I have pleasant memories of Hesketh. It was the site of my last team victory in the Company Days event of 2000. We rode the coattails of a Texan who the next week was in the final grouping of the British Senior Open at Royal County Down. I did contribute a couple of birdies at 12 and 13. I'll add some photos later. Had a very long discussion with the Professional Emeritus, John Donoghue. I have a copy of The Hesketh Golf Club 1885-1985 by Keith Hick, and can answer some questions on the architecture.
The club started as Southport Golf Club with some of that course on part of the current links, which had another name as Marschside Links.
"The original 12 holes was in an area enclosed by a line drawn from the present 14th tee. across the 1st, 18th and 17th fairways, from there northward to Marshside Road and the area occupied by Stanley School, back to the present 5th tee, then to the 5th green and from there back to the 13th green."
JOF Morris, the second son of Old Tom Morris, according to the February 1185 edition of "Field' was responsiible as "J.O.F. Morris of St Andrews has been at Southport for the last fortnight laying off the course, and giving lessons..." Also, Tom Morris sent a man (A. Walker) to look after the course and supply clubs to all who may require them"
By May Old Tom Morris had requested that his professional at the course (Walker) to "assist in further work at Southport in lengthening the course to a full 18 holes." JOF (Jame) returned the following year to oversee progress on 'his' course during the playing of the Captians Cup in October 1886.
The hanlet Little Ireland ran across what is now the 17th, 18th, 1st nd 14th fairways and "close inspection" will still reveal the trackway that ran through the settlement."
George Strath, the brother of Open champion Andrew Strath became 'greenskeeper' around 1889 and improved drainage and the greens were 'adjudged to be amongst the finest in Britain.'
By the 1891 annual meeting the Southport Golf Course was free of all debt, "yet the nearby ramshackle, insanitary nuisance of Little Ireland, plus consequential alterations to the links by Hesketh Estate, meant the club were reluctantly compelled to seek ground elsewhere."
Negotiations with the Scarisbrick Estates found property near Roe Land and Blowick called Moss Lane and the available acreage allowed Stratj to lay out a full 18 holes. The club played here until 1902.
The return to the present location was facilitated by a new fourteen year lease secure from Scarisbrick Estates. By 1901 Charles Hesketh Bibby Hesketh returned from the Boer War and was determined to lay out a golf links. Assisted by his agent, Mr G E Gregson, a Surveyor of Preston with work commencing in February 1901. Within weeks the club received plans from the Hesketh Estates for the new golf links and clubhouse in Cockle Dick's Lane. "The advice and direction of George Lowe, the St. Annes Professonal, were obtained in order to prepare the course on the best lines..."
Between the original plan dated September 1901 and the plan issued in December 1902 major changes were made, the 5th hole was shortened with the loss of the 5th teeing area, the 7th and 8th were combined, the 9th became the 8th, the original 10th hole plan was scrapped, and the 9th hole moved parallel and eastward, the 11th became the 10th. The original 12th, which came back over the sea embankment was scrapped, and a new 11th hole was laid running parallel and west of the sea embankment. A new 12th hole was laid running south-eastwards to Fleetwood Road and the oriigal 12th green. The area around 16 green/17 tee altered.
The next chapter starts "With work on the Club House and Linka completed by Estate staff under the supervision of Mr. G.E. Gerston..." And,
"within six months of the course, now covering 128 acres, being opened and by the Spring of 1903, when the course was officially opened...
many changes had again been made to the course, which was lenghtened from 5584 yards to 6015 yards with a boley of 80." Only 7,8,9,10,12,14 and 15 reamined unchanged"