Anglesey Golf Club: An interesting 18 holes links course (6330 yds, SSS 71), set amongst sand dunes and heathland in the popular resort of Rhosneigr, Anglesey, North Wales. It is renowned for its excellent greens and numerous streams. The whole course boasts an abundance of wildlife and is an important conservation area. This golf course is used for North Wales county championship matches and because of its even nature, it is a fair test for golfers of all abilities.
The Anglesey Golf Club is the oldest golf club on the Isle of Anglesey, dating back to 1914. Situated in the fashionable resort of Rhosneigr since its inception, its establishment came at the very end of the period in which sport had become a pursuit for all. As a corollary of the proliferation of sporting activity within British society, the nineteenth century had seen the rise of tourism. Anglesey Golf Club was the direct result of these two related developments. It was formed as a collaborative project between a number of local notables. And, first amongst these, was Charles Henry Palethorpe and James Ravenscroft. These two, in common with two other local businessmen - Charles A. Mills and Dr. H. Stinton Lowe - arranged to rent an area of Common Land (from the Conservators) and employed Harold Horsfall Hilton to create a golf course. Hilton was a native of Cheshire and a golfer of stature, twice being Open Champion and the US Amateur Champion in 1911. In October 1914, the Anglesey Golf Club opened as an eighteen-hole links course.
The club gradually acquired all of the trappings of the modern golf establishment so familiar to us today. This included its first club professional, Bert Berry, who had a house constructed just a few hundred metres away from the Club in 1931. As with Palethorpe and H. Stinton Lowe, Bert Berry's name lives on in the form of an annual club 'board' competition ('The Bert Berry Memorial'). By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War the club was a firm fixture with a healthy membership - the annual subscription fee being some 3 Guineas (£3.15)) - and a busy schedule of competitions. A number of very good golfers emerged - not least the scratch golfer Dr. John Wilson who, as 'Doc' Wilson became a fixture in and around AGC for half a century. He was particularly noted for his kindness to junior members - many of whom he coached. His 'good', contrary to Brutus' assertion in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, lives on after him in the annual junior competition, 'The 'Doc' Wilson Memorial'. In the Second World War 'Doc', in common with many AGC members, served in the armed forces. 'Doc' served as Medical Officer on Mountbatten's ill-fated HMS Kelly. Len Andrews survived terrible privations as a prisoner-of-war in the Far East. John Charter won the Military Cross and the much-decorated Joe Forbes served as a "tankie" in the army. Ken Rees served in the RAF and was a central figure in the real 'Great Escape' of 1944. These are but a few of those who served and there are many others and the Club membership - past and present - honours them all.
The Second World War brought great changes to AGC as the course was fundamentally re-shaped. The requirements of the Royal Air Force meant that the course lost 14 of its original holes in 1943. Undaunted, the course was re-fashioned and 14 new holes were constructed ('Under the bridge' as the phrase has run ever since). The period after the Second World War has seen periodic bursts of re-birth, expansion, contraction and recovery. Much of the expansion was the work of few great individuals and one of the greatest was Sidney Brand (of writing paper fame). Brand's energy and generosity were very largely responsible for the fine Clubhouse that AGC boasts today. His sudden death was a terrible shock for all and he, too, is commemorated by annual competitions at both the senior and junior level.
The years since 1945 have seen many fine Captains and officials at AGC. A towering figure, Joe Graham is remembered for his abilities in so many areas. To name but a few of his roles one might point to his time as Captain, as Match Secretary, as Vice-President and, most of all, as an orator, raconteur, singer and pianist. Joe passed away earlier this year and is mourned universally by the membership of the AGC and by his many hundreds of friends. He really was 'One in a million'. G.I. Thomas served the club well for many years as Captain and then Treasurer (as well as his becoming the Mayor of the Isle of Anglesey). Brian Chinery won the Captain's Prize four times in addition to many years of service to the club. Of particular note in the 'Pro Shop' was the long-serving Len Andrews. A real gentleman whose kindness was boundless, his passing was a sad day for so very many. The club underwent some lean times - in the 1980s, for instance - but it was the loyalty of such people that helped AGC pull through.
AGC has a proud place amongst the golfing community of both Anglesey and North Wales. Every year its best players compete for the Dr. Lowe Shield against those of Baron Hill, Bull Bay and Holyhead. AGC has produced many amateur champions and Dave Maclean, a winner of the Welsh amateur title too many times to count, still hits a mean ball from tee to green. The summer months now see the Club's Senior Section enjoying a 'tour' in a number of clubs in North West Wales, established by Graham Kinder in the late 1990s. Activities such as the Senior Section certainly reflect the community that is golf in North Wales today.
Today, the Anglesey Golf Club is in its ninety-second year and open for business 365 days a year. It has fine catering (courtesy of the Steward, 'Cookie', and his staff) and entertainment facilities, a myriad of golfing and social events and, as you may have noticed, even it's own web site. As always, the Club is heavily indebted for the voluntary time and work of many of its members - Mr. President Dick Edwards, ex-Captain Jim Roberts and Match Secretary (and golf obsessive) Roy Littler chief amongst them. With a strong membership and the undiminished splendour of its windswept geographical location, AGC can look forward to its centenary with confidence that this corner of Wales will enjoy good golf, good company and good fortune long into the future.
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