The first official steps in the founding of Turton Golf Club were taken in August 1908, although the idea had been stirring for several years before that. Efforts had been made to obtain suitable land and eventually one of the favoured sites was secured. Arrangements were made through Colonel Winder for the lease of  Wood End Farm on the Knowles estate on the hillside above Bromley Cross.

The farm had an area of over 75 acres which would allow "a sporting 12-hole course with land reserved for a ladies’ course" and possibly an extension to 18 holes at a later date. The course was designed by the great golf professional Alec Herd, who had won the Open at Hoylake in 1902.

Course designer Alec Herd returned to Turton in 1909 to play a celebratory match against another well-known professional, WJ Lever of Worsley. During the match Herd set a course record of 73.

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 Alec Herd


The Bolton and District Championship competition for men was launched in 1913 and Arnold Brown of Turton became the first winner.

The club’s first President was a prominent Bolton architect and JP, John Bradshaw Gass. His contribution to the development of the club was immense not only in personal commitment but also in length of service;  indeed he was to remain in office until his death in the summer of 1939.

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Rev James Platt

On November 28th 1908, only four months after the lease of the land had been arranged, the course was open for business. Rev James Platt, Vicar of St Anne's Church in Turton, had been elected the first Captain and he and the President played the inaugural match on that day.

Care for the newly-acquired clubhouse and the land resided for the first 10 years in the hands of John and Sarah Trickett, the first steward and stewardess. John took on the mowing of the course while Sarah provided the teas for the golfers.

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 John and Sarah Trickett

The basis on which the club is currently run was laid down in 1921 when a limited company, The Turton Golf Club Limited, was formed.  With this secure structure and through the  enthusiasm, practical goodwill and financial support of its members the club grew in strength and popularity.  The Ladies' Section was thriving and in fact a Lady President, the wife of John Bradshaw Gass, was elected in 1924.

The entrance fee at that time for gentlemen was two guineas, with an annual subscription of four guineas payable on 1 October each year;  the green fee was one shilling and sixpence, except on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, when the fee was two and sixpence for any portion of a day. All members, both ladies and gentlemen, were required to subscribe and pay for at least one £1 share in The Turton Golf Club Limited.

By 1930 the nine-hole course was well played, in splendid condition and with excellent greens, and the club seemed to have developed a unique blend of warm comradeship which attracted and kept young and enthusiastic new members as well as retaining those of longer experience.

Under these circumstances the club began looking to its borders, and when adjacent land became available it was purchased with a view to extending the course.

Anxious to take the best possible advice, the directors engaged the services of the well-known young golf professional, James Braid.  He was one of the finest exponents of golf in the history of the game, both of the game itself and of the gentlemanly and honourable philosophy which underpins it.  He was a celebrated golf architect, using the knowledge he gained from his farming background to ensure that the courses he designed and extended were well laid out and well drained.

Braid expressed a high opinion of the possibilities of the land and the excellence of its turf, and submitted a set of proposals for the development of a full length course which included several long holes and incorporated some natural hazards to add to its challenges - though with the consolation of the fine views which are available from the higher sections.

There was need of such consolation as times became more difficult through the 1930s and into the dreadful years of the Second World War.  But the hard times passed and optimism returned.  By the club's 36th AGM in March 1956 there was a record membership with the 150th player being admitted to the club.

In 1975 there was notable golfing success when one of the lady members, Margaret Elsworth, became the club’s first Bolton Lady Champion.  This achievement has been replicated by several other ladies in more recent times and indeed the honours brought to Turton through its Ladies' Section continued as a team from the club became Lancashire Champions in 2009.

The lack of a large enough space for dining had always restricted the kind of events which could be held in the clubhouse. In the mid-1980s this was addressed;  internal alterations took place and a new dining room was opened in February 1987. In 1990 the course was at last extended to 18 holes with the purchase of 73.26 acres of land from the Liversedge family. A levy on existing members raised a good amount of money and with financial backing from the R&A it was possible to go ahead - although, as has been the case throughout the club's history, a vast amount of voluntary effort  went into the project. The new holes were completed three at a time, with the last ones being opened in mid-1994 when the first competition on the full 18 was President’s Day.

Turton moved up a league as the new century got into its stride, with the arrival first of a part-time and then a full-time professional. The new first tee, built of dry stone in traditional local style and incorporating a stone carving of the club's coat of arms, was built to commemorate Turton’s Centenary Year and was officially opened on May 10th, 2008.

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