"I recently came across this old picture of 'Cleckheaton Golf Club' which is situated a little distance beyond the 'Chain Bar' motorway roundabout at Moorend, Cleckheaton. The picture evoked memories of the times I regularly acted as a Caddy and carried the heavy bags filled with clubs around 18 holes on many a Sunday afternoon in my sixteenth year of life.
Having been unable to walk between the ages of 12-15 years, by my 16th year, I had just started to get my mobility back. Consequently, I found the three hour task on a Sunday afternoon, in all weathers, often difficult to negotiate. The wage for being a Caddy in 1959 was half a crown (little more than a ten penny piece today), but before 1960, such an amount would gain one entry to a Town Hall dance, or two visits to the picture house, two and a half pints of beer or a packet of twenty cigarettes. As for travelling to and from home to the golf club, a distance of a six-mile round trip by bicycle, I used to consider that part of the Caddy contract which was unpaid, to be no different to the three-mile walk my mining father daily made (unpaid) from pit head to coal seam. He used to tell me that his wage for the day only started after he'd raised his pick to hew the coal and ended immediately after he'd downed it!
When I think back, I was in no way different or unusual to all the other boys and girls of my generation who'd been brought up on Windybank Estate, who'd been born into working class households where the family food for this week was always paid for out of my father's next week wages. All my mates from the estate had at least two part time jobs in order to earn some spending money; and some even held down three or more! Very few of the people I grew up with ever got owt for nowt and therefore we grew up with the expectation of self reliance. Indeed, that is why probably the most popular of Yorkshire sayings is, 'Hear all, see all, say nowt; tak' all, keep all, gie nowt, and if tha ever does owt for nowt, do it for thysen.'
I recall such times, not in regret, but rather out of celebration of the richest of lives we lived during the 50s and 60s. I was in my early thirties before I found myself paying for a round of golf in Mirfield, and by that time Caddys were a role of the past. Nobody carried clubs around the 18 holes anymore; they were either wheeled in an open forerunner to the wheelie suitcase we are all familiar with today or even driven around in the golf buggies of the rich.
Why the way of life my contemporaries and I lived was much better than today, was that it not only helped to build character and develop self reliance, but the ways that we earned the money from our spare jobs essentially kept us fit and healthy in the process. Well, I ask you; could you imagine any child of the New Millennium walking two miles to the shops daily to buy a loaf of bread. I know that if they are like my daughter Rebbeca who lives in London, all they do today is pick up the phone and get a shop delivery from the local supermarket! They'll be expecting to buy their bread sliced next!" William Forde: January 16th, 2017.