2014 was a big birthday year for the Anglesey Golf Club when we celebrated our centenary.
AGC holds 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.
Dating back to 1914 the club was formed as a collaborative project between a number of local notables, including 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 one Harold Horsfall Hilton to create a golf course. Hilton was a native of Cheshire and a golfer of stature. He won the Open in 1892 and 1897 and was the US Amateur Champion in 1911. So, we have a great pedigree. In October 1914, the Anglesey Golf Club opened its doors as an eighteen-hole links course and the rest, as they say, is history.
A number of very good golfers emerged from this magnificent and challenging links course – 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 work is recognised with the “Doc” Wilson Memorial’ trophy contested each year by the junior members.
During 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. Other members also made enormous contribution to the war effort. 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.
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 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.