The gift of a green
In a letter dated May 10, 1930, John Mowlem offered Beach Gardens to Swanage Council. On May 13, an acknowledgement of the very kind gift and hearty thanks were directed by the council. The council developed this into an 18-hole putting green and six tennis courts.
My friend Mike Stollery, remembers many happy hours of keen competition with his parents on the putting green when on holiday in the late 1950s and early 1960s. At that time, looking after the tennis courts was a very genial character. One year when a tennis tournament was being run, he was asked if the winner got a prize. "I don't know about that," he said in his gentle Dorset burr, "but you will get a black eye if you miss the ball."
The layout of the putting green was different in those days when it was operated by the then Swanage Urban District Council. Following the Local Government Act of 1972, the UDC was wound up in 1974 and spent some of its surplus monies on developments at Beach Gardens. The old tennis pavilion, situated where the courts are today, was demolished and the present one constructed; the new tennis courts made and the new bowling green laid on the site of Mikes two favourite holes of the course - numbers nine and 10.
Number nine was a glorious long hole along the edge bounding Northbrook Road running down to Cauldon Avenue on a cross fall - great fun in dry weather.
Number 11 was a tricky shorter uphill number. As their replacements are not a patch on these, he says putting at Beach Gardens has never been the same since.
The putting green is in an idyllic setting with horse chestnut, copper beech and fir trees and a well maintained hedge.
High Street, Swanage.
You can contact Beach Gardens on 01929 424339 for booking tennis, putting and bowls. Beach Gardens are open 10.00 a.m. to dusk, May to September.