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Fun memories of pitch and putt at West Bromwich Park

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: February 24, 2014

By John Griffiths

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THE article in The Bugle (January 23 edition) about Dartmouth Park reminded me of the happy days playing on the miniature golf course with my mate of 50 years Mike Cooper.

I first met Mike in the autumn of 1962 at Walsall Art School in Goodall Street, he hailed from King's Hill, Wednesbury.

We got on well together and Mike developed a relationship with another art student, Ann Irish, who lived just off Hydes Road, Wednesbury.

When we all began working around 1964/65 Mike and I used to meet up on Saturday afternoons in Wednesbury town centre for the short journey to West Bromwich on the number 75 bus.

The idea was for Mike to meet up with Ann after her job as a window dresser at Richard's Shops on the High Street had finished around 5.30pm.

In the spring and summer months, to kill time on Saturday afternoons, Mike and I invariably found ourselves wandering over to Dartmouth Park to have a game of miniature golf.

If it was wet or during the winter we played tenpin bowling at the centre that used to be by the Albion ground.

In the park I remember the little hut where you paid 9d a round I think to a rather miserable council employee who always gave the impression he could, and should, have been doing something much more worthwhile.

After parting with your hard earned cash you were supplied with a couple of battered clubs, a putter and a niblick, an equally battered golf ball, a couple of wooden tees and a scorecard.

If you lost the ball it was game over as you couldn't have another one.

Mike and I soon got wise to this, so we bought our own golf balls and tees, keeping the "house balls" safely in our pockets.

Me being left handed I asked the chap in the hut if he had any left-handed clubs and was met with the reply: "Where do you think you are, St. Andrews?"

After a while he warmed slightly to us as he realised we were now becoming regulars and selected the better clubs for Mike and I in our attempt to defeat the course.

When I say better clubs I mean ones that had tape around the wooden shafts which gave a somewhat better grip than the bare wood ones.

For all its misgivings we thought it was a smashing little course.

The course was separated from Dartmouth Park itself by a wire netting fence about a three feet or so high with supporting stakes every ten feet or so.

This meant that other users of the Park could see the "golfers" in action close-up and would undoubtedly make some witty remarks regarding our golfing prowess.

Afterwards Mike would meet up with Ann, and not wishing to be a gooseberry, I would catch the number 14 or 54 bus back to Caldmore, Walsall.

Over the years I have looked for photographs of that little golf course but have never seen any and wonder if any of your readers have any which they could share with us!

John Griffiths,

Dove Hollow,

Hednesford,

jw418@btinternet.com

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