Regional Qualifying Feature - West Lancashire Golf Club
Steeped in history, West Lancashire Golf Club will once again be a Regional Qualifying venue for The Open on June 25.
Now in its fourth year as a Regional Qualifying venue, West Lancashire remains one of the most treasured links courses in Britain and will provide a stern challenge for those hoping to qualify for The 147th Open at Carnoustie.
‘West Lancs’, as it’s known by locals, was founded in 1873 and has since produced some high-class golfers. Many members and professionals have performed well at The Open over the years, with some even achieved the greatest golfing success.
Harold Hilton joined the club in 1889 and by 1892 had lifted his first Claret Jug at Muirfield, before becoming West Lancashire’s first paid secretary in 1901.
The club’s then playing professional, Tom Ball, was runner-up to the great James Braid in the 1908 Open at Prestwick, while a later professional at the club, Arthur Havers, went one better and beat Walter Hagan at The Open at Troon in 1923.
The club has hosted Final Qualifying for The Open previously along with The Junior Open and The Amateur Championship respectively and so has a long established heritage with R&A Championships.
West Lancashire has been admired by many over the years but club secretary Chris Alty believes the secret to its success lies in the year-round quality conditions of the course.
“The course is looking absolutely fantastic, we’ve done a lot of work through the winter,” said Alty. “We employed a new Course Manager about three years ago and he has a theory that he can hold any tournament within a week’s notice, he always has the course there or thereabouts.”
“I’ve been here from 1997 when I joined as a junior member, and the course hasn’t changed at all in that time, it’s stood the test of time.”
“We have a loop of holes which is the toughest part, 12, 13, 14, and 15, of which 14 is our stroke index 1 and the signature hole.”
Having a decorated history with the event as West Lancashire do, Alty stated that The Open remains a true privilege to be involved with. When describing what it means to the club, the secretary had just one word: “everything”.
He added: “To be related with The Open, to have The R&A here, it’s a huge honour.”
“We have about 70 members who volunteer their time to help with ball spotting and flag waving, we never struggle with numbers for helpers because they all want to be involved in The Open.”