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Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Birkdale Golf Club was formed on 30 July 1889 when nine gentlemen met at the house of Mr J C Barrett and agreed to rent a piece of land at Shaw Hills, close to the junction of Liverpool Road and Bedford Road. An annual rent of £5 was accepted by the landlord, Mr Weld Blundell, who was invited to become the first President. With a budget of £5.50, which overran by 16s 3d (81p), for preparing the nine holes one can only speculate on the state of the course which opened on 5 October 1889 with Mr R G Hayward as the first Captain.

The rules of the West Lancashire Golf Club were adopted as a model for the constitution but the model omitted any provision for non-resident members. At a Special Meeting on 23 December 1889 it was discovered that there was no power to change the rules except at the Annual Meeting so those present simply dissolved the club and immediately formed another one using exactly the same name. Ladies were then permitted to use the links three days a week but not on Saturdays or Bank Holidays. A room in Mr Barrett’s house in Bedford Road was rented as a club room for the men until January 1890 when they took rooms at the adjacent Portland Hotel and the ladies were allocated the room in Mr Barrett’s house.

The landscape at Birkdale in that era was quite different from the present and all land to the West of the Southport to Liverpool railway was sandhills, apart from the Cheshire Lines railway. Waterloo Road was not connected to Liverpool Road, ending south of Grosvenor Road, and there was no station at Hillside. It was a bold decision by the members to build an 18 hole course on the present site in 1897 and agree a twenty-one year tenancy for 190 acres. A Limited Company was formed and a temporary clubhouse constructed adjacent to the present 4th green. It was subsequently discovered that the clubhouse was built on land outside the tenancy and it had to be demolished and replaced in 1904. This remained in service until 1935 when the present Art Deco style clubhouse was built.

Southport Corporation must take some credit for the club’s present standing in world golf. Having purchased the land from the Weld Blundell Estate the Corporation offered the club a 99 (now 999) years lease on condition that they remodel the course to championship standard and build a clubhouse worthy of the course. In 1931 the members approved the proposals and architects F G Hawtree and J H Taylor combined to reconstruct the course. Their plan was to lay out each hole in its own valley between the sandhills thus avoiding blind shots and they should be commended for producing one of the fairest of the Championship courses.

The club received its Royal patronage in 1951 and was awarded the Open Championship for the first time in 1954. It has hosted nine Opens including 2008, the Society's Centenary year. It has been the venue for an impressive list of major golfing events both professional and amateur, men and ladies, including a memorable Ryder Cup in 1969 when Nicklaus conceded a putt to Jacklin to halve the match on the final green. Royal Birkdale has never been afraid to move with the times and the result is a course renowned throughout the golfing world.

As a founder member, the club has produced two Society Captains, Norman Stewart (1956/57) and John Benstead (1986/87). Sadly, John died in his year of office but left a legacy in the salver that bears his name. Gordon Jeffrey has served as Captain of the R&A.

1890  R G Heyward
1891 W W P Shatwell 
1892  W W P Shatwell 
1893  W E Buckley 
1894  F Sandbach-Baker 
1895  W Bowker 
1896  F W H Campbell 
1897  F W H Campbell 
1898  F W Price 
1899  G H Hughes 
1900  G M Sawyer 
1901  G F Pearson 
1902  G F Pearson 
1903  R Jones 
1904  A Yates Baxter 
1905  T Aitken 
1906  H Lycett 
1907  H T Turpin 
1908  J M Dewhurst 
1909  F Gittins 
1910  T O Clinning 
1911  T O Clinning 
1912  E C Cooper Brown 
1913  T H Bedford 
1914  T H Bedford 
1915  T H Winder 
1916  T H Winder 
1917  D Goldsworth 
1918  D Goldsworth 
1919  C Southern 
1920  C Southern 
1921  R K Lee 
1922  R K Lee 
1923  J K Crook 
1924  J K Crook 
1925  C G Classford 
1926  C G Classford 
1927  T Charlton Jackson 
1928  T Charlton Jackson 
1929  N S Wood
1930  J A Scholefield 
1931  A A Wilkinson 
1932  A Eckersley-Hope 
1933  E Redmayne-Jones 
1934  S Eastwood 
1935  A Marland 
1936  T Lord  
1937  S E Charlton 
1938  J Whitehead 
1939  R H Hardman 
1940  R H Hardman 
1941  F Hooton 
1941  F Hooton 
1943  F Hooton 
1944  F Hooton 
1945  F Hooton 
1946  F D B Hill 
1947  F D B Hill 
1948  J S Smith 
1949  J S Smith 
1950 R S Kirkpatrick
1951 H F Simpson
1952 D N Stewart
1953 D N Stewart
1954 S T L Greer
1955 W G Clark
1956 B Monkhouse
1957 B H Park
1958 B H Park
1959 V Richards
1960  S R Pope
1961  G I Rushton 
1962  G R Unsworth  
1963  J G Eckersley Hope 
1964  J G Eckersley Hope 
1965  J S Wood 
1966  T S Davies 
1967  W H J Pickavance 
1968  G B B Jeffrey 
1969  R Hill 
1970  K Duncan 
1971  M S Cochrane 
1972  J G Benstead 
1973  I F D Hill 
1974  J R Miller 
1975  I A T Legge 
1976  W I Campion 
1977  D W H Coates 
1978  R J D Livesey 
1979  J G C Longhurst 
1980  J N Perrins 
1981  A Cross 
1982  J H Rigg 
1983  M R C Weeks 
1984  J H Eaves 
1985  T D Andrew 
1986  A J D Johnson 
1987  P M G Unsworth 
1988  A W D Jack 
1989  A N Stephenson 
1990  P S Fish 
1991  B M Eckersley-Hope 
1992  D S Johnson 
1993  Sir C Hewetson 
1994  M W Halsall 
1995  D A Price 
1996  J B Jones 
1997  R S Bradshaw 
1998  P K M Rostron 
1999  S D Lewis 
2000  J P Simmonds 
2001  F A Baker 
2002  D M Dunn 
2003  R M Cox 
2004  W D Hawksworth 
2005  J L Henthorn 
2006  J N Rostron 
2007  S A Wilkinson 
2008  A D Watson 
2009  J A Moralee 
2010  R M Russell
2011  M G G Hadden 
2012  S J Ludlow 
2013  J D Seal 
2014  R M Hunt 
2015  P S Griffiths 
2016  T J McGraw 
2017  M Burns 
2018  N P O'Donnell 
2019  P S Busby

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