Celebrating 125 Golfing Years

Preston Golf Club, steeped in history, has stories to tell, lots to celebrate, and much to look forward to, writes Susan Osborne and Tedd Walmsley

On 19th November 1892, in Farringdon, adjacent to Preston Pleasure Gardens, Sidney Hermon, Captain of Lytham St Annes Club, officially opened Preston’s first golf club. A couple of years later another course opened in Fulwood and the two clubs merged becoming known, for a short time as Preston and Fulwood Golf Links. Later, ‘Fulwood’ was dropped from the title and Preston Golf Club has remained on this site ever since. Boasting a fantastic course in a great location with spacious car parking and excellent facilities, within easy reach of motorways and airports, the club attracts major events.

The biggest professional event ever hosted at Preston was the Nine Nations golf tournament in 1974. In 2000, successful Australian tour player Adam Scott, visited the course to give a demonstration and continues to sponsor junior golf at Preston with the Adam Scott Trophy.

Preston also hosted the England u14’s Open in 2013, the England vs Spain u16’s International in 2017 and regularly hosts County Championship matches. The ever popular Wainwright’s Lancashire Classic, brainchild of Rick Woods (Penwortham Golf Club) and Chris Sumner (Captain, Preston Golf Club) is played annually in early July over four days on four prestigious Lancashire courses including Preston.

The Sir Tom Finney Memorial Open Golf Tournament, on the 20th August 2017, is the flagship opening event of Preston’s festival week. The family have a long and continuing association with the club and The Space Centre, the largest multi-sensory environment in the UK for people with special needs. The event raises in excess of £6,000 each year for this charity.

This year, Preston, generously sponsored by UK Carline, was chosen as one of the venues for The William Hunt Trilby Trophy Tour, a prestigious amateur open tournament hailed by golfers as the closest experience to a professional tournament, playing under pressures of an international televised event. The event is covered by Sky TV. Details of the winning top 10 golfers from Preston going through to the final in Hull in September can be found on the club’s excellent website which is full of interesting information.

You can read the story of the first ever trophy, won by Mr. W.W. Galloway on 4th November 1893, lost to the club for many years which recently turned up in an antique shop on the south coast! Purchased, and generously donated to the club by former member Mr Syd Gillibrand, the trophy now sits proudly in the members’ lounge.

The club website has all the information a visiting golfer may need, with full details of the club’s excellent facilities. Naturally any visiting golfer’s prime interest will be in the course. Tedd Walmsley, Live Magazine’s managing director and keen golfer, played a round here recently and has this to say…

The north west has always been synonymous with great golf. Often the ‘royals’ or ‘golf coast’ grab the headlines with Royal Birkdale for example soon to host the 146th British Open.

Tucked away and often described as hidden gems are affordable challenging and stunning parkland courses and Preston Golf Club certainly fits into this category.

Close to the M6 and indeed the city centre the course is set in a magnificent tranquil 120 acres of parkland. It’s been some time since my last visit and I was immediately struck by the friendly welcome from both members and fellow visitors alike. The course boasts a fabulous mix of holes with great risk/reward opportunities – not so good in the monthly medal but fun, if like me you’re not protecting your card and enjoying 18 holes with your pals.

Unusually the first hole is a short par 3 but as most of us rarely warm up these days it could have been tricky. My 9 iron was straight and true and I was putting on incredible USGA greens. Putting is a strength of mine and the consistent pace and quality certainly helped me over the next few hours. Having been gently introduced to the course, your game soon starts to be tested to the full with long par 4’s on holes 3 and 4. Whilst the fairways appear generous the driver needs to be ‘working its magic’ as distance and accuracy is essential to avoid long approaches to the greens.

By the time we stood on the tee at 9 I knew I was in a game – the 9th is a fun hole – gung ho and driver for me, as I needed to clear 220 yards over the stream. I wish I could report that my mission was accomplished but sadly I got wet! One down, undeterred but a broad grin on my face we started the back 9.

The par 3’s are often card wreckers or birdie opportunities both would have been true if I had been playing in that medal. My birdie on 12 swiftly followed by a double bogey on the long 200 yards 14th – the result.

The joys of match play and handicapping still had me all square. The final few holes would grace any golf course with the par 5 17th for me the signature hole – perhaps because I made another birdie (but I did chip in). As we played out an honourable half we reflected on a wonderful 4 hours on one of those gems I mentioned earlier. The 19th hole didn’t disappoint either, golf club food at its best, great value and lots of it!

I’m afraid Mark Twain got it horribly wrong when he said: “Golf is the best way to spoil a good walk.” He should have come to Preston!

Preston Golf Club
Fulwood Hall Lane
Preston PR2 8DD
01772 700011
www.prestongolfclub.com

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