THE REGIONAL GOVERNING BODIES
The Midland Counties Competition (1895 to 1921)
The original predecessor of the Midland Golf Union was a body known as the Midland Counties Competition. Although certain gentlemen of the Staffordshire Club had sought to form such a body in 1893, and again in 1894 when the Committees of both the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Golf Clubs had decided not to take up the matter, it was formed in 1895 to run the annual competition for the Midland Counties Strokeplay Championship and the Midland Club Team Competition and remained as the governing body for those competitions until 1921.
The East Midland Union of Golf Clubs (1895 to ?1914)
The East Midland Union of Golf Clubs was also formed in 1895. Membership of this Union was confirmed to Clubs in the Counties of Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Northampton, Lincoln and Rutland. A championship meeting was held annually. This Union does not appear to have survived the first World War.
The Professionals and the Ladies (1897)
Although not officially involved with amateur male players, it should perhaps be mentioned that the Midland Professional Golfers Club was formed in 1897, and the Midland Professional Championship was started in the same year. The inaugural meeting of the Midland Counties Ladies Championship was also in 1897 when Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire were involved, and the following Clubs accepted the invitation - The Worcestershire, Kings Norton, Kenilworth, South Staffs, Hagley, Coventry, Sutton Coldfield, Kidderminster and Stratford-on-Avon.
The Midland Golf Association (1906 to 1921)
Formed in 1906 by the amalgamation of four Midland Golf Unions (see below), two reasons being:-
1. "a means by which they could 'manage' their own immediate affairs without constant appeal to a governing body in the North (the R&A.), a body which they regard, with perhaps little injustice, as one whose chief characteristic is indifference to their particular needs as inland golfers"; and
2. to establish the rules for the new inter-County matches.
The Midland Counties Golf Association (1921 to 1984)
Formed in 1921 to amalgamate the Midland Counties Competition and the Midland Golf Association.
The Midland Group (1955 to 1984)
Formed solely for the purpose of holding the new qualifying event in the Midlands for the English County Championship.
The Midland Golf Union (1984 to the present day)
By amalgamating the M.C.G.A. and the Group, this body was formed for the purpose of bringing together all the Counties in unison and forming an association for the strenghtening and furtherance of golf in the Midlands. (The concept of this Union was conceived following a long conversation between John Flanders , M.C.G.A. President at the time, and Ray Baldwin at the Midland Open Amateur Championship in 1981 at Little Aston - it was the venue for preliminary meetings).
Membership through the years has been mainly restricted to County Unions as follows:-
Nottinghamshire (formed 18th May 1899) - one of the first four Counties to join in 1906
Lincolnshire (formed February 1900) - did not however join until 1921
Worcestershire (formed November 1905) - one of the first four Counties to join in 1906
Gloucestershire (formed January 1906) - one of the first four Counties to join in 1906. Moved from the Midlands to the South-West region in 1925.
Warwickshire (formed March 1906) - one of the first four Counties join in 1906.
Leicestershire & Rutland (formed June 1910)
Derbyshire (formed in 1913 - no records available)
Shropshire (formed in 1913 - no records available)
Northamptonshire (formed in 1921)
Staffordshire (formed in May 1923)
Bedfordshire - joined the Midland Counties in February 1924. Moved to the South-East in 1947.
Herefordshire (formed in 1949) and then amalgamated with Shropshire on 15th December 1956.
Cambridgeshire (formed February 1950)
There were also a few Clubs who joined before their Counties had been founded such as Trentham in Staffordshire and Uppingham in Leicestershire & Rutland who were members in 1907, whereas in 1914 there were Northamptonshire County of Northamptonshire, and Penn, Rudyard Lake and Trentham of Staffordshire.
The following chart is a summary of male playing members affiliated to the Member Counties in recent years:-
|Leicestershire & Rutland
|Shropshire & Herefordshire
It is interesting to note that the membership figures do not remain constant, and that there are drops in the number of members as well as increases over these three years when development of new facilities had diminished to merely an odd one here and there.