CHRISTMAS BOOKS: Walton Heath's History Reveals Treasure Trove of Characters ; Former Widnes Forward's Autobiography Is Pick of Rugby League's Offerings While History of Famous Golf Course Stands Out

By Farrell, Andy | The Independent (London, England), December 17, 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

CHRISTMAS BOOKS: Walton Heath's History Reveals Treasure Trove of Characters ; Former Widnes Forward's Autobiography Is Pick of Rugby League's Offerings While History of Famous Golf Course Stands Out


Farrell, Andy, The Independent (London, England)


THE RASH of clubs celebrating centenaries over the last decade or so recalls an important period in the evolution of golf. Usually the celebrations have included producing a history of the particular club but not all of them have much to recommend them to the outside world. A very definite exception is Heather and Heaven - Walton Heath Golf Club 1903-2003 (limited edition, available directly from the club).

Simply put, it is a thing of beauty. A treasure trove of anecdotes, pictures, cartoons and illustrations, it rewards repeated lingering during these long winter nights. It has been loving put together by Phil Pilley, whose text brings to life the many colourful characters of the club's history, and Philip Truett, the club's archivist and chief research assistant for the project.

It all started with Cosmo Bonsor, a brewing millionaire who was also involved with banking, insurance, property and the railways. He brought in Herbert Fowler, a "huntin', shootin' and cricketin' man" who had never designed a course before but happened to be Bonsor's brother-in-law. Two of the best courses in the country - the "New" arrived in 1907 - were created on Surrey heathland tucked just inside what is now the M25.

Bizarrely, it only became a members' club in 1970 after Rupert Murdoch bought the News of the World and decided he had no need of a golf club. Previously, Lord Riddell and Sir Emsley Carr, respectively chairman and editor of that newspaper, had been among the chairmen who ruled the club.

Royal and political associations were always strong. Edward, Prince of Wales, became the club's first captain in 1935 and was still in the position the following year when he became King Edward VIII and then abdicated. In 1933, one of the club's most celebrated matches - and it was to stage the Ryder Cup in 1981 as well as many professional tournaments - came in the semi-finals of the Parliamentary Handicap when the then Prince of Wales played Lady Astor, the first woman MP, and won only 2 and 1.

Four Prime Ministers were members of the club: Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, Bonar Law and Arthur Balfour, while in 1913 the club's committee contained four cabinet ministers. During World War I, it was often said that, "the war is being conducted from Walton".

Remarkably, the club has only had three professionals: James Braid, the five-times Open champion; Harry Busson, a master clubmaker; and Ken Macpherson, who has been in the post since 1977. Few clubs can boost such a rich heritage; few club histories' have been so enjoyably told.

When it comes to modern professional golf one man dominates. But in the age of instant reporting and comment, to tell the story of Tiger Woods, and his impact on the game and his opponents, requires the highest analytical skills.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

CHRISTMAS BOOKS: Walton Heath's History Reveals Treasure Trove of Characters ; Former Widnes Forward's Autobiography Is Pick of Rugby League's Offerings While History of Famous Golf Course Stands Out
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?