Our History & Heritage
The Manchester Golf Club was created in 1882 by eight Scotsmen led by John Macalister, a native of the St Andrew Golf Club. Indeed the club was originally called “The Manchester St Andrews Golf Club”, not only as a token of respect for its Founder-Captain and its recognition of the authority of the Royal and Ancient, but also to distinguish it from another club called the “The Manchester Golf Club”, founded as early as 1818.
In 1883 when it was considered that the latter club had ceased playing the words St Andrew’s were dropped from the title and the original Manchester Golf Club was called “The ‘Old’ Manchester Golf Club”, a title it retains to this day.
Photo Right: Mr Macalister and Mr McDonald at play on the Manley Park links
In October 1882 the club’s eight founder members played their first round of golf over a small nine-hole course of some 1856 yards at Manley Park in the Whalley Range district of Manchester. They had no clubhouse and had to share the land with the farmer’s cattle and sheep. The inevitable encroachment of urbanisation compelled the club to find a new location and in 1898 the Club moved to Trafford Park. The land was leased from the Trafford Park Estates Company, who had purchased the de Trafford’s family estate in 1897. Trafford Hall became the Clubhouse and despite the proximity of the Manchester Ship Canal, the new course was hailed as the most prestigious in the area.
Photo Right: On the putting green post war – circa 1946
Industrial development and fears that the lease would not be renewed when it expired in 1912 again forced the club to seek new land. In 1910 the club announced that it intended to move to Hopwood Park, the owner of which, Edward Robert Gregge Hopwood, had agreed to lease the land for 35 years dating from Christmas Day 1912.
The course laid out on approximately 247 acres, was designed by Harry Shapland Colt, one of the foremost golf course architects of his time. It was ready for play by September 1911 but not open to members until 30th March 1912.
Apart from relatively minor modifications the general layout of the course has remained much as Mr Colt originally designed it, although it has been lengthened from its original 6145 yards to 6491 yards.
The most radical changes have been in the ownership of Hopwood Park, the club having purchased its freehold in 1925 for £10,000, and in the extensive alterations made to Hopwood Cottage in 1985. These changes are perfectly illustrated in images of the clubhouse the first showing Susan Hopwood outside Hopwood Cottage circa 1885 and the second showing Manchester’s clubhouse as it is today. Otherwise most of the characteristics of ‘This beautiful park ……’ as it was described in 1911, have been retained.
For more detailed information on the history of the club see ‘ A History of the Manchester Golf Club 1882 – 1982’ written by MW Peers, available from the Secretary.
More recently, players from all over the globe have appeared at the Club, largely in PGA European Tour Qualifiers. Amongst the household names have been Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke to name but two.
Ryder Cup players Howard Clarke and Mark James (who was also Ryder Cup Captain) have also visited the club and entertained the members to some captivating golf.
The Club has produced a number of great golfers who have gone on to represent both county and country. Roger Smithies, represented Lancashire over a long period of time. Kelly Tidy and Rachel Connor represented Lancashire and England on numerous occasions and went on to become tour professionals.
Anne Sharman, Donna Barnes, Elaine Clark, Karen Clayton, Jennifer Fallows, Sophie Powell, Sue Warrington, Gareth Clarke, Andy Davis, Tom Thorpe, Beth Greenhalgh and Katy Jane Stanley are amongst our members who have represented Lancashire.
This is a Club that supports and inspires golfers to become the very best that they can be. Our Junior Development programme is second to none in the region and as a result Manchester Golf Club will continue to churn out top golfers for many years to come.