Over the years, Royal Liverpool Golf Club has inspired many writers to reflect on Hoylake’s history, the links, its champions and championships, and the Club’s culture and traditions.
Yet when Royal Liverpool’s own history has been written and updated, the writers have invariably been Club members.
Guy Farrar’s significance as Secretary will always be recognised, but it was as a member that his wonderfully readable The Royal Liverpool Golf Club 1869–1932 was written, a book that will always serve as the definitive record of Hoylake’s early years.
John Behrend also wrote a definitive work - John Ball of Hoylake (1989), and soon after Golf at Hoylake, an anthology of writings about Royal Liverpool which was compiled with John Graham.
In 2006 the Club’s history was updated by the publication of Joe Pinnington’s Mighty Winds…Mighty Champions, an evocative title borrowing words from famous lines written by the great golf writer, Bernard Darwin. Royal Liverpool Trustee Anthony Shone’s Hoylake - A History of the Links (2010) is dedicated to admirers of the course.
Leslie Edwards was a Hoylake member and professional journalist and, in Royal Liverpool’s centenary of 1969, he wrote a concise history of the Club and championships played over the links, following it with an updated 1983 Walker Cup edition, co-authored with John Brocklehurst.
So when Royal Liverpool commissioned a book to compliment the 150th Anniversary celebrations, the Club followed the traditions of the past and invited two members - Blyth Bell and Roger Greenway - to write it.
Preliminary work on the book’s structure, themes and content began in 2016. It was decided at an early stage that the book would be a high quality presentation with many images and a distinct and creative design. Blyth’s knowledge of the golf book market led to a collaboration with Chic Harper, an award-winning graphic designer from Fife, Scotland.
The early sections of the book recall Royal Liverpool’s legacy to the game of golf, how Royal Liverpool has been a source of inspiration to many people, and bring up to date the story of Hoylake’s championships with commentaries on the Club’s 21st Century majors.
The book has 216 pages and over 250 sepia and colour images, many of which appear in print for the first time.
The cloth edition features a colour reproduction of Michael Brown’s Playing to the Briars (1894) embossed on the cover, and the leather limited edition has this on the slipcase. This image was selected as in one evocative painting are finely drawn figures of Hoylake’s finest golfers and their partners and caddies playing the links in the challenging conditions of the early years of Hoylake.
A Hoylake Celebration was launched on 15th May 2019, Royal Liverpool’s 150th Anniversary day.
The book is primarily for Royal Liverpool members and the Club’s principal guests at the 150th Anniversary and the Walker Cup, and for golf book collectors.
However, anyone interested in buying any available copies is encouraged to contact the Secretary’s office at Royal Liverpool - [email protected]
Photo above: crowds follow Bobby Jones during the 1930 Open championship