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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
A J Hobley
The beginning of Alfred Jones Hobley’s golfing career is not absolutely clear but is more colourful than many of the usual histories His surname is from his unmarried mother, the Jones his father. Later his mother married Peter Paxton which, presumably, is where his interest in golf came from.

He began his professional career at Pau, in France, probably filling in for Joseph Lloyd on his trips to the USA. At the time of his marriage to Eliza Hooper Booth in Januay 1888 at Great Malvern he was professional to the Oxford University Club where he was credited with ‘bringing out’ (I presume this means having as assistant) James Sherlock.

He went to Minehead in 1892 and was apparently very happy there but coastal erosion damaged both the course and the house he had built for himself. Consequently he moved to Cheltenham in 1897 and remained as professional there until 1934.

All three of his sons Alfred, Bertram and Cecil became golf professionals. Well thought of as an instructor (he described himself on the 1901 census as a ‘teacher of golf’) his pupils included the Duc d’Orleans, to whom he gave lessons on the Duc’s private course at Wood Norton before diplomatically beating him by a narrow margin in a well-handicapped challenge match at Cheltenham in 1911.

He also gave lessons to Arthur Balfour but most professionals did. (Other than giving orders to shoot unarmed Irish protesters and creating the current problems in Palestine, Balfour did little in his political and prime ministerial career but play golf.

A J Hobley died at the age of 80 in November 1946.

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