The West Lancashire Ladies Golf Club was the first Ladies club in Lancashire.
The first meeting was held on 26th October 1891 at “Seathwaite” Burbo Bank Road, the home of Mr and Mrs J. W. Fowler. Mr Fowler subsequently became the first Trustee of the Club and his wife was a founder member and the first elected County Captain. Thirty-eight Ladies who attended the first meeting of the Ladies Club and indicated their intention of membership became the founder members. West Lancashire Ladies Golf Club was also one of the founder members of Lancashire Ladies County Golf Club which is now the Lancashire Ladies County Golf Association.
The first Course had nine holes and occupied part of the area covered by the subsequent 18 hole golf course between the railway and the shore.
The original Clubhouse was a small building, which was extended and was fitted out in 1892. There were 159 members and 45 associate Gentlemen members in the Club and, by 1895, it was decided to build a new and larger Clubhouse and an 18-hole course.
In 1895 the first President of the Ladies Club, Lady Forwood, died and The Countess of Derby succeeded her as President.
1895 saw the first friendly game against Wirral Ladies and, in 1898, the first match against Formby Ladies was played, a tradition, which has continued to this day.
By 1912 there were a total of 320 Lady members plus 153 associate members and 100 conditional members making a total of 573 members. The course was lengthened and it was described as “one of the finest Links in the United Kingdom”.
In August 1914, all fixtures were cancelled on the outbreak of The War, and in 1915, Officers in uniform were allowed to play for free with a member and competitions were held to raise money for War funds.
In the years 1918-1939 there was an average of 390 members, including a flourishing Junior section and a number of associate Gentlemen members.
In 1926 Sunday play was allowed and, in 1927, silver spoons were given for winning medals.
At the outbreak of The Second World War on the 3rd September 1939, the Clubhouse was requisitioned by the Military. Sadly, members were not able to ever use the Clubhouse again as it was so badly damaged by the Military. A further loss occurred in May 1941 when all the honours boards and a considerable amount of the club furniture were destroyed whilst in storage.
A new Clubhouse had to be found, and a lease was taken out on “The Shanty” cottage by the railway. The Club remained open throughout the war, but play was severely restricted to 9 holes due to mines being laid on the course.
With the Ladies Course ravaged by sand, military occupation and neglect, 1947 brought about an amalgamation whereby The West Lancashire Ladies Golf Club Ltd was put into voluntary liquidation and, from 1st June 1947, their members became Lady members of The West Lancashire Golf Club.
The new Clubhouse, “Brooklyn”, in Hall Road West, was purchased for the Ladies and the first meeting was held in November 1947. The possibility of a merged course and new Clubhouse was put to a Ladies meeting as early as 1955 but, it was not until 1961, that a new course was opened. In May 1962 the last Ladies’ meeting was held at “Brooklyn”. By the end of May when the new, present Clubhouse was finished there was a full amalgamation with the Gentlemen of 214 Lady members of which 160 played regularly.
1991 was the Centenary year of The West Lancashire Ladies Golf Club. There were many events that year including The English Ladies Intermediate Stroke Play Championship and the Lancashire Ladies County Championship.
(The above was taken from 100 years of ‘Ladies Golf 1891-1991’ by Mrs. N.A. Pratt and Mrs. C.J. Dickson)
The last 32 years have seen some changes notably arising from the Equality Act. The Ladies’ Captain is a member of The Board by right and ladies are now also eligible to be elected members of The Board and can sit on all of the Committees of the Club. They also pay the same subscription and have the same rights as the gentlemen. There has also been encouragement of new Ladies to take up golf with group beginners and improvers lessons.
In 2012, there was a restructuring of the ladies tees with 9 new tees applied to the Red Tee course and a new, Blue Tee course was also introduced, largely based on the old course with seven new tee positions, which has given greater flexibility for competitions and choice of play.
2016 was the 125th year of the founding of The West Lancashire Ladies Golf Club and many events being hosted by the Ladies section and the Club, including The Lancashire Senior Ladies County Championship, The Lancashire Ladies County Championship and The English Women’s Amateur Championship.
In 2019, West Lancashire hosted the Women’s Amateur Championship, won by Ailine Krauter from Stuttgart, Germany and who is now on the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
In 2021, West Lancashire Golf Club had the pleasure of hosting the first “Rose Ladies Golf Series” for professional lady golfers and continued to host it in 2022 and 2023.
In 2023, The West Lancashire Golf Club is celebrating its 150th Anniversary, with various events being held during the year, including a Grand Anniversary Ball, a Gentlemen’s Golf Day and Dinner, with the principal guest being the Captain of the R&A. The Club is also hosting Final Qualifying for the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and will continue to host Final Qualifying for The Open Championship until 2026.
The Ladies, as well as supporting many of these events, wish the Gentlemen well and look forward to their own 150th Anniversary in 2041.