Bury Golf Club ready for Centenary Year

BURY Golf Club, a staunch supporter of the Manchester and District Golf Alliance, has quite a history, boasting two of the greatest names in World golf working for the Club.

Record holding six-time British Open Winner, Harry Vardon was the Club’s first professional and Dr Alistair Mackenzie, one of the designers of the Augusta National Course, home of the Augusta Masters, designed the Bury Golf Course when it was forced to move to its present Unsworth Hall site following World War 1.

The first ball was hit on the newly completed 18 hole course in 1922 and so the 2022 Golf Season will have a Centenary Celebration feel about it and the Board and its members hope that visitors will come along and enjoy the walk on such a historic piece of land.

Bury Golf Club was founded in 1890 as a nine-hole course, which was extended to eighteen holes in 1907 at Redvales in Bury.

The first Club Professional was the great Harry Vardon who went on to win six British Open Championships – a record which still stands today. He also popularised the ‘Vardon’ grip that bears his name and is still used by over 90 percent of golfers.

The members of Bury presented him with a clock in recognition of his amazing achievements and in return received a graceful letter of thanks. The Club still has this letter but the clock eventually found its way to America.
Harry Vardon is still commemorated today at the Club. The dining room is named after him and contains a fine picture of the great man himself playing golf at the original Redvales site. The gentlemen members play for the Vardon Trophy each year.

Unfortunately, the golf course at Redvales did not survive the years after the First World War as the land was commissioned to build housing. To save the Club from disbanding, two members, Paper Maker Norman Duxbury and Coal Merchant Sam Roberts, determined that the Club should not be lost, provided the wherewithal to acquire some land a little further down Manchester Road. The two men then engaged the services of Dr Alistair MacKenzie, of the famous course design company Colt, MacKenzie and Alison –known for designing the Augusta National Course which hosts the Masters every year.
Dr MacKenzie produced the initial report and in 1920, a new course was created on its present site, Unsworth Hall, Bury. By 1921 nine holes were ready for play and in 1922 a further nine holes were added to give us the course they all enjoy today. The course still boasts three distinctive two-tier greens for which Dr MacKenzie is renowned.

Bury members, are very proud of their Golf Club’s history and hope visitors also enjoy the facilities it offers. The pride in their Club has led them to engage the services of Gordon Irvine, renowned International Master Greenkeeper and Course Consultant, to work with their existing greens staff in an effort to reintroduce many of the aspects of the original Moorland Course and vision of the fantastically famous design team, Colt, MacKenzie and Alison.

Bury Golf Clubs Website www.burygolfclub.com contains a flyover, hole-by-hole view of the course so brilliantly narrated by the wonderful Peter Alliss.

2022 sees the Centenary of the first ball being hit on Bury Golf Club's new home and they plan to hold some events to mark this special time in their history.

This beginning of a new Century in Bury Golf Club’s Course history coincides with what is, hopefully the start of life again after Covid what must be considered as one of the most challenging times in modern history.

The Club has survived 2 Great Wars and now, fingers crossed, a World Pandemic helped in the most part by the loyalty of its membership.

1920 saw two determined men save the Club from extinction and a hundred years on, the members of 2020, by paying their subscriptions without hesitation, have helped to save it again.

Geoff Garnett