DESCENDANTS of Sale resident Samuel Ryder, famous for founding the Ryder Cup, made a poignant journey to Trafford this summer, writes Helen Heath.

Julian and William Ryder came to the UK in July to visit the grave of Samuel Ryder's parents, Samuel Snr. and Elizabeth, who are buried in the graveyard of St Martin's Church, close to Ashton on Mersey golf club.

Julian Ryder, great-grand nephew of Samuel and living in the US, came to visit the grave after seeing an article in the Messenger, which detailed how the plot had been tidied and flowers laid in tribute to Samuel's parents.

Julian, who first visited the grave in 2015, said: “Knowing about the Messenger article and that Ashton on Mersey Golf Club was adjacent to Samuel Snr. and Elizabeth’s grave, my brother William and I decided to go visit them.

"Unannounced we asked if we could meet the club professional and were escorted upstairs where we were introduced to Kris Andrews, PGA golf professional at Ashton on Mersey Golf Club.

"I told him who we were and said that I was there to thank him on behalf of the Ryder family for all the work the club membership had done to clean up and restore Samuel and Elizabeth’s grave site.”

The Messenger article was discovered by Julian's uncle William Ryder, of Glebelands Road, Sale, who sadly passed away in June, and who was the great nephew of Samuel.

Samuel Ryder, born in 1858 in Walton-le-Dale, Lancashire, became interested in golf in 1908 as a way to get fit after a period of ill health.

In 1926 he founded the Ryder Cup, now one of the most famous international golfing competitions.

Samuel lived for much of his early life in Sale with his parents, on Wharf Road near the intersection of Broad Road, which is now the Belforte House Hotel.

Samuel was a Sunday school teacher in Sale during his teenage years. Intending to become a teacher, Samuel studied at what is now Manchester University but did not graduate due to ill health.

In his mid-thirties Samuel moved to St. Albans, where he expanded his father's seedling business and made a successful living, whilst also becoming Mayor of the city in 1905.

Julian Ryder, who emigrated to the USA when he was nine months old and now lives in California, shares Samuel's passion for golf and has cousins in the Ryder family who still live in Sale.

He said:“My first visit to Samuel Snr. and Elizabeth’s grave was in the summer of 2015, the experience was extraordinary. Imagine standing in front of two people who are directly responsible for your existence? People you never had the opportunity to meet or know other than through stories carried down through the years by other relatives.

“I arranged to meet with Peter Fry, Samuel Ryder’s biographer and author of 'Samuel Ryder The Man Behind the Ryder Cup,' in St. Albans.

"Peter is a walking encyclopaedia of the life and history of Samuel Ryder and his family. I spent 10 hours with Peter touring Samuel’s grave, homes, churches, offices and factories he built.

"The highlight for me was a visit to the Verulam Golf Club, Home of The Ryder Cup, and the golf course he was a member of and that honours him. There’s a museum in St. Albans with a whole section dedicated to Samuel and then there’s Verulam Golf Club that focuses primarily on Samuel’s life in golf."

Julian says the trip enhanced his pride at being related to Samuel Ryder. “My brother and I are life long golfers; I played competitively in college and never talked about my relationship to Samuel. If I did, people mostly wouldn’t believe me, so I didn’t talk about it.

"It wasn’t until my 2015 trip to St. Albans that I realized just how big and important Samuel Ryder is to the game of golf.

"Today anyone who meets me will learn quickly that Samuel Ryder is my Great-grand Uncle and I couldn’t be more proud.”