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Wigan Golf Club

In his Foreword to Jack Winstanley’s book “ The Wigan Century” Hugh Griffiths, a Past Captain of the R&A, described his first impression of the club that “..... lies like some secret garden to be entered only by those privileged to be its members or fortunate enough to be their guests”. He was referring to a course and clubhouse that was totally unique and which had managed to survive for over a hundred years with only 9 holes.

The home and surgery of Dr Charles Brady at 50 Newmarket Street, Wigan, was the place where eight men gathered on 19 October 1898. Some spadework had already been done as it was soon agreed that the Arley site should be rented for the course and the Hall used for a clubhouse. Sir Francis Sharp Powell, the long-serving Member of Parliament for Wigan, accepted office as President and A A Leech, a mining engineer, was elected as the first Captain. Thee original subscribers were mostly professional or businessmen and it took five meetings before it was agreed that ladies could join, subject to certain constraints. The course was laid out by George Lowe, the professional at St. Anne’s (later Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s) who had been apprenticed to Tom Morris of St Andrews. One of the features that sets Wigan apart from other golf clubs is its clubhouse. Arley Hall occupies the site of an old abbey dating back to the 12th century and some of the old part still remains at the back of the building, the front having been rebuilt in 1767. It is surrounded by a moat which supports swans and kingfishers and is accessed over a bridge so any thoughts of building an extension are doomed to failure. It passed through several hands as a private residence but was uninhabited when the club was formed. The peaceful enjoyment of the members lasted until 1939 when the Committee was embroiled in contentious negotiations with the landowners which lasted for seven years. Th e club was saved when agreement was reached in 1946 to buy the freehold in the name of a new Limited Company.

The name of John Wild is synonymous with Wigan Golf Club. He joined as a junior in 1935 and served in the war as a glider pilot and although reported killed he survived as a prisoner of war. He was elected Captain in 1966, Society Captain in 1976/77, Lancashire Union President in 1985 and President of the English Golf Union in 1985. As a raconteur he has made many hundreds of after-dinner speeches entertaining audiences throughout the world, especially with his club’s mythical correspondence with the R&A seeking to persuade them to bring the Open Championship to Wigan. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, was so intrigued by one of John’s speeches that on 17 September 1995 he visited for a quiet four-ball followed by some “proper golf club” steak pie and chips. He was made an Honorary Life Member and returned on 30 January 1998 as the chief guest at the Centenary Dinner under the Captaincy of Ted Walmsley.

Sydney Marsden was Captain in 1932 when Wigan joined the Society and he later served as Lancashire President from 1937 to 1946. In addition to John Wild the club has had two other Society Captains, Allan Royle (1963/64) and Nayyar Naqvi (2001/02). Despite protestations from John Wild (and a few others) Wigan joined the conventional ranks in 2001 when 9 new holes were added on land donated by Dave Whelan.

1898 A H Leech
1899 A H Leech
1900 J K Marshall
 1901  J K Marshall
1902 C M Brady
1903 H Siddall
1904 A E Ainsworth
1905 A P White
 1906  J M Boyd 
 1907  H Milligan 
 1908 W E McClure 
 1909 W W Dewse 
 1910 W S Watmough
 1911 W Wall 
 1912 S J Marsden
 1913 W S Waddington 
 1914 T Gerard 
 1915 J H Makinson 
 1916 J H Makinson 
 1917 J H Makinson
 1918 J H Makinson
 1919 J H Makinson
 1920 J Prestt 
 1921 B S Brown 
 1922 J G McConnell 
 1923 M Morton 
 1924 G A Christopher 
 1925 J A Melling 
 1926 T Wall 
 1927 F Gallagher 
 1928 A Scott 
 1929 A Brown
 1930 A T Brand 
 1931 J Livesey 
 1932 S J Marsden 
 1933 C H Sutcliffe 
 1934 F Percy 
 1935 R Wall 
 1936 J H Wrigley 
 1937 T C Robinson 
 1938 A T Pagett 
 1939 J Prestt 
 1940 J Prestt  
 1941 J Prestt 
 1942 J Prestt  
 1943 J Prestt  
 1944 J H Wrigley 
 1945 A W Cheetham 
 1946 P Wild 
 1947 P Wild 
 1948 R S Perkins 
 1949 J Anderson 
 1950 J Hegarty 
 1951 J P Conroy 
 1952 G Wood  
 1953 A Lees 
 1954 L A Pardey 
 1955 H D Hart 
 1956 A Royle 
 1957 R W Burney 
1958 A Kirk
1959 A O Johnson 
1960 G Brearley 
1961 E G Davies
1962 W A Ellsey 
1963 F O Bullough 
1964 C H Scott 
1965 W Barton 
1966 J R W Wild 
 1967 R P Heaton 
 1968 R F B Howarth 
 1969 E Houghton 
 1970 R Hargraves
 1971 H S Marwick 
 1972 H M N Smith 
 1973 W Southern 
 1974 G J Turner 
 1975 K H Grundy 
 1976 J A Aldridge 
 1977 T B Bond 
 1978 G A S Brown 
 1979 D A Pardey 
 1980 G W L Roach 
 1981 R B Edwards 
 1982 A J Massa 
 1983 N C Edgar 
 1984 H Mayhall 
 1985 C H Smith 
 1986 G J Davies 
 1987 T Nicholson 
 1988 J V Smith 
 1989 N Farrimond 
 1990 C Vincent 
 1991 P R Williams 
 1992 B Connolly 
 1993 H Lea 
 1994 N Naqvi 
 1995 M A Williams 
 1996 T Ham 
 1997 B T Ashcroft 
 1998 E Walmsey 
 1999 K J Norris 
 2000 A Dickinson 
 2001 J Atherton 
 2002 C J Lea 
 2003 J F Peacock 
 2004 E Roberts 
 2005 D P Arkwright
 2006 M Stretton 
 2007 T W Brown 
 2008 T J Dickinson 
 2009 I Pinkerton 
 2010 D B Bond 
 2011 J P W Sykes 
 2012 P Marwick 
 2013 R L Alker 
 2014 D G Brocklehurst 
 2015  B A Mort 
 2016  D A Hartley 
 2017 A Whittle 
2018 W Kirk
 2019 J J McManus 



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