Hooton Golf Club, Chester Road, Little Sutton (1913 – WW2)
Founded in 1913 it was originally known as Hooton Park Golf Club, by 1930 it was called Hooton Golf Club.
It started with a 9-hole course and by the mid 1920s it had been extended to 18 holes.
The station at Little Sutton 5 minutes away. Local hotel was the Hooton.
The course was laid out on land belonging to Sir Charles Stanley, Hooton Park. It was located on Rossmore Road with Church Wood and Clayhill Wood to the north and the Rivacre Brook to the east. The land was leased and developed as a golf course by a local builder, J Hopley & Sons, for use by members of the community.
The first professional at Hooton Park was W H (Bill) Davies 1913 – 1916.
We would like to thank David Power for his help in compiling the history of Hoo
Biton Golf Club and for the many images he provided.
Bill Davies the first Hooton Park professional
In 1923 visitors’ fees were gents 2/- a day, ladies 1/, 5/- a week.
On March 3rd 1924 Hooton Golf Club became a legitimate registered Limited Company, by Ellesmere Port Solicitor Thomas W Francis.
Following, the objective for which the Company stood – “To establish, maintain, and conduct a club of a non-political character for the encouragement of Golf, Tennis, Bowls, Croquet, Hockey, Football, and other athletic amusements for the use of members of the Company and other such persons as may have been elected members of the Company and friends.
Company subscribers and eventual Directors who took out 10 shares at £10 each; Edwin Beal Bingham (Chemist), The Post Office, Little Sutton; George Herbert Dawson (Timber Merchant) “The Bungalow” Hooton Park; Samuel Henry Davies (Surveyor) Pole Hill Road, Heswall; Thomas William Francis (Solicitor) South Bank, Whitby; Arthur Hopley (Builder) “Oaklands” Greenfield Road Little Sutton; John Robert Hopley (Builder and Contractor) Station Road, Little Sutton; Sydney Appleton Kelly (Surveryor) Old Hall Street, Liverpool; Colin Moffat Stockton (Butcher) “Elmfield” Chester Road, Whitby; Alexander Strain, Hooton Park; Charles Thomas Swift (Butcher), Childer Thornton.
In 1926 there was a membership of 200. Visitors’ fee were 2/6 a day, 3/6 a day at weekends.
In June 1929 the opening of the new putting green and clubhouse took place. The ceremony was performed by Colonel John Joseph Shute, President; Reginald Poole, Chairman; and C M Stockton, ex Captain of the club. The construction of the clubhouse was carried out by J Hopley & Sons, and “was charmingly decorated in buff and brown, lit with electricity, and a beautiful oak floor.”
The Hooton Golf Club Clubhouse
By 1930 club membership was 250. Course records were, amateur J Woollam 71 and professional E Pocock (no score recorded). Visitors’ fees were now 3/6 a day.
The ninth-hole in the later years
In 1932 Richard Burton arrived at Hooton as professional, he had previously worked at Hillside (Southport).
On Saturday 4th May 1935 John Woolam, the Liverpool businessman from the Hooton Club, beat Eric Fiddian of Sourbridge, to win the English Amateur Close Championship at Holinwell. Woolam was three down after the first 18-holes but raillied to win the match 2 and 1.
John Woolam receives the English Amateur Championship trophy at Hollinwell in 1935. Image courtesy of Jerry Dixon – Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs
The painting of Jack Woollam
John Woolam, a player whose superb record seems to have been forgotten by many. He emerged in the 1930s, playing out of the Hooton Club. John “Jack” Woollam was to win two English Amateur Championships (Ganton 1933) and (Holinwell 1935); two Swiss Amateur Championship (1933/34); the Dutch Championship (1934); he also played eight times for England but never made the Walker Cup team.
He lived in Childer Thorton, and was a regular at the Rifleman’s Halfway and the White Lion. If it moved Jack would back it, he couldn’t resist a bet. The going rate for a caddie for eighteen-holes at the time was 2s/6d. The caddies would hide when Jack arrived at the club. Following eighteen-holes Jack, being notoriously tight, would throw 1s/6d in the direction of the caddie he had been fortunate to hire. Jack was always on hand to offer his services when Red Cross Charity Golf Competitions were played. He had a very short putter and his game was noted for his incredible skill around the greens when chipping and putting.
Following his success at Ganton in 1933 his playing skills were recognised when a three quarter length portrait of him was painted by Liverpool artist, Mr A A Berrie. The painting was sold at auction in November 2016 for £460.
From the Bystander August 12th 1936. Image (c) Illustrated London News Group. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD
Result of a ladies’ match against Port Sunlight (now defunct) in September 1936
In May 1937 Richard Burton, the Hooton professional, won the Dunlop-Southport £1,600 tournament at Hesketh with a four round total 280. Dick Burton played twice in the Ryder Cup while at Hooton – 1935 in New Jersey and 1937 at Southport & Ainsdale. He also won many more National Tournaments.
Well known for his “big hitting” Burton was always willing to play against other top professionals in charity events for The Red Cross, local hospitals, and to aid the war effort.
His practice showpiece was to hit eight-iron shots down the first fairway into the outstretched bucket held in the arms of his assistants. He was always willing to play anyone for cash. Members would congregate to challenge him each Friday evening. Burton with only an iron and a putter would play against them for 2s/6d each, ultimately resulting in a victory for the pro. Not wishing to deflate them too much he would raise the stakes by challenging them to bet against him driving the eighteenth, a 334 yard par four. Generally, they lost. Private lessons under his guidance would stretch his patience if his client showed little or no ability. He would often wander off returning later to suggest that the aspiring golfer would be better suited to another pastime.
A debonair swashbuckling player he also had a love for open top sports cars, and the occasional Dry Martini, on occasions he could be found fast asleep in his car at the roadside.
Richard Burton was Open Champion in 1939, by this time he was professional at Sale Golf Club. Because of WW2 he held the Claret Jug for the longest period in its history. His four round total at St. Andrews in 1939 was 290. The next Open Championship was played in 1946 again at St. Andrews.
Dick Burton – With the Claret Jug
Hooton members on the above picture; Top row left to right – unknown; Ernie Bowyer; J J Shute; Harold Blower.
Middle row – Bogey Rushton; unknown; Barrie Brigham; Tommy Brigham; George Wallace; unknown; unknown; unknown; Alf Parsons; unknown.
Bottom row – Reg Pennington; Dick Burton; R A Hopley; Jimmy Corson; Jack Woolham; Thomas Swift.
Barrie Bingham and George Wallace went onto become Captains of Bromborough Golf Club. Jimmy Corson was President at Prestatyn Golf Club.
Three unknown members pictured outside the Locker Room
George Cairns Hutton, born 1908 in Windygates, Fife, was the last professional to serve at Hooton Golf Club from 1938 to 1940. His previous appointment were at Helsingberg Golf Club, Sweden, in the summers of 1934/35, and at Leven Thistle Golf Club in 1937.
George Hutton played in the Open Championship at St. Andrews in July 1939. In the first round on the Old Course he had a great start going out in 36, but a 7 at the fourteenth and a 6 at the seventeenth ruined his card and he finished with a 77.
Playing off the medal tees on Monday 7th August 1939 accompanied by Doctors Birchall and Pennington, George Hutton set a new professional course record of 66; the previous record of 67 had been set by Dick Burton.
The bogey score at the time was 73. His score of 66 was officially recorded and posted by the secretary, K J Couldwell (below)
Above is the course record scorecard of George Cairns Hutton
The secretary confirms the course record
Above is the layout of the Hooton Golf Course
In the Golfer’s Handbook 1940 it was listed as having an 18-hole course with a SSS and Par of 73. The club had a membership of 315. The course records were; amateur Jack Woollam 67, and professional George Hutton, 66. Visitors’ fees were 2/6 a day, 3/6 a day at weekend.
The course was requisitioned for the war effort in 1940, although no manoeuvres or growing of crops ever took place. Volunteers attempted to keep the course in playing order, but it eventually became apparent that it would not be possible to carry on with the upkeep of the course and it was abandoned. The clubhouse remained open for a while but with more members being mobilised the clubhouse was having little use and it was decided to lock it up for the duration of the war. The clubhouse was stocked with ales, wines and spirits, cigarettes, etc., and the club trophies were also stored there.
When the clubhouse was eventually visited it was found that it had been ransacked and flooded, all the contents, including the club trophies had gone missing.
Sgt. George Cairns Hutton, air gunner, service number 102848, RAFRV 15 Squadron, died on June 23rd 1943, when his aircraft was shot down over the National Park De Hoge Velue, 5 kilometers South West of Hoenderloo.
When the aircraft was eventually recovered his Gold Identity Tags were found. They were returned to his family in 2016, 73 years after his fatal bombing raid.
George Cairns Hutton
The Gold Identity Tags
Location of the Hooton Golf Course