Harold C. Humphreys

"Show me a man with a low golf handicap, and I’ll show you a man who is neglecting something.” This old saying may be true of many, but is certainly not an accusation that could be levelled at Harold C. Humphreys. There are few golfers who can claim to have achieved and held a scratch handicap for over twenty years, and even fewer who could do so while building a massive corporate empire from nothing. Humphreys did just that, won the County championship twice in succession and was a highly influential figure at club, county and national levels.

Harold Humphreys established his sportswear business, later to become Umbro, in the modest surroundings of a bedroom at Mobberley's Bull's Head Inn in 1924. He had joined Alderley in 1923 and soon became the leading player in the club, his name appearing on numerous honours boards. A county player, and the youngest captain of Alderley in 1938/9 at the age of 36, he was a superb iron club player who recorded what, at the time, was an outstanding course record of 63 over the Alderley course. He made a very significant contribution to the club, serving on both the main and Match and Handicap Committees, became one of the first Trustees, and was a major benefactor within the club. Harold played in many open and national events, and he reached the fifth round of the 1947 English Amater Championship at Ganton, where he was beaten by former champion, Stanley Lunt.

Harold, who had also become a member of the Prestbury and Upton GC, confirmed his golfing pedigree by winning the 1950 and 1951 Cheshire Championships, which at that time were still match play events. In his first victory he beat Ian Patie, who in 1946 had won the English Amateur, and in qualifying for the 1951 event at Prestbury, he set an amateur course record of 68. 

He captained Cheshire to the County Champions title in 1954, led the Northern Counties in 1956 and also won the County Foursomes on three occasions, each time with a different partner. He also served as an England selector. A great character, he became President of the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs in 1956, a position he held for three years. A natural golfer with a superb rhythm, he was still playing off 3 when reaching the age of 70.

Harold Humphreys may be best remembered for building the Umbro business into the multi-national corporate giant it has become today, yet his golfing accomplishments and commitment to a small nine hole club say much of a man who never forgot his social and sporting roots.

 

Harold Humphreys receives the Cheshire Championship Trophy, from
CUGC President C.R.Darlington, Prestbury, 1951

The Prestbury members held a dinner in 1966 to recognise Harold Humphreys' contribution to the game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From 'Alderley Edge Golf Club - The First 100 Years" by J.Dixon, 2007