Thomas Froes Ellison

Thomas Froes Ellison, always known as Froes, sprang to national prominence in 1925 by winning the inaugural English Amateur Championship at his home club, Royal Liverpool. To confirm his class, he repeated the feat in 1926 at Walton Heath.

Ellison, born in 1894, was the son of wealthy parents who resided in West Kirby, and he took up golf at an early age, spending his summers on the links of Royal Liverpool. The First World War was to interrupt his youth, and he signed up with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, rising to the rank of Captain and being awarded the Military Cross.

Upon his return from France, Froes joined his father in the Liverpool cotton trade. In his book “Golf at Hoylake” John Behrend included the account of an unusual sporting bet involving Froes. Ellison and his friend W.F.Beavan, accepted a bet that they could not run the 20 miles from Hoylake to the Grosvenor Hotel in Chester in under two hours and 45 minutes. A further bet involving only Froes, was that he could not, on the same day as the run, score less than 75 round Chester Golf Club [at that time located at Sealand].  At 6am on 28th March, 1926, they set off on the run and reached the Grosvenor in 2 hours and 31 minutes. Froes subsequently travelled over to Sealand and comfortably beat the target score of 75 to secure a considerable sum from the bets.

Froes had played for England against Scotland in 1922 and was therefore considered a leading contender for the inaugural English Amateur Championship  held at Royal Liverpool in 1925, RLGC having donated the splendid trophy to the newly formed English Golf Union. A 63 year old John Ball, as well as Cyril Tolley were in a strong field for this new national championship. Froes progressed through the championship, as did his Cheshire compatriot, Israel Sidebottom of Stockport G.C. Both reached the semi-finals. Ellison progressed to the final, however Sidebottom was beaten 5 and 4 by Southport gas worker and former Lancashire champion, Sam Robinson.  The final was played in a strong wind, which should have suited Froes, however he lost the first two holes. From that position he quickly recovered against a player he'd beaten at Hoylake in the inagural county match of 1921, and a battle royal ensued. The detailed report of the final gives a blow-by-blow account of a match that Ellison won on the 18th green.

The England team for the match with Scotland at Westward Ho! 1925
Back row: S. Robinson, E.F. Storey, Froes Ellison, Hon M. Scott, Sdn Ldr C.H. Hayward
Front row: R.Wethered, Sir E.Holderness, C.J.H. Tolley, H.D. Gillies

Ellison went on to make 6 further England appearances between 1925 and '27.

The 1926 English Amateur was played at Walton Heath, and once again Ellison and Sidebottom progressed to the semi-finals.  Sidebottom again failed to reach the final, however Ellison progressed to meet Sqd Leader Cecil Hayward, the England team captain, in the championship match. Ellison won the match, and his second consecutive English title by the comfortable margin of 6&4.

Ellison drives during his second round match at the 1926 English Amateur

Ellison and Hayward set off for the final

Froes Ellison receives the English Amateur Championship trophy 1926

Report on the 1926 final