Prestbury and Upton Golf Club was founded in 1920 by a few golfing enthusiasts, a pleasant blend of professional and business men, some of whom were members of Macclesfield Golf Club, who lived in the district and who wished to have an 18 hole course on rather less strenuous terrain.
The inaugural meeting was held in Stanley Hall on Saturday 21st February 1920. Mr T. Taylor (later Sir Thomas Taylor) was elected to the Chair and officers were appointed. The President was Mr J.R. Remer M.P., Captain, Mr T. Taylor, the Hon. Treasurer Mr E.J. Gibbon and Hon. Secretary, Mr H. Harrison.
On 21st October 1920 it was reported in the Manchester Guardian that "Good progress is being made with the ambitious scheme of the new Prestbury and Upton Golf Club, and it is hoped that half of the eighteen holes course will be ready for play later in the year, which, as actual work was only begun in July, is quite satisfactory. Mr. H.S. Colt who, with Dr McKenzie, is responsible for the design, made an inspection on Tuesday, and he repeated his previously expressed view, even more enthusiastically, that the course when completed will compare favourably with that of the Torkington club. He also said that he knew of no other inland course where there was so much sand, and that this, in addition to its intrinsic value of £1,000 to the Club, would ensure a very dry winter course for the members when most golfers were suffering from 'mud and misery'."
On the advice of Mr Colt, Messrs Frank Harris & Company were given the contract to lay out the course and 9 holes were ready for play on Easter Sunday, 26th March 1921.
Harry Colt is credited with the design, construction and remodeling of over 300 courses worldwide in all six inhabited continents. These include some of the most famous layouts in the world such as; Pine Valley and Old Elm (USA), Royal County Down and Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland), Muirfield and the Eden Course at St. Andrews (Scotland), Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s, Sunningdale Old and New Courses, Swinley Forest, St George’s Hill, Royal Liverpool, Wentworth East and West Courses, Rye, Woodhall Spa, Ganton and Hankley Common (England), Royal Porthcawl (Wales), County Sligo (Ireland), Toronto and Hamilton (Canada), Koninklijke Haagsche, Utrecht de Pan, Kennemer, Eindhoven and Hilversumsche (Netherlands), Saint Germain and Le Touquet La Mer (France), Hamburger Falkenstein (Germany) and Royal Zoute (Belgium). You can find out more about Harry Colt here https://evalu18.com/architects/harry-colt/.
Colt apparently saw it as his primary task to work with the curves of nature and to make courses appear part of the existing countryside. Artificiality and symmetrical hazards were avoided at all costs. Founded in 1920 with all 18 holes officially opened for play in 1924 (a brief period when Harry Colt, Charles 'Hugh' Alison and Dr Alister MacKenzie were partners), his work at Prestbury does just that. The course makes the most of the dramatic changes in elevation afforded by the undulating terrain. The nature of the site coupled with the sandy subsoil means that the course drains exceptionally well and, unlike many others in the area, hardly ever closes due to heavy rainfall.
By 1923 Dr MacKenzie had left the firm. He was replaced in 1928 by John Morrison creating Colt, Alison and Morrison Limited. MacKenzie went on to design more than 50 courses in four continents including 3 that remain in the top 10 golf courses in the world; Augusta National Golf Club and Cypress Point Club, both in the USA, and Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course) in Australia.
The layout at Prestbury is outstanding, especially when considering the comparatively small scale of the site. The back nine is routed around the front nine in a horse shoe like fashion with the 6th green and holes 7 and 8 being the open ended part of the shoe. Interestingly, the back nine covers the highest part of the property at the 10th tee and lowest part at the 12th green with an ease few architects could match. While the walk back up to the clubhouse involves some gentle climbing it never requires a long green to tee walk. In 1934 Colt said of Prestbury “Owing to the natural formation of the ground, the golf is, in my opinion, very interesting and the variety provided is excellent as every hole presents some distinct feature of an impressive character ... Prestbury affords an excellent test of the game, and it also provides ... a most enjoyable course to play over”.
Constant advice from Colt continued throughout 1936 and 1937. In 1946 the Club Secretary, Mr R.B. Rawsthorn, wrote to Colt again but this time John Morrison replied saying "I thank you for your letter which has been forwarded to me by Mr Colt, who has retired as he feels he is no longer up to golf course work, which quite often has to be carried out in inclement weather."
Harry Colt died in 1951 and Hugh Allison a year later. John Morrison continued as the course architect until 1959 when Messrs Fred Hawtree and Sons were appointed to suceed him. The Hawtree Company remained the course architects until 2016, when Mackenzie & Ebert were appointed.
Paul Turner, regarded by many as the World’s most knowledgeable Colt historian, recently visited the course and said “Prestbury has been top of my 'to see' list for too long now as I live in New York and it was a real pleasure to finally get to see the course. It is a very interesting course as it is routed over quite a small parcel of land – only about 90 acres and Colt certainly did a masterful job. Prestbury is the kind of club and course I would want to join (assuming that they would have me!) with a very friendly membership and a beautiful course full of variety and character that you would never get bored with.”
You can find course reviews of Prestbury here https://evalu18.com/courses/prestbury-golf-club/ and here https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,41833.msg889375.html#msg889375.
The club has hosted many county and national competitions, including the English Seniors Championship and Open Championship Regional Qualifying. Prestbury is usually in pristine condition and in July 2016 European Tour player David Horsey commented that the “Golf course is immaculate…virtually tour standard at the moment”.
The delightful village of Prestbury, along with nearby Alderley Edge, is consistently ranked as one of the most desirable villages in the UK and is located within easy reach of Manchester city centre, the M6 and M56 motorways, Manchester Airport (without being under the flight path!) and the stunning Peak District National Park.
As well as the course, the club is rightly proud of its 27-acre practice ground with purpose built grass tee, long and short game areas and indoor teaching facility. The envy of most other clubs!
The club has a thriving social scene with regular functions for members held throughout the year. Five star quality catering is complimented by a fully stocked bar with a selection of local cask ales and fine wines.
Members also benefit from reciprocity with 10 other great courses, including West Lancs, Conwy, Beau Desert and Lindrick, via the “passport scheme” and a further 40 courses via the Harry Colt Reciprocal Association. For the competitive golfer the club offers weekly competitions and inter-club matches for both men’s and ladies’ sections. There is also a thriving junior section.
Society day on your calendar?
Let us help. In fact, let us take care of every last detail.
The quality of the course, the reputation of our catering and the friendly ambience of the club make Prestbury a favourite venue for society days, charity days, and corporate events. Our normal “society day” is Thursday and the success of these events has resulted in a large number of groups returning to us year on year, so you are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
Contact the office on 01625 828241 or via the form below to book now.