Local farmers Peter Turner, Richard and Trish Valentine agreed that Billinge Hill overlooking the Lancashire Plain provided an ideal location for a new eighteen hole golf course. The idea had germinated during one hot Spanish afternoon, fuelled by two bottles of wine, whilst overlooking a very impressive Gary Player designed course.
The early 1990’s were spent carefully researching and planning the exciting new venture, and seeking the necessary planning permission. The attractiveness of the scheme led to local Golf Professional David Clarke joining the team.
Work started during 1994 with membership applications flooding in.
The challenging parkland course opened in May 1996 from humble beginnings with the pro shop operating from a portacabin on an unmade car park reached by a dirt track through a farmyard. Later that same year the splendid two storey, stone built clubhouse with spike bar, changing rooms, pro shop and public restaurant opened offering a warm welcome to members and visitors alike.
The dream had become reality but the hard work still continued.
The founder members enthusiasm soon saw a thriving members section with active committees and a full competition calendar. Officers and Captains were appointed and the trophy cabinet was filled with donations and sponsorship from eager supporters. The initial 300 hundred strong membership quickly doubled as word spread of this new golf course with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
As the business rapidly developed Vivien Shew was asked to join the board and Paul Dickenson was employed as the new head professional. This restructuring saw all aspects of the company go from strength to strength. The restaurant proved to be more successful than could ever have been envisaged and thanks must go to Gary Merrill, the head chef, and his team.
Sadly, Richard died in 1997 having seen his goal realised and prospering.
During the next few years the course was enhanced with the planting of 35,000 trees, a permanent track was constructed to allow the use of buggies and trolleys all year round and in 1999 the clubhouse was extended to cope with the growing demand. Expansion of the pro shop and the formation of a new lake to enhance the par 3 eighth hole is all part of the continually changing scenery at Houghwood.