It’s down in one at the Red Lion pub

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Drinkers at a Longton pub don’t have far to go to visit golf’s famous 19th hole, after the landlords installed a putting green on the premises.

The astro-turf area at the Red Lion comes complete with small flags marking out the holes, while there is a pitching net for anyone who wants to practise their longer game.

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Ian Carney, Mick Barron, Bill Haworth, John Dewhurst and Jamie Waters

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Ian Carney, Mick Barron, Bill Haworth, John Dewhurst and Jamie Waters

Joint landlords Ian Carney, 56, and Bill Haworth, 61, took over the Liverpool Road pub last March, and the nine-hole putting green is just one of a number of improvements that have been made.

The quirky addition has proved a hit, especially with golf aficionados, who had the idea and helped it come to fruition. “We have a few golfers who come into the pub, and they asked me what we were going to do with the spare land at the back”, Ian said. “We got talking and had the idea of the putting green.”

After months of planning, several regulars started the project. They banded together, clearing the disused area.

“Five or six of the customers helped us to build the course, and it’s totally down to them that we have it. We can’t thank them enough.” The course was officially opened three weeks ago, just in time for the summer. So, how has the move gone down with the locals?

Ian said: “They think it’s a great idea. We’ve seen an 
increase of people coming in at the weekend just to play. It’s very popular with the kids, as was seen when we first opened it during one of our regular Sunday barbecues.”

The putting green is free for everyone to use, and putters are provided. For the more seasoned ‘professionals’, the Red Lion Golf Club, complete with scorecards, has been established. Membership costs £10 a year, with money going towards prizes for Friday afternoon competitions.

Drinks are prohibited on the green, but this didn’t seem to deter one customer, who said: “I like golf and I like beer, so it’s a match made in heaven.”

Bill, a keen golfer himself, added: “It’s a unique addition to the pub and we hope the villagers, and anyone else for that matter, appreciate it. The green adds the final touches to the marked improvement of the beer garden as a whole, and we welcome people to come and try it out.”

The beer garden may be ready for the summer, but Ian is looking even further ahead. He said: “There’s still room to expand, and we’re even thinking about extending to a full 18 holes for next year!”