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Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. (1903 - 1926)

The North Staffordshire Railway were the owners of the land, and also owned three hotels, one being the Hotel Rudyard which was refurbished in the early 1900s. Most of the area took on the appearance of what would today be called a Leisure Complex; in a way it peaked about 80 years too early. If it were to be designed nowadays, in its marvellous setting, with its grand clubhouse, success would seem almost guaranteed. Leisure in the early 20th century at Rudyard Lake was mainly day tripping by train for fishing trips, walking, pleasure boating, fetes, regattas and picnicking.

In 1903 land was acquired for the golf course, the course opened on April 19th 1906. It began life as a nine-hole course, extending to eighteen-holes in 1908.

The first professional, appointed in 1906, was W Utton formerly professional at Trentham Golf Club. First President was Charles Bill, MP for Leek, and the secretary was Frances James Illesley, a bank manager, who had a short stay in the position. Many of the North Staffordhire Railway hierarchy were prominent club officials.

Below is a report on the extended course in 1907.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. Report on the extended course December 1907.

From the Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser 24th December 1907. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


It was generally accepted in the early part of the century that Sundays should be observed as a day of worship and rest. Many golf courses throughout Britain observed the Sabbath but this didn’t really fit with the North Staffordshire Railway’s desire to promote the area. Eventually they were allowed to run Sunday trains to Rudyard and golf was permitted. Membership gradually increased at the club from the initial figure of 114 to 200 just prior to WW1. Spring and Autumn competitions became a very popular part of the golfing calendar.

  Secretary Professional
1906/7 F J Illesley. W Utton
1907/8   P Knight
1908   R J Shoesmith
1912 John Brealey, Cliffe Park Hall. R J Shoesmith
1914 R J Dunn, The Brewery, Stoke on Trent. R J Shoesmith
1923 R Bayley, Windycote, Rudyard.  
1926 E R Bull, Cliffe Park Hall.  


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. The First Tee.

The First Tee. Postcard published by Wildt & Kray for the North Staffordshire Railway. Authors Collection.


In 1914 entry fees for gents were £2/2/0 and ladies £1/1/0. Subs for gents £1/11/6 and ladies10/6. Visitors’ tickets were available at the residential club house at Cliffe Park Hall, Rushton, Macclesfield. Fees were 2/6 a day, 7/6 a week and 15/- a month. Sunday play was allowed without caddies. The North Staffordshire Railway station was 5 minutes from the clubhouse.

In 1923 visitors, who did not require introduction, paid 3/- a day, Sundays 5/-.

In the club’s last year of 1926, the course records, amateur R J Dunn 72 and professional R J Shoesmith 67. Visitors’ fees had been reduced to 2/6 a day, Sundays 3/6, 12/6 a week, £1/10/0 a month.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. Early postcard of the course.

An early postcard of Rudyard Lake Golf Club.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. Golf course layout.

Plan of the 18 hole course. Grid reference SJ93875,60090, co-ordinates 393875,360090.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. The sixth green.



Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. The Golf House.

Above are views of the former Rudyard course, the sixth and seventh holes and the Golf House. Postcards printed by W&K London. Authors Collection


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. The Golf House 2008.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. The former course in 2008.


Rudyard Lake Golf Club, Staffs. Rudyard Lake in the background.

We visited the site in 2008 and took the above pictures of the Golf House and course. Interesting that after 80 years many features of the former course could still be made out. Authors Collection.