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Eccleston to take over as Lancashire Union President

Eccleston keen to reverse steady decline in golf membership

David Eccleston

David Eccleston will always be remembered as the player who lost to Nick Faldo in the 1975 English Amateur Championship final at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

But that was only one aspect of an illustrious career which reaches its pinnacle when he is installed as president of the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs in March.

"It's a great honour," said the long-time Ormskirk member who is among the celebrated dozen players who have clocked up 100 appearances for the county.

"I reached the milestone in 1988 at my home course but I decided to stand down after that," he said.

Eccleston, who will take up his role at a time when the Red Rose has been a dominant force over the last six years, is aware of the national decline in club memberships.

And he is hoping that the newly-formed Lancashire County Golf Partnership will help to restore interest.

"I'm sure it will have an impact. Not long ago many of our clubs had waiting lists but that's not the case today.

“It's crucial that we get more people in the game," he stressed.

Eccleston, 66 this month, has always supported grassroots golf.

After succeeding Cliff Bowman as county captain in 1998, having previously served as chairman of selectors, he raised a few eyebrows by pitching 15-year-old Nick Dougherty and Lee Slattery, who was 19, into the side for the opening Northern League match against Northumberland.

"Some of the older executive members queried my decision but I told them to watch how the lads performed and the proof of the pudding was in the eating because they both won. The rest, as they say, is history," he said.

Eccleston played senior golf in county and International events, such as the British and Irish Opens, for five years but was forced to quit because of a frozen shoulder.

"I still turn out twice a week at Ormskirk, but never in the winter, and enjoy playing off a six handicap," he said.

In his prime, he beat Bernard Gallacher, later to become a European Tour player and Ryder Cup captain, in the Boys' Championship at Gullane and lost in the last 16 to South African Mark McNulty in the Amateur Championship at Ganton.

And in the year he lost to Faldo, he was also runner-up in the Kenyan Amateur.

On the home front Eccleston won many scratch events and is the only player to have completed a hat-trick of Birkdale Goblets and set a course record of six-under-par in the Formby Hare.

"The mid-1970s was my most successful spell," he said. "I was a steady county player, my forte was matchplay."

He added: "I've plenty to occupy my time with since retiring a couple of years ago from the construction industry.

“One day a week my wife Felicity and I look after our 12 month old grandson James, but I think I will have to delegate these duties to her while I am president!"

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