Club profile: Astbury Golf Club

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire May 19, 2019 12:47

The Cheshire facility is a quintessentially English rural golf club that’s looking forward to its centenary. And as it celebrates its history, thanks to a programme of investment in its course and clubhouse, its future is exciting as well.

The interesting history of Astbury Golf Club reveals a typical story about the development of the sport across rural England.

It all began in 1922 when three young men came across a bag of old golf clubs in the town clerk’s office in the market town of Congleton, Cheshire.

How the clubs got there remains a mystery, but local folklore does provide a clue.

There are no records for confirmation but it is believed a golf club had been formed in the town and played across some local fields, before it was disbanded in the early part of World War One.

The trio clearly enjoyed thrashing balls around the same stretch of land, and they decided to form a new club, Astbury Golf Club, named after the nearby village. It didn’t take long for the word to get around, and by inauguration, the club had attracted a membership of 64.

As golf fervour swept the country, Astbury grew and a clubhouse was built in 1924. In the same year the club purchased a horse drawn mower for use on the fairways while all greens were fenced off with plain wire to keep off cattle.

The club continued to grow and began to become a hub of local community life.

A club professional was appointed and a number of competitions were introduced to the delight of a growing band of avid golfers.

By the end of the 1936 season, total membership for the club had reached 153, which included 57 ladies.

War again intervened, but this time it failed to force the club’s demise, despite an order by the Cheshire War Agricultural Committee to let the course off for grazing.  Towards the end of the war the committee rescinded its order and golf recommenced unhindered.

Since then the club has steadily developed as a typical English village club, enjoyed by members and visitors alike. It has grown to become a perfect community asset for Astbury, a small, pretty village, with a fine display of daffodils every spring and a well-kept village green. A number of timber-framed black and white buildings and cottages pepper the village – keeping that rural atmosphere.

It has a fine church, dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries, known for its detached tower and spire with carved oak roof and fine furnishings.

The Astbury golf course, running alongside the historic Macclesfield canal, is a testing parkland layout with eye-catching sweeping tree-lined fairways.

It has several challenging holes, particularly the 12th, a strong par five which requires a good carry over a ravine. Water comes into play on seven holes while the undulating terrain guarantees a variety of uphill and downhill lies.

The club hasn’t rested on its laurels and over the years has invested heavily on the course. A number of improvements continue to be made, including the recent remodeling of greenside bunkers.

Beyond the course, Astbury prides itself on an inclusive, friendly atmosphere, and warmly welcomes new members, visitors and societies. A busy competition and social calendar ensures members get the most out of the club.

It has a modern, spacious clubhouse with a lively lounge bar with lovely views from the roof terrace over the first tee and 18th green.

In recent years the club has transformed it locker rooms, bringing them up to modern day standards and expectations.

The club employed leading changing room specialist Ridgeway Furniture to undertake the upgrades.

Ridgeway firstly remodeled the male visitors’ rooms, and a year later returned to renovate and refit the ladies’ facilities. The company returned again to complete the remodeling with a comprehensive upgrade of the male changing room and lastly, the visitors’ and juniors’ room.

Astbury Golf Club president Gary Adams said: “We are delighted at Astbury to be associated with Ridgeway Furniture. They have proved over all our dealings to be reliable, extremely professional, and have saved us a considerable amount of money re-furnishing our three main locker rooms over the last four years.

“We have no hesitation in recommending their services to other clubs, and will call on them in the future as a matter of course.”

Since its inception Ridgeway has manufactured tens of thousands of lockers that have been installed in some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.

The company has seen turnover increase by more than 100 per cent over the past six years and has invested more than £500,000 in a new factory increasing its capacity by over 50 per cent. The facility, at more than 18,000 square feet, means the company is now the UK’s largest dedicated manufacturer of wooden lockers.

 

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire May 19, 2019 12:47
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