Ilfracombe putter comes home

Joseph Bulmer

A 100-year-old golf putter has returned to its home in Ilfracombe, thanks to a couple from Maidenhead.

Retired policeman and Temple Golf Club member Graham Joel and his wife Carol made a detour during a trip to Cornwall to call at Ilfracombe Golf Club and present the putter and its history to club captain Andy Challacombe.

It is to be mounted in a glass case and displayed in the clubhouse.

The putter was given to Mr Joel by a farmer in Wales on whose land he and his wife regularly rented a holiday cottage.

For three decades afterwards in lay unused in an old golfing bag. Then Mr Joel made inquiries about the inscription WH Groves, Ilfracombe, on the putter head.

He found that Mr Groves retired in 1935 from the post of golf professional at Ilfracombe Golf Club, having started work at the club as a labourer in 1899 and working his way up.

In the ensuing years Mr Groves visited Charles Gibson, club maker and professional at the Royal North Devon Golf Club at Westward Ho! He became proficient in the art of making golf clubs and eventually took over as professional at Ilfracombe. Mr Groves was also was responsible for the construction of the course after its move from Mullacott to the present site at Hagginton, opened in 1903, and subsequent developments.