The first record of Leek Golf Club being in existence is in 1892, when the club registered with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. It is one of the oldest clubs in the Country, and along with 27 other clubs, is a member of the 1892 Club; an organisation which allows other members from the 1892 club to play on their course.
The first recorded details of the Club were posted with the R and A in 1896, with seventeen members, and Messrs. Maude and Ward named as President and Captain.
The original course of 9 holes was sited across the road from its current home and boasted holes which included names like: Ballington and Mallenkoff. By 1897, another nine holes were created on the other side of the road, where our course now lives, and a field belonging to Big Birchall Farm was used to form the new holes. The fairway grass was cut once a year, and many golf balls must have been lost in the hay.
In early 1899, the Club moved to Wallbridge, where the Westwood Golf Club is now situated. The rent was £15 per year, and the players shared the course with the livestock, which was not ideal, but it did not stop the first President’s Cup being played in 1899. The groundsman, a Mr. Henry Smith was paid 45p for three days work each week.
The first Professional, F. Renouf from Penrith was appointed in 1902, and the membership of seventy, including 15 women, enjoyed matches against: Congleton, Stone, Trentham, Wolstanton and Rudyard.
During the First World War, members donated prize money to the Prince of Wales’ Fund and the Belgian Refugee Fund. Wounded soldiers were entertained in the Club House, and when the Professional, James Dodd, signed up for the services, the Club continued to pay him a wage. 28 members also signed up, and 6 members lost their lives.
In 1922, The massive step of buying 92 acres of land back at the Big Birchall site was agreed, and members raised £935 as a loan to purchase the land. Since then Birchall has been the Club’s home.
Tom Williamson, the professional at Notts. Golf Club was appointed to design the course and act as advisor during the construction. The course opened on the 5th July 1923 and records show the layout of the course to be virtually identical to that of today, a true testament to the vision of Tom, Committee and members of the time.
In 1924 Harry Vardon, the 6 times Open Championship winner, accepted an invite to inspect the new course and whilst no reports exist, the retention of the original layout indicates the golfing legend was pleased with the result.
A tree planting scheme commenced in October 1930 to ‘relieve the monotony’. Many of those trees are still on our course, and the Club is now a far cry from the sheep grazing fields of the 20’s.
Work over the years has included making the 18th Green into the Putting Green, and building a new one, and extensive work has been carried out building, maintaining and extending the Clubhouse.
The history of Leek Golf Club shows that we are a long established and traditional club, but with a modern outlook and an innovative attitude which began well over 100 years ago and allows us to have the best of both worlds. We are keen to embrace the best things about our club, and to improve the experience for all of our members and visitors.
We hope to see you soon.