, the club looks set to survive long into its second century.

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