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Walsall Golf Club, Gorway.

The club was founded in 1907. The following is an extract from a report that appeared in the Walsall Advertiser on Saturday 27th April 1907. “The Walsall Golf Club is the title of the newest local institution for the promotion of healthy outdoor activities. The wonder is felt that this game, the sport of Prime Ministers and peasants, has not earlier found a home in this large county borough. But from information we have gleaned this week the club is effectively established, and the following gentlemen form the provisional committee; Revs A Paice and J W Dixon, F T Cozens, A W Greatrex, John Hemming, Howard Smith, Dr F Sydenham, John Wylie, H C Windle and W H South.

The original course was located at Gorway, Walsall. It opened as a 9-hole course, it was extended to 14 holes a year later. Following WW1 the club employed Dr MacKenzie to design a new 18 hole course on the site. Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, the club were informed by the local authority that it intended to construct a new ring road that would cut through the course. Following negotiations the local council offered to pay for a new course and clubhouse and this was to be constructed on the other side of the ring road.

Below is the result of a match played at Whittington Barracks on Saturday 15th October 1910. 

Whittington   Walsall  
A H Barnes (3&2) 1 M Micklin 0
G R Couch (3&2) 1 J Hawley 0
H S Cooper (5&3) 1 R Smith 0
E O Jarvis (7&5) 1 W Wistance 0
J Richardson 0 G Micklin (1up) 1
H H Brown 0 W Pritchard 1
Captain Stoney (6&5) 1 F L Overend 0
Captain Bonner (8&7) 1 J Farrington 0
G Birch 0 E Richman (2&1) 1
G S Bidwell 0 J Pollock 1
Lieutenant Thompson 0 F Vincent (5&3) 1
O H Sharrott (half) 0 T Bayliss (half) 0
  6   5

The club championship was played on Saturday 15th June 1912, result; W H Vincent, 80-82=162; A Farrington, 83-85=168; J Pritchard, 85-87=172; L E Middleton, 85-88=173; G Nicklin, 87-87=174; F L Overend, 88-94=182. A mixed foursome was played on Thursday 20th June, result; Miss D Richards & F Stubbs , 102-29½-72½; Miss J Cozens & M H Nicklin, 89-15-74; Mrs Wells & J Tindall Bunch, 98-21-77; Miss A Lord & W H Vincent, 97-19½-77½; Miss Elliott & J A Scott, 100-25-81; Miss K Nicklin & J Pritchard, 108-23-85. 

In 1913 the secretary J Tindall Bunch, Imperial Buildings, Bridge Street, Walsall. *Professional John Higgins*. Entry fee at discretion of the committee, ladies £2/2/0, subs £3/3/0, ladies £1/10/0. A 15 hole course the first 3 holes were played twice. Visitors’ fees 1/- a day, 5/- a week, 10/- a month, Saturday and Competition days 2/6. Sunday play was not allowed.

*Following information courtesy of "The PGA Remembers" project - John Higgins; Elected PGA Member 1911. Midland Section; Walsall Golf Club, Staffordshire 1912-1917; Regiment - Lance Corporal 8th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry; Service Number 38504; Died - Killed in action 28th October 1918  Age 28; Buried - Tezze British Cemetery. Ref: Plot 3. Row A. Grave 3; Notes - Originally from Bridge-of-Weir, Scotland John Higgins was appointed professional at Walsall Golf Club in 1912. He got married and enlisted in the Yorkshire Light Infantry about the same time. Lance Corporal Higgins fell in action in October 1918.

Below is the result of a club match played at Whittington in March 1913. 

Whittington   Walsall  
A H Barnes 0 A Farrington (1up) 1
G R Couch (5&4) 1 G H Gilbert 0
Captain Dunlop (4&3) 1 W H Vincent 0
H S Cooper (2&1) 1 L Cozens 0
C B Adams (7&5) 1 W Winstance 0
J L Ritchie 0 G Hawley (2&1) 1
Rev E R Day 0 G Nicklin (6&4) 1
O H Sharrott 0 L B Pollock (6&5) 1
  4   4

Result of the 1914 February Monthly medal; Division 1 – W A Winstance, 87-9-78; F L Overend, 100-13-87; Division 2 – B H Make peace, 87-16-71; F W Sydenham, 95-17-78.  

Below is the result of a match played at Walsall against Shifnal in May 1914. 

Walsall   Shifnal  
G B Gooding 1 A Lander 0
J R Boak 1 J R Phillips 0
B Gilbert junior 1 H Edge 0
G Nicklin 1 G P H Godfrey 0
H W Shipley 1 G F Gader 0
W H Fox 1 L Owen 0
J T Bunch 1 G Greene 0
J Pritchard 1 F Thompson 0
  8   0

In November 1918 Mr J Kenyon-Jones, club captain, presented a picture of the Walsall Golf House to the club, he also intended to present a trophy for competition.

Famous golf course architect, Dr Alister MacKenzie, was appointed to design the new 18 hole course, and the club moved to its present site in 1930.

 

Walsall Golf Club, Gorway. Location of the former Walsall course.

Map showing the former Walsall course. The portion to the East, alongside Birmingham Road, was probably the original six hole course. Grid reference SP02380,97160, co-ordinates 402380,297160.