Chronicles: Happy memories of Ventnor putting greens in the 1960s

There is something about a putting green and whacking a ball with a stick that embodies family holidays. Ventnor’s popular one in Park Avenue is still going strong, but this week we feature childhood memories of two that have now gone.

The first photo in the gallery below shows the putting green on the Western Cliffs – I’m told you had to be careful not to hit your ball onto the path as it tended to roll across and down the cliff the other side.  Arnold Verrall remembers happy days there in the 1960s, saying: I even got a hole-in-one there in 1967. That day was probably the happiest I have ever been in my life! Shown aged about 7 with his father in the inset picture, Arnold often came to Ventnor with his parents on visits from their home in Essex; his uncle Jack Verrall had been on tank training exercises in Niton during WW2, and liked the place so much he moved there after the war.

The second picture in the gallery shows the putting green that used to be at the top of the hill at Flowers Brook. The green was to the right of the café, which looked out towards the sea.  It was still there in the 1990s when we went there with our children – as I remember, there was a steep slope, making precision putting a challenge! Robert Trowbridge, who provided the photo and the snapshot of his younger self putting there, said: One of my favourite childhood treats – a proper milkshake here while the grown-ups were pretending to be Arnold Palmer. The 3rd Hole was the impossible one with the almost vertical slope to contend with.

Happy childhood memories of days when there were no worries and the sun seemed to be always shining – they’ll be back!

Lesley Telford, Ventnor & District Local History Society.  Thanks to Arnold Verrall and Robert Trowbridge for photos and memories.   This article first appeared in the South Wight Chronicle on 2 July 2020.