Thursday, 11 January 2018

44 Years, Man and Boy!

As most of you will know that Charlie Pothecary, Our longest serving member of the team decided to retire from Stoneham after a staggering 44 years with the club. 
Charlie joined Stoneham in 1973 as 16 year old boy working as a trainee for Peter Marsh before becoming one on the main engines of the team. Now we are use to seeing Charlie as a senior figure and a man with a thorough knowledge of the works carried out on course and its history.
The Peter Marsh Team

Charlie can remember his first day as a 16 year old, He replaced 'Tom', Tom was from an era before Charlie and said he sat in the mess room with his flat cap and coat on. He would go straight out and eat his lunch out on the course along with his hot flask. Charlies first job in 1973 was to go with Pete Marsh and weed the 9th Bunker, he remembers it well and says the bunker "use to be a tiny little thing"! 

Charlie would often reminisce about his time with Pete Marsh and his friends Jim, Kenny McKoewn and Pat Stacey. People who were obviously a big influence on him as worked with them for many, many years. He would tell us about Freddie the fox and Smoky the cat (all stories in the club Centenary book, brilliantly written by Pam Paull). He enjoyed another 8 year with the Vince Ley team and had some funny stories of this time too.

The Vince Ley team with Charlie

Charlie worked at the club through many tournaments but was always fond of the Brabazon Trophy in 1993 (or English Amateur stroke play as its also known). He thought the course was fantastic for it and all the hard work had paid off.

He would tell me how the course has changed over the years from when the trend was to have wide straight fairways and now a much more flowing and natural look. He has seen the installation of irrigation systems,  new sheds, the new ditches especially the 17th on the left of the green which had been twice since he had been at the club, lastly with the sleepers being concreted in. He also would talk about how the pathways have changed from being mud paths, to wood chip and then on to a hard material so more golf could be played in the winter.

He would tell us how much the Greens and Fairways have improved, year on year and are 100% better'.  When Charlie joined Stoneham it was famous for it's Heather either side of the fairways but he also witnessed how this slowly reduced and in the last couple of years it was starting to show signs of its re-establishment. He puts the decline down to 'sweeping leaves from the heather and the cutting of it down to keep certain golfers happy'. Charlie took a lot of time to show me where the heather used to be as we try to encourage new growth. This knowledge was invaluable.
Charlie working hard in the bunkers

I asked him on his last day, What he would miss about Stoneham Golf Club. He replied 'working with the boys and seeing the members'. I then asked him what he was looking forward too, he replied 'slowing down and spending time with his grand children'.
Charlie with his last Team

A gift from the greenstaff to Charlie
The final Putt... Charlies last Putt on his last day, which he holed to a huge cheer from the team!

One of Stoneham's traditions is the wall of Caricatures in the bar. This Tradition started in 1946 by one of the members Peter Lucas who would draw each Captain for the coming year in some entertaining fashion. This tradition is still going strong today and Charlie has been honoured by the club with his own Caricature. This will be hung in the clubhouse forever more in reflection of the gratitude from the club for his 44 years service!


Well Charlie, Thank you for everything you have done for Stoneham Golf Club. It was a real pleasure to have you in my team and get to know you. You deserve to have an amazing time with the grand children and to take things slowly. You will always be welcomed back to Stoneham with opened arms! Thank you

No comments:

Post a Comment