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


  Founded 17th May 1888

Lobden Golf Club - Our History

The Beginning

In a short span of three years between 1887 and 1889, 90 golf clubs were founded. These courses were to be known as the 'first of the moderns'.

At this time the club made it's own 'Rules of Golf'.  A full list of members and office bearers was drawn up at the constitution of the club on 7 February 1889. The official handbook dated 1891, the Captain was Mr R Slack, the Hon. Secretary Mr Allan Stevens. Below is a list of prize winners from 1890 taken from the handbook of Mr Allan M Stevens.

Rule 6 of the original rule book stated:
The election of new members shall rest with the Committee. The nomination by proposer and seconder shall lie in the hands of the Secretary a week at least before consideration by the Committee. The election shall be by ballot, and two black balls shall exclude.

In 1906, the meeting that divided the Club into two separate entities (Rochdale Golf Club & Lobden Golf Club), saw the resurrection of each, and the appointment of officials for the two. Many sought membership of both, and the officials and committees of each had many of the same people in varying capacities.

Membership list for Lobden and Rochdale golf clubs
(A list of Members for both Lobden & Rochdale Golf Clubs)

While we are able to name the membership present at this inaugural meeting it should not be forgotten that some notable names were not present, presumably for business, sickness or other reasons. Among these the name of Frank Taylor is conspicuous. He was to become the second Captain of Lobden Golf Club in 1907, and on completion of his year in office became in 1908 the Treasurer, a position he filled, with only minor periods when acting officials were appointed, due to illness, until his death in August 1936.

The first committee meeting of the newly reconstituted club three days later adopted the courses geographic designation as the title of the club, and the name Lobden Golf Club made its first appearance.

The first professional Mr E Cobb was employed from 4 March 1892 on a three month trial period.

Immediately improvements to clubhouse and course were put in hand, the guiding hand being that of Frederick H Lye, and over the years much alteration and progress was made by his and others direction.

A curious note from the first year of separate existence concerns the Alan Stevens Shield competition, first cancelled due to bad weather, and eventually played on 1st December.

In 1907 Mr R Ashworth had probably the highest winning score ever recorded when winning the Stevens Shield on 7th December with 103-2=101. The records show that there was a slight snow with ice on the ground!

A new pavilion was erected in 1907.

In 1913 the minutes record the opening of a new course, which unfortunately had to be abandoned almost immediately, no record of the cause of the failure is made.

The war years came and affected the club as it did the nation as a whole, but nonetheless the club progressed, it's serving members being voted each year honorary membership. In spite of difficulties, reduced membership, due to the many members on war service, the club continued to function.

In January 1917 a new pavilion was acquired for the ladies section from Rochdale Gun Club at a cost of £20, and in the same month Mr F Lye donated furniture to the club.

From 1906 Mr Alfred Hargreaves had served as Secretary to the club, and he retired in that capacity to become Captain in 1919. Almost his first action as such being to donate, in celebration of the cessation of hostilities, the Victory Cup, to be played for annually as a 36 hole eclectic competition. This year also saw the first request to the Lord of the Manor for Sunday play to be allowed but it was refused.

The minutes note many lesser problems and many things which surprise. Bunkers on the course are not the new feature we think them to be. February 1921 shows a path to be made between those on the first and others on No.4 are also mentioned. Bunkers are from this point often a topic, and are so spoken of as opposed to, scrapes and grass hazards, which are also mentioned.

Cattle on the course are, from 1920 onwards, a regular feature of discussion and letters to farmers were often recorded. Usually few or no results occur.

Unknown golfers on 1st tee  - 1921
In 1926 the first enquires are made for a liquor licence. In September of this year Bentley, the groundsman was granted a one week, unpaid, annual holiday. Horses were complained of on the course and the farmer concerned written to. At the same time Whitworth U.D.C., were enquired from as to the responsibility of upkeep of the road. The reply being as in the enquiries of more recent date, that the road to the church entrance is the towns responsibility and thereafter the users of the moor.

1928 saw the appointment of a bar committee to seek a license once again, and a mandate of members was found to be necessary. A special meeting was called on 21st April, at which approval was given. The license was obtained and opening stock ordered on May 9th, the bar opening on the 12th May.

On July 18th 1929, due to illness, it was announced that Bentley (groundsman) was to retire, to be succeeded by his son. A donation fund being opened to show the clubs appreciation of his 30 year service. the fund raised £5 - for the period a large sum. However, it fades somewhat when two members funerals at the same period, shows bills paid for wreaths of £1, and £2 for a more senior member.

Frederick Lye celebrated his 70th birthday in 1930, and gave a cup to be played for on the 5th April. it was won with 84-17 net 67 by Mr E Rushton. In this year a seven day license was acquired and suggestion made to re-introduce bunkers, the only indication that they had been removed at some time since the last mention in 1921.

At the AGM in 1931, the long service of Frank Taylor, 40 years, was recognised and he became a honorary life member.

For the first time all competition scores were recorded and a rule made that all cards must be returned. A sweepstake was held, for funds, the entry fee to which was to be a 'non-playing' green fee of one shilling. This appears to be a way of circumventing the gambling laws of the time. The prize was a set of clubs and a bag.

The ladies applied for their competition day to be changed from Wednesday to Tuesday, where it has remained with a one year exception, to the present day. The April meeting of this year saw the committee define 'fairway' as any close mown area. Closure of the New Inn, (the winter meeting house), now caused a change of venue to the Fullers Arms at Ending Rake.

The 1933 AGM approved the holding of bar profits by the house committee for special expenditures, such to be decided in conjunction with the general committee. The members also recognised that as the club were one of only three clubs not members of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs, that it should join immediately. In April approval was given for Mr Cropper of Newark Rd, Syke to build a new 5th green below Rushy Hill at a cost of £20. A later meeting approved that he also build new 6th tees on Rushy Hill for a further cost of £7.10s. During this year Mr Harold Hawkard arranged a visit of the professional Alan Dailey who would play as partner to himself in a match against Joe Hill and Arthur Silcock.

The accounts at this time still showed annual rental for the course of four guineas, less tax, £3.19s, in it's half-yearly payments. This year was also the first time the church did not apply for, and receive, permission to hold it's Whit Friday Field Day on the 1st and 9th fairways.

In 1934 electricity was laid on to the clubhouse and in the following year the lady subscribers provided a cooker. The village of Whitworth had its first public electricity supply and electric street lighting installed some 11 years earlier in 1923.

In 1935 a match was played against Bacup Golf Club but the annual match against Heywood Golf Club was not to be played and no further reference is made of Heywood G.C. after this time.

For the first time 'out of bounds' between the 1st and 9th fairways was introduced and an enquiry was made for hire purchase terms in respect of new gang mowers. In fact, a levy for three years of 7/- for men and 3/- for ladies was the eventual means of defraying the costs, which also included for a tractor. Another first was the purchase of the Golfers handbook, the now renowned 'bible'. An invitation to join ELGA at this time was refused.

A new course record was set in 1935 by Mr G Barber 70-15 net 55!.... the masked brigade are not a modern innovation either!

The minutes of the 1935 AGM show that late payment of subscriptions must have become a problem, for a resolution was passed placing a fine of 5/- on payments after 1st July, and 10/- after 1st September with pro-rata increments thereafter. Not inconsiderable amounts on two guinea fees.

Invitation Day first appeared this year, as also was the adoption of the Lancashire Unions SSS in order to standardise play in golf in general, 68 was later given as the SSS. On May 18th Mr F Lye donated £25 and the ladies section gave £30 to the 'road fund' to continue the road across the fairways to the clubhouse.

The committee ordered boards to be prepared for the recording of club trophy winners, for the Allan Stevens Shield, Presidents Cup, Captain's Prize and Frank Taylor Cup to commence with the 1936 winners. The order was placed with Cobden Schofield, in oak at £10 for the four. In the following year a further board was obtained to replace the scroll previously used for the Victory Cup, on which the winners from 1919 onwards be recorded.

Jubilee Year 1938 began with a dinner on Friday 20th May, as the closest available to the actual founding, 77 attended. Mr T T Heywood, a past member, contributed an article to the Rochdale Observer of 21st May 1938, which started as follows:

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.

(A reproduction of this can be found by clicking here).

On 21st June a Jubilee Mixed Foursomes event was played, the clubhouse was decorated, florally etc., by the ladies. Tea was taken by 60 members and each player received a Lynx golf ball marked with the inscription L.G.C 1888 / 1938.

The original intention was that Mr F H Lye should be Captain for Jubilee Year and he had accepted the office, illness however prevented his actually taking the position and Mr H Hawkard in the event became Captain. It had been suggested the previous year by Mr Frank Bussy that the club should supply a Jubilee Trophy and board for the ladies section, in the event both sections have a Jubilee Trophy with different origins which are dealt with under board prizes. The Captain received special plate to commemorate his year in office.

Fifteen dozen other balls from the Silvertown Company also marked as above were distributed through the season as prizes. A new groundsman T Cowling was engaged at £2 per week. Not until the following year was a board ordered for the Jubilee Trophy.

The Clubhouse

The Early Years

1910 to 1919

The 1920's

The 1930's

Jubilee Year - 1938

The 1940's

The 1950's

Roy's Poem

If you have additional information or stories relating to Lobden G.C. or its members of the past, we would be delighted to hear from you.
Please email or post your information to Lobden and we may feature it in the web site