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Port Sunlight Golf Club, Spital Road, Bebington, Wirral. (1931 - 1970s)

Port Sunlight Golf Club itself was formed on June 1st 1931.

Nine years earlier in March 1922 some one hundred employees of Lever Brothers had formed the Port Sunlight Golf Association. William Hulme Lever who later became the second Lord Leverhulme became the first captain of the Association. During the next six years the Association grew in strength, so much so that members asked the Company if it would agree to convert an undeveloped stretch of the nearby Edgeworth Estate into a golf course. The Company agreed to the proposal and by August 1929 the scheme was well under way. The course was designed by Sandy Herd, winner of the Open Championship in 1902, and the work was presided over by J W Ramsden, secretary of the of the Port Sunlight Golf Association. On Saturday 2nd August 1930 the 8-hole Edgeworth course was opened for play. Interest in the Association grew rapidly and at a meeting of the 350 members on June 1st 1931, Port Sunlight Golf Club was formed. During the summer of 1932 the course was completed by the addition of a new ninth hole and was duly opened by the second Lord Leverhulme on August 18th 1932. In 1949 additional land on the other side of the railway was acquired and a new 9-hole course was laid out. Work on the new clubhouse in the former stables of Spital Old Hall was completed in 1953.

Closure of the Port Sunlight golf course came about as a result of plans for the new road link which never happened, and for the expansion of the office and laboratory facilities built on the sight of the former warehouse by Unilever Research.

The new course of Eastham Lodge was built on former Unilever land at Eastham before the old course closed. In March 1974 the Port Sunlight Club was formally dissolved, the new club was launched, and all the members transferred to the new club.

Thanks to Gavin Hunter, Port Sunlight Historian and President of the Port Sunlight Golf Association for his help and input on the above section.

During the 1930s the secretary was F V Behan, 8 Woodhey Park, Old Chester Road, Bebington, Cheshire. The professional was H P Denny and the green-keeper T Green. It was now listed as a 9-hole with a membership of 300. Amateur course record was held by J Woollam 29. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a round with Sunday play. The Port Sunlight railway station was 200 yards away. Local hotel was the Bridge Inn.

It was reported in the Liverpool Echo in March 1932 that Viscount Leverhulme was elected the first president. 

Result of a match played at Hooton in September 1936.

Hooton Ladies' Golf Club   Port Sunlight Ladies' Golf Club  
Mrs Stanley 0 Mrs McMaster 1
Mrs Septon 0 Mrs Salm0n 1
Mrs Leech 0 Mrs Pritchard 1
Mrs Davies  0 Mrs A Hopley 1
Mrs Dunn (halved) 0 Mrs Dalton (halved) 0
Mrs Taylor 0 Miss K Smith 1
Mrs Williams 0 Mrs Poulsen 1
  0   6

In September 1937 Percy Denny, Port Sunlight professional, created a new course record of 58, beating his previous score of 60. His round included thirteen threes. Bogey for the course was 64.  

Hole in One for Sam Thompson in March 1938.

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Spital Road, Bebington. Hole in One in for Sam Thompson in March 1938.

Liverpool Echo Monday 7 March 1938. Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Hole in One for club captain George Tasker in February 1939.

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Spital Road, Bebington. Hole in One in for George Tasker in February 1939.

Liverpool Evening Express Tuesday 21 February 1939.I mage © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Below is the first Certificate of Life Membership presented by the club to Mr F V Behan, secretary from 1931 to 1939.

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Bebington, Wirral. First Life Membership Certificate presented to F V Behan.

Above image courtesy of Chris Behan.

 

In 1940 the secretary was J P Hargreaves, 52 Pine Avenue, Bebington, Wirral the professional was still H P Denny and the green-keeper T Green. The 9 holes had a SSS of 62 and Par 64 and a club membership of 380. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a round and Sunday play was allowed.

From 1947 to 1951 the secretary was R S Mothersole, 76 St Andrews Road, Bebington, Wirral. The professional was H P Denny and the green-keeper S Blanthorne. Course records were, amateur E Eddon 60, professional H P Denny 58. Visitors’ fees were 1/6 a round, 2/6 at weekend and Bank Holiday. Local hotel was the Bridge Inn.

In the mid 1950s the secretary was W A Nieuwenhuys, 294 Spital Road, Bromborough, the professional and green-keeper was B Roberts. 9 holes measuring 2,684yds and a SSS 68. Course records were, amateur E Eddon 70 and professional V Harries 65. Visitors’ fees, 2/6 a round, 3/6 at weekend.

Thanks to Chris Behan for providing the following information. “The Beatles. then just a local band, made their Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight, debut at the Port Sunlight Golf Club Dance on  7 July 1962. They were booked by the captain Harry Hackett. They were paid £33 for the night and the drummer at the time was still Pete Best. The group appeared at Hulme Hall again on 18 August 1962 with new drummer Ringo Starr making his first appearance.”

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Spital Road, Bebington. Early picture of Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight.

Early picture of Hulme Hall taken prior to the formation of the golf club.

 

From 1960 to the early 1970s secretary was N Beedles, 30 St Andrews Road, Bebington and the greenkeeper  J R Hazlewood. 9-holes with a total length of 5,500 yards and a SSS of 68 in 1964. It was revised in 1966/72 to 5,427yds and a SSS of 66. There was a membership of 400 in 1964 and 1972. Course records were, amateur J Wooton with a score of 69 and professional V Harries 65. Visitors’ fees in the early 60s were 2/6 a round, 4/- a day weekdays and 10/- a day weekends and Bank Holidays. The station at Spital was ¼ mile away.

Towards the end of its life in the mid 1970s the secretary at Port Sunlight was H J Hall and the professional was Ivor Jones. A 9-hole course with a SSS of 66 and a total length of 5,312yds. There was a membership of 640. Course records were, amateur L E Bradshaw with a score of 69 and professional V Harries 69. Visitors’ fees, 85p a day.

It was reported in June 1973 that the Bebington Planning Committee had agreed in principal to the development of a new 3,100 yard nine-hole golf course for Port Sunlight Golf Club on a site at Eastham. The club's existing course could be bisected by the proposed road link to the M53 and the A41.

The course can be seen on the Britain From Above link below.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw044492?search=port%20sunlight&ref=17

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Bebington. Location of the first course.

Location of the first course at Port Sunlight.

 

Port Sunlight Golf Club, Bebington. The later course.

The later course, showing the extension across the railway (bottom right) also the name of the road to the north has changed.

Grid reference SJ33600,83480, co-ordinates 333600,383480.