Sir Henry Cotton
Sir Henry Cotton, the Cheshire born three times Open Championship winner was a great admirer of Reddish Vale, and in particular loved the ‘new 16th hole’, the par 4 dog-leg that plays around a bend in the river Tame.
It was after Cotton played a 36 hole exhibition match at Reddish Vale in 1940 (against the current Open Champion at the time Richard Burton) that he wrote a two page article expressing his admiration of Reddish Vale, and in particular the 16th hole.
Initially surprised at finding ‘such an interesting and undulating course right in the town’, Henry Cotton went on to describe the 16th hole as ‘the best looking, most fair and at the same time probably the most difficult hole I have ever played’. The 16th is without question a unique hole and Cotton was intrigued, describing it’s appearance as ‘beautiful’, but also commented that for the average player it was ‘frankly too difficult!’ The hole was renamed ‘Cottons’ soon after. Cotton concluded that both the 14th and the 16th holes ‘are worthwhile selling to the golfing public, and any course with two such lovely holes should tell the world’.
Cotton played sublime golf during the match, and his scores of 67 and 66 were enough to defeat Burton 8 and 6. Richard Burton was incidentally the player who held The British Open title the longest. Seven years in fact, as the competition was not played again until after WW2 in 1946.