Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Golf comes to the West Riding

"It is difficult to imagine that the Eiffel Tower had only just been finished, motor cars and aeroplanes were just at the development stage and the Boer War was still some nine years away, when the decision was made to look into the possibility of starting a golf course in Ilkley.  The two gentlemen to which we must all be indebted, Ben Hirst and Alfred Potter, were becoming tired of tennis, which could only be played for a few months of the year, and they conceived the possibility of starting a golf club.

It was the spring of 1890 that they engaged a man called George Strath, the Southport professional, to visit Ilkley and give them a report of the feasibility of laying out a golf course on Rombald's Moor. Little is known about George Strath but he could have been from the well known St Andrews family by that name, one of whom won the Open Championship in 1865 at Prestwick.  The main thing was that his report was favourable and the development of the Club's first course started shortly after the first meeting of the Club." - the opening paragraphs of John Saywell's Ilkley Golf Club, published 1990.

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