John Hunter, the Putting Poet of Congleton, pens new verse for Astbury Golf Club's centenary
Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist, Paul Crone.
From the Lake District of William Wordsworth to Thomas Hardy's Wessex Heights, some of our greatest poems have been inspired by the English countryside.
Now a modern-day lyricist has come up with a new composition influenced by a more mundane location: his local golf course.
To put things in a fair way, John Hunter has captured the beauty of the impeccably manicured greens at Astbury Golf Club in a special poem to mark its centenary.
John teed off his literary game at the age of 71, publishing a book of more than 40 short poems.
No subject was out of bounds, with one ode dedicated to the lush tree-lined course divided by the gently flowing waters of the Macclesfield canal.
The retired IT professional and single-figure golfer brought his poetry to the fore by reciting his work at a members' dinner to launch a summer of celebrations for the club's 100th anniversary.
John is now quickly becoming the Putting Poet of Congleton, the Bard of the Bunkers and the Laureate of the Links.
Astbury 2022 by John Hunter
What finer garden could there standOn all of England's pleasant landOr wistful waterway divideFrom which its lazy lawns be spied?
What rolling pasture could surpassBy grander views or greener grassThese placid pools and gentle slopesThat bear our secret dreams and hopes?
Could mightier or prouder treesStand tall on guard but such as theseThat line each route and avenueTo honour those seen walking through?
And what adventure might awaitWhere lady luck or twist of fateMight sway the final fateful rollAnd win the day or lose it all?
So as great and graceful have beforeWould that I for ever moreStill young at heart though old and greyBe wandering its wonderful and winding way
Astbury’s website records how the inspiration for the club’s existence arrived in the early months of 1922 when three young men working in the Congleton town clerk’s office found a bag of disused golf clubs.
Club historian Orville Taylor said: "Fancying trying out the game, the three approached a local farmer for permission to use one of his fields to hit some balls.
"The idea quickly gained interest from others who were keen to join them. And so, the seeds of what was to become Astbury Golf Club were sown."
Fire destroyed most of the clubhouse 43 years later in 1965. This led to enough land being bought to make room for an impressive new building, opened the following year with an exhibition match involving professional golfer and commentator Peter Alliss.
The club is hosting a major individual county final for the first time with the Cheshire Matchplay Championship starting on 13 May 2022.
Looking ahead to the club’s next 100 years, chairman Phil Richards said: "We aim to build on our history of embracing gradual change and to carry on prudently investing in our excellent course and our welcoming clubhouse.
"This would enable us to firmly establish Astbury as the best golf club in South Cheshire."