The now familiar Society handbook appeared for the first time in December 1951 at a cost of £50. Modelled on the handbook of the London Society it contained the names and addresses of the members listed under their respective clubs and a short history of the Society and its rules. It also listed the winners of the various competitions since inception. The inclusion of the Christian names of Captains since 1969 has proved to be of great help to members with failing memories who have forgotten the names of their old friends.
The Annual Dinner on 19 April 1952 was once more held in the Adelphi Hotel with 120 members and guests and the meal was not considered to reach the desired standard. In the following month the Society lost its Captain, F Stanley Morris, whilst playing at West Lancashire, and his death cast a shadow over the Annual Competition played at Formby on 18 June. Playing conditions were bad but 97 cards were still taken out. A Poirrette (Hillside) and J L White (West Derby) shared the Hayco Trophy with scores of net 71 and West Derby won the Leverhulme Salver. Following the election of G O Papworth (West Derby) as Captain of the Society Bill Lodge (Bidston) was appointed Secretary and Treasurer.
At a Committee meeting on 23 April 1953 Aston-in-Makerfield was admitted into the Society. On 18 June 1953 the Annual Competition was held at West Lancashire, presumably because West Derby could not accommodate the numbers. 88 cards were taken out and the Hayco Trophy was won by W C Turner (Woolton) with a net 70 (79-9). The Leverhulme Salver was won by West Lancashire and the special prize for Secretaries and Treasurers was won for the third time in succession by N J T Bartley (West Derby). F S Moore (Wallasey) was elected Captain of the Society.
An application from Dean Wood to join the Society was approved at a Committee meeting held in Bryce Hanmer’s offi ce on 22 April 1954. On 16 June Wallasey hosted the 1954 Annual Competition with 94 cards taken out. Jack Stanway Johnson (Childwall) won the Hayco Trophy with a net 74 (81-7) and West Lancashire won the Leverhulme Salver. Bill Lodge won the prize for Secretaries and Treasurers and G P Young (West Lancashire) was elected Captain.
The birth of the Autumn Meeting is recorded in a minute at the end of the 1954 Annual Competition. The Captain enquired of members whether they would be interested in a match to be played in the London area and extending over a period of three or four days. On a show of hands approximately 25 members appeared to be interested. Three months later the first Autumn Meeting was played at Sunningdale, Wentworth and Woking.
On 16 June 1955 the Annual Competition played at West Lancashire was won by Bill Lodge (Bidston) with a net 68 (82-14). Bidston swept the board that day when their team took the Leverhulme Salver and W J Jones won the Secretaries’ prize. G Dudley West (Leasowe) was elected Captain.
1956 saw the introduction of Society ties ordered from Watson Prickard at a cost of fifteen shillings (75p). The recently formed Lee Park Golf Club was admitted on 9 January 1956 and the first match against the Society of Manchester Golf Captains was played on 18 July 1956. The Annual Competition at Leasowe was won by G S Butler (Southport & Ainsdale) with a net 68 (86-18) and his score helped his club win the Leverhulme Salver. The prize for Secretaries was won by F G Taylor (Grange Park). D N Stewart (Royal Birkdale) was elected Captain and marked his debut by presenting a trophy for the annual match with Manchester.
In 1957 the scores were tied for both major competitions played at Royal Birkdale. There were two scores of net 68 from H S Worthington (Leasowe) and M A Reece (West Derby) with the former being awarded first prize. Leasowe and Royal Birkdale shared the Leverhulme Salver and as there is no mention of the special prize for Secretaries and Treasurers we may presume that they had disappeared. T W Barker (Southport & Ainsdale) was elected Captain.
At a meeting held on 22 April 1958 the Committee tried to resolve the problem caused by a tied Leverhulme Salver. They decreed that a tie of the three best cards would in future result in the two best cards being considered and if there is still a tie then the best card only from each club will decide. If there is still equality the best card will be played off against each other using match play format. It would seem that this rule has been either overlooked or overruled in later years because there are unresolved ties in 1989, 1992 and 1993.
The growing popularity of the Annual Competition was demonstrated in 1958 when 125 cards were taken out at Southport & Ainsdale. Their neighbours across the railway line took the honours with Hillside winning the Leverhulme Salver and B Turner of that club winning
the Hayco Trophy with a net 67 (81-14). Bill Lodge (Bidston) was released from his duties as Secretary/Treasurer and elected as Captain and Jack Stanway Johnson started what was to become a stint of epic proportions by taking over as Secretary/Treasurer.
The Committee was pleased to accept an offer from the Manchester Golf Captains of a flag similar to their own, to be flown when the Society plays at its constituent clubs. The flag saw excellent service for fifty years until replaced by a new flag in the 2008 Centenary year, once again through the generosity of the Manchester Captains.
As Bidston were having drainage problems in 1959, Bill Lodge asked Royal Liverpool if the Annual Competition could be held at Hoylake and the favourable response resulted in 110 cards being taken out on 11 June. F W Veale (Hillside) won the Hayco Trophy with a net 68 (86-18), Caldy won the Leverhulme Salver and there was a special hole-in-one prize for T T Lunt (Bromborough) who holed out at the 11th (Alps). H S Collinge (Hillside) was elected Captain and among the deaths commemorated at the Annual General Meeting was the name of Dr. F B G Stableford (Wallasey). His system of scoring had not yet been adopted by the Society of which he had been a member but this was to change 13 years later.
After a good deal of debate the Committee finally approved the design of a blazer badge to be worn by the Society members. Two dozen were ordered to test the demand and whilst these were quickly sold there were complaints about quality and style. Two years later the problems were resolved and a further dozen were bought.
The first, and only, Spring Outing of the Society took place at Llandudno in April 1960. It came as a result of a suggestion from the Captain and, presumably, he was one of the seven members who attended. There is no record of any attempt to replicate the occasion.
The 1960 Annual Competition was at Hillside and the Hayco Trophy was won by H Cameron Booth (Southport & Ainsdale) with a net 69 (93-24). The Leverhulme Salver also went to Southport & Ainsdale. For the first time a marquee was used to accommodate the members attending the dinner. Ben Spaven (Grange Park), having fully recovered from a car accident, was elected as Captain. Dr Chisnall (West Derby) had been trying to drum up some support for a Dinner Dance and, predictably, he was given the job of organising it. Just as predictably he discovered that the anticipated support had evaporated so the idea was abandoned.
The Minutes of the Committee meeting on 12 January 1961 recorded that Stanley Thornton of Huyton & Prescot attended his first meeting on the Committee and because of his deafness he volunteered to reduce his term of office to one year. He nominated his fellow club member, Walter Coombs, to replace him and Walter went on to become one of the great stalwarts of the Society, attending the Autumn Meetings well into his nineties.
In May 1961 four ex-Captains of Haydock Park applied for membership and after checking that their club was 16 miles from the centre of Liverpool they were duly admitted. This was the introduction of Haydock, our third oldest Club, into the Society. The following month at Grange Park Dr. W J Chisnall (West Derby) returned a net 69 (83-14) to win the Hayco Trophy and Hillside won the Leverhulme Salver. At the Annual General Meeting Kenneth Adams of Caldy was elected Captain and it was reported that membership had risen to 307.
The Annual Competition played at Caldy in 1962 was won by W H Connerton (Bidston) with a net 71 (81-10) and the host club won the Leverhulme Salver. Jack Stanway Johnson (Childwall) was elected Captain and Bill Lodge took back the reins of Secretary/Treasurer despite having recently suffered a serious operation. Mention of Jack Johnson is worthy of how he came to use his unusual name. As a newly qualified Chartered Accountant, John S Johnson joined the accountancy firm of W H Walker & Co. (of which Geoffrey Leece later became a Partner) and discovered that there was already an Alan Johnson in the firm. To avoid any confusion the Senior Partner enquired what the second initial in his name stood for, and when Jack said that it was his mother’s maiden name he was told that he would forthwith be known as Stanway Johnson. Jack approved of the change and decided to use it universally and later as the name of his firm when he started his own practice in 1946.
The 1963 Annual Competition at Childwall was won by Jack Sharp (Woolton) with a net 70 (82-12), after a tie with W H Connerton (Bidston). The Leverhulme Salver was won by Bidston. Allan Royle (Wigan) was elected Captain and Jack Stanway Johnson took back the office of Honorary Secretary with Bill Lodge remaining as Honorary Treasurer. Wigan was a nine hole course in 1964 and the Captain proposed that the Annual Competition should be held at West Lancashire, who were pleased to assist. The 143 cards taken out on 18 June produced some low scores with D R Telfer winning the Hayco Trophy on his own course with a net 66 (80-14). Huyton & Prescot won the Leverhulme Salver. The numbers dining rose to 150 and Frank Hayes of Bromborough was elected Captain.
The members approved a change in the rules on 18 June 1964 when the provision of membership for Secretaries and Treasurers was deemed to be inoperative. It was replaced by a new rule to allow the election of Honorary Members, stating that “Such persons as the Society, on the recommendation of the Committee at an Annual Meeting may elect to be Honorary Members”. Philip Chase, the President of the Society of London Golf Captains, was then appointed as the first Honorary Member.
Bromborough hosted the 1965 Annual Competition attended by 138 players. H W Chapman, the reigning Captain of Prenton, won the Hayco Trophy with a net 68 and Childwall won the Leverhulme Salver. Walter Coombs of Huyton & Prescot was elected Captain for 1965. Bill Lodge, who had been seriously ill for three years, did not stand for re-election as Treasurer and Jack Stanway Johnson took over as Secretary/Treasurer. A motion to elect Bill Lodge as an Honorary Member was received with acclamation and his fifteen years of service to the Society was marked with the presentation of an engraved silver salver.
Until 1965 the Autumn Meetings had been held biennially in the London area but changes were afoot. The Committee decided to experiment with a visit to the Lothians in 1966 and arrangements were made to play at Gullane No.1, Muirfield and Luffness. This proved to be the start of the regular and popular Autumnal excursions across the border. There were 28 golfers at this meeting with a further 3 who came just for the social activities. What a difference from the numbers who now participate in this popular golf meeting.
A Committee Meeting in May 1966 learned that Jack Stanway Johnson had tendered his resignation as Secretary/Treasurer but this was later withdrawn following a decision that an Honorarium should be paid to this office holder. A figure of £250 per annum was agreed, funded by a doubling of the annual subscription from £1 to £2.
A C Short of Dean Wood won the Hayco Trophy at Huyton & Prescot in 1966 with a record low score of net 60 (78-18). The home club won the Leverhulme Salver.
Woolton became the first Club to provide two Society Captains when Jack Abel was elected in 1966. On his proposal the numbers of Council Members were increased from 3 to 6. A year later he presided over the 1967 Annual Meeting for which the minutes reported that “It was the Woolton Club’s day”. This was an understatement because the host club took the first four places, naturally winning the Leverhulme Salver by a considerable distance, and Frank Fawcett headed the field to win the Hayco Trophy with a net 66 (69-3). Frank’s gross 69 also secured him the scratch prize and when a fifth Woolton Captain won the putting prize they had cleaned up all of the trophies. No doubt the 142 guests at the dinner found a few Woolton legs to pull that evening! Following the dinner the twice-Captain of West Lancashire, Walter Nelson, was elected Captain for 1967.
The issue of club ties appears to have been a vexatious topic around this time with Committee minutes reporting endless debates as to style and quality. Jack Sharp of Woolton was asked to ensure that the staff in his sports outfitters shop in Whitechapel interrogated anyone wishing to buy a Society tie and check their name with the official handbook. The handbook recorded that there were 368 Members in the Society at the end of 1967.
The success of the Annual Dinner at the Adelphi Hotel on 6 April 1968 was due in no small measure to the remarkably fine speech by T B S Johnson of West Lancashire in proposing the toast to the guests and a splendid reply by the Lord Mayor, Mrs Ethel Wormald. She was the first and, as far as we are aware, the only lady to be present at the Annual Dinner and, although a nongolfer, she had entered wholeheartedly into the spirit of the evening. Tom Johnson’s son, Sands, later became President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs in 1996/97 and then Captain of Formby in 2004.
There were 145 cards taken out at West Lancs where T J Gaskell of Dean Wood won the 1968 Hayco Trophy with a net 69 (93-24). Ashton-in-Makerfield won the Leverhulme Salver for the first time and Bill Gillmore became the second Society Captain from Leasowe.
On 28 November 1968 the Committee approved the application from Gathurst Golf Club to join the Society. There was also a discussion concerning the use of titles in the handbook, particularly of a military nature, and it was left to the Honorary Secretary to “prune” these where he felt it was not going to cause hurt or upset.
Leasowe welcomed 152 golfers for the 1969 Annual Competition and there was a tie for first place with two scores of net 65. Using the Cheshire rules, S E Smith of Childwall was the winner of the Hayco Trophy leaving L Wells of Hesketh in second place and the consolation of winning the scratch prize. Wigan won the Leverhulme Salver and Dr Harold Cantor of Lee Park was elected Captain. In his acceptance speech he commented on the coincidence which saw him accept high office at Leasowe, the course that had afforded him free membership whilst he was stationed at the nearby hospital attending to RAF casualties during the war. One of these brave men was Frank Jordan, the captain of the host club, Leasowe.
The Captain of Widnes plus five Past Captains applied for membership of the Society and were duly admitted on 20 March 1970. Widnes had been able to satisfy the requirement of membership that their Captains should on all formal occasions wear red tail coats. Huyton & Prescot enjoyed a successful day at the 1970 Annual Competition when 173 cards were taken out at Lee Park. Peter Harling won the Hayco Trophy with a net 64 (83-19) and Huyton won the Leverhulme Salver. The Captain for the following year was named as Norman Thorpe of Hesketh.
The Autumn Meeting in 1970 was not a great success from a golfing perspective which was exacerbated by travel problems in the London rush hour. Our final visit to the Capital took place five years later.
In 1971 the Society was honoured by the elevation of two of its members to high office in their respective Counties. Congratulations were offered to Peter Wilson of Formby on his election as President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and to Peter Dutton of Prenton as President of the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs.
The support for the Annual Competition continued to grow and in 1971 there were 186 cards taken out at Hesketh. Once again there was a tie with two players scoring net 72 and this time it was the rules of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs that decided the issue. A C Short of Dean Wood was declared the winner of the Hayco Trophy and Dr Len Wolfman of Lee Park was the runner up and won the scratch prize. Dean Wood won the Leverhulme Salver and Dr Donald Falconer of Wallasey was elected as Captain for 1971.
After many years of campaigning for a change in the scoring system the campaigners won support for a trial of the Stableford system at the Annual Competition in 1972. The fact that the event was to be held at Wallasey where the legendary Dr Stableford had been Captain in 1933 was no doubt a factor in the decision. The change was duly implemented and approved by all and has been in operation ever since. Many a Captain playing in subsequent Annual Competitions will have had cause to thank the worthy Doctor for his innovation which allows a player to pick up his ball (if he can find it) and walk to the next hole rather than go back to the tee for the cause of his club and the Leverhulme Salver. The use of the Stableford system at Wallasey in 1972 where 181 cards were taken out could not prevent a tie for first place with A H Randall of Haydock Park and J D Hislop of Bidston both scoring 40 points. Randall (handicap 12) was declared the winner of the Hayco Trophy based on his score over the first 9 holes and Gathurst won the Leverhulme Salver. Peter Dutton was elected as Society Captain for the year 1972.
The 1972 Autumn Meeting at St Andrews was deemed to have been one of the best ever held, especially as the golfers were able to play the Old Course and had full use of the R & A clubhouse facilities.
Frank Fawcett, a Past Captain of Woolton, was a welcome guest at the 1973 Annual Dinner as President of the English Golf Union. 190 members attended the 1973 Annual Competition at Prenton where the Leverhulme Salver was won by Widnes and the Hayco Trophy went to Wally Allison of Hillside with 36 points. Peter Wilson of Formby followed a busy year as President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs by accepting Captaincy of the Society. Geoffrey Leece recalls that whenever Wally Allison’s name came up in conversation so did the story of the part he played at the Huyton & Prescot Autumn Dinner in 1969, when Geoffrey Leece was Club Captain. Having wined and dined very well, Wally brought the evening to a close by playing the piano with a frequently replenished pint of bitter on top. At closing time it was his job to drive the Southport contingent home with Tom Johnson of Hillside and Bill Wilding of Southport & Ainsdale as his passengers. Wally was better equipped at flying bombers during the war than navigating unchartered country roads so he elected for the more familiar, if longer, route via Liverpool City centre. When confronted with the entrance to the Birkenhead Tunnel he opted to drive through to Wirral where he turned round and reversed the journey and drove home to Southport along Scotland Road. The breathalyser put a stop to such antics a few years later!
The 1973 Annual General Meeting started the personal involvement of Geoffrey Leece in the management of the Society. John Clare of West Derby, having done a ten year stint as Honorary Auditor, stood down and Geoffrey's appointment as his replacement lasted for another 14 years. Attendance at the Annual Meeting reached 200 for the first time at Formby in 1974. The winner of the Hayco Trophy was Stuart Brown of Caldy with 33 points and a three card aggregate of 85 points was enough to earn Widnes the Leverhulme Salver. The poor low scores were due to high wind, heavy rain, sleet and hail for which the Captain, Peter Wilson, took the blame. In his concluding speech he said that he had been praying for rain so that Formby would be in perfect condition but such was his influence with the Almighty that they had all been drenched by the delay in answering his prayers. Judge Alan Booth of Royal Liverpool was welcomed as the Captain for 1974.
Royal Liverpool hosted the 1975 Annual Competition and 183 cards were taken out. Jack Marquis of Prenton won the Hayco Trophy with 35 points and Huyton & Prescot won the Leverhulme Salver. Leslie Stewart of Grange Park was elected Captain for 1975.
There were 194 golfers attending the 1976 Annual Competition at Grange Park. After a tie on 37 points with Graham Twist of the home club, Brian Frazer of Caldy was declared the winner of the Hayco Trophy and Grange Park won the Leverhulme Salver. After the dinner, which was held at the offices of Pilkingtons Glassworks, Lord Pilkington spoke of his pride at being the first and only guest to attend the Annual Meeting and at the pleasure he received each year in accepting a red rose as the annual rent. John Wild of Wigan was introduced as the incoming Captain and he responded to the invitation in the humorous manner for which he was later to became famous throughout the golfing world.
The 1977 Annual Competition was unique as it was played over two successive days. Half of the 180 golfers went round the 9 hole Wigan course twice on the Wednesday and the other half did the same on the following day. The Dinner was held at the nearby Haigh Hall and the Hayco Trophy was won by Bert Fairclough of Grange Park with 36 points and Gathurst took the Leverhulme Salver. Dr David Evans of Caldy was introduced as the 1977 Captain.
The Committee accepted an offer from Ben Spaven of Grange Park to provide a silver salver for which the over 65’s could compete at future Annual Meetings. It was agreed that if the over 65 winner had already won a prize the Spaven Trophy would go to the next in order. It was first competed for in 1978 at Caldy when the winner was Ron Gregory of Southport & Ainsdale. There was a three way tie for first place on 37 points and the Cheshire Rules decided that Peter Stephenson of Childwall was the winner of the Hayco Trophy. Leasowe won the Leverhulme Salver and George Morrow of Childwall was elected Captain.
Childwall hosted the 1979 Annual Competition and 186 players took part. E G Sims of Southport & Ainsdale won the Hayco Trophy and Childwall won the Leverhulme Salver. Norman Rigby was greeted as the first Society Captain from Widnes.
Widnes hosted the 1980 Annual Competition and the Hayco Trophy was won by Richard Bangor-Jones of Woolton with the host club winning the Leverhulme Salver. Tom Boydell became the first from Haydock Park to Captain the Society.
Huyton & Prescot enjoyed a good year at Haydock Park in 1981 when Doug Hindle won the Annual Competition and he was also in the winning trio to claim the Leverhulme Salver for his club. Harry Wellings of Bromborough was elected Captain.
It was Bromborough’s turn to host the 1982 Annual Competition and S J Bradbrook of Childwall won the Annual Competition. Grange Park won the Leverhulme Salver and Stanley Dickinson of Southport & Ainsdale was appointed Captain.
There was a tie at Southport & Ainsdale in 1983 between Gerald Tait of Haydock Park and Ted Jordan of Gathurst. There is no evidence that either of them was declared the winner, apart from the fact that Mr Tait recalls holding the trophy, so we shall assume an honourable draw. Ashton-in-Makerfield won the Leverhulme Salver and Danny Garforth of Ormskirk was appointed Captain.
At Ormskirk in 1984 J Harper of Bromborough won the Hayco Trophy and Bromborough won the Leverhulme Salver. Ron Ceha of Leasowe was appointed Captain.
The winner of the Hayco Trophy at Leasowe in 1985 was N E McCormack of Childwall and Gathurst won the Leverhulme Salver. Harold Winstanley of Ashton-in-Makerfield was appointed Captain.
There were 195 players competing at Ashton-in-Makerfield in 1986 and the host club made a clean sweep of the prizes. F S Dickinson won the Hayco Trophy with 39 points, L Pilling won the Spaven Salver and the host club took the Leverhulme Salver. The dinner was held at Haydock Park Racecourse and four Honorary Members were elected - Frank Fawcett (Woolton), John Behrend (Royal Liverpool), John Wild (Wigan) and Jack Stanway Johnson (Childwall). Dr John Benstead of Royal Birkdale was elected Captain but, sadly, he did not survive to complete his year of office.
John Benstead was one of the “characters” of the Society and his cheerful disposition was hardly in keeping with his profession. He was the Home Office pathologist who was frequently called out whenever a mysterious death had occurred but on Society occasions he had a cheerful greeting for everyone and was seldom seen without a carnation in his buttonhole. A keen supporter of the Autumn Meeting, he usually joined up with the Leasowe Captains. When he learned of his terminal illness half way through his year of office he and his wife, Nancy, agreed that they would wish the 1987 Annual Competition to be held at Royal Birkdale even though John would not be there to host it. He died on 13 January 1987 and his wishes were fulfilled on 11 June 1987.
John’s predecessor, Harold Winstanley, carried out most of the official duties until the Annual Competition at Royal Birkdale. 192 players competed and the Hayco Trophy was won by Charles Ward of Huyton & Prescot with 37 points and Hillside won the Leverhulme Salver. At the AGM Geoffrey Leece was introduced as the Society Captain for 1987 and his first task was to greet Nancy Benstead as she came into the marquee to a moving ovation and presented him with a silver salver. In exchange, he handed her a rose bowl containing John’s favourite pink carnations. The Benstead Trophy is now an integral part of the Society and is awarded for the best aggregate score over the three rounds of the Autumn Meeting.
The Annual Competition at Huyton & Prescot in 1988 was attended by 198 players and the Hayco Trophy was won by Dr N E Nathanson of Bromborough. The Leverhulme Salver was won by Grange Park. Geoffrey Leece handed over the Captaincy to Frank Harkins of Heswall. A year later in 1989 a record 232 players took part in the Annual Competition at Heswall, starting at 8am and playing in fours. The winner of the Hayco Trophy was W J Williams of Childwall with 45 points and there was a tie for the Leverhulme Salver between Childwall and Grange Park. Tom Wolfenden of West Derby was elected Captain.
The growing support for the Autumn Meeting was causing problems for the organisers and in 1989 there were 166 players. An experiment of using six instead of the usual three courses was tried and whilst this was deemed to have been a success it was never used again. Geoff Swift of Lee Park commenced his liaison with the Secretaries of the individual “years” in order to avoid clashes of dates. This labour of love has proved to be a helpful way of co-ordinating the dates whilst leaving each year to organise its own events. This duty is now ably performed by Tony Brand of Ashton-in-Makerfield.
The record attendance at the Annual Competition was equalled in 1990 when 232 cards were taken out at West Derby. M Geoghegan of West Derby won the Hayco Trophy with 40 points and the home club also won the Leverhulme Salver. Norman Whittaker of Dean Wood was elected Captain and Peter Dutton of Prenton was elected an Honorary Member.
For the third successive year 232 players took part in the 1991 Annual Competition at Dean Wood. The Dinner was held at the adjacent Holland Hall Hotel and J Coan of Grange Park won the Hayco Trophy, having scored 41 points. Haydock Park won the Leverhulme Salver and Jack Ormrod of Caldy was elected Captain. His appointment meant that a new Honorary Auditor would be required and Michael Taggart of West Lancashire was appointed.
The numbers at the 1992 Annual Competition at Caldy were slightly down at 226 players. Ashton-in-Makerfield tied with Gathurst for the Leverhulme Salver and Frank Moran won the Hayco Trophy. John Stoker of Woolton was elected Captain and Walter Coombs of Huyton & Prescot was made an Honorary Member two days after his 90th birthday. Walter's scorecard marked that day by Geoffrey Leece is reproduced here. His score of 20 points with a net 85 beat his age by 5 strokes - quite an achievement.
The 1992 AGM ended with an announcement from Jack Stanway Johnson that after 30 years in office he would be stepping down as Honorary Secretary. At the next Committee meeting on 27 October 1992 a new structure was adopted that would leave the finance and secretarial duties in the hands of Jack’s son, Tony Johnson, and devolve the other responsibilities to two Committees. Tom Wolfenden was elected to chair the Golf Committee and Geoffrey Leece took the chair of the Dinner Committee. The office of President was created and Committee members were allowed to stand for election for a second three year term.
The Golf Committee was soon into its stride in 1993 when it changed the format for the Annual Competition at Woolton. Tom Wolfenden was not averse to innovation and he borrowed a shotgun which was fired at 8 am, 12 noon and 4 pm to set off the players in three groups, spread over all 18 holes. This was the first time that the “shotgun” system of starting everyone simultaneously was used and it proved to be a success. A total of 232 players got round the course in a degree of comfort not enjoyed for many years and the system has been used to this day. Maurice Tickle of Widnes won the Hayco Trophy with 44 points and there was a three way tie for the Leverhulme Salver between Childwall, Widnes and Woolton.
The end of Jack Stanway Johnson’s era as Honorary Secretary/Treasurer was marked at the 1993 AGM by the presentation to him of a Royal Doulton plate bearing the crest of the Society and the names of its twenty seven constituent clubs. Jack was also appointed with acclaim as Honorary Life President and his wife, Phyllis, was introduced to the members as only the third lady to attend a Society event. The Captain, John Stoker, presented her with a floral tribute and thanked her for all the back room work over many years. Jack Stanway Johnson presented a crystal Claret Jug to the Society to be played for at the Autumn Meeting and known as The President’s Trophy. The AGM concluded with the announcement of Peter Jones of Hesketh as Captain for 1993.
The newly formed Dinner Committee was also quick to make changes by moving the Annual Dinner from the Adelphi Hotel to St Georges Hall. The dinner was held on 22 April 1995 and the Hall made a splendid setting, especially when we were entertained by some pre-dinner music from the magnificent organ. We returned there for the next three years but, regrettably, the acoustics in the Hall were not good and there were difficulties for the caterers so all dinners since 1999 have been held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
234 competitors took part in the 1994 Annual Competition at Hesketh and Frank Smith of Gathurst won the Hayco Trophy with 38 points. The host club won the Leverhulme Salver and David Kerr of Bromborough was elected Captain.
Woolton was at the heart of another foundation when The Residual Society of Liverpool Golf Captains had its inaugural meeting there on 25 July 1994. The idea for the Residuals came from a conversation between Geoffrey Leece and Peter Wilson when the active survivors from the 1969 year had dwindled and they were contemplating joining up with the 1968s. Peter suggested that a “sixties” group be formed and Geoffrey went a stage further by inviting all surviving Captains up to 1970. The result was a group of chaps who admitted to being slightly past their best but who wished to retain the camaraderie that they had enjoyed with friends from their year of office. The name “Residuals” owes something to the sense of humour of the late Norman Rigby of Widnes who suggested it. Frank Fawcett of Woolton was a strong supporter, winning the competition twice and he died suddenly on the day the 2003 competition was played. Geoffrey Leece ran the Residuals for the first 13 years and handed over the reins to Steve Sunderland of Widnes in 2006.
Bromborough hosted the 1995 Annual Competition and 239 competitors took part. Michael Williams of Wigan won the Hayco Trophy with 41 points and Dean Wood won the Leverhulme Salver. Geoff Swift of Lee Park was elected Captain for 1995.
The 1996 Annual Competition was held at Lee Park and the Hayco Trophy was won by G D Anderson of Hillside. The Leverhulme Salver was won by Haydock Park and Derek Vaux of West Lancashire was elected Captain.
The 1997 Annual Competition was played at West Lancashire and C H Farmer of Prenton won the Hayco Trophy. Childwall won the Leverhulme Salver and Frank Smith of Gathurst was elected Captain.
The summer of 1997 also marked the deaths in quick succession of three past-Captains of the Society. Bill Gillmore of Leasowe, Jack Stanway Johnson of Childwall and Walter Coombs of Huyton & Prescot died between May and August, Jack being the youngest at the age of 89.
In 1998 there were 270 competitors at Gathurst when it hosted its first Annual Competition on their recently completed 18 hole course. The weather that day was atrocious and under normal circumstances the competition could not have been played. Alan Parkinson of the home club won the Hayco Trophy after a card play-off and was also part of the winning team from Gathurst which took the Leverhulme Salver. Douglas Cox of Bidston was elected Captain.
In 1998 the Autumn Meeting crossed the sea to Ireland for the first time and 177 members played in the Dublin area. The logistical problem of coping with so many players was solved by spreading the golfers over all three courses on the three days of competition rather than taking each course for a day. This innovation met with the approval of the host clubs as well as our members. The Eire Tourist Authority, Bord Failte, hosted a welcoming reception for the party and presented a crystal vase to the Society. The Committee subsequently decided that the Bord Failte Trophy would be presented each year at the Autumn Meeting. Five years later the trophy was renamed as the Tom Wolfenden Trophy in memory of Tom who had been instrumental in organising the Autumn Meetings in Eire and who died in 2003.
The 1999 Annual Dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel for the first time where the attendance reached a record 419 diners. At Bidston the 1999 Annual Competition was attended by 265 players and David Ball of Southport & Ainsdale won the Hayco Trophy with 39 points. Haydock Park won the Leverhulme Salver and John Currie of Grange Park was elected Captain.
The Millennium year of 2000 was marked by an attendance of 407 diners at the Annual Dinner and 295 golfers participating at the Annual Competition at Grange Park. The Hayco Trophy was won by Danny Garforth of Ormskirk with 43 points and Grange Park won the Leverhulme Salver. Bryan Greenwood of Hillside was elected Captain and the final event in the Millennium year was a three day visit to the National Golf Centre at Woodhall Spa when 237 players took part in the Autumn Meeting.
Frank Smith of Gathurst won the Hayco Trophy for the second time when the 2001 Annual Competition was played at Hillside and the Leverhulme Salver went to Formby. At the AGM which followed the dinner Harry Wellings of Bromborough and Peter Wilson of Formby were elected as Honorary Life Members and Dr Nayyar Naqvi of Wigan was elected Captain.
By 2002 Wigan had extended its course to 18 holes and was therefore able to accommodate the Annual Competition on one day, instead of over two days as in 1977. Ken Parkin of Dean Wood with 42 points won the Hayco Trophy and his club also took the Leverhulme Salver. Graham Hurton of Prenton was elected Captain.
Ashton-in-Makerfield dominated the Annual Competition at Prenton in 2003 when the Hayco Trophy was won by W Steele and the club also took the Leverhulme Salver. Ashton also took centre stage at the AGM when Dennis Boardman of that club was elected Captain. The long and distinguished contribution by the Johnson family spanning 45 years also ended at the AGM when Tony Johnson retired as Secretary and Treasurer. Eddy Hampson of Bidston was elected to serve as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer and Michael Taggart of West Lancashire stood down as Honorary Auditor, to be replaced by Ken Norris. At the 2004 AGM Tony Johnson was elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Society.
The Hayco Trophy winner for 2004 at Ashton-in-Makerfield was Donald Booth of Childwall and Ashton retained the Leverhulme Salver. John McAuley of Childwall was elected Captain.
Childwall hosted the 2005 Annual Competition where Clive Goodwin of Haydock Park won the Hayco Trophy. Dean Wood won the Leverhulme Salver and Huw Rowlands of Wallasey was elected Captain. Peter Critchley of Childwall won the Hayco Trophy at Wallasey in 2006 and the Leverhulme Salver was won by Ashton-in-Makerfield. Peter Hurst of Widnes was elected Captain and Harold Winstanley of Ashton-in-Makerfield was elected as an Honorary Life Member.
The toast to the Society at the Annual Dinner in April 2007 was proposed by Michael Lunt, the Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Sadly, this was one of the last speeches by the former Amateur Champion golfer because he died suddenly a month later.
Gathurst took the honours at Widnes in the 2007 Annual Competition when the Club won the Leverhulme Salver and R Hodder won the Hayco Trophy. Derek Walkden of Haydock Park was elected Captain to take the Society into it’s Centenary year.
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