Fairway to friendship and enjoyment
You won’t find The Beverley Farm Cottage Golf&Country Club on any Bermuda tourist map.
And maybe it’s better that way.
The water hazard is an old toilet in the middle of the fairway; there’s only one sand trap, and most of the holes between 5 and 16 are non-existent.
Still, this is 75-year-old Jane Jackson’s own private golfing paradise. She and her husband, the late golf pro Edwin Jackson, set it up years ago in their Paget backyard, mostly as a joke.
“We used to play with friends at Riddells Bay Golf&Country Club on Christmas morning,” she said. “Because there was no one around then, we could take on any sort of challenge and make it crazy.”
Tacky Christmas decorations were handed out as prizes for the worst golfers.
But when Riddells Bay closed in March 2016, they needed a new Christmas plan. They set up three holes in a field near their home in Paget.
“We wanted to have something stupid to play,” Mrs Jackson laughed.
The course grew to five holes over the years. Now, during games with her friends, Mrs Jackson hands out specially printed scorecards that include space to calculate both your real score and your cheated score.
Mrs Jackson spent her early years in the City of Hamilton in a house on Brunswick Street called Little Cote — where the Leopard’s Club is today.
Her father, Walter Wadson, ran Thomas Wadson&Son, a shop in town selling everything from record players to seeds. Her mother Jean, was a Canadian-born nurse.
Mrs Jackson admitted she was a bit competitive as a child. She remembers wanting to smash her opponent the first time she tried badminton when she was 13.
In her early 30s, this competitiveness reared again when her mother roped her into playing golf in a tournament at Riddells Bay.
Placed in the bottom flight of the competition, they found themselves going head to head against each other.
“People were joking and saying it was Wadson against Wadson, and placing bets,” Mrs Jackson remembered. “She beat me on the 16th hole. After that I was thinking, I am going to get golf lessons. I never wanted to meet up with my mother in the same group of golfers again.”
Someone recommended she take lessons from Edwin Jackson.
“He was very strict about the lessons and I appreciated that, because in the end I did become the club champion at Riddells Bay in 1984 and 1985,” Mrs Jackson said. “So I never met my mother again in a flight. She took lessons from him too. How it evolved even further — he was breaking up with his wife, and he needed somewhere to live. There was a cottage on the property, and the two of us worked on his cottage restoring it, and decorating it. I think that is when the relationship started.”
They were married on July 6, 1985.
“It was fun being married to a golfer,” Mrs Jackson said. “We played golf together. Then I was also on golf teams to represent Bermuda in the Caribbean in the Kitty Michael International Invitational Tournament, for about eight years. Bermuda actually won.”
Mr Jackson died in 2017 after 32 years of marriage.
Today, Mrs Jackson still plays golf during the winter months, at Port Royal Golf Course.
“What I like about golf is the friendship,” she said. “They always say once you’ve hit one good stroke you’re hooked for a lifetime. It just feels so good.”
During the steamy days of summer, though, she prefers to concentrate on working at The Barn, a thrift shop in Devonshire designed to raise money for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. She said it’s her “other” passion, adding: “I do it three days a week.”
Again it was her mother who got her into it. Mrs Wadson was among The Barn’s earliest volunteers, and dragged her daughter along to help, one day in 1969. At the time Mrs Jackson was working as a secretary for a publishing company in Zurich, Switzerland, and was only home on vacation. She ended up spending the summer helping to organise and sell things at The Barn.
When she returned home for good in 1975 she became a regular volunteer.
“In the beginning you didn’t have to be a Pink Lady (a volunteer with the Hospitals Auxiliary of Bermuda),” she said. “When they made that a rule I joined.”
In the 50 years she has been volunteering with the charity, she has seen a lot of changes.
The Barn was started by Sir Henry Tucker and his wife, in an actual barn on their property on South Road in Paget, near the Botanical Gardens. Over the years, the charity grew and grew.
The Barn moved into a prefabricated building on Devon Springs Road in Devonshire in September 1986. The facility expanded again in 2002 with a new, larger facility on the site.
“I think Lady Tucker would be shocked to think where it has led to today,” Mrs Jackson said.
And there have been some unusual items donated over the years. One morning staff arrived to find a cow mysteriously tied to a post outside the thrift shop. Another time a wild boar head turned up in the donations pile.
But for Mrs Jackson, the most surprising thing to be donated, was a chair that once belonged to her own mother. Her mother had made it during the Second World War from scratch. After Mrs Wadson died in 2000, Mrs Jackson gave it away.
Sixteen year later it turned up at The Barn.
Feeling like her mother had tapped her on the shoulder, Mrs Jackson took the chair home and had it reupholstered. She had to rearrange furniture to make it fit, but she managed.
Looking back Mrs Jackson said she’s most proud of the friends she has made over the years, in Bermuda and abroad.
“In terms of achievement, I’m proud of having been club champion at Riddells Bay,” she said.
• Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Tuesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or email@example.com with their full name, contact details and the reason you are suggesting them
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