Life of golf club’s first professional brought to book

North Cliff Golf Club, Scarborough.
North Cliff Golf Club, Scarborough.

As Scarborough prepares to remember the sacrifices of the Armed Forces on Remembrance Day this Sunday (13 November) a local man has revealed the fate of a local golf professional in 1915.

North Cliff Golf Club member Paul Bang has researched the life of the club’s first professional Bertie Snowball.

Mr Snowball’s life came to a heroic and bloody end on 9 May 1915 at the battle of Aubers Ridge in France during the First World War.

The 27-year-old corporal had been serving with The Royal Highlanders Black Watch and was part of the British contribution involved in the second battle of Artois.

Mr Snowball is buried at “Le Trou Aid Post” cemetery, Fleurbaix and to this date is one of sixty-three PGA golf professionals and assistants who went to fight for King and Country in The Great War and never returned.

Mr Snowball was born in Baildon, West Yorkshire in 1887.

His father James became greenkeeper at what is now Scarborough South Cliff Golf Club and that was where young Bertie began his golfing career as assistant to the club professional Harry Fulford.

He was elected to the PGA Northern Region in 1902.

However, by 1906 Mr Snowball was plying his trade as professional at the prestigious Portmarnock GC in Ireland, going on to be part of the Irish National Golf Team.

Not one to stand still, he moved on and sometime around 1908 took up the gilded position of professional to The Earl of Londesborough at Blakney in Lincolnshire.

This placement apparently did not last long as he soon returned to Scarborough.

His next challenge was presented by a local business man Mr Taylor who hired Bertie to assist in crafting a new golf course on the North side of the town, the location of which was in and around what is now The Open Air Theatre. When the initial six humble holes opened at North Cliff, Bertie was called upon in his professional golfer’s role to play against Arthur Day, the pro at South Cliff, in a challenge match to celebrate the opening of the new course, eventually losing 5&4.

Mr Snowball is set to be featured in a forthcoming book by Dr Phil Weaver OBE who is the curator of PGA Heritage.

He can also be found along with other North Cliff characters in “Tales From a Seaside Golf Club” – a book written by Mr Bang.

Copies of the book are available by emailing info@northcliffgolfclub.co.uk or by calling 01723 355397.