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"Royal Birkdale Golf Club"

Button # 140
Image submitted by John Sagi

Button # 140a
19mm 'R. James B'HAM'

Button # 372
Image submitted by Yvo Melis

Button # 372a
26mm no back mark

Royal Birkdale Golf Club - On 30 July 1889, nine gentlemen met at the home of Mr J C Barrett and it was here that they took the unanimous decision to form themselves into a Club, to be called the Birkdale Golf Club. The founder members at the first meeting were Messrs George Crowther, R L Worsley, Digby Johnson, John Coney, RG Hayward, W M Simpson, B R Simpson and W W P Shatwell. The somewhat daunting task that they set out to achieve was "to make all necessary arrangements and incur all necessary expense as to preparing the course and greens, hiring a professional and providing suitable accommodation for a Clubhouse etc." Mr Weld Blundell offered ground in Liverpool Road at the annual rent of 5 and in return was invited to become the first President of the Club. It was formally agreed that the opening day would be Saturday 5 October. The Treasurer would provide "whiskey and aerated waters" for the opening ceremony and Mr R G Hayward was elected to be the first captain.

On the 23 December 1889 the members of the Club voted unanimously in favour of allowing ladies to use the links, "on and not exceeding three days each week, but not on a Saturday or Bank Holiday." The original 9 hole course was on Shaw Hills, behind Bedford Road to the south of East Ward.

In 1897 the Club moved to the Birkdale Hills where an 18 hole course was constructed. A meeting of four members held at 17 Sweeting Road, Liverpool, on 11 September 1894, resulted in one of the most significant entries in the original Minute Book. "Three o'clock at the Estate Office was fixed for going over the new links on Monday September 17." This is the first time that "new links" are mentioned, but it took three years for all doubts to be removed from the minds of the Committee members that the move was worthwhile. The reasons for hesitation now seem amusing enough for repetition. It was thought that the game of golf might prove to a passing fashion, a temporary craze "like ping-pong". And it was even feared in some quarters that if the Mersey silted up, the American liners might some day have to leave from Ainsdale, resulting in a considerable rise in the value of the land! The annual rent for the new links was set at one hundred pounds. However, there were teething problems.

The original Clubhouse built in 1897 had to be demolished in 1903. "Someone had blundered", the building being beyond the boundary of the land leased by the Club! A new permanent Clubhouse was opened on 30 September 1904, on a sandhill overlooking the then 18th, now 4th, green from the seaward side. This remained in service until 1935.

Button information submitted by Martin Moseling.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

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