by Tony Williams
Harold Gould had become club professional in 1950. Everyone in the club - indeed, almost everyone across South Wales has a story about Harold.
Harold wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. His father was a gardener/caretaker at the Rest, the home for injured miners at Porthcawl. When young Harold began caddying (at eight years of age) at nearby Royal Porthcawl the money went straight into the family kitty.
The job meant long hours of hard work in all weathers, with much missed schooling, but at least he had the privilege of watching some of the world’s greatest players tackling the famous links. Afterwards Harold would go down to the nearby beach and hit balls off the sand with wooden shafted clubs that members had discarded. Sometimes he would be Percy Alliss, sometimes Cyril Tolley, sometimes Walter Hagan.
Caddies at Porthcawl were allowed one competition a year. In 1934 Harold, now a first class caddie, earning two shillings and sixpence a round, won it for the third time with a new course record of 69! For three more years he continued as a caddie and then, in 1937, he was appointed playing assistant at Radyr Golf Club.
In the South Wales Pro-Am Alliance matches Harold’s golf blossomed, the young player setting course records at Whitchurch and Cardiff Golf Clubs. In 1939 war intervened and Harold Gould forgot about golf for the next six years.
After the war it was back to Porthcawl, this time as a course labourer. A little later the club needed a new assistant professional and Harold was on hand to take the post. When the Welsh Professional Championship was held at Porthcawl in 1946 he won by five shots - at long last he held a title, even if the prize money for the event was only £50.
“I first met Harold Gould when I was a late teenager playing for the Bournemouth & District Alliance against South Wales Alliance. Harold was a quiet man with a gentle sense of humour which, once you were tuned into, was able to produce many a good chuckle. I remember his swing, which was long and loose limbed, but it was his putting stroke that intrigued me most. Using a hickory shafted, rusty headed putter, he could knock them in from anywhere; the style looked so simple, almost casual. The only other person who used a similar putter was the great South African, Bobby Locke, arguably the best putter I ever saw. Harold was one of the old school of professionals, no whiz kid he, but caringly looking after the needs of members during the period when the world of golf was very austere. A loyal servant, a true friend, a good companion."
- Peter Alliss.
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