The two men appointed to arrange the first Annual Dinner on 23 January 1939, F J Lees (Prenton) and J F Clegg (Woolton), did remarkably well to organise the proceedings in the short time-scale allowed to them. Whilst they must have been pleased that 56 people were able to attend they were probably disappointed at the top table turnout. With Lord Derby already out of the running, Lord Leverhulme also declined owing to ill health as did the President of the English Golf Union. The President of the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs had a prior engagement and this left Sydney J Marsden, the President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, as the only honoured guest. As Mr Marsden was an ex-Captain of Wigan Golf Club he would probably have attended in his own right but he no doubt had the pleasure of hearing his health toasted by Roland Marshall, an ex-Captain of Royal Liverpool, who presided at the dinner. Those present were also able to enjoy the musical items provided during the evening by the Gorse Brothers, piano entertainers, and Albert Kinsey, humourist.
The serious business of the evening is recorded in the following resolutions that were passed and which form the basis of the new structure for the Society:
(1) That a Society be formed with the title of “The Society of Liverpool Golf Captains”.
(2) That Captains and Ex-Captains, Treasurers and Secretaries of the following golf clubs be eligible for membership, viz -
Royal Liverpool 1869 West Lancashire 1873 Formby 1884 Hesketh 1885 Birkdale 1889 Wallasey 1891 Leasowe 1891 Grange Park 1891 West Derby 1896 Wigan 1898 Ormskirk 1899 Woolton 1901 Heswall 1901 Bromborough 1904 Prenton 1905 Huyton 1905 Southport & Ainsdale 1906 Freshfield 1909 Childwall 1922 Hillside 1923
and the Committee shall be empowered at its discretion to admit to membership the Captains, ex-Captains, Treasurers and Secretaries of other clubs whose links are situated not more than twenty five miles from the Liverpool Town Hall or somewhat outside that radius.
(3) That the objects of the Society shall be as follows -
(a) To organize and control the competition for the Hayco Trophy and other trophies of the Society and to ensure the continuance of the competitions and to carry out the donors’ wishes in regard to those trophies.
(b) To organize other competitions open to members of the Society.
(c) To keep all records of the Society’s competitions and to arrange for the safe custody of the trophies.
(d) To arrange an Annual Dinner for members of the Society and to do any and all such things as should, in the opinion of the Committee of the Society, be done in the best interests of Merseyside golf clubs and the name of golf.
(4) That the General Meeting and the Annual Dinner of the Society shall be held on a date to be decided by the Committee.
(5) That the Meeting shall appoint from the members of the Society a Committee of six of whom one shall be the retiring Chairman and of whom two shall retire annually by rotation, but such retiring members shall be eligible for re-election.
(6) That there shall be an Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer who shall be appointed at a meeting and who shall remain in office at the pleasure of the Society.
(7) That the Committee shall annually appoint from the members a Captain who shall be the Chairman of the Society and Committee.
(8) That the annual subscription shall be 10/6 per member payable on 1st day of January.
The list of twenty clubs, followed by their dates of origin, has established an order of precedence that has continued to the present day. Our annual handbook has a slightly different order, presumably as a result of subsequent research into the dates of origin. The management of the newly named Society was placed in the hands of a Committee of six comprising of the Captains of the Royal Liverpool, West Lancashire, Formby, Hesketh, Wallasey and Woolton clubs plus F J Lees (Prenton), as Honorary Treasurer and J F Clegg (Woolton) as Honorary Secretary. The first meeting of the new Committee took place on 16 February 1939 at 1/3 Stanley Street, Liverpool, the office of the Hesketh Captain, Bryce Hanmer. The Committee carried unanimously the proposition that “J F Clegg be appointed the first Captain of Captains as being the representative of the club which had founded the Society and carried through the annual arrangements for so many years since 1908”.
It was decided that a badge be designed for the Society and that a jewel with this badge be the insignia of office worn by the Society Captain and presented to his successor during the course of the Annual Dinner. It was also agreed that red coats would not be worn at the dinner following the Annual Competition but that they would be worn at the Annual Dinner.
Following the appointment of J F Clegg as Captain of the Society it was agreed that F J Lees should act in a dual capacity as Honorary Treasurer and Secretary, thus setting a pattern for future years.
The Annual Competition, the first under the new badge, was held at Leasowe on 14 June 1939. There were 34 entries producing another home winner in Bentley Dean, an ex-Captain of Leasowe, with a net 73 (90-17). At the meeting which followed, a letter from Lord Derby was read declining the invitation to be appointed Patron of the Society. It was resolved that Lord Leverhulme be invited to become Patron.
F J Lees, supported by the Captain J F Clegg, proposed that a trophy be presented to the club having three members with a better aggregate score than that of three members of any other club. This trophy became known as the Leverhulme Salver. In regard to the venue for future competitions, the Captain said that he believed that they should be held at the course of the club of which the Society Captain is a member and he intended to discuss the suggestion at the next meeting of the Committee. He was not to know that it would be nine years before the next Committee meeting because the second World War caused the suspension of the Society’s activities until peace had been restored.
The old Committee revived the Society with a competition at Southport & Ainsdale on 30 June 1948. B Turner of Hillside won the Hayco Trophy and was also in the winning trio with A Poirette and H S Collinge to record Hillside as the first winners of the Leverhulme Salver. F J Lees (Prenton) was appointed Captain of the Society and G O Papworth (West Derby) replaced him as Honorary Secretary and Treasurer.
The second Annual Dinner was held on Friday 8 April 1949 and the venue was again the Adelphi Hotel. There was a good attendance with 83 diners and the only recorded guest was the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. The golfing numbers also improved when 61 cards were taken out at Prenton for the Annual Competition on 15 June 1949. The host club took both trophies with R O Lloyd winning the Hayco Trophy with a net 69 (77-8) and also in the winning team for the Leverhulme Salver. Roland Marshall (Royal Liverpool) was elected Captain for the ensuing year.
The year 1950 proved to be significant for the growth of the Society with attendances into three figures for both the Annual Dinner and the Annual Competition. Precisely 100 attended at the Adelphi on 31 March to hear toasts from the Lord Mayor, the Deputy President of the English Golf Union and the Presidents of the Lancashire and Cheshire Unions. With F J Lees proposing the health of the Captain and Roland Marshall responding, the diners were regaled with six speeches. Current members of the Society will no doubt be relieved that toasts in recent years have been shorter as well as fewer in number.
Royal Liverpool was a popular attraction on 14 June 1950 with a record 101 cards being taken out. It was Huyton’s turn to enjoy the spotlight when R N Knowles won the Hayco Trophy with a net 69 (75-6) and the club finished two shots ahead of the host club to win the Leverhulme Salver. A prize of half a dozen golf balls was presented to Dr Garry (Formby) by W A J Parkinson of Woolton for the worst card returned. Hope was expressed that this would encourage others not to tear up their cards! The members at this meeting took the decision that the nomination of the new Captain should properly be left to the choice of past Captains of the Society. As there were only three such past Captains at that time the selection process should have been relatively short. Roland Marshall, as Captain of the Society proposed Bryce Hanmer (Hesketh) as the new Captain and he was approved with acclamation.
Four weeks later on 11 July 1950 Bryce Hanmer hosted a meeting of the Committee at his office in 1/3 Stanley Street. He was a Chartered Accountant and the Senior Partner of the firm that bore his name (now Grant Thornton).
The Committee agreed to invite Lord Derby to act as Patron of the Society in succession to the late Lord Leverhulme and decided that the Society should become an Associate Member of the English Golf Union. They also took the first step towards phasing out the Honorary Secretaries and Treasurers who had been actively participating in the affairs of the Society since 1923. They decided that the trophies presented by the late Mr Hayco of Huyton and the late Lord Leverhulme should be restricted to Captains and ex-Captains and that Secretaries and Treasurers should compete separately for a prize presented by the Society. They also introduced a rule that ex-Captains who had transferred membership to another club could remain in the Society, representing only the club at which they had held office as Captain. The thorny subject of “freedom of the course” on which the Annual Competition is played was also debated, as it has been for many years since. It was agreed that “our Society should abandon the expectation because it no longer suffi ced that our visit did honour to the club concerned and our dignity required that we should bring them the benefit of green fees and be doubly welcome”. It was felt that reigning Captains should be free of green fees and a concessionary reduction to 5 shillings (25p) was suggested for everyone else.
The next Committee meeting on 19 February 1951 changed the date of the forthcoming Annual Dinner to avoid a clash with the Grand National. It was agreed to invite the Captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews to attend personally or by deputy and that he should reply to the toast “Golf & Golfing Societies”. The engagement of a singer was cancelled as it was felt that nine speeches would take all available time. Th e Committee debated the selection of Society Captains and “it was expressly and unanimously agreed that club seniority carried no prescriptive title to the high offices in the Society which were conferred on grounds of service and personal worth by recommendation of the Past-Captains”.
Membership was reported at 202 with some “doubtful names” (the minutes do not define the doubtful nature of these names). The London Society printed handbook and membership list was exhibited and it was agreed to explore the production of a printed list for the Liverpool Society, grouped under clubs, and incorporating an abridged history.
Two further Committee meetings took place in 1951 and at the second of these on 4 May a draft of the new set of rules for the Society was produced by F J Lees. Subject to some minor changes, they were approved at the subsequent Annual General Meeting (with one dissenting voice) on 13 June 1951. The rules, as approved, are reproduced below:
THE SOCIETY OF LIVERPOOL GOLF CAPTAINS
The title of the Society shall be “The Society of Liverpool Golf Captains”.
Membership is confined to the following:
(i) Captains and ex-Captains of golf clubs who have their own links situate not more than 25 miles
from the Liverpool Town Hall.
(ii) Captains and ex-Captains of golf clubs who have their own links situate somewhat outside that
radius whom the Committee has decided to admit tomembership.
(iii) Secretaries and Treasurers of golf clubs who were members of the Society on the 13th June 1951
during such time as they remain Treasurers and Secretaries of their respective clubs.
(i) To do all such things as should in the opinion of the Committee of the Society be done in the best
interest of the golf clubs of Liverpool and district and the game of golf.
(ii) To organize and control the competitions for the Hayco Trophy, the Leverhulme trophy and other
trophies of the Society and to ensure the continuance of the competitions and to carry out the
donors’ wishes in regard to those trophies.
(iii) To organize other competitions open to members of the Society.
(iv) To keep all records of the Society’s competitions and to arrange for the safe custody of the trophies.
(v) To arrange an Annual Dinner for members of the Society.
4 The Annual Meeting and the Annual Dinner of the Society shall be held on such dates and at such
place as shall be decided by the Committee.
The management of the Society shall be vested in a Committee consisting of the Captain, the Past-
Captains, the Treasurer and Secretary who shall be ex-officio members of the Committee and in addition
there shall be three members of the Society elected to serve on the Committee by the Annual General
Meeting, one of whom shall retire annually by rotation and not be eligible for election for one year.
The Society shall at the Annual Meeting appoint from the members a Captain who shall be Chairman
of the Society and the Committee for the ensuing year.
7 Treasurer & Secretary
The Society shall appoint a Treasurer and Secretary and, if necessary, an assistant, both of whom shall
remain in office at the pleasure of the Society.
The annual subscription per members shall be such sum not exceeding £1 as the Committee may
decide and shall be payable on the 1st day of January in each year.
The new rules precipitated the demise of club Secretaries and Treasurers as members of the Society. One cannot speculate as to the background for removing this category of member which could hardly have been to reduce the numbers as there had been frequent calls to recruit additional members. Whatever the reason, the change appears to have been skilfully handled without much bloodshed as the new rules allowed existing incumbents to remain on board so long as they were still in office at their respective clubs. Over the next few years the Secretaries and Treasurers in the Society dwindled until they eventually disappeared leaving the stage to the Captains and ex-Captains.
There were 77 cards taken out at Hesketh for the Annual Competition on 13 June 1951. The Hayco Trophy was won by J Stewart Smith (Birkdale) with a net 73 (86-13), the Leverhulme Salver was won by Woolton and N J G Bartley of West Derby won the special prize for Secretaries and Treasurers. William Lodge, Captain of Bidston, was appointed to assist G O Papworth (West Derby) as Secretary/Treasurer and F Stanley Morris, senior past-Captain of West Lancashire and a past Captain of Formby, was enthusiastically elected Captain.
The Captain’s medallion bearing the Society crest was acquired in 1951 at a cost of approximately £51 and miniatures were subsequently ordered for presentation each year to retiring Captains. The original medallion adorned the necks of Society Captains for the next forty years until it was stolen in a burglary at the Caldy home of Jack Ormrod, the Society Captain in 1991. A replacement medallion has been doing service since that date.
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