By the end of the 19th century, golf was becoming a popular pastime for gentlemen, but ladies were forbidden to join clubs. The Golf Magazine of 1891, however, thought the game desirable for women, ‘combining a sufficient amount of exercise with the gracefulness of deportment which every true woman is properly proud of possessing’. Perhaps it was this notion that inspired the female family members of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 1894, to pressurise their men folk into putting up the money to lease a piece of common land on Oxton Heath. This was the beginning of Wirral Ladies’ Golf Club, one of several to be founded at this time and yet one of a mere handful to have survived. The Birkenhead Advertiser of February 1894 reported that ‘no longer were the sterner sex going to have it all their own way at the putting game, for Wirral Ladies’ Golf Club now have their own links prepared for their own special behoof’. By 1907 the original 9-hole course had become a full 18 holes, thanks to the purchase of more land on the Heath.
Certainly, Wirral Ladies’ is special, and it now holds a unique position in the golfing world of the Wirral. It is the only course to be originally designed especially for women and originally with a largely female executive. In the original constitution, gentlemen were always permitted as ‘associate members’, a situation which continued until 1952 when they were granted equal standing by a change in the Articles of Association. Nowadays, the men’s membership is greater than the ladies’ membership and a new management structure means that men are equally represented on all committees.
The Captain of the club, however, has always been a lady member, as decreed by the constitution of 1894 but this situation has recently changed under the Equality Act of October 2010. After lengthy discussions between committee and the membership the decision was taken to amend the Articles of Association and appoint joint captains, one of each gender, for 2013 and future years. With this a new chapter in the history of Wirral Ladies’ Golf Club begins.