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News > Alumni News > The Old Clavians' Golfing Society at 70

The Old Clavians' Golfing Society at 70

A Brief History 1953 - 2023...
29 Jan 2024
United Kingdom
Alumni News

The inaugural meeting of the Society was held on 30 April 1953 at Bury Golf Club where it was proposed to set up a golfing section of the Old Boys Association. Oliver Entwistle was appointed the first Captain and the first event was a stroke play competition held at Bury Golf Club in June 1953, for which the captain donated a silver trophy to be played for annually – now known as the Oliver Entwistle Challenge Trophy and still played for each year. The entry fee was a mere 6 shillings – 30 pence! The winner of the first event was Jack Hawkard and subsequently it was agreed to hold a second, end of season event, at Knott End Golf Club which was played as a pairs’ betterball stableford and continues to this day as The Invitation Day.

In the early days there were matches against other schools’ old boys’ societies including Oldham Hulme and Stand Grammar, the latter fixture being a regular event right through to 2001. There were also matches against local clubs, most notably Greenmount Golf Club. For many years the Society entered teams for the John Morley Trophy run by the Lancashire Old Boys’ Association and were regular participants at Whitefield Golf Club’s annual Festival of Golf.

In 1970 a new competition, the Captain’s Prize, was organised by the then Captain, Derek Schofield. This was played at Walmersley Golf Club and won by one Steve Hill, who remains a member and Honorary Auditor to this day. In the society’s early days all the competitions (with the exception of Invitation Day) were stroke play. However, this changed in 1986 when Ray Swinnerton (yes, our current treasurer!) suggested that events be played as stableford in order to ‘speed up play’.

An annual match against the school was first considered as early as 1980 but it took until the year 2000 for this to become a reality, with Terry McBride providing trophies for individual winners both from the School and the old boys. Perhaps the most noteworthy event in these matches occurred in 2014 when schoolmaster Greg Feely recorded a hole in one on the par 3 thirteenth hole at Rossendale Golf Club. For a number of years from 2005 there were also annual matches against the Old Girls, but sadly these only continued for a few years.

The idea of an annual tour came about in 2002 when the then captain, John Riggs, suggested a trip to play golf in the South of France to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the society. His son, Nick, was resident there and over the period 2003 to 2007 there were trips both to France and then back to the UK to play against the REGS – the ‘Riviera Ex-Pats Golfing Society’. In 2008 this became more formalised into the Annual Golf Tour, and over the next 15 years there were tours to Hawkstone Park in Shropshire, Breadsall Priory in Derbyshire, McDonald Portal in Cheshire and Oulton Hall in Yorkshire. Following trips to Hesketh and Ormskirk in West Lancashire in 2022 and 2023, the 2024 tour visits Carden Park in Cheshire in September 2024. Whether in France or England, the Annual tour has provided many memorable highlights and a few course lowlights!

In recent years competitions have followed a steady pattern starting with a match against the School in April, Invitation Day in May/June, Challenge Trophy in July, Captain’s Prize in August and the Annual Tour in September. As early as the first ever meeting in 1953, it was suggested that there be a London Section to the Society. Our Captain this year, Liam Pilkington, is aiming to make this a reality and hopes to arrange a match during the 2024 season with Old Clavians living in the South of England.

After 70 years, the good company and fellowship between the Society’s members remains strong. May it continue for many more years to come.

Any Old Boys, Parents or Schoolmasters wishing to join in the Society events should contact our secretary, Alun Evans – email, telephone 07917-128548.

Alun Evans (Class of 1973)


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