Although the Sandiway Golf Club did not come into existence until after the War, the history of the Club really goes back to twenty years earlier, for the Sandiway Club is the spiritual successor of the old Mid-Cheshire Club, which was formed by Northwich golfers as long ago as 1902. In 1921, when the Mid-Cheshire Club was threatened with the loss of the nine-hole course at Winnington, where they had been since 1908, they were fortunate to find a new home in a wonderful bit of country, an unusual combination of park and moorland, on the estate of Lord Delamere. Ted Ray was called in to plan the layout of the new eighteen-hole course, which was opened for play in 1922.
The situation of the course is ideal. It lies on the main Manchester-Chester road, about four miles west of Northwich. The nearest stations are Hartford, half-way between Crewe and Warrington on the L.M.S. main line to the North, and Cuddington, on the Manchester-Chester line, each of these being a mile from the Club House.
Nature has been amazingly generous to the Sandiway golfers. In the first place the course is laid out practically entirely on sand. “You will never get anything to grow there”, the local farmers declared when W.S. Collins, the Club professional, set his merry men to carve the course out of the bracken and the woods, and doubtless from their own point of view the farmers were right. But that sour, sandy soil favours the growth of the finest golfing turf, as the fairways and greens sufficiently demonstrate. Nature is also responsible for the bold picturesque contours which give us a different setting for almost every hole, and for the rolling fairways, that approach closely to the traditional seaside type. That, however, does not lessen the credit due to Ray for making such excellent use of the natural features in his layout, nor to Collins, who has been the Club professional from its Mid-Cheshire days, for the success of his construction work. Mr H.S. Colt has been called in once or twice since the course was first laid out to advise on the rearrangement of one or two holes, but in the main Sandiway remains as Ray and Collins first planned and constructed it, and a very fine job they made of it.
We get an excellent idea of its general character looking down from the front of the Club House over the first three holes. The Club House itself is on high ground at the north-eastern corner of the course, which is a rough oblong shape, with these first three holes lying more or less parallel with one another across its northern end. Fifty yards in front of the Club House the ground drops steeply into a little valley, which we have to cross on our way to both first and second holes, and as we look down from the first tee on the valley and the opposite slope every detail stands out with striking clearness. As a matter of fact these first two holes take a lot of playing. At the first, which is a little over 400 yards long, the fairway swings in a right-handed curve, with bunkers up the right and trees on the left. A drive down the left of the fairway, however, will give us the easier second, but we shall need to hit a good one if we want to cover the long slope uphill to an armchair green cut into the crest of the slope with a bunker in each “arm” to guard the entry and an oak tree at the back as a guide to straight hitting.
The second is a yard or two longer, and once again accurate placing of the tee-shot is essential. We are driving back into the valley again, but in the valley the ground slides towards the trees on the right and we must hold our shot up to the left if we are to have an unhampered second shot to a semi-plateau green on the should of a left-hand slope, guarded by a bunker set into the drop on the right and by a couple more above the left corner. At the 460-yard third we travel out from the Club House again with a screen of trees dividing the fairway from the Chester Road, which is out of bounds on our right. A faint back- bone ridge to the centre of the fairway makes it desirable to “place” our drive, but we can afford to play carefully, for the hole lies uphill all the way and most of us will need two full shots and something more to take us home.
The fourth is the first of the short holes, and call for a dropping shot of 180 yards or so over a cross-bunker to a green tucked into a right- hand slope which gives it a semi-punchbowl effect, the punchbowl being broken away along the left, where bunkers under the bank of the green will catch a shot that slides off to that side. This is followed by another fine 400-yard hole, from which we have a pleasant view of Petty Pool Lake through the trees on our right front. We drive from a built-up tee set close to the boundary fence, with some oddments of gorse to carry. The ground slides off somewhat to the left, but this is rather a help than otherwise, for it puts us in the best position for a difficult second shot to a green on a narrow plateau, with a still narrower entry between the bunkers guarding the front of it and a steep drop on either side.
The sixth is a short hole at which another narrow plateau green, set against a background of beeches, gives us adequate margin for error in the length of our shot but not quite so much latitude in the matter of direction. There is a cross-bunker to carry; there is a drop at the back, and along either side cavernous bunkers lurk below the steep bank of the plateau, holding out unpleasing opportunities for pitching back and forth across the green from one side to the other. However, the hole calls for nothing more than a mashie-niblick shot of 135 yards or so, and we have no real excuse for failing to put our ball safely on the putting surface at the first attempt.
The seventh, 420 yards long, is dog-legged to the right round an out-of-bounds garden, the corner of which we shall want to carry with our drive. A bunker beyond the garden, however, discourages any attempt to “bite off” too much of the dog-leg corner, and in any case a line further out will give us the easier second over a cross-bunker to a green tucked under the lee of a tree-clad knoll on the left, adorned with bunkers and gorse. Then comes a hole of 355 yards at which we drive downhill into a valley and then hit our second uphill again to a big green on the shoulder of a right-hand rise. The line from the tee is on the oak tree on the right. If we drive too far over to the left we shall have the trees and bunkers on the slope to carry, to say nothing of a specially vindictive bunker under the left corner of the green into which many a weak approach slides off with the tilt of the ground.
This eighth hole brings us back close to the Club House, the course at Sandiway being laid out in two unequal loops of eight holes and ten holes, and the ninth tee therefore serving as an alternative starting point for the round. This ninth hole is a fine 400-yarder. The drive has to be played through a saddle ridge in front of tee, and a well-hit shot is rewarded by a view of the foot of the pin for our dropping second to an armchair green set into a tree-clad ridge. At the tenth, which is roughly 460 yards in length, we drive over a stretch of tiger country filling a wide dip in front of the tee, with a wood on either side to catch a shot that is out of line. On the plateau beyond, the fall of the ground is in our favour and the hitters will be able to get home with their second to a built-up green guarded by a bunker at either side.
The eleventh is a “long one-shotter” of 220 yards or so, a dropping shot from a tee on the shoulder of the plateau to a green on the lower ground by the margin of Petty Pool. An artificial out of bounds on the left and a big bunker on the right provide punishment itself, with a low “rim” of banking to save us from the guarding bunkers, encourages us to hit our shot right up to the pin.
We have a pleasant glimpse of the lake through the trees on our right as we tee up at the twelfth, which is another fine two-shotter of a trifle over the 400 yards. The lake will not trouble us, however, as far as our golf is concerned, for we are driving at an angle away from it. In any case we want to hold our ball well up to the left, because the ground short of the green slides off towards the woods on the right, and the green is set well back on a natural-looking plateau that exposes a wickedly bunkered shoulder to our gaze is we approach it from that side. The green itself is slightly saucer-shaped, but wide rather than deep, so that an over-hit second will easily run through.
It is one of the greatest merits of Sandiway that the holes are so completely diverse in character. The only exception to this observation is a certain similarity between the sixth and the thirteenth, which are not only of about the same length – roughly 135 yards – but lie in the same direction. However, it is a good enough type to bear repetition, a slightly uphill shot to a tightly guarded plateau green which stands out beautifully against the wood beyond. At this thirteenth hole, moreover, there is an additional “mental hazard” in the shape of a woodland ravine, with a road running through it, which lies immediately below the right of the green.
The fourteenth, not quite 430 yards long, is dog-legged to the right round an out of bounds corner, and this time it will pay us to “bite off” as much of the dog-leg as we think we can carry; because the saddle-shaped green is set on the top of a ridge with a steep slope leading up to the front of it; the second shot has to be nearly all carry if it is to get home; and a few extra yards on the tee-shot may make all the difference in our chances of a 4. By comparison the 360-yard fifteenth is plain sailing, but we must keep well out to the right with our drive; otherwise we shall have the corner of the wood to carry with our second. For once the formation of the green is rather unfriendly and a not quite accurate approach can easily slide off into the bunkers on one side or the other.
The sixteenth is the longest hole on the course, measuring nearly 520 yards. It is something of a bête noire to the tigers, because a super-drive will just carry on to a level plateau between two spinneys, but there is a steep drop on the left and a not quite successful shot will probably find dire trouble among the trees in the dip. There is no similar problem, however, for us humbler folk, who will be content to get through the gap with our second, holding the ball up to the right in order to leave ourselves with the easier approach to a semi-plateau green, with a bunker eating into the banked left corner and a wood beyond.
The round concludes in somewhat unorthodox fashion with a drive-and-pitch hole and a one-shotter, but they are both really testing holes. The seventeenth is 300 yards long, and a good drive is needed to carry the wide dip in front of the tee. We should keep well to the left in order to be able to pitch up the long diameter of a well-guarded saucer-shaped green on the shoulder of the hill, with the ground falling away to the rough on the right. The last is an iron-shot hole of 180 yards or so, to a green in the hollow below the front of the Club House. The fir-clad slope on the right is out of bounds, and the prevailing wind does its best to blow us onto it. There is a bunker short of the green on the left and another close in cuts off the right front, but the green itself presents an ample target to a shot pitched well up.
The total length of the course is a little under 6,200 yards. This includes one long hole of 520 yards and two more of about 460 yards, five short holes, one hole of the drive-and-pitch type, and two medium-length two-shotters of 360 yards or so. The remaining seven holes are all of round about 400 to 430 yards, and it is this wealth of testing two-shot holes that from the playing point of view constitutes the conspicuous merit of the course.
Total length, 6,179 yards. Bogey, 73
(Payable by five equal annual instalments)
(There are special terms for restricted rights of play, for wives and children of Members, for Officers of H.M. Navy, Army and Air Force, on full pay, and local clergy, temporarily resident near the Links. For particulars apply to the Secretary.)
|Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, per day||0||5||0|
|Any day in Whit Week||0||5||0|
|Any other day||0||3||6|
|Weekly Tickets, except at Easter and Whitsuntide||0||15||0|
|including Whit Sunday or any day in the following week||1||1||0|
The right is reserved to the Committee to alter all or any of the above Subscriptions and Fees.
With the following exceptions, the St. Andrew’s Rules (Rule 22 et seq.) for balls unplayable will apply.
A ball may be lifted from a rabbit scrape on any part of the course and dropped not nearer to and without improving the line to the hole, without penalty. Should the rabbit scrape be in a hazard, the ball must be dropped in the hazard.
If a ball be driven from the 15th or 16th Tee into that portion of the path between the respective fairway limit posts, it may be lifted and dropped not nearer to, and without improving the line to, the hole, without penalty. For the purpose of this Rule the pathway limits are defined by a club’s length from the nearest rut or sand.
Out of bounds
a) The penalty for out of bounds is loss of distance only.
b) A ball is out of bounds if in or over any hedge, fence, wall, wire, grip or row of posts, except that :
c) 12th hole. The grip on the left of and in front of the tee shall be ignored.
The ground behind the wire fence on the right of No. 13 green and the ground enclosed by the cattle fence behind No. 14 green, are not out of bounds. A ball within one club’s length of these fences may be lifted and dropped not nearer to, and without improving the line to, the hole, without penalty.
A ball lying on a Putting Green other than that of the hole which is being played must be lifted and dropped without penalty, not nearer to, and without improving the line to, the hole which is being played.
A ball embedded in a green may be lifted and placed not nearer the hole without penalty.
For the purposes of the Rules of Golf, all roads, paths and tracks crossing the course shall be deemed paths with the exception of the road commencing at the 4th tee and passing the 4th, 5th, 12th and 13th greens, which (with the exception of the portion lying between the posts adjoining the 11th fairway and green) shall be deemed a road.
1. No one should move or talk or stand close to or directly behind the ball or the hole when a player is making a stroke.
2. The player who has the honour should be allowed to play before his opponent tees his ball.
3. No player should play until the party in front are out of range
4. When the result of a hole has been determined players should immediately leave the Putting Green.
5. Players while looking for a lost ball should allow other matches coming up to pass them ; they should signal to the players following them to pass, and having given such a signal, they should not continue their play until these players have passed and are out of range.
6. A player should see that any turf cut or displaced by him is at once replaced and pressed down.
7. Players should carefully fill up all holes made in a bunker.
8. Players should see that their caddies do not injure the holes by standing close to them when the ground is soft or in replacing the flag-stick.
9. A player who has incurred a penalty should intimate the fact to his opponent as soon as possible.
10. Players should at all times play without undue delay.