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Tom Barber

In an era often referred to as the Golden Age of golf, most tournament golfers were also full time club professionals and in many cases also had greenkeeping duties. Tom Barber, born at Knutsford in 1896, took his first assistant professional's job under the renowned Joe Taggart at Wilmslow, before being appointed to his first full professional's job at Werneth. Keen to return to Cheshire, he was successful in his application for the post made vacant by Harry Pierpoint's move to the Prestbury and Upton club in late 1922. Barber joined the club just as its name was changing from its original title of Fulshaw GC to that of Alderley Edge.

Barber immediately endeared himself to the Alderley membership by qualifying for the match play stages of the valuable Yorkshire Evening News tournament at Headingley GC, Leeds in May 1923. This tournament attracted a very high quality field, including the two American greats, Sarazen and Hagen. Barber was drawn to play Hagen in the first round, and if "The Haig" had anticipacted an easy victory, he was in for a big shock, for there was never more than a hole in a tense game which Barber levelled at the 18th with a par 4. The game continued to the 21st, where Hagen successfully negotiated a left-over stymie by deftly chipping over Barber's ball into the hole. Barber had come agonisingly close to what would have been a sensational victory and one which would have spread both his own name and that of the club across the world's press.

Tom Barber went on to build a very successful career for himself on the tournament circuit. He reached the semi-final of the 1924 News of The World tournament, at that time second in importance only to the Open Championship. He had various other successes including the Daily Dispatch Manchester Championship, and also went on to reach the final of the 1931 Yorkshire Evening News tournament, where he was beaten on the 39th hole in an epic match with Charles Whitcombe.

Barber left Alderley in 1925 and moved to Cavendish, and in 1926 he finished 5th in the Open behind the great Bobby Jones at Lytham. After a spell at Torbay, he moved to Royal Zoute in Belgium, where he was to die suddenly on New Year's Eve, 1936.

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