North West Geography
Volume 9, Number 1, 2009
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This article is a first attempt to explore the geographical variety in golf courses and clubs in the North West of England. It charts contextual influences on the game, exploring the changing golf business, and the emergence of stereotypes about golf courses and the game itself. A case study of golf in the North West of England reveals a very great diversity of places associated with the game and highlights the significance of local institutional and historical factors in the changing fortunes, landscapes and culture of golf in the region.
The article examines the distinctive impact of parliamentary enclosure in North West England resulting from environmental and socio-economic conditions which were markedly different from those of Midland England, the area for which the conventional model of the effects of enclosure has been developed. Enclosure impact is studied through the example of the township of Watermillock on Ullswater. Enclosure in Watermillock was delayed until the 1830s due, among other things, to a dispute over the boundary between the manors of Watermillock and Matterdale. When enclosure was eventually accomplished, however, it appears to have benefited the customary tenants, who owned most of the land, as a group by adding substantial areas of good-quality land to existing holdings. The dominance of the larger customary tenants in local society was enhanced and confirmed.