Chorley Golf Club

Chorley Golf Club

6.22:07pm

History

There are two aspects to the History of Chorley Golf Club as might be expected from the design of the Clubhouse.

The Hall o'th'Hill at it's present site was built in 1724 although the design of the building puts it in an earlier period. According to tradition, the original site is believed to have been on the moated site at Bretters Farm near the twelfth. Transporting buildings in this way was not unusual in the 1700s as other examples have been found in Lancashire. The original Hall was a much larger building facing south. The west wing was demolished and replaced by the new hall now facing west, as it is today.

The Hall, in it's current position, was built by Thomas Willis who died in 1727. The ownership of the Hall was passed down through the generations of the Willis family and in 1890 was owned by Henry Randolph d'Anyers Willis born in 1834.

There were a number of previous Lords of the Hill which are detailed in the book "THE HALL THAT CLIMBED THE HILL" by George Birtill who did, for many years, make a significant voluntary contribution to diverse areas of the local community.

With such a History there have been a number of theories to explain the Hall o'th'Hill Ghost - a lady in green wearing spectacles, seen in the vicinity of the stairs or cellar, which is part of the original hall. She is known by many as 'Debora' which, as it turns out, was the name of one of the daughters of bishop Pilkington who founded Rivington Grammar school and was connected with the estate in the sixteenth century.

And so in 1898 the first Chorley Club opened at Hall o'th' Hill as a nine hole course. The course became favourable with professionals of the day and it was pointed out that there was more ground in the vicinity on which a further nine holes could be produced.

The club is mentioned several times in the Chorley Guardian up until 1902 when the annual general meeting was mentioned.

The club then appeared to have been moved to Queens Road, Chorley. The land for the course was on the Astley Hall Estate but is now occupied by Parklands High School and playing fields. However, this was still a nine hole course and as the club gained popularity, the members wanted 18 holes.

After numerous negotiations and searches for land capable of producing an 18 hole course it was eventually decided to purchase the Hall o' th' Hill estate. In February 1925, J A Steer, the Blackpool South Shore professional agreed to complete his design for an 18 hole course for the sum of £25.

In June 1926 the course was opened, it would have been earlier but for the General Strike. J A Steer, one of the foremost architects in the country (courses at Bradda, Port Erin, Fairhaven and Blundellsands) summed up the course as "agreeably indulating without being very hilly."

The layout of the course is in two loops with starting places at the first and tenth, with the ninth and eighteenth greens close to the clubhouse. When there are two possible starting holes there then came the argument of "Which way round". This still poses questions for members today and will probably continue into the future.

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