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Southport Golf Club. (1885 - 1902)

A brief résumé:-

The Southport Golf Club was founded in 1885 with its headquarters at the Fleetwood Arms Inn. The course was located on the Fleetwood Road (more or less where the Hesketh Golf Course is nowadays.)

In the early 1890s it moved to Moss Lane (home to the current Southport Old Links.)

The Southport Golf Club continued to play at Moss Lane until 1902.

In 1902/3 Southport amalgamated with, and became, Hesketh Golf Club, and moved back to its first location (1885) on Fleetwood Road.

Southport Golf Club disappeared in 1902.

Following is the entry from the 1888/89 Golfing Annual; Southport Golf Club - Instituted 1885 - Entrance Fee £1/1s and subs £1/1s; Membership of 62; Captain, I Hardy Welsby; Committee - Messrs. Anderson, Betham, Clinning, Macalister, MacGregor, Nicholson, Ogilvy, Sir Charles Metcalf, Bart., Capt. I Hardy Welsby; Join Secretaries - R A Nicholson, Hesketh Park, Southport, and Cap. I Hardy Welsby, The Grange, Southport; Professional and Green-keeper, George Strath.

The club prizes are the Monthly Medal and the Captain's Cup. The club green is within the borough of Southport, and consists of eighteen-holes. The putting greens are said to be the best in England. A new clubhouse is now built on the links.

It was reported in June 1890 that Manchester Artillery where at Southport for Infantry Inspection. The report went on "The marsh, which has been the review ground of the Manchester Artillery for a number of years, is a grassy plain, bordering on the foreshore, and is sometimes covered by the sea. It has been formed by the gradual accumulation of sand, and inhabitants of the district can remember when it was some hundred yards narrower than it is now. At present it is over a quarter of a mile wide. The land is now used as a links by the Southport Golf Club." This confirms that the club where still a their original location at this time. 

 

Southport Golf Club. Early club button.

 

Thanks to Dixon Pickup for the above image and the following information. "Here is what I believe to be the button for the early Southport Golf Club. 23mm with design incised, the key factor being the back mark, 'G.Kenning & Son Liverpool'. This company were not button manufacturers merely suppliers of clothing etc., a lot of it Masonic. I think they became 'Toye Kenning & Co in the early 20th century." 

The report below from April 1892 gives a valuable insight on the Moss Lane course of the Southport Golf Club.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Moss Lane course from April 1892.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 23rd April 1892. Images © Illustrated London News Group.

 

Result of the May 1892 monthly medal; R H Prestwich, 98-6-92; G F Smith, 92 scratch; H Sidebottom, 108-12-96; W T Rowley, 110-12-98; John Monson, 107-7-100;Captain Wylde, 116-12-104; Thomas Aitken, 127-14-113. Junior gold medal; Herbert Dorning, 113-20-93; H B Barlow, 112-18-94; T Ashington, 117-18-99; D C Anderson, 131-20-91; Lewis Haslam, 130-18-112. 

In June 1892 it was reported that the summer meeting was held on the links at Churchtown. Amongst other competitions twenty couples competed for Colonel Welsby's cup, open to members of Birkdale, Freshfield, West Lancashire, Manchester, Lytham and St Anne's and Southport clubs. Mr L D Stoddart won the cup with a score of 85 scratch.

 

Southport Golf Club, Lancashire. The Moss Lane course on the 1894 O.S map.

The Southport Golf Club course at Moss Lane in 1894. © Crown Copyright {1894}

 

On Saturday 17th September 1892 the Moss Lane course had been much improved by the green committee and professional, George Strath. for " a national meeting, likely to attain a strong position in future years." It was inaugurated by the Mayor of Southport, Alderman Pilkington, who offered a gold medal for the best amateur score for members of all recognised clubs. Mr H H Hilton of the Formby Golf Club became the first holder of the medal with a score of 80 (Out in 41 and Home in 39.)

Below is a report on the Southport Centenary Contest played in September 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Centenary Contest played in September 1892.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Report on the Centenary Contest played in September 1892.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 1st October 1892. Images © Illustrated London News Group.

 

Below is the Southport Golf Club entry taken from the 1892/93 Golfing Annual.

 

Southport Golf Club. Entry from the 1892/3 Golfing Annual.

 

Southport Golf Club. Entry from the 1892/3 Golfing Annual.

 

Southport Golf Club. Entry from the 1892/3 Golfing Annual.

Images courtesy of Dixon Pickup.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Results for the November 1893 Monthly Medal.

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News Saturday 18th November 1893. Image © Illustrated London News Group.

 

Result of the January 1894 monthly medal resulted in a tie; G S Ball, 102-8-94; W T Rowley, 102-8-94; F Baker, 107- 9-98; G F Pearson, 106-6-100; T O Clinning, 127-22-105; A H Dorning, 118-11-107; M S Bless, 125-16-109.

In February 1894 George Strath, the professional, moved to North Manchester Golf Club.

Result of the Christmas meeting in 1894; R Basley, 94-11-83; A J Entwisle, 93-9-84; W G Clinning, 103-14-89.

The ladies' section of the club held their first meeting on Tuesday 22nd October 1895. Two handicap prizes given by W E Buckley, the captain, and two prizes given by Peter McEwan, the professional. The competition was medal play over the full 18-hole course, which was exceedingly difficult for the ladies. Miss Bardsley, 115 net won the first prize; Mrs G F Smith, 116 net was second. Mrs Corkhill, 127, net and Mrs Williamson, 137, net won the prizes given by the professional.

The course had been lengthened for the summer meeting in June 1896. G F Smith with a score of 83 won the Buckley gold scratch medal. The Scarisbrick challenge cup was won by F H Smith, 89-2-87; F Edmonson was second, 107-18-89.   

Below is a report on a professional tournament played on the Southport course in May 1897.

 

Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane. Professional tournament played in May 1897.

From the Dundee Advertiser Monday 17th May 1897. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

At the autumn meeting in October 1897 forty four members competed. G F Smith (holder) won the Pilkington gold medal with a score of 82. R C Ivy won the handicap prize, 87-6-81; J K Pearson, 85-3-82 was runner-up.

Probably one of the last competitions. On Saturday 21st December 1901 the monthly competition was played on the Churchtown course. H B Barlow won the first prize, 100-15-85; Tie for second prize between W M Wylde, W T Rowley, W Hodge and H Brighouse, with net scores of 89. 

In September 1902 an advert appeared in the Lancashire Evening Post offering for sale; "the Clubhouse and Outbuildings of the Southport Golf Club, Moss Lane, Churchtown, built of corrugated iron on brick foundation. Also all fittings, floor coverings, furniture, lockers etc. accommodation for 200 to 300 members. Offers requested. May be inspected at any time; apply to Hon. Secretary, W M Wylde."

In November 1902 Mr A J Balfour, M.P., became a honorary member of the Southport Golf Club.

The professional at Southport before the amalgamation was Peter McEwan, formerly of Musselburgh, who held the course record with a score of 73.

The Google Map below pinpoints the location of the former Fleetwood Arms, the first headquarters of the Southport Golf Club.