A E Hallam
Albert Ernest Hallam shook up the golfing world by winning ‘the chief prize of £300’ in a £1000 PGA tournament at Formby in May 1921 (presumably qualifying for the matchplay final rounds of the PGA News of the World or Daily Mail, whoever was sponsoring it that year) as a result. Most papers reporting the win got his name wrong confusing him with his brother Arthur at Fairhaven.
Consequently, the cub reporter of the Guardian was despatched to find out something about him and, like most reporters, eschewed research in favour of speaking to Hallam’s brother. I’m not sure if this was
Arthur, another golf professional.
The ‘scoop’, shared with other papers as it generally was in the good old days, had to follow the sub’s ‘He has never previously done anything of note in open competition and in the final of the Lancashire Championship at Heaton Park last September he was heavily beaten by Peter Rainsford. But, in great Guardian tradition of no connection between sub-editor (what sub-editor?) and reporter, the tale begins that ‘although only 37 years of age, (he) has achieved many successes as a golfer’ (and it would be churlish of me to point out that, rather than ‘only’, some professionals were looking to hang up their niblicks at that age).
‘Up to attaining the age of 18, Albert was employed at the Bulwell [Nottingham] Finishing Company’s Works and, having at that age become a brilliant golfer [good man, the brother] decided to serve his apprenticeship as a professional’.
This was achieved with another Bulwell golfer, W E Reid (who went on to a highly successful career in the USA) at Banstead Downs in Surrey.
At the age of 21 (so 1906 or 1907) he was appointed professional to the North Manchester club. He won the Manchester Courier Cup, essentially the championship for Manchester area professionals, (twice or three times according to the publications of the time) before the First War (but I can confirm he won in 1909, 1911 and 1913 so, possibly, in perpetuity, hence the newspaper reference to the ‘Lancashire championship’ above) but, despite the light mirth, he was certainly a later developer professionally in tournament play.
He moved to the Chorlton-cum-Hardy club in 1919 and from here came the win described above but the 1920s were also the years when he qualified most regularly for the Open Championship (1921, 1922, 1924 and 1927) and finished second in the Leeds Cup, quite a competition in its day, tied with Archie Compston and behind Jack Gaudin in 1923, and also runner-up in the Northern Professional Championship (when it was an open competition) in 1924.
He published an instructional book in 1928, The Straight Road to Success in Golf and a chapter on playing the mashie was part of a promotional book Golf in a Nutshell produced for Smith’s 11 o’clock Cocktail with contributions from various Manchester-area professionals.
In 1940 he was made an honorary member of the club after 21 years’ service and was still described as professional there when his son married the steward’s daughter in 1944
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