South-west Lancashire boasts the largest, and arguably the finest,tract of coastal sand dunes in the country and is the home of anextraordinary cluster of golf courses. These clubs have justifiablyattained an international reputation: both Southport and Ainsdaleand Royal Birkdale have hosted Ryder Cup matches with the United States, and Royal Birkdale is a regular venue for the Open Championship; whilst West Lancashire, Formby, Hillside and Hesketh have for many years staged major championships and representative matches, both amateur and professional.A feature of this golfing coast is Merseyrail's Northern Line. West Lancashire, Formby, Southport and Ainsdale and Hillside all have holes where a slice or a pull will put a ball over the railway fence and 'out of bounds'. The same was true of the Freshfield Club until the Royal Air Force requisitioned its links for an airfield during the Second World War. Royal Birkdale does not flank 'the Line', although contemporary professionals could probably drive a ball from this course, across the Hillside links, onto the railway.This book tells the story of the pioneers who founded the clubs, emphasising the critical roles played by the landowners and the railway company and the relationship of the promotion of golf to their commercial interests.
It examines of the visionary contributionof the local authority, and - a dimension understandably neglectedin individual club histories - the crucial inter-relationships between the clubs in the early years. The golfers, many members of more than one of the clubs, truly formed a community. Golf in south-west Lancashire is placed in its social, economic and spatial setting and it is argued that golf was not merely a response to change but one of the engines of change.
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(248mm x 172mm x 20mm)
Phillimore & Co Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
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Author Biography - Harry Foster
HARRY FOSTER Harry Foster's family have lived in Southport for at least five generations. He was born there, attended local schoolsand taught in the town and at Edge Hill College. He holds a Master's degree and a Ph.D. for local research from the University ofLiverpool. Since retiring he has concentrated on writing local history and has published nine major books on the Southport district,including three golf club histories. An enthusiastic sportsman, Harry was a member of the championship-winning Lancashire rugby team of the early 1950s, an England trialist and reserve for theEngland XV. He has been a member of the Hesketh Golf Club for over thirty years, and is a past Captain.