Sandiway Golf Club

Max Woosnam - Club Captain 1929

A forgotten sporting hero from the North West 1892-1965

Max Woosnam was born into a wealthy Liverpool family on 6th September 1892. He was the son of Charles Maxwell Woosnam, a clergyman who served as Canon of Chester and Archdeacon of Macclesfield. Whilst much of his early years were spent in the tiny village of Aberhafesp, near Newtown in Mid Wales, Max went on to attend Winchester College, where he captained both the golf and cricket teams, as well as representing the school at football and squash. In 1911, he was acknowledged as one of the school’s players of the year, after he hit 144 and 33 not out for a Public Schools XI in a cricket match against the MCC at Lords.

Later in 1911, Max enrolled at Cambridge University. At Cambridge he quickly established himself to be a genuine outstanding sporting all-rounder representing the university at cricket, lawn tennis and real tennis and captaining the association football (soccer) team.  He was a Quadruple Blue and it also appears that he enjoyed a round or two of golf, being a scratch golfer!

An outstanding centre-half, Max played soccer for Chelsea (3 appearances) and was on tour in Brazil with the then famous amateur side, the Corinthian Casuals when the First World War broke out. Max was amongst the first to enlist and fought with distinction, on the Western Front alongside Siegfried Sassoon and in the Gallipoli campaign.

After the war, Max was able to resume his sporting career, not for payment mind you, he found the concept of professional sport particularly “vulgar”, and so after moving to Manchester he signed for Manchester City on amateur terms making 96 appearances and scoring four goals. As an amateur amongst professionals, Max obviously stood out at Manchester City, so much so that at the behest of his fellow players, he went on to Captain the side. In 1922 Max also became one of the few amateurs to gain an England cap in a full international when he was chosen as captain against Wales. He was also asked whether he would captain the British soccer team at the forthcoming Olympics, but he refused the honour, as he was already committed to the tennis team. After leaving Manchester City in 1925 he played a few matches for Northwich Victoria.

In the 1920 Olympic Games at Antwerp, he went on to win a Gold medal as partner to OGN Turnbull in the men’s doubles and a Silver medal in the mixed doubles. In 1921, together with R.Lycett, he won the doubles at Wimbledon; in that same year he also captained the British Davis Cup team in America.

It was whilst he was in California that the Captain of the British Davis Cup team was invited round for tea by Charlie Chaplin. Max and Charlie appeared to have taken an instant dislike to each other. The Hollywood stars ego is said to have been severely dented after first being soundly beaten on the tennis court and then, as if to rub salt into the wound, Max proceeded to thrash him at table tennis playing with a butter knife, his great party piece apparently!

Max spent most of his working life in the Cheshire chemical industry, eventually becoming a member of the board of ICI.  

Apart from being Captain of Sandiway in 1929 at the age of 37, he held the Sandiway course record for the original 1920 layout with a score of 74 against a bogey of 76.

He died on the 14th July 1965 of respiratory failure.

(Sourced from Google)

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