Bury Golf Club was founded in 1890 as a nine hole course which was extended to eighteen holes in 1907 at Redvales in Bury. The first club professional was the great Harry Vardon who went on to win six Open Championships – a record which still stands today – and he popularised the grip that bears his name, one still used by over 90 percent of golfers.
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 but the clock eventually went to America.
Harry Vardon is still commemorated today at the club , the dining room is named after him and contains a fine picture of the great man himself playing golf at the original Redvales site, and the members play for the Vardon trophy each year.
Through the years many other professionals have served the club, R Wilkinson (1908), Arthur Joseph (1913), T E Cooke for some 9 years who was the father of Bernard Cooke, a well known teaching Pro of his day.
Unfortunately the golf course did not survive the years after the First World war when the land at Redvales was needed for housing and a new road to Radcliffe.
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 Road, Bury.
They led the club through the decision to buy the land the current course stands on and once 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 club still has three distinctive two tier greens which Dr MacKenzie is renowned for.
The work of Norman Duxbury and Sam Roberts is commemorated in the Duxbury Trophy which members play for each year.
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 Limited.
Between 1920 and 1939 the club progressed quietly but not without difficulty. Money was always a problem and the members were understandably reluctant to see subscriptions rise too much and new members were not always forthcoming.
After the Second World War as a results of Bury’s testing but well presented course, membership numbers grew. This was helped by the great surge of interest in golf, mainly though the growth of television and the opportunities for people to see the great players of the time.
Bury was also renowned for being a friendly club and over the years was well served by many outstanding Stewards and Professionals including Tom Jarman, one of a number of golfing brothers, who gave many years of loyal service as Club Professional.
By the time the club reached its centenary in 1990 the Rt Hon Earl of Derby M.C. has 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 trophy. The present Lord Derby continues to be the Club’s patron.
The course today continues to flourish under the guiding hand of Head Greenkeeper Neil White and his team and the greens have always been renowned locally, especially in the latter months of the season, and are still much admired by visitors and members.
Members and visitors are well served by Gary Coope our club professional who joined the club from Flixton in 2004 and Debbie & Tony Brazier who look after all our member and visitor catering needs as well as all member and visitor functions.
The clubhouse has developed over the years but there is no mistaking the original building from which it grew. Other than an extension to the clubhouse for new changing rooms few changes have been made.
There are two lounges adjacent to the bar with one containing a snooker table. The two lounges can be made into one by means of a moveable and curtained screen. It remains a pleasant and friendly place in which to unwind after a day’s golf.
There is a separate Dining Room, the Vardon Room, named in honour of our most famous professional, Harry Vardon. The Vardon room comfortably seats seventy people and regularly hosts, formal dinners and less formal events for members and visitors alike.