Championships at Ganton
Ganton has for over a century been the venue for championships and important matches and is one of only four British courses to host the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup. When playing Ganton, you are indeed walking in the footsteps of the game’s great Champions.
The earliest competition was in 1895 when Yorkshire held its second Championship at the Club. It has been hosted here a further 26 times. The Yorkshire Ladies Championship followed in 1899, and this title has also been contested many times.
The first English Ladies’ Championship at Ganton was in 1923 when the famous Miss Joyce Wethered won. The competition has been played a further 4 times at the Club; the latest winner being Miss Hannah Barwood in 2007.
The equivalent Gentlemen’s event has been played 5 times. Perhaps the most dramatic was when Michael Bonallack won in 1968. He had a most amazing round in the morning taking only 61 shots. His unfortunate opponent David Kelley set out to play par golf, thinking that if he did he would not be too many down and might in fact finish the round 1 or 2 up. Kelley succeeded admirably in his aim, but went into lunch 11 down! Bonallack`s round was made up of 32 out and 29 in. Unfortunately, the score could not be considered official as a number of short putts were conceded. However, it is an historic round still remembered with admiration.
The Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship has been played at Ganton on 4 occasions; the latest being in 2010 when Kelly Tidy captured the title.
Ganton has also hosted the Amateur Championship 3 times and is the only inland Club to have been honoured with this event. The quality of the winners speak for themselves – Gordon Clark, Peter McEvoy and Gary Wolstenholme.
Many other prestigious amateur events and International Matches have been hosted including the Vagliano Trophy in 1995, the Curtis Cup in 2000, in 2001 the Boys’ Championship and in 2003 the Walker Cup.
“Of all the lovely places in Britain where golf is played Ganton has few peers.”
The Late Pat Ward-Thomas
Golf Correspondent, The Guardian for many years.
Various professional events and matches have been played at Ganton. In 1895 Harry Vardon beat JH Taylor by 8 and 6. This victory set Vardon on the path to a famous career starting with his first Open Championship win later that year at Muirfield.
In 1899 Willie Park Junior lost a challenge match to Vardon and two days later Mr John Ball Junior and Vardon beat Mr Freddie Tait and Park 5 & 4 over 36 holes in an International Foursomes. The next significant event was the exciting 1949 Ryder Cup that was won so dramatically on the 2nd day by the United States, having trailed 3 to 1 after the foursomes. Match score 7 – 5.
In 1951 Babe Zaharias led 5 other lady professionals from the United States in an International Mixed Foursomes partnered by British gentlemen professionals. The unique format was 6 rounds of 18 – hole Foursome Strokeplay, the ladies playing with a different male partner in each round.
In 1953 the Club hosted the News of the World PGA Matchplay Championship. An exciting 36 hole final was won by Max Faulkner from Dai Rees on the last hole. Two other prestigious professional events have taken place at Ganton. In 1975 the Dunlop Masters was won by Bernard Gallacher and in 1981 Nick Faldo won the Sun Alliance PGA Championship.
In September 2003 Ganton hosted the 39th Walker Cup Match and joined Royal Birkdale and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in having hosted the premier team event cups ie. Ryder, Curtis and Walker. Royal Lytham & St Annes has become the 4th member of this elite group having hosted the 2015 Walker Cup.
In regard to the Walker Cup, it is interesting to note the connections with the Club, six Ganton members have played in Great Britain and Ireland teams. A study of the winners and runners up of major competitions played at Ganton reveals that no less than sixteen of these persons have played in Walker Cup matches.