Wed May 22 2013
The nine hole course became eighteen in 1907 but did not survive the years after the First World War, when the land was needed for housing and a new road to Radcliffe. Harry Vardon had come to England from Jersey in the late 1880’s, following his brother Tom who was already having some success in competitions. He played golf with the members and visitors but time hung heavily on his hands and in fact he played more cricket than golf. The members at Bury gave him a clock in recognition of this feat and received from him a graceful letter of thanks. The club still has this letter. The clock itself eventually went to America.
Through the years many other professionals have served the club, R Wilkinson (1908), Arthur Joseph (1913), T E Cooke for some 9 years (father of Bernard Cooke at one time a well known teaching Pro). Another pro who gave many years of loyal service was Tom Jarman, one of a number of golfing brothers. The present professional is Gary Coope, who joined the club from Flixton in 2004. To continue this brief history of the club – In 1920 it became necessary to find a new home, but, “cometh the hour, cometh the man”, or in the case of Bury Golf Club, two men, who were determined that the club should not die. They were Norman Duxbury, a paper maker of the firm Yates Duxbury of Heap Bridge, and Sam Roberts, a coal merchant of Spring Bank, Walmersley Rd, Bury. As soon as the decision to buy the land had been made and the finances of the project had been sorted out, Norman Duxbury contacted the well known firm of Colt, MacKenzie and Alison, and on 3rd February Dr Mackenzie replied by telegram to announce that he would visit the site. His initial report was favourable and he was confident that a really good course could be made.
The final acreage of land for the course turned out to be about 98 acres and work began. Nine holes were ready in 1921, and a further nine opened in 1922, the actual work being done by the firm of Mr Claud Harris, Messrs Franks and Harris Bros Ltd. Between 1920 and 1939 the club progressed quietly but not without difficulty. Money was always a problem. The members, understandably, were reluctant to see subscriptions rise too much and new members were not always forthcoming. After the war, of course, we saw a great surge of interest in golf, mainly through the growth of television and the opportunities for people to see the great players of the time and the lovely places in which golf is played. There were obviously other reasons as well which brought the club, thriving and confident, to its centenary in 1990. By this time the Rt Hon Earl of Derby M.C. had become the club’s patron. The club had hosted his Assistant’s Tournament in 1985 and he generously supported the club’s centenary by providing us with a handsome new trophy. The present Lord Derby has continued the contact we have with his family. Since 1990 there has been a steady improvement in the quality of the course.
The greens staff, assisted by a bounteous nature, have created a charming urban/moorland course far removed from its former rather bleak aspect. The greens have always been renowned locally, especially in the latter months of the season, and are still much admired by visitors and members. Other than the provision of new changing rooms few changes have been made to the clubhouse. It remains a pleasant and friendly place in which to unwind after a day’s golf. Discussion rumbles on as to whether or not we should be thinking in terms of building a new clubhouse. There are two lounges adjacent to the bar area. One, containing the snooker table, used to be known as the Men’s Room. The two lounges can be made into one by means of a moveable and curtained screen. There is a separate Dining Room, named in honour of our most famous professional, Harry Vardon. and known as the Vardon Room.
Bury Golf Club, Unsworth Hall, Blackford Bridge, Bury, Manchester, BL9 9TJ
Telephone: 0161 766 4897 / Pro Shop: 0161 766 2213 - Email us