Lobden Golf Club
Lobden Moor
OL12 8XJ
Tel: 01706 343228
Lobden Golf Club


  Founded 17th May 1888

Lobden Golf Club - Our History

The Jubilee Year - 1938

The following, written by a past member, appeared in the Rochdale Observer in celebration of the Club's Jubilee.

Every golf course, like human beings, has a personality - no matter whether the course be one of the great and famous, or some scarcely known nine-hole course. Outside of the Rochdale district few are the golfers who have heard of Lobden, and even those who have rarely give it a second thought - I mean those golfers who carry more than six clubs in their bag. Yet Lobden has been a golf course for nigh on fifty years, and last night its members celebrated the jubilee of the formation of the club.

Lobden has for me, and for many of the older generations of Rochdale golfers, treasured memories. It lies in one of the pleasantest places in the district, and humble though the course may be, its site is ideal. Lobden always gives those who trouble to climb the hill to the little wooden clubhouse a feeling of exhilaration. In the days before the motor car was available even to the wealthy, a Saturday afternoon's golf at Lobden was in the nature of a picnic. Golfers travelled by train or tram and even by the Whitworth horse bus to Whitworth, thence by landau or cab to the clubhouse. Eighteen holes of golf was the rule and in summer months perhaps thirty-six. When the evening came the tired but happy golfers would saunter down the hill and call at Hardman Jackson's for a glass of ale, and maybe two, and there were those who would even linger until closing time.
It is almost true to say that golf was introduced into Rochdale by Allan Stevens of treasured memory, and it was his enthusiasm in the early days that made a successful club a possibility. A shield presented by him is still an annual event in the club's fixtures.
Among the office bearers and the first members were the following: Hon. President, J. Griffith Dearden (Lord of the Manor): Captain, Robert Slack: Secretary, Alan Stevens; Treasurer, T. T. Kenyon; members of the general committee, J. R. Hartley, Charles Morgan, R. W. Schofield and William Tees; members, Anthony Baldwin, Alexander Bell, William H. Best, George James Booth, Henry Booth, Edward Bythway, J. M. Calvert, G. W. Crawshaw, James Cheetham, James H. Cheetham, B. W. Cook, A. H. Crowther, W. H. Duncan, James Elliot, John Elliot, J. B. Entwisle, George Jackson, Thomas Janieson, R. A. Leach, S. A. Maclure, A. L. Mills, Alex Molesworth, R. R. Osbourne, James Pearson, John E. Petrie, H. D. Rattray, C. M. Royds, T. W. Schofield, L. P. Tomson, George Walker, A Williamson and E. K. Yearsley.
Of these a few are with us, but the mere mention of their names can start an evening of reminiscence. The minute books reveal that the club had its difficulties in the early days and economies had to be exercised in a variety of ways. A letter dated November 2nd, 1894, sent by Fletcher Bolton acknowledged the receipt of a cheque for £5. 8s., but Mr. Bolton was sorry that he could not allow the deductions made on the account re carting of timber to provide the wooden posts that kept the cattle off the greens. There was certainly not any 'pot' hunting in the early years, for the minutes show that prizes were often limited to a new driver or half a dozen new balls. Securing a competent greenkeeper exercised the minds of the committee to some extent and eventually it was arranged that a man called Mitchell should be paid a standing wage of £1 per week and this was to include his attendance at the links at night to lock up the shelter.
Following Lobden came the opening of the nine-hole course at King's Road and the growing popularity of the game is evidenced in 1894, when it was resolved that on the membership attaining a hundred at King's Road, to put the entrance fee up to three guineas. The committee were more generous with the handicap allowances in those days, for the limit at both Lobden and King's Road was thirty strokes. The club also had its own colours and in March, 1894, it was resolved that these should be scarlet and green collar and that a club button be provided. The only member of the club to maintain old-time dignity is my friend Mr. Frederick Lye.
And so until 1906 Lobden and King's Road were good enough for the most ambitious of local golfers. The game, however, was increasing in popularity and there was congestion on both links on busy Saturday afternoons. Not only that, but eighteen hole courses were becoming common and Rochdale had to fall in line. As a result of the decision to make an eighteen hole course at Bagslate, there came a severance between Lobden and Rochdale. For the Bagslate course a new club was constituted which took the name of the Rochdale Club and the one at Whitworth the name of the hill on which their links lay. The first general meeting of the Lobden Club under its new name was held at the Wellington Hotel on February 7th, 1906. The minute book of the early months of 1906 saw a crop of resignations including a number of those who started the nine-hole course at Whittaker. Still, new members came along.
Among those who remained faithful and actively interested in the old club were Frank Taylor, who was first made a member in 1890, Edward Healey, Frederick Lye, R. M. Wild, H. Brandon, J. B. and A. Hargreaves (who is the present Hon. Treasurer of the club), all of whom were most regular in their attendance at the committee meetings. The committee concerned itself with securing a better club house, lengthening and improving the course, and there were times, in the pre-war period at least, when no course in the district had better greens than those at Lobden.
The important dates in connection with the club are as follows: The club was instituted on May 17th, 1888, under the name of the Rochdale Golf Club. The first links were laid out at Shawforth, but after a short period the land was found to be unsuitable and it was decided to lay out the present links at Lobden. These new links were opened for play on May 17th, 1890. Captain for the year was Robert Slack; Hon. Treasurer, Thomas T. Kenyon; Hon. Secretary, A Stevens; committee, Edward Bythway, W. H. Duncan, J. R. Hartley and R. W. Schofield. Those old pioneers of the game were a happy and jovial band and Lobden always brings back memories to me of Ted Healy, Frank Taylor, Hosegood, Cheetham (who always 'went to sea' on making a bad shot and was never known to utter a 'damn'), Frederick Lye and a host of others.
During the past few years further improvements have been made to the course, and the present No. 6 tee is one of the highest, in Lancashire, being well over 1,000 feet above sea level. It cannot be said that it is a long course, but it is certainly very sporty. It is the place for fresh air and good company and long may the club thrive.
The Jubilee Captains are Mr. Harold Hawkard and Miss May Smith. Mr. Harold Hawkard, who is one of the oldest members, has always taken a deep interest in the welfare of the club, as did his father for many years before him. The Lady Captain, Miss May Smith, has been a most active worker in the club's interest for many a good years.
T. T. Heywood

Jubilee Year Annual Report