Manchester Club Golf Course
Built in 1865, the Manchester Club is believed to be the oldest surviving club in the western hemisphere. It predates the Royal Montreal Club formed in 1873 and the Quebec Golf Club formed in 1875, both in Canada. The Scots invented the game of golf; the earliest club formed outside of Scotland was the Royal Blackheath Golf Club of England formed in 1766, followed by the old Manchester Golf Club founded on the Kersal Moor in 1818 in England. It is said that some of the planters who came to Jamaica from England played golf on pastures surrounding sugar estate lands for many years without any thought of forming a club or building a proper course. It was in Manchester under the leadership of Dr. Nicholls that the game was first seriously taken up and a nine-hole course was laid down at Brumalia. After a somewhat chequered existence the club was incorporated in the Manchester Club under whose auspices the game took on a new lease on life. It was first established as an all male club in the tradition of a British Gentlemen’s Club. Access to membership had to be proposed and seconded by existing members – a quorum of six members being necessary to propose. Lots were cast using the white ball/black ball principle: six white balls would admit membership while five white and one black would deny membership.
A nineteenth century clubhouse was originally located on the adjoining property where Scotia Bank now has its multi-million dollar headquarters. When it became public knowledge that the 100 year old building was to give way to a Scotia Bank structure, many of the town’s residents objected. The residents insisted that although the clubhouse was in need of major repairs it was historically significant. The sale went through despite the many objections and the old clubhouse was demolished and a new one built in the early 1990s on the remaining property of the Manchester Club on a low hill close to the middle of the course. Many are of the view that the relatively new structure still maintains an old-world feel. Within the new club house are championship boards and plaques with the names of past presidents from the 1920s. There is also an ancient guest book with signatures dating back to 1910.
- The Sportsman January 1928,Vol 1 No. 4, p.4