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Ashton-in-Makerfield Golf Club

The early years of any golf club are always interesting and they usually bear testimony to the endeavour and enthusiasm of a small group of golfers. It is easy to forget that although golf was seen to be an elitist sport when most of our clubs were formed there were not many people with deep pockets to finance the purchase and upkeep of a course and clubhouse. Most, if not all, of our clubs are indebted to an original “few” and Ashton is no exception.

The co-founders of Ashton-in-Makerfield were Tom Mayall and Andrew Molyneux who set up a 9 hole course for the staff of Garswood Hall Collieries. Their chosen site was adjacent to the Colliery at Old Bryn and in 1902 a meeting of 15 enthusiasts agreed to proceed. All went well until 1906 when their clubhouse, the size of a small bungalow, was burnt down but nothing daunted, they built a larger one and carried on playing. In 1946 the members had the good fortune and good sense to buy the land from the Colliery for £750 and this decision was to prove to be the salvation of the club.

Those old enough to remember the World War of 1939/45 will recall the post-war years when everything was in short supply and essential goods were rationed. Coal was particularly in demand and not enough could be produced from the mines to meet the needs of our homes and industry. It was discovered that coal could be retrieved from just below the surface in certain areas and this led to a widespread devastation of the landscape when open cast mining was introduced. Old Bryn was a natural target and in the late 1950s a golf course was deemed easy pickings. The 9 holes were reduced to 6 and the final bombshell arrived in 1961 when Lancashire County Council threatened a Compulsory Purchase Order for the whole site. Like many such disasters, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Careful negotiations with the County Council produced a compensation package of £28,900 and an even better bargain was achieved when Lord Gerard agreed to sell 60 acres of his Garswood Hall Estate for £5,000. This enabled the members to construct a new 9 hole course on the present site which was opened when the Captain drove in on 16 October 1965. Hawtree & Son were the Golf Course Architects and they were also appointed in 1974 when the course was extended to 18 holes. The extra 50 acres of land had previously been leased to the National Coal Board who agreed a surrender, thus allowing the club to buy it from Lord Gerard. A major building project saw the present Clubhouse completed in 1996 at a cost of £340,000 - far removed from it’s original form in 1902 and showing the effects of inflation because the tender for the Garswood Park Clubhouse in 1965 was only £14,900. Current members can now enjoy the benefits laid down by Lord Gerard in the 19th century when he planted species of trees from every country in the British Empire. His legacy is a golf course often described as a miniature Wentworth where precision driving is essential.

In April 1953 the club applied and was admitted into the Society of Liverpool Golf Captains. Harold Winstanley, Captain of Ashton in 1966, was the first from his club to be appointed Captain of the Society in 1985/86 and was later President of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs in 1988/89. Dennis Boardman, Captain of Ashton in 1987, was the second from his Club to be appointed Captain of the Society in 2003/04.

1902 A  Molyneux
1903 A  Molyneux
1904 A H Bell
1905 W A Gilby 
1906 F Edmondson
1907 J W Mayall 
1908 J H Edmondson
1909  J H Edmondson 
1910  J H Edmondson 
1911  J H Edmondson 
1912  J H Edmondson 
1913  J H Edmondson 
1914  J H Edmondson
1915  J H Edmondson 
1916  J H Edmondson 
1917  J H Edmondson 
1918  J H Edmondson 
1919 T S Mayall
1920  T S Mayall 
1921  T S Mayall 
1922  T S Mayall
1923  F V Waddington 
1924  F V Waddington 
1925  F V Waddington 
1926  E Bullough 
1927  E W Stephenson 
1928  E W Stephenson 
1929  H T Pigot 
1930  E Marsh 
1931  W L Thomson 
1932  W Walker 
1933  J G Gray 
1934  J G Gray 
1935  T Crompton 
1936  T Crompton 
1937  E Hindley 
1938  H G Whitehead 
1939  J G Gray 
1940  J G Gray 
1941  J G Gray 
1942  J G Gray 
1943  J G Gray 
1944  J G Gray 
1945  J G Gray 
1946  W Jackson 
1947  W Jackson  
1948  W Jackson  
1949  H Speakman 
1950  H Speakman 
1951  E Halliwell 
1952  A French 
1953  W H Spencer 
1954  W Jackson 
1955  W Jackson 
1956  H H Elce 
1957  H H Elce 
1958  F S Dickinson 
1959  S Hughes 
1960  L K Pilling 
1961  J Ward 
1962 G W Hampson
1963  L K Pilling 
1964  F S Dickinson 
1965  S Hughes 
1966  H Winstanley 
1967  J Holland 
1968  F Dean 
1969  K W Griffiths 
1970  T F Vincent 
1971  T Ashby 
1972  G Lyon 
1973  F Aspinwall 
1974  G E Hewitson 
1975  H Pedley 
1976  J R Jones 
1977  H Hardman 
1978  K Sudworth 
1979  F Wilkinson 
1980  W Cunliffe 
1981  L Hewitson 
1982  K Pendlebury-Green 
1983  J Taylor 
1984  W Lowe 
1985  F Moran 
1986  K Wood 
1987  D J Boardman 
1988  G F Simpkin 
1989  T Rose 
1990  A Tushingham 
1991  S Smith 
1992  R Brisco 
1993  F W Howgate 
1994  D Thompson 
1995  G Darbyshire 
1996  J Fairbrother 
1997  C A Brand 
1998  J Simm 
1999  G Hall 
2000  W Steele 
2001  J R Hurst 
2002  D Pendlebury-Green 
2003  A W Clift 
2004  N Pickersgill 
2005  R Miller 
2006  D Heyes 
2007  N W Shutler 
2008  R Hilton 
2009  J Rigby 
2010  J C Birchall 
2011  L B Cross 
2012  C M Hulme 
2013  I Jones 
2014  E Taylor 
2015  T Hateley-Lowe 
2016  L McNally 
2017  M J Bohannon 
2018  K J Hackett 
2019  S J Lowe 

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