Israel Sidebottom

From a large golfing family in Disley, Israel Sidebottom, know to most as "Issie", was a leading player in Cheshire who also fared well in national championships. It was said of Sidebottom that he was good enough to turn professional, but that he made more by playing money matches.  

Sidebottom had a very distinctive style, which was described in a report on the final of the 1923 County Championship, against Hale's Martin Schunk, which he won: "...Sidebottom, who has perhaps unconciously adopted the style of Sandy Herd, waggles the club either behind or over the ball many times before each shot - the waggles sometimes number almost 20 - and just before he makes the hit he lifts up his shoulders and swings back at a fast pace. Sidebottom is no believer in the "slow back" theory, and if style and ease of hitting had decided yesterday's final, Schunck would have been an early winner".

An even more eloquent description of his style appeared in "The Sketch" in 1923: "Mr Sidebottom's style is florid and exuberant. His waggle of the clubhead is magnificently ornamental. Once, when he was preparing for a shot, I counted these flourishes; there were four long and dignified waggles followed by nine delivered like flashes of lightning. At any rate, when he does hit the ball, he hits it remarkably well."

The 1923 County Championship at Stockport, his home club, was Sidebottom's first and last win. He was runner-up in 1921, 1927 and 1928, and it is therefore appropriate that the  Championship runner-up trophy carries his name. Sidebottom won the inaugural County Foursomes Championship at Delamere in 1923, partnered by S.S. Potter. 

He was, in addition to Disley, a member of Buxton and High Peak, and through this he qualified to play in the Midlands union events. In 1923 he added the Midlands championship to his Cheshire title, winning at Castle Bromwich.

The inaugural English Amateur Championship at Royal Liverpool in 1925 saw Sidebottom make it to the semi-final, and he reached the same stage at Walton Heath the following year, thus confirming his prowess as a match player. Despite this, he never appeared in an England team.

Sidebottom's style and pace of play depicted in the press

 

Sidebottom appeared in a unique match at Stockport in May, 1929, when a team of amateur invitees took on the visiting American Ryder Cup team, complete with Hagen, Sarazen, Turnesa, Smith and Jurado. The format of the match was that single American players took on the better ball of two amateurs. Sidebottom, and fellow Stockport member and Cheshire player S.S. Potter were drawn to play Gene Sarazen. Their local knowledge must have paid off, for they won 2&1.

Although Israel Sidebottom almost always entered tournaments and championships out of Stockport G.C., he remained a lifelong member of Disley and, incredibly, served on the committee there from 1922 to 1960. He played many times for the County team, however by 1939 his powers appeared to be deserting him as he shot a 91 in qualifying for the county championships at Prestbury.

Sidebottom pictured with Bob Hardman, the Lancashire champion, at Stockport, 1923

(picture courtesy of Stockport G.C.)