Phillip Jefferson came from a family of seven brothers in Alnmouth and was born there in 1884. He took a roundabout route into golf, mirroring that of some of the early clubmakers. On the 1901 census he was a cabinetmaker and by 1911 a fishing rod maker (one suspects Hardy Brothers in Alnwick). Whether or not he served a formal golfing apprenticeship at Alnmouth I don’t know though subsequent press reports suggest it (one mentions Sunderland but I find no evidence for this). His brother, Thomas, was listed as a greenkeeper at the club in 1911.
Anyway, in July 1912, it was reported that he was taking over as professional at the Berwick Town Club (Magdalene Fields) in succession to John Malcolm who was ‘leaving for an appointment in the colonies’. He played from here in the Northern Professional Championship at Gosforth in 1914. There were plenty plaudits for him from the club, the condition of the course in 1913, and his supervision of Ben Sayers’s extension of the course to 18 holes in 1915.
He had left the club by January 1916 when the Berwick Advertiser reported that there was little interest in golf in the town though complimented the greens made by his successor, a Mr Foster. He may have left because he went to the army (though many professionals had dual employment in one form or another) but he certainly went to war.
His records seem to be among the ‘burnt records’ destroyed in the WWII Blitz so there are only transcriptions. There is no doubt that, serving with “D” Company, 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, he died on 22 March 1918. Contemporary newspaper reports say he was initially missing then reported ‘to have died in the hands of the Germans after being wounded in battle and is buried near Pronville’ but this is beyond the scope of CWGC records. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.
His brother, Thomas, who, at the time of his death on 1 December 1918, lost at sea while serving with the Royal Naval Reserve Trawler section (RNRT), was reported as having been employed for 14 years on Alnmouth Golf Course.
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